This is from a special Q&A with Dan Mouradian to address some of the topics and finding from our 2014 Benchmarks.
Could you define “polite” ads?
A polite ad is a non-expanding rich media unit that may include features like video, games, quizzes, and more. They are called polite because when the ad loads on a website, it does not interfere with the load time of the page itself.
Do you have any data on average expansion rates by vertical, as well as interaction rates for expandable banners?
As seen in this report, the benchmark interaction rate for expandable banners is 2.82%. The average expansion rate for expandable units is 3.21%.
Do users engage with specific functionality and/or unit features based in one vertical over another?
Some verticals have a clear relationship with certain features; for example, the Entertainment category relies heavily on video, and Tier 2 Automotive advertisers often include a build and price tool. Coupons and recipe content are among the most popular features for Food and Beverage as well as CPG advertisers. These categories also have a strong social component, as people like to share tips, deals, and recipe ideas among friends through various social platforms. While the featured product in an ad may change depending on weather or time of year, interactive features are popular year-round. In general, features like maps, quizzes, data collect, and video can be used for almost any vertical, as long as the content is relevant and engaging.
Can you provide some examples of when incorporating an RSS feed into a unit was successful?
We have included a number of RSS feeds. In ad units the most common is leveraging local weather to personalize the creative. Our research has shown more personalized creative performs better and publicly available RSS feeds is an easy way to that. However, I would caution that you need to use data that makes sense for your product or brand.
Do you have benchmarks for Interaction Rate based on time until Call-to-Action is visible?
A good rule of thumb for call to action is to make it clear, and show it early so viewers know how to interact with the ad. An evaluation of our data a couple years ago demonstrated that showing CTA immediately improved click through rate, interaction rate, and expansion rate.
Were there large increases in performance for any particular metric compared to the 2013 results?
In 2014, time spent engaging in ad units increased from 2013 for interactive formats including expandables, pre-expandables, page takeovers, and interactive in-stream video. A larger fraction of users watched a video to 100% completion than the previous year, with the Finance and Home Improvement categories experiencing the biggest gains. Additionally, interactive video ads saw a jump in the fraction of users who chose to engage with the ad unit upon viewing it, compared to 2013.
How important is viewability to take into account when putting these reports together?
We report on viewability, and can also partner with viewability and verification providers preferred by our clients. We take viewability into account when evaluating campaign performance, as click through, interaction and video completion rates are strongly influenced by whether or not an ad was seen.
Does it make sense to publish both HTML and Flash versions of the ad? Is the promise of HTML5 is that you can create one ad that runs everywhere?
Not necessarily, but not for the reasons you might suspect. Yes, HTML 5 based ads can run on any screen but you still need to consider the way message users on every device. For instance, call-to-actions on desktop it may say “Roll over to…” That interaction does not exist on mobile or tablet devices so while you may be building everything in HTML in the future a strict conversion will not work cross device.
What are good ways to make in-stream executions interactive?
One reason in-stream executions are so effective is that users are already paying close attention to the video player, which helps explain why the average interaction rate for instream units are almost four times higher than traditional rich media units. Frequently used features include finding show times or local channels for entertainment campaigns, and store or product locators for the CPG and Home Improvement verticals.