Interactive ads allow users to engage with them or explore them in new ways. The average digitally-active user is exposed to hundreds of ads every single day! With so many ads bombarding them, people automatically turn on their filters and are able to ignore a majority of these. While this coping mechanism might help a user wade through an ads-saturated world, it can also be a source of great concern for brands. With brands spending huge amounts on advertising, they can’t afford to have their audience simply ignore their ads. So how do you prevent a user from scrolling past, turning off or forgetting about your ad? The answer might lie in the new format of advertising: interactive ads.
Interactive ads create immersive experiences for audiences that capture their attention completely. The rich technology that has fuelled interactive ads allows users to experiment and engage with your ads. This helps create a lasting impression on your audience, as a result of which ads perform better. While these ads work on desktop and tablet too, mobile is the platform showing greatest results. As more users spend most of their screen time on mobile phones, this is another reason why brands should start experimenting with interactive ads. Modern-day audiences, millennials, in particular, don’t want to be passive spectators. While digital advertising as a whole offers users a personalised two-way form of communication, interactive ads go one step further.
Interactive ads have delivered clear results for brands using them. If you start using the magic of interactive ads in your strategy, be prepared to see these four results:
You might have a beautifully designed landing page, but how do you get users to actually click on it and submit their details? Most interactive ads also come with a call-to-action which takes a user to the brand’s landing page or product page. Since interactive ads are more engaging than other formats, users are more likely to actually click on the button. Interactive ads are also more fun than most other forms of advertising. Interactive campaigns in the past have witnessed a 300 per cent higher CTR, positive brand perception and higher recall than other forms of advertising.
For most brands, the metric they’re chasing after isn’t just lead generation, but actual conversions of those leads. Interactive ads have an average of 3x conversion rates than other formats like video ads, with this number going up to 7x for some campaigns. On the face of it, interactive ads might appear to have a higher CPL than other forms of advertising like display. However, users who engage with the ad can be retargeted via display campaigns, leading to higher conversions and improved quality of leads generated via digital.
Data is the foundation of every marketing strategy and is immensely valuable to marketers everywhere. Interactive ads offer a huge goldmine of data that can go deeper than other kinds of ads. You can gain granular information on how long people viewed your ad, what they clicked on, if they answered any questions, whether they replayed it and if they shared it with others. This data can help you formulate a more refined approach, improving the performance of future campaigns as well.
Like other forms of advertising, the platform you choose for an interactive ad will also depend upon your target audience and your defined metrics for success. Here are the top-performing interactive ad formats that brands need to sit up and take notice of.
mCanvas is a rich media ad format that helps brands communicate their story in an experiential way. It is designed exclusively for mobile, a platform that is becoming popular in India.
Ads designed for mCanvas are beautiful and visually appealing, which plays a large role in attracting higher CTRs and user engagement. After clicking on an ad, mCanvas is able to detect smartphone sensors, allowing users to interact with the ad by shaking, tilting or speaking a command. mCanvas also allows brands to reach out to their consumers in a more focused way through a number of targeting options.
For Piramal Mahalaxmi, we decided to look beyond the commonly used digital marketing strategies for real estate in India. We used captivating images of the view from the property to create interactive experiences through mCanvas. Through mCanvas ads on premium placement sites, we were able to direct a number of high-quality leads to our landing page. We retargeted them through Google Display Network, which fetched us a sizeable number of conversions. In this way, mCanvas was an innovative strategy for digital marketing for real estate that helped us push leads through the conversion funnel.
A rich media ad includes interactive features like videos, audio, gifs and other elements that make it stand out from a static display ad. With rich media, there is no limit to the creativity brands can use to captivate their audience. These ads are created through HTML5 technology, allowing multiple content formats to be placed in the same ad. An ad, for example, can play a video and conduct a poll simultaneously. Rich media ads can help brands achieve the twin objectives of higher CTR and greater brand awareness.
One of the best examples of how rich media lets brand push creative boundaries is Nissan’s 2016 World T20 tournament campaign. Nissan detected an opportunity in the fact that many Indians weren’t able to watch television and keep track of live scores. They developed a series of rich media banner ads that also kept track of live scores. The ads were also interactive because they asked users to vote for their favourite teams before a match started. Nissan’s innovative approach helped them stand out from the numerous other brands advertising during cricket season. Their rich media interactive ads delivered a 4x increase in website visits and 10x higher interaction rates compared to industry standards.
A commonly used form of rich media ads is Lightbox.
Lightbox is a format of interactive ads developed by Google. When you click or hover over a Lightbox ad, it responds by expanding. A Lightbox ad can expand to fill your entire screen, play a video or take you through a carousel of images. The ads also generally end with a link to your website. Since these ads are more engaging than traditional formats, it increases the likelihood that a user will actually click on your website link. Lightbox ads automatically adapt themselves to fit your screen size, so they work perfectly on mobile, tablets and desktops. The same display targeting options are also available for Lightbox ads, helping brands ensure they reach the right audience.
Video ads are one of the best-performing advertising mediums with 64 per cent of viewers buying the product after watching branded videos. When combined with interactive features, they become even more effective. Interactive videos transform what is usually a passive viewing experience into one that actively engages with them. Viewers can answer questions during a video, influence sequences of the storyline and even play games. Interactive videos capture your audience’s attention completely and can be a powerful way to generate leads or send viewers to your website.
At Social Beat, for example, we used an interactive format for our Team video to make it more fun and engaging. Questions popped up at regular intervals and viewers could click on them for answers. This held their attention for a longer time and even helped them learn more about our brand in the process.
