Our clients' businesses and goals necessitate the use of rich media to help them build an audience or change habitual behavior in their general entertainment usage. Video, interactive content, games and data capture are all staples within our media campaigns. But it doesn't have to stop there. Rich media capabilities now allow a considerable amount of technology and content to be delivered to users in one compact package.
Rich media is defined as advanced technology used in internet ads such as streaming video, applets that allow user interaction and special effects. This online ad technology has been used more predominately by marketers because of its ability to allow a brand experience within a banner without driving the user away from a destination. Another major reason marketers implement richer creative executions is due to overall performance. Typically, the performance of a rich media banner outperforms a standard flash banner depending on creative design. Rich media technology also allows for dynamic campaign tracking and reporting with metrics like interaction rate and brand duration time, which can help paint a larger more robust picture for marketers instead of just using click rate to gauge ad effectiveness.
Below are some simple steps to help make your rich media campaign a success.
- The first step is finding a rich media provider you're comfortable with. A number of factors can go into this decision. Technology, unit types, back-end video technology, size of staff/company, technical production staff and pricing are just a few things to consider when shopping around. There are plenty of rich media providers out there that, behind the scenes, can do many different things. The most important thing to remember is if they don't understand your client's business and what you're trying to accomplish, the relationship could prove challenging right from the start.
- Now let's talk pricing. Always negotiate an agency rate. This rate is usually based upon projected impression volume amongst other things. If you are running heavy rich media volume within your campaigns on a consistent basis, it might make sense to have this rate and pay all rich media fees directly through the agency. If your rich media volume is infrequent, then an agency rate isn't always necessary. In most cases, publishers are willing to roll rich media fees into your media buy. The main advantage to working with an agency rate is efficiency. It's very possible a publisher's rate is higher than a rate an agency can negotiate. By using your pre-negotiated agency rate, you will be in a position to provide increased rich media impressions while simultaneously offering your client increased efficiencies.
- Have a weekly status call with your rich media partner to discuss campaign planning and implementation. Remember, the more communication had between parties, the more likely a campaign will be launched without a hitch.
- Develop a timeline that works for all partners and stick to it. Distribute this timeline to all media and creative agencies in order to determine when creative assets need to be delivered to the rich media provider in order to get them live on time. On-time creative delivery tends to be a huge issue in our industry, and rich media companies tend to need a bit more time to ensure that campaign launch is executed properly. Usually rich media providers tend to need approximately two weeks' lead time depending on the creative execution. They usually can turn things around quicker, but they like to have the extra time for creative and programming revisions. Getting creative to them on time is crucial in getting the campaign to launch on time.
- Do extensive QA when the campaign launches. Your rich media partner will work alongside your media team to ensure that all live placements are working properly. There are various ways that publishers design and code their web pages that can wreak havoc with some rich media executions and their functionality. If at all possible, have your rich media partner test banners before they go live on a live publisher test page. This will ensure that all banners function properly on individual placement pages prior to launch.
- One major challenge when using rich media can be the reporting at the conclusion of the campaign. Every campaign has different objectives, which results in different success metrics. Unless you use an integrated ad serving system that serves both flash and rich media, your reporting will most likely come from two different sources. Rich media reporting interfaces tend to be very robust and will allow you to slice the data any way you need to see it. In working with your provider, ask them to help create a report that can be integrated into your overall reporting scheme to streamline your reporting process. In some cases, they will be available to walk you through reporting and assist in identifying key findings.
Joseph Weaver is head of interactive media at Media Storm, LLC. .