The Organic Marketer


Latest Banner Ad Rage: Companion Ads

Posted in Innovative Strategies,Online Media by Jim Tome on September 9, 2008
Tags: , , , ,
The creativity of the current Apple campaign is undeniable.

The creativity of the current Apple campaign is undeniable. They only get better online when two ads interact in what is called companion ads.

If you spend any time online at news web sites, you may have noticed one of the newest types of online advertisements, the “companion” ad. Typically, a banner or masthead banner ad will interact with or even communicate to another ad on the web page, mainly those tall skinny ones you find on the side of the page, called skyscrapers.

Just today, I was over at CNN.com (where you see a lot of these) and noticed a pair of new companion ads from those masters of interactive and innovative advertising, Apple. This ad was a new one in the apparently never-ending banter between the “Mac” (actor Justin Long) and the “PC” (comedian John Hodgman), where the Mac calls down from the top of the web page to the PC who is down to the right side.

Here, the PC is sliding over an “op ed” piece, which he steps into and continues to interact with as the commercial runs (these companion ads tend to be highly animated, to the point of resembled a sort of disjointed online video). Besides being an extension of Apple’s ingenious advertising campaign, these types of videos are notoriously more effective in engaging viewers and encouraging click-throughs.

As seen on CNN.com, two ads interact, communicating back and forth. Apple is noted for using this type of strategy extremely effectively. Click photo to view larger image.

As seen on CNN.com, two ads interact, communicating back and forth. Apple is noted for using this type of strategy extremely effectively. Click photo to view larger image.

For instance, according to research from the ad serving experts, DoubleClick, cited in the blog, ReelSEO, video-driven ads outperform their static, non-moving alternative by a factor of four to seven (video ads have click-through rates of 0.4% to 0.7%, compared to 0.1% for non-moving ads).

In fact, the blog goes on to discuss how, unlike with static ads, video ads give the added benefit of being able to measure the length of the interaction the ads have with the viewer. In fact, consumers experiencing online video ads tend to watch about two-thirds of the ad, reinforcing the obvious need for them to be engaging, creative and “front-loaded” with your desired call to action (if possible).

When working with your interactive agency on your next online campaign, bring up the possibility of companion ads. They are not seen very often and extremely engaging when done creatively.

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