Interactive Advertising: Way Beyond Shooting Ducks

Flash back to the 90s to a time when interactive Flash ads were fairly fresh. Do you remember those “shoot the duck” leaderboard banner ads that, for a time, converted no matter what the message?  Not only did those Flash banners integrate movement but they gave you the ability to interact when you put your mouse over the ad.

As advertisers pushed Flash ads to the edge of annoyance, most ad networks began outlawing all ads that shivered, blinked, had flashing backgrounds or tricked you into clicking the ad. These truly tricky banners made us believe that the ad was interactive but it really wasn’t. The public was grateful for the new rules.

Interactive Widget Ads

Widget ads followed not long after interactive Flash ads. Some of the most successful widgets were on MySpace for musicians.

Those early music widget ads had downloadable singles, a little background on the new release and picture galleries of the singer or band. In the beginning, widget ads weren’t much more than just a miniature website that fit into a 250×250 or 300×250 square ad.

A lot has changed since the early widget ads with companies like Jivox adding more interactive options and opportunities to share your interactive widgets. The new generation of widgets have more visibility and can more easily embed into a customer’s website, blog and social profiles.

Interactive Mobile Ads

Mobile advancements brought interactive creativity into the mobile advertising space with the world’s first Shakable Ad™ by Medialets. One of my favorite rich media ads by Medialets was for the Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers series where the banner expands, launches a tornado that takes over the screen and speakers and then wipes away everything in its on-screen path while cracking the screen. Your phone even vibrates, adding to the whole interactive tornado experience.

Interactive Video Ads

Google’s interactive video ad options still seem to be a well-kept secret, as the search giant has only recently started catching up with other video advertising networks like BrightRoll. Even companies like Yahoo have been offering robust options for interactive video ads a little longer.

Regardless of which video ad network you work with, interactive video ads are hot right now in the fashion and car industries where they incorporate product hot-spotting, social sharing, Twitter feeds and so much more to make the ads compelling and engaging.

Interactive Captcha

 If I was going to give an award for the most creative use of interactive advertising, it would go to companies like Solve Media and NuCaptcha for taking something dull and boring (like captchas) and turning it into one of the most creative ad formats and branding strategies in our industry.

Solve Media partnered with comScore to do some studies on the effectiveness of  interactive captcha ads and the results showed significant lifts in brand awareness, especially in the the CPG category.

Interactive and Video Captcha

Getting Started With Interactive Ads

For those of you who are ready to test interactive advertising yourselves, companies like Spongecell (and others mentioned above) would like to make it simple for you to get started.

For retail, you might try the interactive map and coupon features. Finance or insurance might try the data capture and PDF options. If you are a non-profit or celebrity trying to build a fan base, the calendar, social and video options might appeal to you.

There are so many interactive options to choose from these days that whatever your industry, you have lots of choices for integrating interaction into your ads.

Your Feedback

  • Have you found other, simple, web-based tools to build your interactive ads?
  • What ad networks are your favorites for running your interactive ads?
  • Which interactive ads have worked best for your industry for branding or for conversions?


Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Display Advertising | Display Advertising | Display Advertising Column


About The Author: is the VP of Media at Advice Interactive Group where she develops plans that strive to achieve the most effective spend plans possible to meet client's digital marketing and targeting goals.

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