A note from Editor in Chief & Chief Content Officer Brad Berens: It's worth pointing out that at the time of publication EyeWonder is sponsoring our Creative Best Practices coverage, but Ryan's byline is in no way a part of that sponsorship. You can find a more detailed explanation of our editorial policy here or contact me directly with questions.
Rich media has changed in oh so many ways in recent years. Limitless creative has begun carrying the weight of successful online video advertising. Rich media's interactivity and the ability of imaginative campaigns to engage end users have resulted in a steady migration of advertising dollars. Rich media and video ads have proved themselves as immensely effective and interactive marketing vehicles for brand and product campaigns, and through constant innovation and user friendly technology it's getting better all the time.
Creative agencies, publishers media buyers and planners have come together to deliver highly successful and imaginative ad campaigns. Creative's success is no magical mystery. Brands and advertisers began to embrace interactive ad campaigns once rich media was validated as the gold standard for driving brand recognition, ad awareness and intent-to-buy for end users. The next tier of advancement centers on creativity. Here are some words of wisdom around creative priorities that could fix a hole in any campaign. With that in mind, and with a wink to John, Paul, George and Ringo, we've dubbed them the "Fab Five" priorities for creative ad units. See how they run…
1. Tomorrow never knows: Design campaign objectives before launch
"You say you got a real solution, well you know we'd all love to see the plan." Know what your campaign goals are and ensure you are developing and measuring for achievement of those goals throughout the campaign. Today's rich media has infinitely more creative options than the static banner ads of yesterday. Rich media options should be geared toward campaign specific goals. First, develop campaign goals and objectives, then select the appropriate creative rich media tactics that best execute those expectations. It sounds obvious, but many campaigns are deployed without clear and quantifiable goals and run the risk that they may fall apart before too long.
2. Instant karma: Shorter instant play video ads and animations
Ironically, longer video ads usually mean shorter interaction rates. For every ad unit EyeWonder delivers, we measure end-user time spent on the pages where these ad units run. We've gauged the average interaction rates on those pages at eight seconds. Accordingly, we recommend that rich media ads engage users with compelling creative and a call-to-action within those first eight, pivotal seconds. Long and unexciting rich media ad units can leave users sleeping like a log. Create the most enticing and interactive ad unit possible while keeping the duration of the video under eight seconds long and you will guarantee interactions eight days a week.
3. Imagine: Rich media is an interactive medium, make it interactive
Put the user in control through video or photo galleries, in-banner games and customizable user-generated elements within the banner. Allow them to share their experience: how they score and what they enjoy. Advertising is no longer one-way communication; rich media offers a "brand experience" and a dialogue opportunity that can provide invaluable user information for brands and advertisers to create even more customer tailored campaigns.
4. That's what I want: Strong specific call-to-actions
End users are suspicious enough of new forms of advertising. Online banner ads have a reputation of being misleading. Ad units that are ambiguous about what the ad unit interaction will entail often deter end users from engaging. Be clear about the message and what the ad is offering, whether it is a download, movie show time or a funny video. Applying specific text can not only relieve apprehension of a negative interaction (like multiple pop-ups), but can better attract users who are interested in particular information or interaction.
5. Don't pass me by: Reward the user
Allow your viewers and users to take something away from the banner, either the feeling of being entertained by exclusive video clips, a funky song they performed through their keyboard to share with friends or digital, tangible downloads like screensavers, games or ready-to-be-redeemed coupons.
Revolution No. 9: rich media is evolving, so should your processes
So you say you want a revolution, well rich media is staging one: the creative revolution. Rich media is finding new ways to creatively engage audiences. In the midst of rampant industry consolidation, limitless creative cannot be left out in the rain. The evolution of rich media is dependent on the ability to advance the creative process. As creativity expands, advertisers and brands will be able to produce highly strategic and specific campaigns. Don't be left the fool on the hill, evolve your rich media campaign work flow to drive cutting-edge creative on-time, on-budget, and uncompromised in creative scope.
Ryan Manchee is the Client Solutions Director of EyeWonder, Inc. .