A Richer Experience Wanted
As far as creative goes, many of you reference rich media units as none other than ad units. In speaking with several folks from the buy side, I have found that there is still a lot of confusion in this space. There are quite a few rich media vendors all offering ad units that are named differently. Regardless of the naming convention, most rich media ads fall within three categories: in-page, transitional, and over-the-page. Allie Savarino, vice president of online advertising marketing at Viewpoint told me, "Almost all advertising online today is rich."
Many readers chimed in to say that there is a lot of great creative out there too. When I spoke with vendor heads and buyers, they agreed. Broadband seems to be key when it comes to creative. Now that broadband penetration is over the 50 percent mark, we can raise the bar creatively. Certainly we need to design ads toward the lowest common denominator as well. However, it is a breath of fresh air to work with less limitations.
Take a peak at some of the rich media advertising online today. Several "good" ads (that are in the right place contextually and NOT intrusive) seem like they are micro sites. There are so many opportunities to be creative within an ad unit. Chris Saridakis COO of Pointroll said, "We bring the Web site to the user." He also said that it is imperative to give the user choices. For instance, a user may be so engaged in the content of a site that they don't want to click on an ad and be forced to leave. Saridakis also shared some great advice, "Make the ad as interactive as the content that the ad appears on." Certainly this is a challenge.
I also spoke with Craig Calder who heads up sales for DoubleClick Motif. He said the most effective ads today are a "submersive experience." He continued, "Most effective executions present the user with a number of different ways to interact with a brand."
One thing we haven't really touched upon in the past two weeks is reporting and optimization. Certainly, I could write an entire piece about this. The bottom line is, too many advertisers and marketers are throwing in rich media units to their standard reports. Unfortunately there wouldn't be a way that we could make an apples to apples comparison here. You'd be surprised how many people do.
When I spoke with buyers, they were very vocal about their disconnect here. Almost all rich media vendors offer robust reporting metrics. Several have whiz-band user interfaces that make viewing all the data more palatable. However, the problem is, there are no real benchmarks across the industry.
Chris Young, CEO of Klipmart said his firm is feverishly working on compiling data across verticals to help his clients set proper expectations and goals. Gal Trifon of Eyeblaster agreed. He said Eyeblaster is often asked advice at the onset of the campaign. He said, "The smart advertisers think about these things then, not later." Many people tend to over report. Mookie Tenembaum, CEO of United Virtualities said, "The industry is too new to slap all these standards on everything. Everyone still remembers what the industry did with click-through rates."
How do you feel about rich media from strategy to campaign management? Perhaps you can share some tips for other readers? Or maybe you can warn us of some pitfalls you've encountered? I'd also like to know where readers stand in regard to the metrics of rich media. Are we splitting hairs by overreporting? Post to the SPIN board and I'll see you there!