ellipsis flag icon-blogicon-check icon-comments icon-email icon-error icon-facebook icon-follow-comment icon-googleicon-hamburger icon-imedia-blog icon-imediaicon-instagramicon-left-arrow icon-linked-in icon-linked icon-linkedin icon-multi-page-view icon-person icon-print icon-right-arrow icon-save icon-searchicon-share-arrow icon-single-page-view icon-tag icon-twitter icon-unfollow icon-upload icon-valid icon-video-play icon-views icon-website icon-youtubelogo-imedia-white logo-imedia logo-mediaWhite review-star thumbs_down thumbs_up

5 ad formats that make a difference for your brand

5 ad formats that make a difference for your brand Michael Tuminello
It's like the difference between watching a movie in a theater or on a 14" TV–or a glossy full-page magazine ad vs. a small classified. Yes, format matters. Online, larger ads that occupy a bigger portion of the screen and use high quality images and video can make a big impact on results. In fact, it's the creative that drives performance. According to comScore, the creative has four times the impact on results as the media plan does. An analysis of 400 campaigns indicates that the creatives contributed to 52 per cent of the overall results, while the media plan contributed to just 13 per cent.

Furthermore, research by Dynamic Logic on mobile banners shows that while average creative has a positive lift in brand awareness, message association, brand favorability and purchase intent, the bottom echelon of creatives has an adverse effect on performance. The lowest performing creatives actually reduced brand awareness by 2.7 per cent, brand favorability by 4.9 per cent and purchase intent by 4 per cent.

The question is, with online branding becoming more important for advertisers, how can creative formats be best used to build a brand? According to eMarketer, users spent 25 per cent less time reading newspapers and magazines over the past two years while devoting 10 per cent more time to the Internet–and a whopping 50 per cent more time consuming mobile. As users spend less time with magazines, advertisers must find new ways of delivering a powerful branding experience. The good news? Today's most compelling display ad formats do the job.

To track the most effective ad formats, we looked at engagement across 300,000 creatives from the MediaMind database. We based our results on Dwell, one of the most telling metrics for measuring the effectiveness of branding campaigns. Dwell Rate measures the proportion of impressions that were touched by the user's mouse for more than one second. Average Dwell Duration measures the length of exposure.

This metric was independently evaluated by comScore in research that showed that Dwell is linked to higher brand effectiveness and is more relevant than a click count. The research showed that users who were exposed to campaigns with high Dwell were three times more likely to search for brand-related keywords and 70 per cent more likely to visit the advertiser's site. During the visit, users view more pages and spend more time exploring the brand on the site.

Here are some of the ad formats the generated the highest engagement from users and can create a powerful online branding experience.

1. Sidekick

If you want to get ample space for your brand without forcing users to leave the publisher page, Sidekick is the ad format for you. Sidekicks were chosen as one of six IAB Rising Star units, formats selected by experts from the IAB out of a pool of 36 ads. Sidekicks work by elegantly pushing the publisher content aside to give the brand center stage.average Sidekick delivers 60 per cent higher Dwell Rate and 37 per cent higher Average Dwell Duration.

When Royal Caribbean wanted to promote their new cruise ship 'Allure of the Seas', they needed an inspirational ad format that also delivered lots of information to prospective travelers. Sidekick was a natural choice, offering rich interactivity and opening into an entire microsite with hot spots to explore the ship plus videos to explore the ship's decks in-depth -- all without leaving the publisher's page.

2. Pushdown 

Ever noticed where your gaze lands when a webpage loads? It's probably at the top of the page, making this the most strategic point on the publisher's webpage for advertisers. Pushdown Banner leverage this focal point while expanding the canvas for the brand message.

Pushdown Banners are loaded much like regular banners, but when the user triggers the ad, the banner pushes down the publisher's content, giving more space to the advertising message. Although they take up a large portion of the screen, it's a very subtle format, because the user need only scroll down to view the publisher's content.

Like the Sidekick, Pushdown Banners are a one of the IAB Rising Stars ad formats. On average, users are 164 per cent more likely to engage with a Pushdown as compared to a regular Polite Banner (as measured by Dwell Rate).

For the Hair Meet Wardrobe Campaign, Toni&Guy showed inside tips and tricks to help their customers become do it yourself hair stylists. In their pushdown banner for Toni&Guy hair products they included a video preview on how to create the look featured in each ad.

3. Homepage takeover

Perhaps the king of ad formats, Homepage Takeovers can be a great way to deliver an impactful branding experience. It is a favorite for launching new products and movies, in part thanks to Dwell Rates 32 per cent higher than polite banners and average dwell duration 67 per cent higher.

Mazda used a Homepage Takeover to launch its new Mazda2. In this ad robotic arms deftly deconstruct and reassemble the entire page to showcase the new model which has also been newly reassembled with less weight and more zip.

4. Messenger ads

Tiny but enormously effective, Messenger Ads take advantage of the idle minutes of waiting that occurs during a chat session to deliver the advertising message. While users wait for their friends' replies, they are much more likely to engage with the ad. Dwell Rate is a remarkable 193 per cent higher than Polite Banners, while Average Dwell Duration is 163 per cent higher.

Fox Entertainment used this highly visible format to help launch one of the summer's biggest blockbusters. Although Messenger ads may be small (240x60 pixels), once click launches a full screen trailer from this tiny MSN Messenger banner.

5. Video extender

Video Extender formats are simply too cool to ignore. A small button allows you to drag and expand the video over content to any size you want, and the video continues to play while being resized. This ad format is designed to provide the ultimate user experience while dragging the video. User engagement with these video ads is phenomenal, with Dwell Rates 103 per cent above Polite Banners and Average Dwell Duration is 39 per cent above polite banners.

Video Extender allowed Motorola and CBS to use a video on a text site in a highly engaging way. This campaign used a relatively long video asset, and long video constrained to the size of the banner can be a drag. With the Video Extender, Motorola created a modular, nonintrusive video that allowed users to access the large, high quality video that boosts recall.


As users shift more time from traditional media such as magazines and newspapers to online advertising, advertisers must recognise ad format as a quintessential part of the creative. From the tiny messenger ad to the homepage takeover, the right ad format can really make a difference for your brand.

Michael Tuminello is senior product manager, rich media & creative at MediaMind

As the VP of Solutions and Partnerships at Innovid, Michael works with clients, partners and industry trade groups to help pioneer a new generation of video and TV marketing. He has been at Innovid since 2012, previously as part of the product team.

View full biography


to leave comments.