Banner Ads Rich Media, Richer Response (1,251 words)
By Kelly J. Andrews
While Internet usage and e-commerce have skyrocketed, banner ad click-through rates have dropped precipitously amid the clamor. While 83 million U.S. adults now have Internet access, according to IntelliQuest, an Austin, TX, market research firm, most industry analysts say the response rate to banner ads is less than 1 percent. There may be more consumers online, but direct marketers aren't interested in creating or collecting impressions—they're trying to make sales.
So how can they break through the deafening noise on the Internet to make messages standout? Some think rich media is the answer. The use of rich media in online advertising campaigns allows marketers to employ sound and video to catch the attention of jaded Web browsers. But it has the potential to do even more: Turn the banner ad from a branding medium or click-generator into a true response channel.
A principle of direct marketing is that it must interrupt and keep on interrupting. Part of the decline in the success of banner ads is that the content on which they are placed has become too absorbing—too richly graphic, too hypnotic, too interactive—and plain banner ads can't compete.
Explains Michael DeNunzio, CEO of Four Points Digital, a Chicago interactive agency that develops rich-media creative, "Placing ads goes beyond demographics to psychology. If you have a male target who's 20 to 50, you might think you should place your ad on ESPN Sports Zone. But if he's deeply engrossed in content you're not likely to take his attention away from what he's there to see."
By allowing banner ads to become a direct response medium, rich-media, e-commerce-enabled banners can collect leads and sales without taking consumers away from the Internet content that brought them online.
Says DeNunzio, "Rich media and e-commerce banners give deeper, richer experiences without requiring the user to leave the content."