Is Rich Media Worth It?

At the ESOMAR and ARF Worldwide Audience Measurement Conference in LA last week, Neilson/NetRatings and Dynamic Logic partnered to present the results of a study which attempted to evaluate the branding and cost effectiveness of rich media in online advertising.

The companies surveyed approximately 1000 top publishers and found that the amount of rich media in the average advertiser's campaign has increased dramatically over the course of the past year - from 1.7% in Q1 2002 to 7.9% in Q1 2003. According to the findings, Portals are the top site category serving rich media impressions, followed by Sports & Recreation, General News, Travel and Games.

There is a considerable variety of online ad formats available to advertisers today. The question is, "Does a more expensive ad unit lead to more branding effectiveness?"

For the purposes of the study, the companies used the MarketNorms database and analyzed nearly 800 campaigns with 880,000 respondents. For starters, they found that bigger is better as larger and newer formats effectively utilize more real estate to communicate and persuade. Specifically:

  • Large Rectangles and Leaderboards are best at raising awareness.
  • Rectangles and Large Rectangles are best for message and sponsorship association.
  • Rectangles, Large Rectangles and Skyscrapers are best for persuasion metrics (favorability and purchase intent)
  • Leaderboard is the most cost effective

    Additionally, researchers concluded that the top rich media providers, such as generic Flash, Eyeblaster, Shoshkeles, Unicast, PointRoll, Eyewonder, Enliven, Bluesterak and others, are the most effective and well worth the additional cost because rich media generally translates in greater ROI per branding point.

    All that said, researchers underlined that "clever and original designs are most effective regardless of format or technology employed."