Engage the Consumer With Interactivity

Though I continue to push the benefits of interactive rich media ads in my columns, perhaps I haven’t yet demonstrated interactivity will be good for branding and direct response objectives. Today, I’ll try to do that.

Howard Gossage, interactive advertising visionary and perhaps the first interactive ad man, believed the advertising conversation can be applied to both ends of the objective continuum. His concept is about recognizing a brand is more than a logo thrown into the corner of an ad. The brand is about every consumer touch point, from email and banners to in-store visits. It’s the experience. If you make consumers feel as if they’re engaged in conversation, if you get them involved, they’re significantly more likely to remember your message and think of your brand favorably.

Common sense, right?

Some random results from rich media advertising case studies for non-interactive ads:

  • B2B client. 452 percent lift in purchase intent.

  • Packaged goods. 49 percent lift in message association and 77 percent lift in ad recall.
  • Entertainment. 160 percent lift in awareness and 130 percent lift in purchase intent.
  • Travel. 294 percent lift in awareness.

The list could continue, but you’ve seen it before. Turn those rich media ads into interactive rich media ads, then apply Dynamic Logic’s average lift for interactivity across those metrics. The numbers, then, might look more like this:

  • B2B client. 1,271 percent lift in purchase intent.

  • Packaged goods. 96 percent lift in message association and 92 percent lift in ad recall.
  • Entertainment. 191 percent lift in awareness and 365 percent lift in purchase intent.
  • Travel. 351 percent lift in awareness.

That’s more than double the additional lift in purchase intent and a strong lift in brand favorability.

Increasingly, brand dollars are coming online. Figuring out how to properly leverage interactivity is critical to success. Softer metrics can be just as, if not more, important than cost per order and cost per click. Shifting consumer perceptions and getting them to prefer your brand or product over your competitors’ is not an easy task.

If you can construct a relevant experience that engages the consumer with some kind of purposeful or valuable interactivity, the chances for success explode. It could be more product information in an expanding ad, a calculator showing how many calories are in different foods, or a Zip Code lookup to find a local dealer. Perhaps it’s a game that ties to the key positioning points of the brand or a virtual tour that brings your product and its key differentiators to life.

As you push forward with more interactivity, remembering lessons we’ve learned as an industry is critical. Consumers demand more and more control over the content they consume (and advertising is content). Too much intrusiveness, a lack of smart frequency capping, irrelevant messaging, poor targeting, clutter, and the like will kill most any advertising effort, even interactive ones .

Interactivity can enhance a smart marketing strategy, but it’s not a replacement for one. Interactivity is power. Like the superhero comics say: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Restraint and responsibility help us all to get more out of our marketing efforts.

Remember Gossage and the power of viewing advertising as a conversation. Find a relevant, targeted placement, then settle in for a nice chat with your consumers.

Jeremy is off this week. Today’s column ran earlier on ClickZ.

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