Passive adverts lost their effectiveness a long time ago. In their place comes the new kid on the block — interactive ads.
Interactive ads grab a lot of attention and boost conversion rates to a great extent.
They also give the user complete control over the ad content, a stark contrast to the passive nature of traditional ads. As the user, you’re no longer second fiddle to the ad content but an integrated part. Instead, you can cut through the clutter and interact with your favourite brands on a more personal level.
Undoubtedly, interactive ads serve a great purpose and attract all the right attention. But they aren’t as easy to create as they may sound.
In this post, we will discuss some of the most commonly used interactive ad formats, their unique benefits, most importantly, some valuable tips on how to get the most out of them.
Let’s dive straight in, but after we’ve gotten a few basics out of the way.
What are Interactive Ads?
As the name implies, interactive ads are a media-based advertising technique that engages and allows active participation from the user.
This type of ad is usually achieved by blending various media, such as video, audio, animation, or interactive elements like hotspots and menus.
The ad is often user-driven, meaning the consumer or viewer can determine its course through a series of choices and interactions.
Why Interactive Ads
It can be used to drive traffic, create leads, and close sales.
That said, here are five use cases of interactive ads.
Create Brand Awareness
The first and most obvious use case of interactive ads is to create brand awareness.
When done correctly, interactive ads can help you reach a considerable number of people in a short amount of time.
They also help you stand out from the competition and create a lasting impression on users.
Increase Engagement and User Interaction
Interactive ads help increase user engagement and interaction, which is essential for brands looking to build a rapport with their customers.
It also allows you to collect user data and feedback that you can use to improve your products or services.
Generate Leads and Sales
The interactive nature of most interactive ads makes them perfect for generating leads and sales.
For example, if you’re looking to sell a product like a smartphone or an e-book, you can easily create an interactive ad that shows users how the whole process works.
Boost Sales and Conversions
Interactive ads have been proven to boost sales and conversions for marketers.
In fact, according to a Magna Report, interactive video ads drive 47% more viewing time than non-interactive ones.
They’re also 32% more memorable and generate a 9x higher impact on purchase intent.
Note that these figures cut across genders, industries, and ages.
Some studies also show that interactive ads have three times the conversion rate of conventional videos ads, while playable interactive ads have a conversion rate that’s seven times as high.
Gain Customer Insights
Interactive ads can also help you gain customer insights.
That’s because it allows you to use the same ad unit to run multiple campaigns using different creatives and angles.
For example, you could test out different versions of your ad unit on Facebook simultaneously, with each version carrying a different message or call-to-action.
With each ad carrying the same page, you can easily track which piece of content performs best with your fans and users and fine-tune it to make it better.
Increase Social Sharing and Virality
Interactive ads have a high potential for social sharing and virality.
That’s because they’re visually appealing and fun to use, which encourages users to share them with their friends.
Create Experiences (Not Just Impressions)
Finally, interactive ads can be used to create experiences.
For example, you could create an ad that allows users to explore your product or service interactively.
Or you could create an ad that allows users to personalize their experience with your brand.
Types of Interactive Ads
Now that we know what interactive ads are, let’s take a look at some of the most commonly used interactive ads:
Interactive Facebook Ads
Facebook ads let you add interactive elements to your ads that the user can interact with, such as a clickable link, a drop-down menu, or an image that opens into a larger version.
Virtual tours, gaming, and experiential visuals are all part of Facebook’s interactive ad experience.
Interactive Video Ads: With Facebook, you can create ads with participatory features like polls, trivia, leaderboards, and surveys.
The video plays automatically on the user’s newsfeed or timeline, with buttons that prompt them to interact with your brand.
The ads can also be used on Facebook live, allowing users to give immediate feedback to your brand, answer a trivia question, or participate in a poll.
- Playable Ads: Playable ads allow you to embed your app, website, or game on Facebook or any other platform out there.
That way, users get to interact with the app, website or game before deciding whether to download it. It’s like offering them a free sample of your web product and letting them decide if it’s for them or not.
- Lead Ads: Lead Ads are designed to gather customer data, such as email addresses and contact information.
The user clicks on the ad, fills in their details, and submits it. The advertiser then receives all this information to follow up with the customer.
- Instant Experience (Formerly Canvas): The Instant Experience ad is an interactive ad that gives users the whole experience of your website or app within Facebook.
It’s like a miniature website that you can control and design to your liking. You can embed videos, images, text, and forms into the ad.
The user doesn’t have to leave Facebook to experience your product. Instead, they get to interact with it without necessarily having to go to your website or app.
Here’s a case study of a company that ran its campaign on the Instant Experience format — Roman Health. The company doubled their CTR and sales, increasing its conversion rate by 45%.
Augmented Reality (AR) is an interactive ad that uses digital technology to overlay images, videos, and other data on top of what you see in the real world.
It can be used on ads to create an interactive experience with the product. For example, you can use it to show customers how your product looks on them or let them virtually try it out before they purchase your product.
How Social Media Platforms Use Augmented Reality:
Instagram filter and Snapchat lenses were the first features to use augmented reality. However, Facebook AR ads are taking the whole concept a step further.
Facebook AR ads let you use 3D models and images to create a more realistic and interactive experience with your product.
Mercedes Benz Taiwan is a classic example of how a brand can use AR to market itself. The luxury car manufacturer used Facebook’s AR feature to increase interest in their dealership and get more people to visit it.
