Sufferers of “banner blindness,” a condition in which site visitors subconsciously ignore all online banner ads, are hardly a rarity. Recent statistics indicate as many as 86 percent of consumers are blind to banner ads, and up to 60 percent of consumers cannot remember the last display ad they viewed. Perhaps most telling, click-through rates (CTRs) for banner ads are very low. In fact, a 2014 Sizmek report shows CTRs are only going lower, dropping from an average of 0.1 percent to 0.08 percent in the US.
Advertisers and publishers face the challenge of garnering consumer notice of their ads by differentiating themselves in an increasingly competitive and crowded landscape. With an online experience flooded by visual images and ads, what can advertisers and publishers do to subtly capture consumer attention without disrupting the flow of the user experience – and provide something both relevant and stimulating enough to engage the consumer? What alternative could achieve results across devices without requiring excessive technical demands of advertisers?
While CTRs for traditional banner ads are flagging, CTRs for more lively embedded rich media ads rose from 0.14 to 0.25 percent. That’s proof the banner is not dead – it just needs some revamping. And one of the most exciting revamps to date – and possibly the most effective option available now -- is 3D, which presents images that appear to three-dimensionally jump off the screen.
Cxense, an ad and data management technology company, pioneered this new approach to creative display advertising in the form of 3D ads. Cxense has built its reputation on its suite of products that segment and target audiences, and deliver ads and content based on user interest, intent and context. Taking this experience a step further, Cxense recognized that brands wanting to stand out and differentiate themselves would need – and would pay for – premium, smarter, more creative ads that would seamlessly engage consumers across all their devices, including mobile.
The Cxense Advertising suite enables 3D ads on any mobile and website through the use of ad tags either from the Cxense ad server running on the site, or through media agencies that license Cxense technology and utilize third-party ad tags. Viewers see the 3D effects with no special equipment or glasses.
With innovative car maker Mazda as its debut 3D display ad brand, media agency Mindshare and Danish creative firm Halbye Kaag, turned 3D models into 3D parallax advertisements. The Mazda campaign launched January 2015 in Norway. Many brands already have 3D models of their products and those who do not can often buy them online at sites such as Turbosquid. Because virtually any 3D model can be used to create the 3D image output needed to make a 3D ad (and the technology uses standard HTML, eliminating the need for the use of Flash) the Cxense-powered 3D ads work across all platforms and devices. The “parallax effect” creates an optical illusion that makes an image appear to be moving out from and independently of the webpage. The image appears at different angles as the user scrolls, creating a more dynamic and interactive feel and giving users more control of their access to the product. The ads can also be set up to use the accelerometer on mobile phones, enabling the user to move the 3D product by simply tilting their phone.
At launch, the Mazda ads are running across 107 local Norwegian news sites in the Amedia media family, including be.no, rb.no and lierposten.no. Amedia’s online properties reach more than two million unique daily users (Norway’s population is just over five million).
The average campaign click-through rate was an average of 0.43 percent – 4.3 times the industry average for banner ads. At present, Amedia only tracks CTRs, but Cxense Analytics can be set up to track any event in the browser so that other parameters such as scrolling and hovering also can be tracked.
“The click-through rates we are seeing are extremely high, particularly since the ads are not yet targeted. By adding targeting using the Cxense DMP and Advertising products, we could see a doubling of response rates,” said Lauren Pedersen, VP Global Marketing at Cxense.
Another less measurable result comes in the form of perception – both of the web property on which these ads are displayed and of the brand being advertised. According to Lars Hordnes, Head of Digital Sales for Amedia, “Displaying 3D ads brings a premium feel to our sites and allows us to showcase brands in a unique format that really grabs consumers’ attention.”