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All You Need to Know About Rich Media Ad Formats

May 14, 2020  ·  10 min read
Kate Novatska
Kate Novatska, Marketing expert at Epom

Since we all were diagnosed with banner blindness, advertisers are now turning to newer ad formats to regain their audience's attention. Rich media ads bring a splash of creativity into your campaigns and engage your audience where bland display ads are struggling. But what exactly is rich media all about?

Standard display ads are affordable yet not that efficient. CTR for a medium rectangle is as little as 0.13%, so it's easy to say that audiences don't like ads. However, advertisements' reputation isn't as bad as you may think. According to a Vieodesign survey, 83% of people agree with the statement "Not all ads are bad, but I want to filter out the really obnoxious ones."

Audiences don't hate advertising, they hate BAD advertising. With more channels and multiple campaigns across various platforms, more ads have created more noise. As a result, people are annoyed by seeing irrelevant ads at the wrong place and time.

Rich media ad serving helps to improve the advertising rep and get companies better ROI on their ad spend. But what are rich media ads? Let's define them.

Contents:

Definition: What Are Rich Media Ads?

If the name didn't already give it away, rich media ads use interactive and dynamic visuals. Rich media ad formats can include text, video, images, audio, and animation in various combinations to stand out in a pile of generic creatives.

Standard display vs. Rich media

The dynamic style of rich media ads can adapt to the visitor's device, for example, widen if the user clicks on it, or change the position on the page. Thus, rich media ad formats usually catch the human eye and give people the interaction they crave.

If you have ever been to a website and seen an ad in the corner that expands as you hover, then you have already encountered examples of a rich media ad format.

In other words, rich media technology takes your ads from being a bull horn, one-way communication, and turns it into a walkie-talkie, allowing your audience to participate.

Distinctive Features of Rich Media Units

Rich media ad formats allow for powerful brand storytelling across multiple channels. They stand out from other forms of advertising due to their distinct features. Here are those distinct features:

  • Rich media ads focus on audio or dynamic visual elements unlike standard display ads, that are all about static images;
  • Rich media ads are interactive and require some user actions for the audio or video to be played. This leads to better user experience than we have with standard video ads that interrupt you straight away.
  • Rich media ads can even include gaming elements, which makes them a great format to use instead of in-app video ads.
  • Rich media ads have much greater file size than standard display ads, usually amounting to more than 200 KB. That's why not all the publishers support them for now.
  • Rich media ads are compatible with Java, Javascript, and HTML5, so they can be used on any website and app, just like every other ad format.
  • Rich media ads do not necessarily send the lead through to your LP. Instead, the click may result in an ad expansion or sound.
  • Rich media ads can be measured with a wide range of metrics and gather more valuable data due to more available interactions.

Rich Media Ads vs. Standard Display Banners

Feature Standard Banner Ads Rich Media Ads
Format A single file-format (normally .html, .gif, .png, or .jpeg) May use multiple file-formats (HTML, .gif, .png, .jpeg, .mp4, .mov
File size File size of 200KB or less File size of 200KB or more
Use of video No video May use video
Interactivity Static ads that are not interactive May have user interactions that include expansions, sounds, etc.
Tracking Normally tracking metrics consist of one click-through link May track multiple click-through links
Compatibility Not compatible with java and javascript Compatible with java and javascript
Special features None Polls, mini-games

5 Benefits of Rich Media Ad Formats for Advertisers

Rich media ads can significantly amplify both direct and programmatic ad campaigns. There are many reasons why you should start using them but if we listed them all, you'd be here all day. Here are the top six benefits of rich media ad formats for advertisers.

1. Rich Media Deliver Better CTR

Rich media ads have been proven to deliver a high CTR. According to eMarketer, they can outperform standard banner ads by an incredible 267%.

2. Interactive Ad Formats Provide Great User Experience

The reason rich media units have such good ROI is that they provide a better user experience, making users pay more attention to them. Users are not forced to leave the site they are on or interrupt their browsing.

3. Rich Media is Good at Driving Purchase Intent

Tubular Insights conducted a study that found rich media formats are more successful than other ad formats, such as GIF and simple Flash in driving purchase intent. On average, rich media ads that include a video resulted in a 1.16% increase in purchase intent.

4. You Can Squeeze More Data from Rich Media

Rich media technology allows for more metrics and insights. In turn, advertisers can scale and adjust campaigns with greater knowledge of what works (or doesn't work) on their campaigns to get better long term results.

Metrics you can measure with rich media ads include impressions, pre-interaction enticements, display time, views, full-screen video completions, and more.

5. Rich Media Adverts Help Build Brand Awareness Faster

Rich media ads help brands establish a greater foothold and build on awareness. The Tubular Insight study found that rich media ad formats that included video were the best ad formats to increase brand favorability. Audiences exposed to rich media video ads developed a 2.30% increase in brand favorability.

