Bluestreak Jazzes Up Traditional E-Mail

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Bluestreak.com wants to move rich media off the Web and into consumers' e-mail boxes. On Nov. 1, Bluestreak.com launched RichMail, a product that lets direct marketing agencies and merchants include rich media with e-mail messages.


Studies have shown that banners using rich media's multimedia capabilities - including 3D simulation, animation and special effects - often outperform traditional banner ads. An effectiveness study by Ipsos-ASI Inc. for Excite@Home found that banner ads with rich media yielded a response rate 35 percent higher than that of traditional banners. The hope is that this effectiveness will carry over to e-mail.


"Rich media has proven to increase response," said Ian Reid, marketing consultant for BlueStreak.com, Newport, RI. "Combined with e-mail, it can improve the direct marketing efforts of merchandisers."


Bluestreak may be in the right place at the right time, considering that banner ads aside, e-mail is the leading method marketers are using to reach consumers, according to a recent survey by Quicken.com, New York.


Still, it's too early to speculate the effect of rich media on e-mail marketing, said Ann Green, vice president of the interactive group for Ipsos-ASI, Inc. Norwalk, CT. "There isn't enough [research on] e-mail-based advertising. It's something we're all just starting to learn about."


RichMail comprises Bluestreak.com's On-The-Fly and E*Banner technologies.


On-The-Fly allows users to create, produce and change rich media creative and content from their desktop. "The problem with rich media used to be that you had to put together a program with a software developer," said Reid. "With On-The-Fly, you can point and click and create a campaign test offer and creative and change it on a day-to-day basis. In the past, you would have to go back to the developer to change it each time you wanted to change the offer."


E*Banners are icons, buttons or banners that expand when clicked upon, providing more space for content without making users leave their e-mail boxes.


Unlike the popular HTML-based e-mails where hyperlinks embedded in the message take users to a Web site to complete an action, RichMail allows consumers to complete transactions and register for promotions without leaving the e-mail message.


An unusual feature of RichMail is its real-time delivery of a promotion. When a consumer clicks to open the message, Bluestreak.com's server is contacted and the ad is automatically downloaded, meaning a merchant can change the offer up until the recipient opens the e-mail.


The product costs $25 to $100 per CPM, depending on the volume.
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