Rich Media online ads growing in popularity

NEW YORK: DoubleClick has announced results of its Q1 2003 Ad Serving Trend Report based on more than 136 billion ads from thousands of clients.

The data reveals that rich media continues to increase in usage, with 28 per cent of all ads served being rich media formats, compared to 17.3 per cent in last years first quarter. On average, rich media continues to increase by 10 per cent per quarter, and could encompass nearly 40 per cent of all ads served by the end of the year. Rich media includes dynamic ads that fly across web pages, pop-ups, and any ad that includes Macromedia Flash creative technology.

Rich media impacts conversion rates: Rich media, often used for branding objectives by entertainment, automotive and packaged goods advertisers, has proven to generate higher rates of post impression activity per impression (0.78 per cent vs. .41 per cent for non-rich media). This shows that consumers are likely to take some kind of action after viewing an ad. For advertisers using direct response metrics (click-throughs), rich media click-through rates have declined slightly to 2.14 per cent from Q4 2002 levels of 2.44 per cent. This could be due to advertisers using rich media creative for branding and thus not eliciting clicks from the consumer.

However, overall click-through rates have remained stable since the beginning of 2002, currently averaging .7 per cent. View-throughs, which assess some action observed within 30 days of a consumer viewing an ad, have continued to

rise, and are now averaging .61 per cent for ads served by advertisers. While click-throughs assess immediate response, view-throughs reflect the latent impact of an online ad. This metric has become an important factor in accessing the overall effectiveness of an adverting campaign.

Primetime on the Internet is work time: Online, primetime is work time with impression volume peaking from noon to mid-afternoon EST and then gradually declining throughout the day to a low point at midnight. Click-rate volume also peaks during this time. Publishers continue to take advantage of content targeting. This tactic has grown from 42 per cent of all ads served by publishers last quarter, to nearly 50 per cent in the first quarter. By tagging specific content areas of their site and selling that inventory to relevant advertisers, publishers have been able to increase the value of their inventory and the effectiveness of it for advertisers.

While day-parting or planning advertising using specific times of day to reach implied audiences- has been discussed as a potentially effective technique for online advertising, in reality it is rarely used. Less than three per cent of all ads served by DoubleClick use this targeting parameter.'

Increasing standardisation of sizes: (the :60 spot, the :30 and the :15), online has a nearly infinite creative palette, which has made the medium particularly complex for advertisers. But as the industry matures, patterns of standardisation are emerging. For the first quarter since DoubleClick began releasing these statistics, the number of ad sizes used declined -- from 11,500 to 10,529, an 8 per cent decrease. In addition, on an average, 70 per cent of all sizes are Internet Advertising Bureau standard.

The standard banner (468 x 60 pixels) is still nearly half of all ads served (46.7 per cent), while the 120 x 600 skyscraper is the next most popular size, accounting for 6.9 per cent of all ads served. Skyscrapers (120 x 600 pixels and 160 x 600 pixels) and large rectangles (336 x 280 pixels and 300 x 250 pixels) are the fastest growing units in the system: skyscrapers have nearly doubled since Q1 2002, now accounting for 8.4 per cent of all ads served.

VP and GM Online advertising solutions DoubleClick Doug Knopper said, " It is encouraging to see that marketers are not just relying on click-through rates, but are also assessing all kinds of post-impression responses to optimise campaigns and gain a more complete picture of conversions."

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