At Flite, we’ve worked with an extensive base of Fortune 500 brands and major publishers for years. While each campaign is unique, we’ve found that there are themes that successful advertising campaigns have in common. Here are a few tips that we've learned about what works in rich media.
1. Don’t try to do too much in a tiny ad.
Sometimes in the pursuit of making each ad as content-driven and interactive as possible, you end up cramming too much into a tiny 729x90 space. There simply isn't much real estate in banner ads -- compared to landing pages, print ads, billlboards -- to do very much.
And if you try to do too much, your ad can become cluttered, messy, and confusing. Therefore it makes more sense to aim for an overall positive brand experience, and to prioritize what kind of content or functionality you want to include that would be the most impactful.
If you really have a lot you want to include in your ad, then having various tabs and scroll bars within ads is one way to increase the amount of space to play with. Make sure to build in visual cues to show that interacting with the ad by clicking on tabs and scroll bars will not result in the user being taken to another page like they would for a standard banner ad.
Another tip to ensure that your ad is not overwhelming to consumers, is to use larger, bold fonts with your call-to-action statements so that they are clearly visible and easy to spot as the next step for your user to take. Even with minimal messaging within an ad, you can create enough of a hook to get users to want to explore your brand or product.
2. If you want people to interact with an ad, give them something to interact with: add functionality and content.
The key to successful display ads is to focus on providing value through entertaining, informative, and relevant information. This can come in the form of content, such as RSS feeds, recipes, articles, white papers, slideshows, 360 degree photos of products. Or it can be functionality, such as countdown clocks for an upcoming brand-sponsored event, a quiz or poll, a form for users to fill out to enter a contest -- all directly in the ad itself.
Often times, the best ads hardly look like ads at all, but rather act as mini-websites. For example, if your brand sells salad toppers, you could offer salad recipes, soup and salad combinations, health tips, and advice about how to shop at your local farmer's market.
3. Indulge instant gratification. Let people see content right in an ad, not on another landing page.
Your goal is to encourage users to explore and learn about your product, but it doesn't necessarily matter whether they do it in an ad or on your landing page. In fact, it makes more sense to allow users to have instant gratification to have a full brand experience in an ad without disrupting their browsing, because few people ever click on ads. By pulling the interactive component of your brand forward, you allow users to take an active role in the brand experience.
Look through the content that's currently on your landing pages, social media, your own website, and figure out how to optimize it for a smaller ad unit to bring that brand experience to users via paid media.