If you are like most web surfers, you find banner ads, random pop-ups with sound, and long force-fed ads extremely annoying. It’s the web 2.0 digital age and advertisers need to find new, innovative ways to get their product in front of consumers without angering them or wasting their time. Fortunately new methods, including in-image ads, advertising differently by format, and integrated marketing could revolutionize the way consumers view online advertisements in the future.
In-image advertising is one of the new ways advertisers can reach web surfers interactively without force-feeding them content. In-image advertisements interact with the content in a less offensive, often optional way so the user sees and processes the sponsored content without getting annoyed.
There are several different methods of in-image advertising including banner or text overlays, photostitial, and custom advertising. Banner, text, and custom versions typically appear non-invasive and on the bottom of the image, so users notice them but rarely turn them off or become upset. They are the ads that you see at the bottom of your video when it is streaming; sitting there obscuring the bottom edge of your screen but never interrupting your video stream.
Photostitial ads are a bit more invasive because they appear over the image. They are the ads that suddenly appear over your video before streaming but, unlike the mandatory ads, you have the option to turn them off and begin or resume your video streaming. So, while they are more invasive than banner or custom ads, photostitial ads are more effective and still not very annoying to the user because they can be turned off at will.
There are many services to help advertisers create and distribute in-image advertising. Among the most popular are Gum Gum and Image Space Media and media giant Vibrant Media’s recent acquisition of the latter reflects the growing appeal of this form of online advertising.
Advertisers should also customize their sponsored content based on the format they are using. Five years ago, almost all interactive content was accessed through the internet via a computer and a search engine like Google. Now users get their content from a mix of mobile (including iPhones and androids), iPads, and other tablets including the Kindle Fire in addition to the traditional web-based model.
As a result, many of the traditional modes of video and interactive advertising designed for the web don’t apply; they don’t mix well with the new formats. For example, the typical banner ad on a website does not work as well on a mobile device. So advertisers looking to engage with users in a positive way should pay close attention to new formats and customize their sponsored content based on the platform they are using.
Finally, the key is to vary the style of your content based on the advertising format you choose but present a unified, compelling message to consumers across platforms using integrated marketing techniques. The stylistic presentation of the sponsored content should change but maintaining a consistent pitched message to users is critical.
Advertisers confronted by so many different platforms for and modes of content - YouTube, web search, iPhone, iPad, and Android, among others - often feel overwhelmed and embrace a silo strategy that sends different platform consumers completely different advertisers and messages. That is counterproductive: the key is to take advantage of all the different ways users will interact with your sponsored content and present them with a unified, overwhelmingly compelling message. Once upon a time, users only saw your content on television, then later they only interacted with it on television and Google search. But now, many consumers are connected online all the time through different platforms and if advertisers can reach them in each mode with the same compelling message, their product adoption rates will skyrocket.
The bottom line is that consumers’ interaction with sponsored content is evolving. The old force feed tactics don’t work anymore and the advertisers who innovate and reach their customers interactively will reap the benefits in the future.