Mobile Advertising Arms Race: Rich Media Outgunning Banner Ads

Mobile Advertising Arms Race: Rich Media Outgunning Banner Ads

Recent reports indicate a global shift away from static banner ads towards rich media mobile advertising. Though initially slow to catch on with mobile marketers due to a reputation for taking too long to load, modern browsing speeds have finally reached the point where rich media is seeing an enormous surge in popularity amongst consumers and advertisers alike.

The term “rich media” refers to any content that delivers a deeper experience than traditional mobile ads. According to the MMA (Mobile Marketing Association), rich media ad units are defined as offering streaming video content or animated GIFs within the ad, an audio layer, or any interactive feature set other than basic mobile click-through (games, clippable coupons, surveys, click-to-call, etc). The key unifying factor is mobile engagement; encouraging consumers to actively connect with a brand on their mobile devices.

This additional layer of interactivity is showing extraordinary results, with Opera Mediaworks reporting that rich media mobile advertising campaigns are outperforming static mobile ad campaigns by a nearly 400%. The click-through rate for rich media mobile web ads was 1.12%, vs. an average of only 0.32% for static banner ads.

Rich Media Mobile Advertising

Rich Media Mobile Engagement Layer

In addition to allowing for deeper and more attractive mobile ads, rich media advertising allows marketers to fashion a more seamless transition between the surface ad and the various engagement layers beneath it—wherein customers are directed to interactive games, coupons, or multi-media promotion.

Rich Media Eclipsing Traditional Ads In Total Mobile Advertising Spend

Rich Media Advertising Spend

Global ad revenue from rich media advertisements

A recent study by AppFlood included a few especially remarkable statistics: in Q1 of 2014, the global advertising spend for Rich Media ads grew by 34% month over month, leading to a total rich media advertising revenue 11x that of traditional banner ads. Compare this to Opera Mediaworks’ statistic of standard banner ads (350×50 or 320×50) amounting to 50% of all ad units purchased in Q2 of 2013.

The implications are clear: With annual ad spend expected to hit $100 billion by 2018, mobile has become marketing’s most fertile frontier, and an advertising arms race has begun. Static media banner ads may be the primary weapon of the day, but brands and mobile marketers hoping to stay competitive must deliver the deepest, most attractive, most engaging content possible—and right now that’s rich media mobile advertising.


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