Superstitials are essentially as close to TV commercials as possible on the Internet, allowing advertisers the same degree of creative flexibility as TV commercials but with an interactive element. Bandwidth is a non-issue since they download into the browser cache while the user is idle, preventing the slowdown commonly associated with streaming ads.
"Superstitials open another browser window containing the ad, and it's up to the advertiser to create a compelling enough ad to keep the user from closing the window," explains Hilary Fadner, Director of Corporate Communications for Unicast. "There's a misconception that these ads just appear out of nowhere, but they are designed to appear when the user gets to the correct page." Hence, the media buyer or planner is able to choose exactly where they appear.
The Superstitial is preferred heavily over the Interstitial format, which pop up on the user's screen immediately upon entry, competing with the file size of the page and slowing everything down. According to Fadner, over 250 sites use and accept Superstitials as a standard part of the advertising sold on their sites, and are accepted on at least one of the three top sites in each vertical category. They have been used in over 200 campaigns, and have been seen by a large%age of the Internet population since they appear on many top sites.
The ads are typically created by agencies. Fadner explains that, including design and placement, Superstitial campaigns typically cost anywhere from two to ten times that of standard banner campaigns. This varies widely depending on factors such as where they're running and the amount of interactivity desired. The ads are served through Unicast, which charges a licensing fee to sites that run them. That cost, including server fees, is bundled into the charge to advertisers.
Advertisers generally agree that however their effectiveness is measured (by views, clicks, etc.), Superstitials outperform all other advertising methods. Results found by Millward Brown Interactive seem to confirm this. The firm found them to be twice as effective as banners and approximately 25% more effective than Interstitials in creating awareness. The level of entertainment and involvement was also found to be considerably higher than with banner ads.
The warm reception by the advertising community has spurred several deals that will push Superstitial penetration even further. The deal with ad pepper media will expand their usage into Europe, including Germany, the United Kingdom, and Sweden. ad pepper media has 22 branch offices in 13 European