How to increase engagement?
There are myriad rules and techniques that can help advertisers increase user engagement and dwell. Some of the more successful ones include embedding video into banners, creating in-banner games, using expandable banners to allow users to explore the brand, and delivering visually appealing ads both in terms of size and creativity. Thus, the rule of thumb is to create ads that deliver experience, and not just signs that send you somewhere else.
Here are three examples:
HBO's "True Blood" homepage takeover is a great example of how to hook users to your ad and keep them engaged to create a memorable experience. Homepage takeover is a very visible format that takes advantage of the full canvas to expose users to the brand message. Homepage takeovers achieve dwell rate of slightly more than 5 percent and 46 seconds of dwell duration.
The ad starts with a quick three-second video to get users to notice the ad. Then users are invited to choose the colors of the wallpaper ad that surrounds the content, making this a customizable ad that increases engagement. The sensual ad truly delivers the appeal of "True Blood."
This Nike ad takes engagement to a whole new level. It starts as a small 234x60 messenger ad. However, when users click on it, it becomes a truly full-screen experience of an app that allows users to explore the brand. It includes multiple screens, videos, and more. The visual implementation is simply eye candy. This ad is a revolutionary way to say bye-bye click-through rate, and hello engagement and phenomenal user experience.
H&M decided to put the term "direct response" advertising on its head, while letting users engage with its catalogue directly on the banner. Instead of grabbing a fraction of the users to go to the brand's actual site to view the entire catalogue, this ad took out the unnecessary step and allowed users to view and flip the collection on the banner itself.
These advertisers didn't settle for clicks. They wanted engagement. Imagine if TV ads featured a call to action like "click on channel 2983 for more..." It's highly unlikely that the viewers would leave their programming to click on the ad. So, why would online users behave any differently? Once you realize that the aim is to impress rather than making users press a button, there is no limit to creativity.
Ariel Geifman is principal research analyst at MediaMind.
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