The creative zone: what's new in online display?

The online display sector is always a good place to look for both creative and technical innovation, and an emerging feature for some recent campaigns has been the use of high definition (HD) video content. A quick look at Eyeblaster's Creative Zone, which is a site aiming to inspire creative professionals and showcase many of the latest online campaigns, shows that HD-inspired ads are starting to appear with more regularity. HD content can play an important role in the consumer experience, serving as a main call to action and a measurable step in how the user responds to a particular campaign. Once selected, the HD content takes over the screen and creates an immersive experience that increases brand recall and favourability. But why is HD appearing now? A number of circumstances and technical developments have come together to bring online HD ads to market. At the technical end of the scale, the arrival of the H.264 Flash player format has made widespread distribution of HD content possible. Consumers are also making use of bigger and better quality monitors, so they can enjoy the high quality viewing HD provides, while improvements in broadband speeds have helped in making HD advertising a viable option for larger groups of the online public. As for the advertisers themselves, early adopters have included entertainment and computer games publishers, where the visual experience is a huge part of the overall appeal of each product. Gamers, for instance, will generally have higher spec machines and broadband connections, which can display the HD ad content with ease. Recent HD campaigns have included movies trailers for Batman: The Dark Knight, and The Hulk and on the games front, the latest instalment in the Call of Duty series. Midway, who are a leading computer games publisher, have recently gone a stage further by using interactive HD to promote one of their latest titles, the wrestling game TNAiMPACT!, which can be viewed here. All of these campaigns employ bandwidth checking to ensure if the user's internet connection is fast enough to allow the content to display correctly. When this is not the case, users are served with a non-HD version of the ad. Going forward, advertisers and their agencies need to take account of the challenges that developing HD ads create. Central to this is the availability of good quality HD source material -- content that utilises the full scope of HD viewing -- and agencies should plan for HD compatibility when shooting new material. As the ads are served to users, creatives also need to ensure they deliver a strong call to action which encourages click-throughs to the full screen version of the HD ad -- serving the HD content is not normally triggered with a mouse-over, or as the initial segment of the advert as it loads on screen. But this is really just the beginning of the process. Down the line we will see the addition of techniques common to non-HD ads right now, including much greater levels of interactivity, the addition of extra content and Flash elements to enhance the ad, and the ability to play a variety of clips within the same advert. To view more campaigns, visit the Eyeblaster Creative Zone. Dean Donaldson is digital experience strategist, Eyeblaster.
 

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