‚ÄúThey don‚Äôt call it rich media for nothing, because it‚Äôs expensive,‚ÄĚ quips Pete Crofut of Google, explaining the type of new-age online advertising that is appearing more and more, particularly on social networking websites.
So-called rich media featuring sight, sound and motion also might be called Internet Advertising 2.0, the successor to static banner ads that were the first to appear online.
Rich media advertising is informational, non-disruptive engaging and interactive, says Crofut, Google‚Äôs team manager for rich media sales.
With some ads, Internet users are encouraged to play a video game or the like, all in the name of getting them interested in a particular product.
‚ÄúThey are ads that people share with friends,‚ÄĚ he says. ‚ÄúThey allow meaningful dialogue with consumers.‚ÄĚ
Such advertising features alluring imagery intended to get an Internet user to click on and thus enter the virtual world of the ad itself.
That can include compelling video showing the new 4-door Porsche Panamera in action ‚Äď and also offer practical information such as specifications and where to buy the vehicle.
The ads also can include game-like applications, such as aMustang ad that allows Internet users to customize the car from an option-packed menu.
‚ÄúThe goal is to get the consumer into the ad,‚ÄĚ says Dean Donaldson, digital experience strategist for Eyeblaster, a media firm. ‚ÄúIt lets people play around and explore.‚ÄĚ
Crofut, Donaldson and others spoke at a J.D. Power and Associates Internet Roundtable session entitled, ‚ÄúRich Media Gets Their Attention and Encourages Them To Take Action.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúRich media is a perfect example of having a good first impression with consumers,‚ÄĚ says Sarah Ripmaster, PointRoll ad firm‚Äôs vice president-automotive sales. ‚ÄúRather than screaming at the consumer, let‚Äôs have a conversation. It‚Äôs two-way rather than one-way.‚ÄĚ
It‚Äôs a matter of making advertising relevant to consumers rather than subjecting them to ‚Äúone of those obnoxious ads,‚ÄĚ says Paul Aaron, a producer for the ad agency Crispin Porter and Bogusky.
Donaldson touts the effectiveness of properly done rich media advertising.
‚ÄúIf I can touch it, play around with it and watch a video on it, the branding potential is double what we see on TV,‚ÄĚ he says. ‚ÄúIt offers a richer engaging experience.‚ÄĚ
Donaldson adds: ‚ÄúShow me one other media that can have someone fill out and immediately send a form saying, ‚ÄėI want a test drive.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
Motor Co. in particular has made a big push to social networking and rich media, says James Farley, the auto maker‚Äôs vice president of marketing and communications.
That doesn‚Äôt mean Ford is abandoning traditional advertising, such as TV, although Farley quips, ‚ÄúDuring prime time, half the viewers are either asleep or drunk.‚ÄĚ
Dealers and others need a marketing portfolio that includes a mix of online and traditional advertising, says Bill Bates,of North America‚Äôs manager-pre-owned sales.
‚ÄúBefore you get customers on your website, you‚Äôve got to get on their shopping list,‚ÄĚ he says. ‚ÄúThe way to do that is by a range of marketing, whether it‚Äôs a newspaper ad or a tri-statedealers‚Äô spot for the World Series telecast.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs dangerous to put all your eggs in one basket,‚ÄĚ he says at a National Remarketing Conference. ‚ÄúYou need a marketing portfolio, just like an investment portfolio.‚ÄĚ
Proponents of rich media say it offers a tracking capability that helps gauge ad effectiveness.
‚ÄúYou can track hundreds of things, certainly impressions and clicks,‚ÄĚ says Crofut. ‚ÄúLong term, you want to look at post-conversion data: Do they come back 30 days later? Did someone play a video, stop after 15 seconds but then returned 30 days later?
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre looking at types of lasting experiences.‚ÄĚ
But there are limits to the metric measurements, says Donaldson. ‚ÄúCan we measure everything? No. But we can determine how long they explored and if they searched.‚ÄĚ
He adds: ‚ÄúIn automotive, you see a delay between play and search. Sometimes it‚Äôs three weeks. With non-automotive, you usually see a spike.‚ÄĚ