4 Benefits of Rich Media Ad Formats for Publishers

Not only do advertisers reap the rich media ad benefits, but publishers enjoy them too. Many aspects of rich media ads beneficial to advertisers are also beneficial to publishers.

1. Rich Media Ads Don't Interrupt Browsing Experience

Unlike static ads that take publishers' website visitors off to advertisers landing pages, rich media ads don't interrupt users' browsing experience. Users are not forced to leave the publisher's site, so their initial intention is retained.

2. Rich Media is Measurable

The interactivity of rich media ads allows publishers to keep track of more metrics. This gives you more data to return to advertisers to show them the value of advertising on your site. The more metrics you have the happier your advertisers will be as they start to see greater ROI on their ad spend, not only through the end goal of purchases but through interaction, video views, and brand favorability.

3. Enabling Rich Media, You Are On The Same Page With Advertisers

Offering rich media ads to advertisers shows that you are the marketing-savvy publisher you want and need to be in the quickly evolving digital world. With the excellent results that advertisers are seeing from their rich media campaigns, we can only expect ad spend to continue to increase in the coming years. Rich media ads are a great way for publishers to increase their ad income, as they generate more revenue than static ads and are growing in popularity.

4. Rich Media Cost More, So You Increase Your Revenue

The CPM (cost per 1000 impressions) is typically higher on rich media ads than on banner ads. This presents publishers the opportunity to increase their ad revenue.

Types of Rich Media Ad Formats (+ Rich Media Ads Examples)

Rich media ads give advertisers a ton of creative freedom. The range of rich media ad formats gives you room to experiment and try new ideas with your advertising.

Here are some examples of popular rich media ad types and formats:

Types of rich media ad formats

Rich Media Ad Formats

There are several formats that a rich media ad can take. Here are the most common rich media ad formats and their definitions. Also included are some rich media ad examples:

Interstitial rich media ads

Interstitial Ads


An interstitial ad is a multifaceted rich media format. Those are full-screen ad placements that support video and HTML5. It's allowed to set the custom size of the interstitial.
 Banner rich media ads

Banner Ads


Banner ads are the most widely known and used ad format. They are placed above the fold on a web page and highly likely to be seen by users.
Expandable rich media ads

Expandable Ads


Users can trigger expandable ads to expand in size. This can be through clicking with a mouse or tapping on a mobile or tablet device. They then retract once the ad has played out.
Pushdown rich media ads

Pushdown Ads


Pushdown rich media ads are similar to expandable ads. They don't expand in their size, but rather push down content on the page the user is viewing.
Slider  rich media ads

Slider Ads


Slider rich media ads often use creatives based on .swfs, img and 3rd party codes. They are displayed at the bottom of the user screen, sticking to the page as the user scrolls.

Are Rich Media Ads Worth The Time You Need To Put Into Them? (With Real Life Example)

After looking at these examples, you might be wondering: isn't investing in rich media ads toot tiresome? Maybe you should stick to what you know and keep creating simple and easy banner ads, right? Wrong.

Rich media ads may require a significant amount of time to design and build but if you look at the benefits gained, it's worth the extra effort.

Once your campaign is up and running you will start seeing results. You will be blown away by how effective rich media ads can be compared to static ads. Take a look at SyFy if you want to see a real-life example. The cable network generated 2,000 click-throughs on The New York Times' mobile site in one day with their rich media ad! The CTR was 2.92% and the interaction rate was 8.62%.

How to Create Rich Media Ads and Use This Format in an Ad Server

As I said one paragraph before, crafting such complex creatives might take time, as you need to align various types of media into one and make them look coherent together.

But, this only happens if you create rich media ads from scratch. Today, you can take ready rich media ad templates and customize each element for your ad campaign. Epom ad server offers VPAID and MRAID compliant templates in the very basic package as well as the opportunity to integrate 3rd-party rich media templates and use them in the ad server. ]

However, you can also create your own rich media templates from scratch. But again, it's much simpler when using a rich media ad serving platform, where the steps are the following:

  1. Log into your ad server account and go to the "Templates" tab, where choose the "+" button to add a new template. Rich media templates ad server
  2. Add all necessary attributes to the template information. The detailed description of which is provided on our respective help page. Rich media template attributes
  3. Later, you'll have to add a template file or files. Add rich media files to template
  4. The last step is to add template properties below the files. Rich media template properties

Rich media ads are an all-around winner; users love them, advertisers get better ROI, and publishers see an increase in their revenue. The interactive and considerate elements make rich media ads the future of advertising. Heck, we wouldn't be surprised if static ads became obsolete in the years to come. If you're not already using them in your digital marketing strategy, now is the time to start.

Looking for a secure and reliable advertising platform to create and serve your rich media ads? Sign up for Epom ad server.

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