Rich media ads tend to be pretty, and based on data released in September 2014 by Adform, their good looks are attracting consumers. According to H1 2014 research, rich media ads worldwide saw far higher clickthrough rates (CTRs) and engagement rates compared with standard banner ads. Looking at activity on its platform, Adform found that CTR for standard banners was 0.12%, while those for rich media ads were 0.44%—267% higher.
The study noted that CTRs were much higher for rich media banners due to their high-impact format, premium spots on publisher sites, and bigger sizes, which means that users pretty much can’t avoid looking at them. However, CTRs aren’t everything—especially when measuring mobile campaigns. When it came to engagement rate, rich media ruled again, at 16.85%, compared with 2.14% for standard banners and 1.62% for mobile. The percentage of in-screen impressions for rich media banners was also higher than for any other format—66.0%—another sign of how engaging the format is. On top of that, rich media ads with videos had a longer average playtime than regular video ads, due to the fact that users actually need to click on a rich media video ad to play it. Among industries studied, sports saw the highest CTR for rich media display ads worldwide in H1 2014—a whopping 5.29%, compared with 0.74% for second-place style and fashion.
The former also had the top engagement rate—though not by nearly as much—with style and fashion ranking No. 2 again. Sports continued to dominate for in-screen impressions, followed by personal finance. News led in average engagement time, with 16.5 seconds, while personal finance trailed in a close second. Average video playtime was also highest for news rich media ads (66.5 seconds) and personal finance (59.6 seconds). eMarketer expects spending on rich media advertising in the US to rise 41.7% this year and reach $3.73 billion. Next year, 38.0% growth will push this to $5.15 billion. Still, rich media has a long way to go, as we estimate that it will grab just 7.4% of US digital ad spending in 2014 and 8.8% in 2015.