3 ways to crack the clutter

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As more companies advertise online, marketers are feeling pressure to break through the clutter that bombards Web users. With rich media, marketers can find innovative ways to enhance consumers' Web experiences with engaging, interactive ads.

The ability to engage consumers is increasingly important because they are more empowered to choose what captures their attention on the Web. Marketers can offer value through interactive ad units that not only get attention, but prompt meaningful engagement with the brand.

A recent JupiterResearch study projects rich media to grow at a 21 percent compound annual growth rate through 2011. This forecast affirms that marketers are turning to rich media for digital campaigns. However, even seasoned marketers may need help in determining the best way to reach and engage their audience. These three guidelines can make a creative, effective rich media ad campaign well within reach.

Target your message. When appealing to many audience segments with one creative execution, marketers risk capturing no attention at all. Online advertising works best when marketers know their target audiences and appeal to them based on their interests.

Plan for a particular ad by establishing the audience before you determine the concept. Think about how consumers connect with your brand and products. Create ads that will entice your audience to learn about your product.

For example, you can catch the attention of sports fans with a ball bouncing between multiple ad units on a single page. You also could use video, one of the most powerful online tools for engaging consumers, to capture audience attention. Advanced tools let video ads be played within ad units, or even be expanded full screen.

The audience's time is valuable, so it is imperative to engage them in ways that convey your brand message while providing meaningful, helpful or entertaining experiences through relevant, interactive ad units enabled by rich media technology.

Include interactions. Capture your audience's attention by incorporating interactive features. Be innovative: Design ads that use one or multiple interactive features to deliver engaging, pertinent ads that achieve all of your marketing goals.

Several ways you can integrate interactive features into your campaigns are video; coupons (encourage purchases by offering coupons to be printed and used offline or promotional codes to be used online) and downloadable files (leave consumers with content they can keep after the ad experience is over).

Measure your success. Rich media can drastically increase the performance of your ads. Even better, you can track the enhanced performance with in-depth interaction reports, no longer confining you to standard online ad metrics (impressions and click-throughs).

Marketers can use interaction rates to help answer questions such as: How are viewers engaging with the ad's message? Which interactive features are viewers responding to in your ads? Are the ads resulting in conversion? Remember, measuring ad performance helps gauge which ad formats and number of units are effective at conveying your brand messages.

Marketers can use the fact that consumers are controlling their media consumption to their advantage. Instead of relying on passive advertising opportunities for reaching and connecting to audiences, marketers can use rich media to involve consumers in ads while delivering meaningful brand messages.

Yoav Arnstein is a general manager for the North American operations at Eyeblaster, New York. Reach him at yoav.arnstein@eyeblaster.com.

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