It’s tempting to just slap TV commercials up on the Internet and call it streaming media, but it doesn’t work very well. Instead of the more passive armchair mode of viewing of TV, online consumers are in usually in active research mode willing – indeed, expecting – to spend time digging into details. Ads that provide a real opportunity to learn more about a topic, then, are the ultimate winners.
Beyond the Banner
Rich media ads require a higher level of engagement and buy-in than clickable banner ads. In fact, most consumers aren’t receptive to static GIF ads and other banners because they compete with the page content and are generally invasive.
It’s the quality of your content that will determine overall appeal and effectiveness. So if there’s a trick to using rich media for advertising, it’s creating content that will take advantage of active attitude and engage consumers in the ads without assaulting them.
Here are a few guidelines for creating engaging content:
1. Be Beyond the Banner of size restrictions. While content and size restrictions can put a damper on the “rich” part of rich media, don’t ignore interactive design constraints. A truly dynamic ad must usually be under 25K.
2. Make it easy. Direct response campaigns in particular often Beyond the Banner employ rich media in ways that create barriers for the user. Make your number one goal ease of use for your customer.
3. Consider the audience when choosing media format. For example, an ad on a music-oriented site where most visitors are likely to have RealAudio installed, Beyond the Banner does not restrict users from experiencing an audio-enhanced ad. But if the audience is school teachers logging on from obsolete computers, banner ads will probably be more effective.
4. Create multipage ads. You can think of a rich media ad as a miniature Web site, so there’s no reason to limit an ad to a single page. Flash easily runs multiple “pages” of ads, breaking the user experience into bite-sized chunks, keeping the file size of each section low, thereby loading quickly and falling closer to a site’s ad size limits.
5. Give users control. Let the customer research the offer within the ad. Provide the opportunity to dive into details and offer more control over the way they get those details.