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Rich-media ads get easier to measure

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DoubleClick and Macromedia jointly released a product last week that provides reporting on multiple events within online ads, giving advertisers more in-depth information about how users are interacting with their ads.

The new reporting capabilities were added to DART Motif, a joint product released in July by ad-serving company DoubleClick and rich-media developer Macromedia, maker of Flash and other technologies. DART Motif is an integrated product for creating, serving and reporting on rich-media ads. It reportedly reduces the production and deployment time for rich-media ads from approximately two weeks to between one and three days.

However, the initial system had limited reporting capabilities when it came to measuring the different types of activities that can occur within online ads. "We weren’t able to report on certain audience interaction metrics," said Doug Knopper, general manager for online advertising at DoubleClick. "The new DART Motif is a huge step forward."

The product is now able to report on more than 30 interactions, including ad exposure time, ad interaction time, multiple clicks and click paths, downloads and whether a rich-media ad was fully delivered.

New user interface

The software also has a new user interface for centralized reporting. Called ReportCentral, it provides side-by-side comparisons of rich-media and non-rich-media campaigns. ReportCentral lets an advertiser view the entire scope of its online ad campaign, from banners to rich-media ads to search programs, all in one place.

"This is certainly something we’ve been asking for," said Eric Wittlake, global product manager at Media Planning Group, which is part of Havas and has been beta testing the new Motif product. "Working with multiple third parties is difficult." MPG currently uses DART Motif and Eyeblaster to serve ads, and Unicast and Shoshkeles rich-media technologies to create ads.

"When we are using DART, we’re not able to track Eyeblaster or the rest of the campaign," Wittlake said, prior to the new release. "Having one place to have both reports, as well as the rest of a campaign, is certainly a benefit."

MPG was still developing test campaigns at press time and was not able to disclose the names of any clients that would use the product.

Nate Elliott, associate analyst at Jupiter Research, said, "There is a demand for [multievent reporting], but most agencies and advertisers haven’t put it to good use. Agencies have had to integrate multitracking data with their primary ad server, and it takes a lot of work to get it done."

He said now that information about multiple events is available in one place, it will be up to agencies and advertisers to use the data to change their creative and implement better strategies for online campaigns.

Tracking multiple events

DoubleClick’s Knopper said the product is well suited for b-to-b marketers that need to track activity on multiple events within ads. For example, if an advertiser has a product demo buried in an online ad, DART Motif can report on how many clicks or pages users view before seeing the demo, how long they look at the demo, the most frequent path to the demo and other information. It can report on similar activities for white papers, games and requests for information.

"We’re providing metrics that will help advertisers understand the complete brand impact of their rich-media advertising, as well as user behavior," Knopper said.

Rich media has gained widespread acceptance among online advertisers in the last year, particularly as it has become easier to use and solid results have been proven. Usage is growing at a quarterly rate of approximately 10%, according to DoubleClick, and now accounts for roughly one-third of all online ads served.

Rich-media ads generate five to seven times the click-through rates of non-rich-media ads, according to studies by research firm Dynamic Logic.

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