Something Old and Something New for Digital Marketers

When rich media company PointRoll released its “Top 10 Trends for 2010” last month, interactive planners and buyers found themselves in some familiar territory. Ad relevance, data feeds, publisher integration, and social media, the company said, are all important to campaign success.

Rich media creative developed by PointRoll — along with competitors like Eyeblaster, EyeWonder, Unicast, and the like — has indeed reflected these trends as brands vie for consumer eyeballs in a space cluttered with subpar ad offerings. But these strategies aren’t the only ones at the digital marketer’s disposal.

PointRoll and other players in the rich media space have found some other new ways to stand out — ways that aren’t so new at all. Are they more promising this time around?

Local Advertising: The Brand Next Door

Local media has been the buzz for years, whether taking the form of local paid search advertising or TV stations and newspaper sites. Way back in 2007, eMarketer reported on local online ad spending in the U.S. through the year 2011. According to its data, spending was expected to increase from $2.1 billion in 2006 to $5.6 billion in 2009.

As it turns out, local spending was closer to $14 billion last year, and although market growth is actually slowing, local online ad revenues may still increase by up to 12 percent in 2010. As a result, PointRoll’s analysts aren’t the only ones predicting that locally targeted ads are an upcoming trend. This isn’t just because of the size of what was once a tiny niche market, though.

Advancements in display ad technology have allowed marketers to create local campaigns that are no longer tied to local media buys, thus expanding their options on all fronts. As a result, the next generation of local digital advertising — the one we’re on the cusp of now — may be more about dynamically generated ad content like geographically relevant product data, pricing, and inventory than an insertion order from a local radio station site.

Local media may not have the momentum of, say, app advertising. However, it has plenty of room for rich media ads that effectively connect brands with local audiences, wherever they may be on the Web.

Video Advertising That Clicks with Consumers

In PointRoll’s assessment of the coming year in digital marketing, interactive video plays a prominent role. At the same time the company released its trends report, others proved this point by introducing products that not only define interactivity in video advertising, but revisit an exciting concept that’s time has finally come.

In the middle of the last decade, clickable video went from being an Internet technology fantasy to a reality, albeit at a painfully slow pace. Several rich media providers introduced ad products that allowed consumers to click on branded items featured within online videos in order to access additional information.

Clickable video has come a long way since then. In December of last year, Europe-based video portal (and YouTube competitor) Dailymotion introduced clickable video through a partnership with VideoClix (which also provides clickable video solutions for such sites as, ESPNDB, and MTV Networks).

According to the companies, the average viewer will click on objects within a video one to three times per minute, and produce a CTR (define) of up to 55 percent.

Then there are services like ConciseClick, which last year helped Mattel sell its products through its online shopping site by making objects within its video content clickable to incite sales, and wireWAX, which flips the formula to allow the user to tag people, objects, and images on videos within its video player. If interactive video advertising is the key to successful campaigns this year, then clickable video is a rusted lock that technology developers have buffed and polished and are now presenting to marketers anew.

The saying “everything old is new again” isn’t meant to apply to an industry where old is synonymous with obsolete. But make no mistake: these opportunities are as fresh as they come.

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