The momentum in online advertising is shifting away from traditional static text ads and towards rich media ads that are highly customized and interactive. Unfortunately, they generally take a lot more effort to create, which puts them out of reach for some companies. Enter Widgetbox‘s ClickTurn ad-builder. ClickTurn gives publishers a relatively fast and easy way to create dynamic ads with multiple tabs that include content from YouTube, Twitter and Facebook streams. Think of it as a mini site-within-a site where advertisers can showcase their best content and social media feeds.
ClickTurn has delivered over 100 million impressions so far, collecting a $1.50 CPM. Not too shabby, when you consider that ClickTurn launched in December and has 12 clients under contract (including CBS, IDG, Linkedin).
For publishers, why bother? Publishers want advertisers, advertisers want eyeballs, rich media ads attract more eyeballs. For comparison, the traditional display ad will see a 0.13% click-through rate and a 2% engagement rate (i.e. when a cursor floats over the ad), according to Widgetbox CEO, Will Price. Meanwhile, ClickTurn’s ads enjoy a 0.8% click-through rate with a 20-25% engagement rate.
There are other companies in this space like EyeWonder, Point Roll and Eyeblaster. Price says the rich ad process typically requires a flash developer and 4-6 weeks on average— making it a costly and labor intensive endeavor. Price says that anyone that can navigate Facebook can create an ad with ClickTurn’s template in half an hour. Using ClickTurn’s form, a user can pick custom backgrounds, select a size, add animation and create tabs with social media streams or other information/multimedia. There’s also an option to add a companion mobile ad (publishers can include an input field at the foot of their ad for user cell phone numbers). When a user enters his number, the ad sends a link via text message that will open a complementary mobile ad that uses HTML5 to present a more dynamic experience.
The rich media ad industry is still relatively small. Of the web’s $7.4 billion display ad market, just $1 billion is rich media. But it’s rapidly expanding as advertisers demand a more customized feel and higher audience engagement. And it’s about more than just clicks. The real value of a rich media ad is hidden in the treasure trove of user data. While a typical display ad can tell you the number of impressions, a service like ClickTurn can tell you how a user is interacting with your ad and which tabs/services are most popular (i.e. if users prefer your Facebook or YouTube stream). It’s a window into your consumer, their online habits and a way to gauge the success of your social media strategy.