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Reaching Maturity in Digital

July 9, 2014 By Michael Froggatt
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We see a lot of digital advertising data at Sizmek. I could spend all day slicing and dicing the engagement data different ways, and sometimes, I do.

From an ad marketing standpoint, benchmarks are an easy sell; agency and creative folks love to see how their campaigns stack up and to wow their clients with the numbers. And so we have put together an annual benchmark report for the past five years to give them the data to support that.

This time around I wondered how we could provide our peers with even more value out of our annual Benchmarks (now in their fifth consecutive year) from a strategic and industry perspective. So I downloaded every Sizmek benchmark report and stacked up the figures over time. Here are a few trends that emerged.

How Old Is That Format?
Over the years, we've seen the click through rates (CTR) of standard banners level off at around 0.10 percent. This is typical and widely reported in the industry. In the context of broader digital adoption, however, it only became predictable 10 years into the life of the format. Similarly, our first few rich media benchmarks varied widely from report to report, due to the relative adolescence of the format at the time.

Rich media advertisers reached maturity in about half the time that it took standard banners to do so. This development was fueled by standardized templates and industry bodies like the IAB. As a result of this maturity, we found that engagement metrics (including CTR, interaction rates, dwell rates, expansion rates and video metrics) increased moderately over last year across the board.

We expect rich media engagement rates across the board to either stay the same or increase, as the industry implements best practices more widely.

Taking this concept further, we expect maturity curves for new formats like interactive video and HTML5 to be even shorter than those of rich media.

All That HTML5 Hype
After a lot of hype in 2012, HTML5 finally achieved measurable amounts of served ads in 2013. Advertisers want to follow consumers to their screens, whether they're smartphones, tablets, TV or the web, so we expect them to fully embrace HTML5's multi-screen promise by 2015, if not the end of 2014. Of course, the format faces its own challenges, like fewer standardized templates and capable creative professionals than Flash. However, strong advertiser demand will drive the market sooner rather than later. The popularity of mobile apps, especially social media-based, will drive this even faster.



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