Engagement Ads: How to Optimize Your Rich Media Ads for High Impact?

  • Post Category:Rich Media Ads
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  • Post last modified:January 22, 2021

If you are helping your clients to create a better brand connection with their target audience, you should look at high impact engagement ads.

We live in a world overwhelmed with advertisements. Moreover, when the brand and products remain the same, you will need to innovate and change the way you communicate your message. High impact engagement ads are required to win the war for attention. What’s more, engagement ad is also dubbed as the cure for “banner blindness”.

Fortunately, with the advancement of technology and digital trends, you can create highly interactive ads to achieve your campaign goals, i.e. HTML5 rich media. It makes creative possibilities viable.

Create distinct personalization and targeting with mobile rich media ads—boost mobile ad engagement and create strong brand connection between brands and consumers

Furthermore, with mobile, brands can do very personalized, and targeted advertising for better engagement and brand connect.

On top of that, the development of proper standards like MRAID, VPAID/VAST, and SafeFrame by Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) further smoothen your ad operations and fulfillment.

This article will explain more about engagement ads and how you can optimize your rich media campaigns for high impact user engagement.

What is engagement?

Create highly engaging ads with mobile rich media features

Digital advertising has improved the communication between advertisers and consumers. These two have become an equal comrade in the advertising experience; often collaboratively create the meaning of the brand.

Hence, everyone is struggling to define, capture, and measure “engagement.”

Think of it as user experience. The better the experience, the higher the user engagement gets.

Engagement measures the extent of which your customers enjoy interacting with your ads. This means, more engagement translates to better brand connect.

So, when you plan your ad campaigns, ask yourself these.

  • How can the consumers have a more meaningful brand experience when dealing with my ads?
  • What sort of activities my target audience would prefer?
  • How do I tie back those significant activities with the brand itself? (This helps increase brand recall due to familiarity)
  • At which point, will my prospect viewers feel that the ad journey is too cumbersome? (This is to tell you when it is too much)

Creating engaging ads is not just about employing the greatest or latest technology. That’s what we typically get requested for. We often hear people say, “Give me your best or latest technology.”

Just like SEO, rich media features are not just about the technology. You’ll have to remember that you are creating it for people. With the primary aim to get them to like and interact with your ad units. Also, to create the meaning of the brand through memorable experience that leads to advocacy, and, eventually sales.

The Engagement Continuum

Digital advertising enables an environment in which consumer thinking, feeling and doing are not linear. They are also not distinct phases. They are interconnected and can occur in any order.

As defined by the IAB, engagement is “a spectrum of consumer advertising activities and experience—cognitive, emotional, and physical—that will have a positive impact on a brand.”

The explanation is depicted in the following illustration. IAB further gives advertisers and agencies compelling grounds to discuss how to bridge the gap from an impression to ad effectiveness and ultimately sales.

Engagement Ads: The IAB Engagement Continuum

Image courtesy of marketingland.com

Key Takeaway

Relevancy is the key factor to drive engagement. When users find mobile ads helpful, they are more likely to interact with it. To achieve relevancy, your ad must have more distinct personalization and targeting.

The xAd/Telmetrics 2014 Mobile Path-to-Purchase study shows that

  • Mobile shoppers are increasingly receptive to relevant ads
  • Nearly 50% saying mobile ads are informative and helpful
  • 40% reported clicking on ads, with nearly half of these taking secondary actions such as viewing a referring Web site and searching for additional product information

How to use engagement ads for better ad journey

Engagement ad is not new neither is it well understood, primarily dealing with HTML5 rich media. There are many types of engagement ads that deliver a variety of experience.

What’s important is the relevance of that experience to the target audience.

Whatever ad journey you’ve planned, make sure that it’s applicable to them. Personalize your ads and do proper targeting will compel them to interact with your ad and further boost your ad engagement.

Here are some examples to help you with your ad planning.


Captivate your audience with appealing visuals

Video is the most trending rich media to date.

Videos are highly engaging, but viewer engagement has to happen within the first 10 seconds of watching a video. This is back by the National Center for Biotechnology Information when they reported that the average attention span in 2013 was 9 seconds.

We recommend 15-second videos on your rich media ads.

Here is some traction you need to know when you propose videos to your clients. It’s good to let them know the effectiveness of their money spends on online video advertising.

Effectiveness of video advertising (source: Video Marketing Research by Platonik )

  • Video promotion is 600% more effective than print and direct mail combined
  • Before reading any text, 60% of site visitors will watch a video if available

Viewers remember videos better (source: Diode Digital)

  • 80% of viewers recall a video ad they have seen in the past 30 days
  • 26% of viewers then look for more info about the product
  • 22% visit the product site
  • 15% visit the brand site
  • 12% make the purchase

But wait, there’s more

  • Shoppers who view video are 1.81 times more likely to purchase than non-viewers  (source: Platonik)
  • 40% of shoppers will even visit a store online or in-person after watching a video (source: Google)
  • 46% of surveyed shoppers would be more likely to seek out additional information about a product after seeing an online video (source: Online Publisher’s Association)

What’s more, videos on mobile and tablet are showing great tractions too

  • Mobile and tablet shoppers are 300% as likely to view a video as laptop/desktop users (source: Bench Platform )


Gamify your ads to increase user interactions

Everybody loves to play games, well almost everyone. According to a recent study by the Entertainment Software Association, almost half of the American population (150 million to be exact) plays video games on a regular basis.

Game app is one of the best places to integrate your ads.

