Ross McNab, director of business development at MediaMind, talks about the engagement possibilities in display advertising and Mountain Dew's in-ad "like" button.
At this year's Breakthrough Summit, held in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Ross McNab, director of business development at MediaMind (formerly Eyeblaster), asked the audience to identify the largest obstacle to digital investment. While 52 percent of marketers answered that it was insufficient metrics, McNab disagreed: "We are missing the huge potential in display advertising because we're putting too much emphasis on the click, and it's slowing growth."
Creatively, overreliance on the click is resulting in a "palace in the desert" effect. What's the point of building a beautiful, expensive website if no one visits to it? Noting this quandary -- and the fact that half of display ad clicks come from just 6 percent of the population -- MediaMind has chosen to "move away from quantity, toward quality." In other words, McNab explained, "We are now looking at the time that viewers spend on our content."
Brand building is a learning experience -- it's the opportunity for the consumer to become familiar with a brand. The best way to do this is through multi-sensory interaction, for which digital -- which combines sight, sound, and touch -- is an ideal platform. McNab then took the audience through several campaigns that employed these tactics to great success.
Social media is another area MediaMind tapped into for brand-consumer engagement. Just a few days before the Breakthrough, MediaMind -- collaborating with OMD and Tribal DDB -- unveiled Mountain Dew's in-ad "like" button. The first brand to extend Facebook's "like" button to a display ad, users who "like" the Mountain Dew ad will prompt a Facebook newsfeed announcement. They'll also get to see a list of their Facebook friends who "liked" the ad.
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This type of maneuver gels with MediaMind's conviction that the future of display advertising lies in delivering content to users without leaving the publisher's site. MediaMind worked with companies like Royal Caribbean and AT&T to do just that. For the former, when a user clicks on the ad, it shoves the content out of the way and introduces an entire "mini-website-like" experience right there on the page. Once the ad is closed, the user is returned to content they were looking at initially. Publishers are especially fond of this strategy because it doesn't cannibalize the original page.
Another byproduct of MediaMind's innovative take on digital is their creation of "dwell rate." Developed after discovering that users are not only 25 times more likely to dwell on an ad than click, but also that these dwellers are 69 percent more likely to go to an advertiser's website within a month, MediaMind's dwell rate has become their primary rich meter engagement unit. After taking a close look at dwelling, the company found that people who dwell are three times more likely to perform a brand-related keyword search within 30 days of viewing the ad.
So what's the lesson here? "All of this tells us that users are consistently willing to take time to explore brands," McNab said, concluding his presentation. "We are working to challenge perceptions by delivering content to the user without forcing them to leave the site they're viewing. We believe that if we give the consumer control, and work together with social, consumers will engage. Most importantly, we do not trust click-throughs as the sole means for campaign success."
Lucia Davis is associate editor for iMedia Connection.
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