Creative advertising in the digital space moves quickly with new formats and media channels popping up all the time. In the webs infancy it was all about simple web banners usually animated Gifs flickering at the maximum frame rate with promises of a 1,000,000th user prise.
Online advertising matured search marketing and SEO has stolen the show with aggressive accountability and a price for everyone ethos. The technology of search algorithms combined with creative marketers with a global audience has stamped the seal of approval on online advertising and changed marketing forever. While search marketing continues to make up the bread and butter of the industry online display and rich media is reaching new levels.
Web banners can be flash, animated gifs, video, audio streams or floating flash ads such as overlays or expandable banners. Display campaigns whether part of an integrated marketing strategy or in isolation usually fall into one of two categories - Direct Response or Brand.
Direct response advertising online is usually revenue or action driven. A strong call to action such as ‘Click here’ or 'Buy now’ is coupled with an image, photo or graphic, portraying the product or service in the best possible light. Direct marketing messages are quick and to the point.
The nature of direct response ads usually dictates the format - animated Gifs or simple animated flash banners. Although animated flash banners could be known as rich media web banners it's usually the overlays or expandable and video content that define the term 'rich media'.
Brand advertising online is less about 'buy now' and more about 'feel this' so with the success of a campaign being your customers feel great about your brand rather than you just sold xx units of stock.
Online display can also be defined as Rich Media by being dynamic. In other words the media becomes rich because of it's technical ability. Flash banners can process action script to do anything from getting toady's weather to processing a complex game or equation. Adding this level of functionality makes it rich media. Being able to control dynamic features of a banner make it extremely powerful in terms of functionality. Dynamic flash banners could be known as very rich media.
As the media shift increases more and more video is being consumed online with pre-rolls and in-stream ads making up the majority of the media space. As rich media video ads evolve the potential for dynamic, live, community driven advertising.
Rich media ads in full HD with interactive elements, chat box overlays, video chat overlays could be common place. You're favourite program could have like minded viewers chatting or posting comments so your sharing the experience. Additional content could be sponsored in the same way time keepers on sports channels sponsor the official time keeping. Interactive elements that don't obstruct the main content but is embedded in the same way rich media web banners are displayed on web pages.
The definition of rich media will continue to change as technology, creativity and cold hard cash push heavily on the sides of digital advertising. There's plenty of space in digital to grow and evolve so we'll see some interesting formats.
As advertising moves to a transparent and socially driven environment the rich in rich media might be defined by the level of human engagement. A campaign measured by how people are feeling about your brand could be the next metric.