Well... yeah. Is it too un-PC to write "duh"? Maybe I should have asked my question differently then. How many different objectives do readers generally establish with their rich media campaigns?
Nope - I like it the way I asked it the first time. Most readers understood, and were willing to engage in e-mail as well as on the Spin Board about it. For my money, how we measure our rich media campaigns speaks more clearly than any other idiom to how advertisers regard interactive. And that alone is why this topic is hot, at least to many of the people I talk to. Why?
If you support the assertion that interactive will draw more dollars from marketers who need to focus on a hard return on investment (ROI) than those with softer objectives, then rich media can become a sexy sub segment that looks and feels more like television.
If, however, you think that rich media is the point at which these two converge with an array of newly available metrics that can measure not just a cold ROI but also branding impact, rich media becomes the tip of the spear for interactive media's assault on old media models.
After all, at least until Comcast begins to cross monetize the 19 million households they provide cable to at the moment with new measurement means, there's only one medium that can display full-motion ads, while measuring user behavior before, during, and after they see the ad unit - and only one sub-segment within that medium that can do this - rich media.
Ironically, the medium that gets the most ad dollars is also the one that generally provides the softest measures - television. I say ironically because it is from television's share of the advertising pie that many industry observers see rich media deriving its growth. Is this because rich media offers dynamic visuals, from expanding banners to full motion video? That would seem unlikely, if only because it's so apparent. One possible reason resides in the opportunity to repurpose broadcast assets. This one works, though I don't think it's a primary one.
I think rich media will take media share from television due to two other reasons. One, rich media costs more, like television usually does. And, just as premium shoppers for other goods and services stay within a premium niche, so will (and have) many media strategists. More significantly though, rich media's ability to provide so many different kinds of measurements against whatever objectives are on the minds of buyers, will win the day.
As Thomas Deierlein of Dynamic Logic wrote on the Spin Board, "We need to use standard ad effectiveness metrics. We cannot get back into the same world we were in back in 1996-1999 where online is inventing new metrics and measures for our medium and that marketers understand, use for all media, and value. We need to focus on the standard metrics that start with the goals and objectives of the campaign."
This is what makes rich media the hot sub segment it is to me right now, not the quality of the video or how cool certain units can look or even any special kind of interactivity. It's rich media's ability to establish not one standard, but a set of standards for any objective-based campaign that make it the path to our industry's increased share of media budgets in the long term.
It's not about the objective. It's being able to measure against all kinds of objectives that matter here. Which one are you interested in?