These do not have to be standalone strategies; each can play an important role in any comprehensive campaign. Depending on the marketer's objectives, rich-media campaigns can include features such as data collection, lead generation, printable coupons, targeted product and pricing information, and ticket or product purchasing directly within banner ads, shortening the path to conversion. These capabilities not only provide marketers with more insight into their target audience, but increase consumer interaction time. According to PointRoll benchmarks for 2008, rich media provides a 562% lift in response/return over standard ads and 62% lift over flash banner ads. Depending on the campaign, including a direct-response element increases response by 42%, with an additional 3% increase in brand time.
There are many ways to leverage direct response features in rich media campaigns, and they can be beneficial for companies across a variety of verticals. Integrating relevant data from online circulars into the ad unit for retailers or CPG marketers can drive in-store traffic and sales, whereas incorporating comparison shopping data and shopping lists can lead directly to e-commerce purchases. Coupons also drive response and can be printed directly from a rich media ad unit, closing the gap to conversion. One great example is a Nivea campaign (a client) that leveraged a $2 coupon. For minimal media impressions -- around 2 million -- the rich media campaign generated 1,800 coupon prints. Pharmaceutical advertisers leverage rich media to move samples, conduct market research, and generate clinical trial registrations. The automotive sector consistently leverages in-banner lead forms that can help buyers schedule a test drive, click to call a dealer, enter a sweepstakes, or register for more information.
Ford (another client) launched a Chicago auto show sweepstakes campaign that greatly shortened the conversion path and generated substantial leads and entries. The creative featured two rollover points, one for the online promotion-a technology makeover sweepstakes with prizes that included an iMac and iPods-and the other to display the featured models and financial incentives. The auto panel offered options to find a local Ford dealer or choose a new Ford, both of which linked to a site maintained by the advertiser.
The 16.5 million impression campaign generated an 8.1% interaction rate and 25 seconds of brand interaction time on average. The 0.09% click through drove users to the site, but was less important as the inclusion of the sweepstakes component in the banner increased both connections with users and conversions, generating 233,473 with an additional 1,653 referrals given.
Campaigns that include direct-response elements enable companies to be more creative, better utilize in-ad response vehicles, and most importantly translate interactions directly to sales and conversions. As more of our lives move online, the sophistication and growth of online advertising will continue to develop as well. First movers will secure a significant competitive advantage in reaching their core audiences. Today's early adopters are gathering direct response data across market variables, and using the data to create targeted messaging or creative executions. This allows advertisers to measure performance, optimize current ads and execute new ads in real time.
Ad delivery technologies further enhance direct response success by leveraging dynamic ad generation to produce a custom rich media ad that is optimized based on specific levers -- products or creative elements of interest to the consumer combined with behavioral, demographic, geo and other targeting. By creating an on-the-fly, ultra-relevant ad with in-banner key response activities, marketers will drive greater interaction, response and conversion.
Bottom line, rich media enables marketers to extend the delivery and reach of the lead generating mechanism itself, moving the ad from an evaporating asset that merely introduces a consumer to the opportunity to convert, to a more engaging, meaningful and immediate conversion. And it's only getting richer; with technologies such as Tailgate, entertainment advertisers can connect filmgoers to their closest theater and enable them to purchase tickets within the ad unit -- an immediate conversion. Also, layering in behavioral, demographic and other targeting creates an even greater opportunity for conversion.