Nate Elliott[Posted by Nate Elliott]

It took me a while, but I finally got to one of the key items on my summer reading list: DoubleClick's report on The Brand Value of Rich Media and Video Ads. And I wasn't disappointed by what I found. For the first time in years, DoubleClick dug into their server logs and gave us a bit of hard data on what types of rich media are being served. They also worked with Dynamic Logic to conduct real live brand surveys (rather than tracking those overly simplistic 'engagement' metrics so many rich media vendors have become enamored of) to study the brand metrics that matter to advertisers: things like brand awareness, brand favorability, message association, and intent to purchase. And what they found was sometimes surprising:

  • There's a lot of rich media being served but most of it's not very rich. DoubleClick says that in 2008, less than 40% of the impressions it served were GIFs or JPEGs. So does that mean the other 60% were rich media? Not according to DoubleClick: it says 55% of its 2008 impressions were "simple Flash" ads. Just 6% of the impressions served in 2008 were rich enough to be labeled "rich media."
  • Rich media ads that incorporate video are usually your best choice. This creative format was most effective on nearly every brand metric, including aided and unaided awareness, brand favorability, and purchase intent. The only time not to use rich media with video? Surprisingly, when you're looking to build message association an old-fashioned GIF or JPEG is by far the most effective format.
  • If your Flash ads don't include video or interaction, don't bother. When you add up  performance across all the brand metrics studied, simple Flash ads provide less brand impact than any other format even GIFs and JPEGs. It turns out all those advertisers who served simple Flash ads through DoubleClick last year could've saved themselves some time and hassle by simply producing animated GIFs.

If you've had a look at the report, let us know what you found interesting or surprising and whether you'll change your creative strategy based on the findings.