The State of Interactive Advertising

The State of Interactive Advertising

New formats are infusing digital ads with creativity that gets results.

With the rise of mobile usage, brands have been challenged to figure out how to do more with less screen real estate and shorter attention spans.

Thanks to a combination of new technologies, more powerful mobile devices and a drive to blast through banner blindness, a new level of creativity is coming to mobile advertising as interactive ads are finally coming into their own.

A number of companies are on the forefront of interactive ads — also called engagement or immersive ads. These companies are rethinking the standard banner, using 360-degree video, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in advertising experiences that aim to get users engaging with ads beyond just clicking through to go to a website or download an app.

It’s not just for the sake of creativity. These companies and the brands they work with will tell you the results they’re seeing from re-imagining what digital ads prove that interactivity will only continue to gain traction.

“Interactive ads are a way to spend more valuable time with consumers,” says Kara Manatt, SVP, audience intelligence and strategy at IPG Mediabrands’ MAGNA agency. Manatt leads a research team that tests new ad formats and strategies. This year, the team conducted a large-scale test of interactive ads with four major brands in different industries.

“In general, brands are receptive to interactive ads. Most of us know that given most screens are touchable … interactive ads are the future,” says Manatt. “People expect to be able to interact with their screens, so why shouldn’t ads do that.”

Here’s a look at some of the real-world use cases and campaigns using interactive ad formats, beyond what the major platforms offer (e.g., Snapchat 3-D world lenses, Facebook canvas ads and its new effort in web-based VR, 360 experiences, Google lightbox and trial run ads).

Next-level display ads

Mobile and the use of rich interactive media has opened up new creative opportunities for display ads.

Working with New York-based PadSquad, Timberland ran a “coloring book” ad featuring a Nas video and cartoon (see the demo on mobile here). The ad features a Nas video that plays with the sound off and invites users to color and bring the cartoon to life (mobile demo).

In fewer than 40 days, the ad had accrued 59 days of video play time, with over 50 percent of video starts getting completed and more than 200,000 engagements, including coloring and click-throughs, says Padsquad.

“Units just really haven’t changed much over the years from rectangle and squares. There’s a low bar. We try to challenge brands to do things differently,” says Meehan. The mobile-only company works with clients on ideation, design and development for free and charges for media, says PadSquad CEO Daniel Meehan.


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