If your target audience falls into this category—mobile game players, you can do rich media interstitial ads or videostitials on in-app games. Work with game developers or publishers to offer in-app purchases and incentives for proceeding to the next levels.

Many advertisers are moving into the mobile games industry because it’s a lucrative business for ads. It is a proven method for digital marketing, generating revenue, and conversions for advertisers.

Gamification is an effective platform for incentivized ads as well as for competitions and entertainment.

This creates a deep connection if your audience. They won’t even find your ads disruptive because you’re helping them gaining more in their game process.

Social Activities

Promote content and turn it into a conversation

Everyone is very connected through social media platform. Peer or online reviews have shown a great impact on purchase decisions. It can also increase their confidence in a brand.

The Local Consumer Review Survey (2012) shows that 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendation. And 52% said that positive online reviews make them more likely to use the business.

There are few types of social activities you can promote in your rich media ads. You can integrate social feeds to show viewers comments. Or allow viewers to comment and engage with your social page right in the ad. Viewers can also give like or follow the brand, or share the brand message on their social media accounts.

Store Locator

Get consumers to customized location within your ad

Location drives relevancy.

Focusing on automotive, entertainment, restaurant, and telecom verticals, location is an important way the ads provide relevancy.

Based on a report from an online survey and on-device behavioral data from 6,000 smartphone and tablet users in the US, more than 40 percent clicked on the mobile ad because it was relevant to their interests or purchase research.

When viewers engage in secondary actions following the initial clicks, it indicates high purchase intent. If you add a customized store locator on your ad unit, you can drive those prospects to visit the store with high hopes of sales.

Adding the tap-to-call feature along with store locator will also help increase meaning or relevance of your ad campaign to consumers.

Providing these values like how to get to the location or contacting the business connects very well with users.

A study by Nielsen reveals that retail has a store visitation lift (SVL) of 14 percent, and the highest post-ad exposure visitation rate of 9.5%, proving that mobile can be used effectively for brand building and engagement, as well as driving immediate action.

Other Interactive Features & Haptic Feedback

Little things that matter to create exceptional user experience

The swipes, views, shakes, orientation changes, expands, and the plain-old taps or clicks are all activities that you must plan well. With mobile devices small in hand, you can play with a variety of physical interactions. Create an immersive experience for your target consumers by increasing the intuitiveness and interactivity of your ad.

Kinesthetic communication or haptic feedback is also a critical component that recreates the sense of touch by users. This gives your ad an intuitive and realistic feel.

Haptics is gaining widespread acceptance as a key part of the digital medium.

Haptic sensations are created in consumer devices that give off vibration. You’ve probably experienced haptics in many of the consumer devices that you use every day. It is common to experience this in video games and on your game console.

By carefully placing the kinesthetic activities and haptics on your ad, your users get a more realistic experience when interacting with your ad.

For instance, you can add vibration force or resistance when they push a virtual button or scroll through a list.

Standard engagement metrics and trends

In rich media ads, “clicks” within the ad unit reflect engagement, but click to a landing page or deep link is termed click through and click through rate (CTR) is used as a measurement.

Typically, first interaction leads to secondary actions. And secondary actions bring deeper engagement values to your ad campaigns.

Here are some important engagement metrics for Videos

  • Impressions, the total number of video ads served
  • User interactions, i.e. click to play, pause or stop the video
  • Brand awareness or message association, brand favorability
  • Time spent
  • Purchase
  • Completion rate
  • Impact on search behavior
  • Number of times forwarded

Gamification is rather refreshing. The global gamification market is set to grow by 68% over the next four years. Here’s important engagement metrics for Gamification.

  • Adoption: users engaged, challenges started vs. completed
  • Usage: users engaged over time, popular vs. unpopular challenges (based on completion)
  • Performance: target users’ behavior and how that impact business results

Engagement metrics of social media components that matter

  • User interactions, i.e. view the social feeds on your ad, commented via your ad
  • Number of Likes
  • Number of Shares

Location-based mobile advertising becomes more effective with retargeting. Here are some significant metrics that give you insights into its effectiveness.

  • In-Store Visits, measured by store visitation lift SVL — measures whether individuals who viewed a mobile advertisement were later seen in an advertiser’s desired location
  • Visitation rate post-ad exposure

Generally, when planning your creative and media operations, you have to set the interaction attributes and find ways to measure them. You’ll also need to be able to differentiate the “accidental” vs. genuine actions. Whether it’s accidental or genuine, the way you plan your creatives and ad flow will impact users’ actions.

Key takeaways here is to learn about engagement metrics best practices, constantly collect data as you put your ads out there and optimize your it to your best ad objectives.

More info on mobile advertising metrics can be obtained from the IAB MMA MRC Mobile Web/Application Advertising Measurement Guidelines.


As digital advertising evolves, more sophisticated ads are required to win viewers’ attention and interests. Engagement ads will make your clients brand communication and connection with consumers richer and better.

To achieve effective and highly engaging ads, distinct personalization and targeting are the two key factors. With HTML5 rich media and mobile technology, you can create very personalized and targeted interactive ads for the right consumers.

Lastly, you’ll need a reliable way to measure those interactions and engagements. Fitting engagement metrics is vital to judge whether your creative and media plans are working.


Alvin is the Founder and CEO of MobileAds.com. He is a go-getter, and adventurous guy who believes in working smart to gain success in his business ventures and in life. He also founded RichMediaAds.com and MobileLanders.com.