Today's interactive advertising agencies usually service their clients with banner ads using GIF or Java technologies. The goal of many of these ads is to build powerful online brands that provide additional revenue streams and extend their overall market reach.
While the majority of consumers connect to the web through a dial up, in order to cast the biggest net, interactive agencies must remain focused on reaching customers through the constraints of a narrowband world. Eye catching ads are the preeminent factor in the success of online campaigns. In an attempt to rise above the clutter from other banner ads, the introduction of rich media ads (RMAs) has become a natural extension of the online market building arsenal and provide new ways to reach consumers within the dial up world. RMAs use animation, audio, or interactivity and include those using DHTML, Java, video or vector graphics.
On the average, most companies spend several thousand dollars for the production and deployment of an online banner. The GIF type banners generally have lower production and creative costs, while Java banners require higher back end costs for programming and technical expertise. Sometimes these construction costs can run as high as the price of a midsize sedan.
While the price differential is decreasing over time, as most agencies gain proficiency in producing Java banners, advertisements using Flash provide a lower cost alternative. These ads do not require the degree of programming that Java demands, while the creative and administrative costs for these ads is only three times more than that of a GIF banner.
Interactive agencies prefer rich media as a means to improve their client's branding opportunities online. Depending on the intended outcome of the campaign (market reach or brand building), response rates can vary. RMAs allow consumers to interact with the banners without having to visit a different site. It is likely however that the conversion rates (click-throughs) for these banners will be slightly lower then the simpler GIF banners, since they are deployed with branding goals in mind.
In order for the online companies to survive, they must focus on increased customer acquisition. Undoubtedly, rich media deployment provides the attention getting mechanism to create "sticky eyeballs" and provide greater audience penetration rates. Now is the time to consider investing in RMAs. Since these campaigns can leverage a low exposure online company to one with a highly competitive advantage in the future by creating a deeper brand experience.
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