Google’s annual display ad benchmark data for 2010 has been released and indicates an increased use of rich media and a steady click through rate (CTR) since 2009.
According to the report, marketers’ use of rich media ad formats doubled in 2010, accounting for 18 percent of impressions from 9 percent the year before. Image ads also increased to 28 percent in 2010 from 17 percent in 2009; however flash ads decreased from 74 percent in 2009 to 54 percent in 2010.
Although rich media ad formats doubled in 2010, the user expansion and interaction rate has continued to decline since a peak around January 2009 (around the time new IAB ad formats were initially introduced), yet the expansion rate did show some growth at the end of 2010 (the expansion rate is defined as the ratio of DoubleClick rich media ad expansions to the number of rich media expanding ad impressions displayed. The expansions are counted when a user expands an ad by rolling over it). Conversely, the click through rate remained consistent, staying at around .09 percent since the middle of 2009.
Data on the U.S. showed that the country had one of the lowest expansion rates, however had the highest expansion time— which shows that Americans are interacting with ads when they actually decide to expand them.
As for industry verticals, the "Auto" sector showed the best results with a .13 percent flash CTR and .12 percent rich media CTR. The lowest CTR came from the telecom and financial services sector with a .06 percent CTR in rich media ads, which also tied flash ads from financial services, also at .06 percent.
The question moving forward is, how do we increase rich media use even more among advertisers?
As the economy improves, so should advertising and the investment in newer targeting technologies including behavioral. It is safe to assume that any improvement on the delivery of ads will drive CTR’s, expansion and interaction - and expansion - rates up. Making advertising more accessible (combined with a rebounding economy) should create a better environment for consumers and provide more profitable results for advertisers.