Rich media to benefit a lot from web advertising in the US

MUMBAI: Kagan Research has forecast that the rich media segment will be the fastest growing component of Internet advertising in the US over the next 10 years.

Rich media integrates multiple elements, such as animation, sound, video and interactive games/tools in a single advertisement. Examples abound such as the screen appearing to fill with water, a moving element that floats, an element that expands, a small live video window and a flashing image.

In a report in Kagan Research interactive ad agency Special Ops Media chairman and Co-CEO Christian Anthony attributes the expected boom to several factors. He notes that there is more standardisation of audience measurement data making rich media buys easier to justify, creatives relentlessly break new ground (thus constantly wowing consumers), and advertisers use such ads as small test labs.

He says, "What our clients love is the detail of the reporting on audience interaction. Thus, the ad itself becomes a kind of microsite to compare interaction rates of various elements."

Interaction rate is the percentage of audience that engages the ad. Given the tracking technology used by websites and ad servers, most consumer activity is monitored, unlike analog media such as broadcast TV where only a small audience sample is actually measured to estimate larger consumer activity.

Thus, the rich media granular detail includes how much time consumers engage an ad, engagement levels at different parts of the day, length of time spent viewing an integrated video short film and so forth. The flashy rich media ads can be used for building general brand awareness, for commerce such as couponing using the interactivity or can use both in the same ad.

Kagan forecasts that rich media—a $1 billion plus category in 2005—will climb at a 16 per cent compound annual growth rate from 2006-2015. The second fastest growing category going forward is search ads in Google and other search engines.

Anthony also notes that rich ads command higher ad rates than static display ads (such as banners). For example, a website might charge a $5 cost per thousand (CPM) audience delivered for a position with a display ad, but a similar piece of website real estate is priced at a premium $12.50 CPM if allocated to rich media.

When going head-to-head, the performance and interactivity associated with rich media exceeds that generated via display ads—another reason for the high rich media growth rate.

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