The research findings are based on analysis of nearly 300,000 creative executions and over a hundred billion impressions. The effectiveness of the ads were measured in terms of ‘dwell rate’ and ‘average dwell duration’. Dwell rate measures the proportion of rich media impressions that were intentionally engaged with by touch, interaction or click. Average dwell duration measure the duration of a dwell in seconds. In both cases, unintentional dwell lasting less than one second is excluded.
The study’s conclusions resulted in the following rules of thumb:
1. Use Video
The single most effective tool to increase user engagement within the ad, said the study, is to use video. An analysis of all of MediaMind’s advertisers from Q32010 to Q22011 shows that, on average, video increases dwell rate by 22 per cent and average dwell rate duration is increased from 48 seconds to 53 seconds.
2. Initiate your video automatically
Research showed that auto-initiated video catches more attention and increases click-through-rate (CTR), both when comparing polite and expandable banners. “A good practice, is to have a lightweight video in the first panel and then allow users to play a high quality version, once they actively expand the banner,” advised the report.
3. Match the ad with the site content
Pure common sense perhaps, but ads next to relevant content tend to get higher dwell rates, average dwell times and CTR compared to more general placements. Three main reasons for this identified in the report are that content is a an indicator of interest; when interested – people spend more time browsing; and ads on site with related content are timelier, getting the message to people when they’re looking for it.
4. Use richer, more visible ad formats
Different ad formats can be used to achieve different objectives. The report notes that expandable ads which start small in the beginning, but expand to create a large canvas can hold more content and thus increases average dwell time. Commercial breaks, floating ads and overlays however create a different experience. They command attention and relatively high proportion of users are going to have their mouse on these banners for over one second, but they can be annoying and tend to earn lower average dwell duration.
5. Use Synched Ads
Synched ads take two different placements and create one unified experience with two banner ads “talking” to each other. These can be great as a way of grabbing attention and boosting visibility without being intrusive. Mediamind’s analysis of several thousand synched ads show that the ads increase dwell rate and CTR for each of its spots — more than just placing two regular ads on the same page.
6. Test several different creatives
Digital advertising solutions providers may offer the option of comparing results from each version of the ads and determining which perform best. They can even gather data on the kind of ad an audience prefers and cater accordingly.
7. Integrate exchanges into the media buy
Targeting audiences over an ad exchange can boost ROI and lower cost per conversion. Furthermore, bidding can reduce the cost of media. The report cites a Fortune 500 entertainment company that succeeded in working with agency Bernard Hodes Group to recruit job seekers with specific skills. The media bought on the exchange that targeted specific users outperformed other media buys by yielding the highest number of conversions and reducing cost per conversion by 58 per cent as compared to other non-premium buys.