Some Advice on Rich Media Ads: Remember the End User

Ron Goldberg, director of development at Oven Digital, had some interesting thoughts on rich media advertising in a piece on ChannelSeven’s TurboAds.com.

“The obvious issue of narrow bandwidth makes rich multimedia a chore for many end users,” he said. “Despite outstanding workarounds like streamed audio and video (RealMedia), embedded interactivity (Shockwave and Java) and vector-based, as opposed to bitmapped, graphics (Flash), most media files over typical consumer setups are slow and clunky.

“Worse, site developers who employ these tools too often find themselves out of touch with the people who will actually use them. To a programmer with a T1 and the latest beta of Explorer or Navigator, an extra plug-in is less than a moment’s thought. To a typical target end-user with a 33.6 dialup and maybe 16 meg of RAM, it’s a long, annoying download, an even more annoying reboot, and in general a thought- and labor-intensive process.

“Statistics prove over and over that mainstream surfers are loathe to fetch a plug-in in order to retrieve content. That’s why so many plug-ins–even from the big guys like Macromedia and Microsoft–are often unused, and pages that need them are often abandoned. When you ask a mainstream user (assuming that’s part of your audience) to stop a session to load software and use more system RAM, you’re asking a lot. Your content had better be worth it.”

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