Net-mercial, developer of the increasingly-popular TV commercial-like rich media ads of the same name, has announced an affiliate program that adds a new dimension to this form of advertising. Net-mercials are among a pool of competitors, most notably KMGI, developer of the Webmercial.
Responding to the needs of the market and immediately following the successful launch of their e-mail application, Mail.Space, Net-mercials are delivered to a targeted audience through the Jump.Space Affiliate Program. When consumers click on an affiliate button, they see animated ads and hear audio instead of being taken directly to the merchant's site. The Net-mercial is contained in a standard frame, and the user stays on the site he or she is on. The user can click on an "exit" button to close the frame, click to the affiliate site, or purchase products without going to the site. Affiliates (site owners placing affiliate buttons on their sites) are paid the same way as with standard programs. Back-end reporting tracks the activity.
"The affiliate marketing space has typically been about site marketing -- linking to a merchant's site from the affiliate banner or button," says Jon Knudsen, Executive VP of Business Development for Net-mercial. "This arrangement allows you to create a specific product message instead of just taking someone to your site."
Net-mercials use the Interstitial ad format, which is known for slowing down page loads. While MarketAdvisors reported that ad recall is twice as high among interstitial viewers than banner viewers, a study by Millward Brown Interactive found that SUPERSTITIALs, a competing format, are about 25 percent more effective than Interstitials in creating awareness. SUPERSTITIALs download into the browser cache and are already loaded when they begin playing, reducing the slow-down effect.
Regarding the issue of pop-ups commonly associated with Interstitials, Knudsen says "most other rich media delivery systems use a pop-up model, but Net-mercials don't. The ads are in space with nothing else there, following the model of advertising in magazines and on TV. You get messages in between content."
It appears that the SUPERSTITIAL format is gaining ground over Interstitials. KMGI's Webmercials have used the Interstitial format, but that appears to be changing given the company's August 15 announcement that it has joined forces with Unicast to offer Webmercials in the SUPERSTITIAL format. The key competitive issue for Net-mercial appears to be about formats. Eric Kavanagh, Senior VP of KMGI, did not comment on the issue.
"If a media buyer has a client that wants to go beyond the banner, we hope they'll recommend the Net-mercial as a rich media solution," Knudsen explains. He adds that they normally cost two to three times that of banners, but it varies widely and is set by site publishers. A street price of $25 to $50 CPM is common.
- David Cotriss covers new media