Targeting the New Screens in Our Lives

Engaging Rich Ads

What You Need to Know About Rich Media Advertising

We’ve been talking about Rich Media for a few years now.  It was first used in online (desktop) advertising and generally applied to any  advertising that a user could interact with.  So an online banner that you could click on, wave your mouse over or enter content into was described as rich media.

Now that smartphones and tablets can do everything (and more) that a PC can do, we are seeing a lot more Rich Media Mobile Advertising.  Rich Media is what makes mobile advertising interesting.  Standard mobile advertising usually involves a banner that you click on to be directed to another destination.  That other destination is usually a mobile optimised website.

With Rich Media Mobile Advertising (RMMA), the banner itself gets in on the action.  A Rich Media ad can offer so much in terms of interaction that it almost negates the need for a mobile site.  Almost.

So what can a Rich Media Mobile Ad do?

  • It can be swiped, touched and clicked
  • It can be a carousel, an input box, a drop down selector or a checkbox
  • It can be stretched, flipped, expanded, turned and rotated
  • It can be activated to reveal a video, a map, text or an image gallery
  • It can become a fully interactive product catalogue or campaign page
  • It can direct customers to social media, or suck your social content in
  • It can engage the inbuilt GPS, accelerometer, calendar or address book of the device
  • And then it can be closed down, to reveal the original site or app

That last point is one of the key features of Rich Media Mobile Advertising.  A customer chooses to engage with an ad, browses your content, plays your game, reads your copy and if that’s all they need, they can simply click the close button to be back where they started.  No more reluctant customers scared of getting lost in a sea of browser windows.  No more unhappy publishers losing customers.  Win Win.

Does Rich Media Advertising spell the end for Mobile Campaign Sites?

Of course the option for all this rich capability within the ad itself raises the question of whether you even need a mobile website anymore.  So do you?  Well it depends why you wanted that mobile website in the first place.

With more than half of Australian mobile phone users accessing the web with a smartphone, you’d be wise to have a permanent mobile destination by now.  In fact in a few years time, more than 90% of Australian mobile users are predicted to have upgraded to a smartphone.  This means there’s a pretty good chance all of your customers will expect to be able to find you on their mobile device.  If you have a website, then it’s probably time you had a permanent, mobile optimised destination too.

However, if you’re running a brand promotion and need to let customers know about a short term offer, share some exciting new content or deliver a voucher or coupon, you may find a rich media execution is actually a better option than updating your permanent site.

Instead of allocating resources to update your mobile site for a few weeks, or build a short term campaign site, you can now create an all inclusive campaign within the rich media environment (or get Snakk to create it for you!).  Of course there’s nothing stopping you from including a link in your rich media ad to your permanent site for more information.

Rich Media Mobile Advertising is More Complicated  

Not surprisingly, the technology behind a rich media execution is a bit more complex to put together.  Over recent years, many creative and media agencies have become quite proficient at creating banners and landing pages for mobile.  These days you should expect these simple mobile assets to be pulled together as quickly as the standard desktop equivalent.  When it comes to RMMA however, we’re talking about a different skill set.  Most Rich Media assets for mobile have to be created from scratch, usually using HTML5.  That means you need access to specialist developers who understand about HTML5 in a mobile context, with experience developing and testing for different platforms.  

You might expect a few more days lead time to evaluate the many options that a rich media execution presents.  Rather than just a static banner ad, you are now considering videos, forms, animations, database integration and reformatting content that may have been designed for another channel.  At Snakk we use some cutting edge platforms that have been specifically developed to create Rich Media Mobile Campaign, so we can move through this process pretty quickly once we have your creative assets and sign off.

Once your creative concept is agreed, the other element of increased complexity is testing that your Rich Media works well across multiple devices and publisher platforms.  Testing on both devices and publisher channels can add another 2 – 5 days to your lead time.  You should also allow for the fact that most RMMA campaigns are billed on a CPM basis due to the increased complexity of Rich Media and the costs associated.  For this reason, Rich Media is generally better suited to campaigns where brand building is a priority, as you will certainly see greater brand recall and exposure benefits from RMMA, on top of the conversions and actions you might be aiming for.

Why Wouldn’t You Use Rich Media in your next Mobile Campaign?

With the promise of increased engagement, high click thru rates to content and improved brand recall, there’s probably no reason you shouldn’t use Rich Media in your next branding campaign.  If you are looking for the lowest cost option with maximum CTR however, it may be difficult to find a rich media solution that undercuts a simple CPC based performance campaign.
In terms of reach, in the last 6 months we’ve seen great leaps forward in terms of the capability supported by local & global publisher platforms.  Most publishers & networks in Australia will now support most features you can dream up with rich media mobile advertising.
The increased complexity may push costs up, but in almost all cases Rich Media executions achieve higher recall & conversion rates, so in a well designed campaign you should easily cover the increase with improved results.   If you’re targeting Australian Smartphone users and you want to create exceptional brand recall, engagement & interaction opportunities, then Rich Media Mobile Advertising should probably be your new best friend.