BusinessWeek Uses Rich Media Ad to Promote Special Issue

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BusinessWeek Online is running a content-rich, interactive advertisement on Yahoo Finance to promote its Business Week 50 Special Issue, which hit newsstands in late May.

The standard 468-by-60 pixel banner ad expands to 468-by-350 pixels in three panels. When one panel is moused over, users can view, in real time, the stock quotes of six of the top 50 companies featured in the magazine. They can also click to view stock quotes for the entire list.

When viewers mouse over one of the panels, a 20-second video interview with David Blitzer, chief strategist of Standard & Poor's, launches. The video, produced by streaming video technology company EyeWonder, Atlanta, is instantaneous and does not require plug-ins.

Viewers who mouse over one of the 50 companies launch a BusinessWeek Online page profiling the company while they are still in the ad.

"Rich media allows publishers to create a certain level of interactivity with the Web site, without having someone come to the site ... and allows publishers to present their content in a much more sexy way," said Andrew Portnoy, marketing director at BusinessWeek Online.

BusinessWeek Online is running the ad on Yahoo Finance throughout June to attract consumers with the matching demographics of the magazine's readers. "The ability to target in something as large as Yahoo is pretty essential to us. We're really hoping to drill down to those folks whose demographics are in line with Business Week demographics: those with high household incomes and large portfolios, who invest online," Portnoy said.

The rich media creative, developed by Point·Roll, Philadelphia, allows the user to be interactive with the ad in several different ways and sample some of the content at "It's a way for content providers to say, more than in a [standard] banner ad, 'Here's more concrete evidence for the type of stuff you'll find at the site,' " Portnoy said.

More magazine publishers consider rich media to be a necessary advertising tool, according to Portnoy and Jules Gardner, CEO of Point·Roll.

"How quickly the attitude of publishers has changed. It's definitely being driven by the advertisers who are saying you need more than you currently have. Publishers are saying, 'Our revenue is really down, we're laying off people, maybe we need to start selling this stuff,'" Gardner said.

"The days to drive traffic for growth's sake are over: We're trying to get as targeted a user as we can get to. Straight banner ads are a tough thing right now. That's why new ad sizes and technologies like rich media are attracting so much attention," Portnoy said.

In addition, the BusinessWeek ad brings content to users, instead of requiring them to click through to the site. "The hyperlinks are available to the user who wants to go to the next level, but that would be viewed as a bonus, not the main objective," Gardner said.

BusinessWeek Online is working with Point·Roll to develop other interactive ads, which will allow users to sign up for one of BusinessWeek's free online newsletters or subscribe to a free trial offer within the ad.

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