Rich media ads: what are they? What are the advantages to using them? And most importantly, should you use them to get more leads? In a nutshell, rich media ads are a creative alternative to the bland and boring nature of static ads. 

Advertisers are constantly looking for ways to connect with audiences in ways that are engaging and leads to more sales. Rich media ads give advertisers more creative freedom to express their unique selling points, product advantages and create an emotional link to draw in the audience. 

Continue reading to find out why rich media ads might be the next big thing for your advertising push to increase your share of the marketplace.  

Rich Media Definition: What Is Rich Media, Specifically?

Rich media ads have dynamic visuals and interactive elements, which is how they differ from static ads. They can include various ad formats such as animations, audio, images, video and text. Typically, rich media ads are created by combining multiple elements to provide an engaging user experience. For example, the ad may widen when clicked on, or it may push the website content down to increase the ad size. 

Rich media ads are also usually bigger in size and complexity than static ones. It means more production time, higher creation costs and requires more resources when loading up with the webpage. 

To give you an idea of what rich media ads are about, here are a few examples:

  • Ads with a calendar that allow you to click on a date and book an appointment. 
  • Ads that increase in size when hovered over with a mouse and it reveals a YouTube video which starts playing. 
  • Ads that allow you to follow one of the brand’s social media channels.
  • Product videos where the user can change the features. 
  • Product presentations with a 360 degree view to give users control over the angle. 
  • Fashion online stores can present a model with the ability to change clothes. 
rich media ad examples

Top Characteristics of Rich Media Ads

To better understand how rich media ads differ from static ones, we have prepared a list of the top characteristics. This should alleviate any ambiguity so you can spot them from a mile away. The top features include:

  • Larger file size of at least 200kb
  • Interactivity that far outperforms static ads
  • Utilizes plugin technologies such as HTML 5, Java Script, DHTML and more
  • Ability to increase in size from a click or hovering with the mouse cursor
  • Uses a combination of text, graphics, video and other elements
  • Higher level of flexibility to advertisers 

Top 5 Reasons Rich Media Advertising Is Popular

You might be wondering why rich media advertising is exploding in popularity. Their unique advantages can help you understand the value and if they are worth implementing for your marketing campaigns. Here are the top 5 reasons why you should consider rich media ads:

advantages of rich media advertising

1. Higher CTR

Standard banners are outperformed by rich media ads by 267% according to eMarketer. This indicates that rich media ads are more engaging and lead to a higher conversion rate. Static ads suffer from ad blindness because the average internet user is used to them. The average display ad CTR is 0.35%, which indicates a lack of interest by most audiences. 

Publishers are more likely to display rich media ads on their website because they will earn more money for a given amount of traffic. Therefore, advertisers should have no trouble finding enough traffic to run their rich media ads. 

2. User experience is improved

The higher interactivity improves user experience, which is part of the reason why the CTR is higher. By interacting with rich media ads users can continue browsing while learning about the offer. Also, ads can be gamified so they are fun to explore. It might be through the process of solving puzzles or answering questions. 

The expansion of rich media ads means users can see more information if interested. Website visitors simply need to click on the ad or hover over it with the mouse cursor and the ad will expand. This makes the most of available digital real estate. 

3. Better conversion rates

Rich media ads not only lead to higher CTR, but also to more sales. The ads can convey more information and inform users about the advantages of the product. The problem a product is trying to solve is also described better, which allows users to understand the value.  

4. More data

The interactivity of rich media ads means that more data is captured. At each step of the process data points are captured to measure the engagement. It’s possible to determine when most users leave the rich media ad. This information can be used to optimize the process to ensure more users continue to the landing page. 

Additional data makes the ad analysis process more complicated since additional resources are required to interpret the data. However, the extra work will pay off in the form of higher interactivity and more sales. 

brand favorability

5. Build brand awareness faster

Companies that value long-term metrics will love the brand building potential of rich media ads. That’s because businesses can include video, which can clearly explain the brand value proposition. Tubular Insights found that brand favorability increased by 2.3% when the audience was exposed to rich media ads. 

The creative tools available for rich media ad builders allows them to explain the brand story in detail and use many brand elements. Therefore, viewers will experience multiple brand reinforcing elements that will be remembered when they experience the brand again in the future. 

Potential Drawbacks of Rich Media Ads

To have a balanced overview of rich media ads it is worth considering the negatives. This helps figure out if the limitations are a deal-breaker or just another hurdle your marketing team has to overcome. 

disadvantages of rich media ads

More production time

Rich media ads are more complex than static ones, which means they require more time to create. Rich media ads might take up to a week to create, so it is a bigger investment of resources. 

Loading time

The average rich media ad takes up more than 200kb of storage space, which is significantly more than static ads. Therefore the loading time is increased, which may increase the bounce rate. 

Unable to view

Most rich media ads require some form of plugin technology, which means viewers without these plugins will be unable to load the ad. So a certain portion of users will not have a chance of seeing the ad. 

The severity of the drawbacks mentioned above depends on the implementation of your ad. You can mitigate their negative effects by making smart decisions. For instance, keeping track of the ad storage size to ensure the bandwidth requirements are not too high. 

 Should *You* Run Rich Media Ads?

Do you want to grow brand awareness, increase CTR and conversion rate, and enhance the user experience? Then rich media ads are worth adding to your toolkit. They are the answer you have been looking for to combat ad blindness that is experienced by 86% of the user base. 

Rich mead ads can pop and stand out in a way that static ads can only dream about. Through video, graphics and enlargement, it is hard to imagine the limitless potential of rich media ads. 

It is also a synergistic ad format because publishers benefit from them too. The ads do not interrupt the browsing experience, they are more expensive leading to higher earning potential and they are visually more appealing. Therefore, publishers will readily run rich media ads on their digital real estate. 

The flexible nature of rich media ads means they are applicable for all brand sizes and in any marketplace. Also, the sheer creativity available means you can explore different approaches to match your objectives. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, rich media ads are a no-brainer for advertisers that want to increase the conversion rate, improve engagement and take brand awareness building to another level. This ad type overcomes ad blindness by providing genuine interactivity, which modern internet users are carving. Give it to them and they will reward you with higher purchase intent. 

Need some inspiration from live rich media examples? Then we encourage you to read our next article of this series called “Rich Media Advertising: Rich Media Examples You Should Know”. It will include the best rich media examples we could get our hands on. You’ll get plenty of source material for inspiration to create compelling ads of your own.