Interactive ads have delivered proven results across the board for FMCG, BFSI and B2B brands. With audiences today looking for greater value from advertisements, interactive formats certainly have the upper hand.
A recent study by Nielsen and BCG revealed that India has a $100 billion opportunity for brands as the amount of time consumers spend on mobile and the number of digital transactions conducted increases. As 81% of users research their options on a mobile phone before actually making a purchase, reaching them through mobile platforms is becoming increasingly important. This is why, for digital marketers, in-app marketing has become one of the most important channels to drive customer awareness and generate leads.
Mahindra Lifespaces took advantage of this trend in their lead generation strategy. The phenomenal results they achieved proved that a mobile-centric approach might be the future of advertising for brands.
Mahindra Lifespaces is one of India’s leading real estate developers with multiple projects spread across the country. They are the pioneer in developing environmentally sustainable projects and deliver premium living spaces to their customers. To match the company’s novel approach, they also needed an innovative digital advertising strategy to help them stay ahead of competing brands and expand their customer base.
For this campaign, the objective was to leverage in-app ads to drive more leads for Mahindra Lifespaces at a significantly lower cost per lead as compared to other targeting strategies previously used.
For the Mahindra Windchimes project in Bengaluru, we made extensive use of in-app ads to tap into a huge potential consumer base. In-app ads are placed strategically within selected apps, so customers are exposed to it while spending time on the app. With consumers today spending more time on essential mobile apps, reaching them through this medium has proved to be one of the most effective strategies. In-app marketing will also prove to be one of the biggest ways digital marketing will transform the real estate sector.
To do this, we implemented a three-step approach to developing an effective in-app marketing strategy.
The demographic targeted for this campaign was the 35+ age group as this would be the segment who were advancing their careers and looking to buy a home. All marital statuses and both genders were also targeted, however, males performed better.
After setting the target audience, we then needed to research into what kind of apps this segment would be most active on. Based on their interests, we targeted apps that belonged to the following categories:
These apps would be the most effective ways to maximise reach among our target audience.
As in-app advertising is a largely visual medium, the display creatives used needed to be catchy, informative and entice customers to visit the page. A mix of high-performing standard display creatives was successfully used to capture the target audience’s attention.
With this advanced targeting strategy, we were able to generate unprecedented results for Mahindra Lifespaces. Utilising in-app ads helped us not only generate more leads but also led to higher conversion rates. These ads helped us accomplish two major outcomes:
In a nutshell, in-app advertising helped us gain higher conversions at a lower cost. This proves just how effective platform apps can be for brands looking to boost their lead generation and conversion strategy.
With the Digital Marketing Industry Report 2018 stating that 40% of brands are looking for lead generation through digital marketing, implementing in-app ads could be one of the most important methods for them to achieve this goal. The faster brands adapt to this advertising strategy, the better equipped they will be to reach larger customer bases.
The Google Display Network is a vast network in the digital world. It helps not only by displaying ads to people who are looking for your brand but also to people who might be interested in your brand and are occupied currently with some other work like browsing another website, watching a video on YouTube, checking their mail, reading reviews or using their mobile apps.
Google display network offers umpteen ways of targeting your ad but finding the best targeting might seem to be a tough job at times. For this reason, Google has made it easy and has introduced smart display campaigns where our job is just to provide ad assets and set a target CPA, and Google does its best to drive as many as conversions as possible. The ad’s adaptability allows you to expand your reach without you having to create dozens of ads in all the combinations of ad types and sizes.
In these types of campaigns, Google sets its target audience and placements which it feels is worth spending for. Smart display campaigns are used when the advertiser wants to target additional customers beyond the manually targeted audience. As per google, the daily budget should be 10-15 times the target CPA bid.
Unfortunately, smart display ad option may not be open for all the accounts. The advertisers have to check if they are capable of running a smart display ad before they plan. There is a passing criterion of at least 50 conversions on the display network and 100 conversions on the search network in the past 30 days without which running the ad might not be possible.
Creating a smart display campaign is very simple. The process is similar to that of a display ad creation. When you promote the ad, click on “Marketing objective radio button.” In the drive action objective, select an appropriate option which then lets us know if our account is eligible to create a smart display campaign.
Once you have created the campaign, set the campaign budget, and the target CPA goal.
We provide only the ad assets, Google then scans your website and selects appropriate images with which it creates a series of responsive ads to be tested.
Be aware of your asset size restrictions before you start, so you have all your ducks in a row before you start creating your SDC.
The smart display bids are based on target CPA where the performance data suggests the highest likelihood of conversion occurrence. The bid is automatically set higher, and when there is a minimum probability of conversion, it is set lower. The campaign should start optimising in two weeks or after 50 conversions, whichever comes first.
Note: Google does not guarantee to stick to the target CPA, it may vary according to various factors.
As the name suggests, the targeting is based on tracking which demographics, locations, etc. help in more number of conversions for the ad.
Smart display campaigns cover two targeting methods; automated remarketing where ads are targeted to the website visitors and automated targeting where people just above the buying phase of the marketing funnel are targeted.
If a remarketing campaign is already created in another campaign, the ad with higher relevance shows up.
Apart from these, site category exclusions can also be specified.
Note: Avoid going for smart display campaigns if you have a very specific target audience in mind.
Automated Ad creation
This feature is similar to that of a responsive ad. We enter the ad copies, images, logos, etc. and google assembles it into various types, sizes and shapes based on where the ad appears on the google display network.
Also, read our blog on the most definitive guide to optimising your AdWords campaign.
Have you created your smart display campaign? Do share your learnings and experience with us in the comments section below