Why high impact advertising is the jewel in the marketing crown

In the battle to capture a few seconds of consumers’ fleeting attention spans, there is a key weapon that should be part of your marketing armoury: high impact digital advertising.

High impact does exactly what it says on the tin – it captures attention, builds an emotional connection and invites interaction. In fact, research shows that high impact ads have a 40 per cent higher overall likeability than standard display and are 78 per cent more likely than standard display ads to make a consumer want to learn more about a product and/or brand (Undertone Ipsos ASI Joint Research Project).

So what do high impact formats offer that others don’t? Most importantly, they give advertisers more options in terms of what they can do with both their creative and their brand message. These formats are unique, scalable and enhanced by rich media. Delivered across multiple screens, they can incorporate state of the art real-time targeting and customised evaluation capabilities. At Undertone, we’ve worked with major auto brands to develop adverts with full 360⁰ views of the car, along with a colour picker so viewers could personalise their car. We’ve also worked with FMCG companies to create adverts that encourage user interaction – ahead of the big US football season, one advert asked viewers to score points by putting a food item through an overly large goal.

When well-executed, high impact advertising has the potential to drive higher consumer response rates than standard display ads. What marketer wouldn’t want that? However, as more and more players enter the field, it’s essential to understand what is truly considered ‘high impact advertising’ and what’s not. Understandably, marketers often struggle to identify the best advertising providers and solutions that are available on the market. If marketers can’t differentiate between what’s available, and make the wrong choices, there is a real risk of disrupting the audience, and driving yet more consumers into the arms of the ad blockers.

One way of helping marketers identify high impact correctly is to make it perfectly clear what these formats consist of. Digital buyers should ask potential suppliers to demonstrate both the creative capabilities of the format in question and its fulfilment of their brief. Assessing a provider’s response means understanding the new metrics aligned to high impact formats, and also which of these – for example engagement rate, dwell time, or brand hours – best match the desired outcome. Provider-to-publisher set up is also an important determiner of if and how a high impact campaign delivers. It is reasonable to expect that providers will guarantee their format can deliver the same high quality execution on each impression – maximising the return on investment.

Although marketers need to do their homework to take the best advantage of these new ad formats, providers also bear responsibility for making their services more transparent. We need to promote greater trust in the digital marketing ecosystem – for everyone’s benefit. I’d like to suggest a way we can begin to establish marketer trust – by providers agreeing a minimum set of standards. A manifesto for the future of high impact digital advertising.

We should commit to formats that are consumer-sensitive, that won’t break publisher sites, and that will deliver consistent value on every impression. Maintaining a clear understanding of the campaign objectives early in the process would mean providers and publishers both know what they are working towards. A realistic, clear agenda protects all parties, while agreeing to a minimum ad standard helps to ensure an engaging campaign that benefits the consumer.

There is every reason to believe that within a few short years high impact digital advertising could become marketing mainstream. All the more reason for those of us who are pioneering its application to encourage standards that will ensure that the next generation of marketers can access its potential with clarity and confidence.