Rich Media Ads: A Buyer’s Guide, Part 2

In this week’s follow-up to rich media developers, the focus remains on top providers of the advertising solutions that are transforming the Web. Whether renowned for their technology or the simplicity of their ad management platforms, these firms have plenty to offer media buyers with rich media campaigns in mind.

CheckM8

Known for its ad management systems, CheckM8 is an ad-serving and rich media company boasting such clients as ABC, MSN, Terra Lycos, and Tribune Interactive. Its rich media platform, Rich Media Manager (RMM), allows advertisers to directly produce, manage, serve, and track their rich media campaigns.

The company’s Rich Media Formats Library features over 60 different formats, many based on existing and particularly desirable rich media ads. These include a series of floating ads and expandable banners, as well as the Full Scale Take Over and Total Preview (similar to Eyeblaster’s Full-page Overlay).

With so many available formats, getting a CheckM8 campaign underway could take some time. The ad management platform certainly isn’t to blame. The company’s Web site claims advertisers using the management system can “decrease campaign turnaround times to less than 1 hour and “implement new ad formats within a day.”

Klipmart

A self-proclaimed pioneer in Java-based video advertising (employing a variety of technologies), Klipmart allows advertisers to run non-intrusive rich media campaigns by incorporating video clips into standard ad units, Web sites, and microsites. It’s one of streaming media technology company Clipstream‘s development partners. In terms of product, Klipmart has been compared to both EyeWonder and Unicast, though they have their differences.

Unlike Unicast’s Media Player-based Video Commercial, Klipmart ads don’t rely on only one specific player. They can run in Media Player, Flash, QuickTime, and others, thus increasing audience penetration. Like Unicast’s format, the video technology works on all connection speeds.

Charles Ruderman, Klipmart’s VP of sales and marketing, says the platform can determine the user’s bandwidth and deliver video accordingly, resulting in a quality product regardless of connection speed.

Ruderman adds that Klipmart also offers enhanced branding and return on investment (ROI). Instead of simply repurposing offline TV ads, a service some rich media companies tout as a primary benefit, Klipmart works to add a response mechanism to existing offline ads for increased ROI. It also reinforces and extends “ad and message branding capabilities on the Web” for campaigns that cover all the bases. The company is currently a preferred vendor of AOL and Yahoo, and “the streaming video vendor of choice” for many top movie studios and auto manufacturers.

DoubleClick

Through a partnership with Web development tool company Macromedia, DoubleClick launched its own rich media solution last summer. DART Motif combines Macromedia’s Flash MX technology with DoubleClick’s DART, the trusted ad management solution. The result is a rich media platform that, like CheckM8’s, enables advertisers to create, deploy, traffic, and report on rich media campaigns through the developer. It can reduce the time to launch a rich media campaign through third-party vendors from weeks to mere days.

Calling itself the “only fully integrated rich media solution,” DoubleClick offers its own versions of existing rich media formats, including the Floating Flash, In-Page Flash Rectangle, Expandable Flash Banner, and Pop-Up Flash.

Honorable Mentions

The aforementioned rich media vendors all specialize in browser-based campaigns. But various other rich media offerings needn’t be overlooked. For those interested in email campaigns, CoolerEmail teamed with Lucid Blend, an interactive studio, to provide email creative that uses Flash, Media Player, Real Networks, and QuickTime technology.

Those in search of a developer for a downloadable (desktop) rich media application should consider niche desktop marketing firm AdTools. Its ability to develop customized ScreenMates designed to “provide a continuous brand identity and call to action,” among other services, has attracted the likes of Coca-Cola and MCI.

The rich media world can be overwhelming for media buyers and advertisers. With new developers surfacing all the time, it’s difficult to stay current. If you’re ever in doubt, be sure to revisit this guide. The featured firms are established players. In addition to providing reliable products, they promise to produce even more impressive offerings in the future.

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