Surge in rich media, but banner ads live on

DoubleClick, a leading provider of marketing tools for advertisers, direct marketers and Web publishers, has announced the results of its Ad Serving Trend Report, prepared in the last quarter of 2003.

Overall, the data reveals that rich media represents 37.5 per cent of all European, Middle Eastern and African (EMEA) ads served during October to December. That is a massive 43 per cent increase over the fourth quarter of 2002.

The standard 468×60 banner, however, continues to lead in EMEA usage, representing 52.3 per cent of total ads served.

Conversion rates – a user taking action according to the advertiser’s goals (sales, registration, and so on) – remain strong, particularly for ads executed with rich media.

“We continue to see rich media generating exceptional results, especially when analysing its latent impact on conversion,” says DoubleClick vice-president of sales and account management for the EMEA region Ben Regensburger. He adds that “view-through” rate – the consumer taking some sort of action within 30 days of viewing an ad – has also increased 42 per cent since this time last year.

The report reveals that rich media usage grew to nearly 40 per cent of all ads served through the DoubleClick system. Rich media is defined as dynamic ads that fly across Web pages, pop-ups and any ad that includes Macromedia Flash creative technology.

DoubleClick says it maintains a higher-than-industry average inventory of rich media due to the number of clients investing in it. Less than two per cent of DoubleClick’s rich media inventory consists of pop-ups, a format that is under threat: Microsoft-owned portal MSN recently banned all pop-ups from its sites.

Rich media continues to display stronger conversion rates than non-rich media. Significantly, in the fourth quarter of 2003, rich media click-through rates, at 1.24 per cent, remain higher than some traditional media direct-response rates.

During the quarter, Double-Click served nearly 11,000 different ad sizes. With the standard banner leading in EMEA usage, Skyscrapers represent the second most commonly used ad size within EMEA, with 6.3 per cent of total ads served.

In the US, the standard banner also leads in usage. But leaderboards – a bigger version of the banner, which sits horizontally at the top of the page – have surpassed skyscrapers as the second most common ad size. For the fourth quarter of 2003, leaderboard usage within EMEA stands at 0.08 per cent, representing the sixth most popular ad size

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