Premium Ads Drive Brand Awareness According To Microsoft

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You may have noticed some Web sites these days are using premium ads that encourage user interaction or have dynamic animations. It would seem like advertisers would jump on board using this new kind of ad. As it turns out though, there seems to be some hesitation on the part of advertisers to buy into these more expensive premium ads.

The Microsoft Advertising blog hopes to dispel some of the hesitation surrounding these ads that are in the IAB Rising Star format. They claim that the market "needs evidence to justify that price premium and discover their true value in brand storytelling." Microsoft found that evidence and the research is very compelling for anybody in online marketing.

The study took three groups of 600 people. The first group was exposed to the premium interactive ad format. The second group was exposed to the same ad campaign, but in the standard MPU format. The third group was exposed to a completely different campaign in the MPU format. The subjects then tested a few premium format creatives that were running on the MSN UK homepage. The ads included three Billboard ads, four Filmstrip ads and one Pushdown ad.

The test itself was pretty interesting. It was split into two sessions with the first session just being about the user experience. They were then brought in three days later and given a survey about the subject in the ads they saw. It wasn't explicitly clear that the second session was about the ads as the study was more about what they remembered from what they saw.

The results found that traditional ads still perform well, but new premium ads perform even better. At some points, they even two times better. It also seems that the premium format ads tend to do much better after the three day delay.

Premium Ads Brand Awareness Microsoft

It was also found that premium formats outperformed standard formats in creative valuation. Once again, not by a whole lot, but enough to show there's reason to invest in these new types of advertising.

Premium Ads Brand Awareness Microsoft

What may interest advertisers the most, however, is that premium ads capture attention more so than standard ads within the first 8 seconds of a person's visit to a site. In fact, 73 percent of respondents claimed to have noticed the premium ad within the first 8 seconds, compared to 41 percent of respondents for the standard ads.

While the study itself paints a rosy picture for premium advertising, Microsoft does offer some caveats. They say that many consumers notice premium ads just because they're newer looking, and therefore not familiar enough to start ignoring. The interactivity and size of the premium ads also play a role in driving attention.

Microsoft does caution that advertisers hoping to jump on the premium ad bandwagon still need to use creativity in their advertising. They found that some campaigns failed to "transform higher attention levels into strong brand uplifts." This once again proves that a creative ad can always trump the latest interactive, yet soulless ad.

You can check out the entire study here. It contains more information including eye tracking stats of Web pages with premium ads.

Do you prefer premium, interactive ads? Or do you like standard ads? Let us know in the comments.

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