And yes, TikTok is in the process of launching an Augmented Reality “Brand Effect” Ad format. They’re quickly catching up to Facebook.
Augmented Reality in 2022 and Beyond:
Augmented reality will play a more prominent role in marketing as time goes on. With the rapid development of 3D scanning, modeling, and rendering technologies, brands will soon create realistic AR ads that are difficult to distinguish from real-life products.
It’s only a matter of time until every social media platform offers some form of Augmented Reality advertising. So, if you want to stay ahead of the curve, it’s a good idea to start using AR ads now.
Playable In-app Ads
Essentially, it’s an ad that lets you play a mini-game or demo of the app or game before downloading it.
For instance, a mobile game can load up amid another game and present the player with a playable ad for its own game. This type of ad is used to increase curiosity and trigger downloads.
Why Playable Ads are so Effective:
Playable ads are effective because they give the users a taste of the app or game before deciding if it’s worth downloading.
For example, a fashion app may have you play around with some of its features, fumbling around with its interface before you decide to download the whole app for the rest of the features.
The same goes for a game that lets you try out the controls and game mechanics before you decide to buy/download it.
In-gaming ads are another group of interactive ads.
As the name suggests, in-game ads are served amid ads, as sponsored items, digital billboard, or in-game events.
If you’ve ever played Fortnite, then you’ve probably seen interactive ads from companies and music artists targeting game enthusiasts.
For example, in the event leading up to release of Star Wars: The Rise walker by Disney and Local film, the two companies teamed up with Epic Games to launch an in-game ad.
They would show an exclusive clip to the game players, giving them lightsber and Star-Wars-themed gliders as a reward.
Note that this isn’t the only in-game event Fortnite has hosted. They have also hosted in-game events from Nike, Travis Scott, and a long host of other companies.
Not Everyone Can Advertise on this Gaming Giant
Unless you’re a Disney-like big or household name like Travis Scott, you don’t have to be reminded that you do not hold the negotiation power to advertise on a tech giant like Fortnite.
So, what are your options?
So many gaming companies are developing apps with AI advertising opportunities. Be prepared to see more of such opportunities in the future.
You want to note that gamers command a huge marketing segment. You might not be able to advertise to them en masse, but the psychology of in-game ads means you’ll be targeting an audience that’s more likely to interact with your ads.
There are other amazing advertising opportunities out there.
For example, streaming eSports is one of the best ways to advertise a product or service. Just like in-game ads, you’ll be targeting an audience that’s likely to interact with your ad.
Companies are now partnering with eSport organizations and streamers to run interactive ads before, during, and after tournaments.
Interactive Display Ads
Meanwhile, interactive display ads are a great way to get users to engage with your brand. These ads usually take the form of banners or pop-ups that require the user to take some type of action, such as clicking on them or inputting their email address.
Display ads come in various forms:
Interactive Banner ads:
Interactive banner ads are essentially banners or pop-ups requiring users to click on them to get more information about what’s advertised.
These ads usually increase brand awareness, generate leads for your business, and help boost customer conversion rates.
For example, a retail store might have a banner ad on a clothing blog, requiring the user to click on it to get more information about the advertised product.
When a user clicks on an interactive banner ad or hovers over it with their cursor, It might roll over to reveal more information — like an interactive video, a playable game, or even a poll or quiz.
Interactive Banner Ads Have a Downside, though
Users tend to block them a whole lot of time. And that’s because most banner ads, to put it mildly, are extremely annoying.
They’re also more likely to be missed by users, most of whom have developed some form of banner blindness.
On the upside, these ads get great engagement. They’re also more modern, an updated alternative to traditional display ads. You can run them on a variety of platforms, including apps, social media pages, and websites.
Interactive Video Ads
Interactive video ads stand out for their versatility.
They can be used on websites, social media pages, and even apps.
Plus, they can be tailored to fit different screens sizes, making them perfect for mobile devices.
Like interactive banner ads, video ads require the user to take some sort of action before viewing the ad in its entirety.
Here are a few ways to use interactive video ads:
Interactive Product Placement: This type of ad usually features the product or service being advertised in a real-life setting.
For example, an ad for a new watch might show the product being used by someone on a beach.
The goal is to create an immersive experience that allows users to explore the product or service.
With this type of ad, your product ad gets featured organically. That way, it doesn’t seem like you’re forcing the user to watch an ad.
Interactive Video Ad: This type of ad is a little more traditional. It usually features a short video clip with a series of interactive elements.
With interactive video ads, your audience can explore the different elements of the ad and get more information or detail about a product.
The interactive points provide more information about the product or lead the viewer through a story related to the product.
Pros and Cons of Interactive Advertising
Whether you’re heavy into gaming, sports, finance, or fashion, interactive advertising is likely to work. It’s one of the most effective ways to get users to interact with your brand.
Plus, it can be tailored to fit any budget or target audience.
- Encourages consumers to interact with your brand, which means more exposure. It’s also a great way to generate leads for your business.
- Allows consumers to interpret ads their own way, providing them with a more immersive experience.
- Boosts social interaction between users and advertisers
- It helps brands gather data about how people interact with their ads, allowing for more targeted advertising in the future.
It can be expensive; it’s harder to measure success, and the format isn’t ideal for every industry — like finance, law, or medical fields. Another downside is that some ads don’t work on mobile devices.
7 Real-time Examples of Interactive Ads
Volkswagen, the German car manufacturer, is best known for its unmatched creativity in advertisements.
Their ‘Star Wars’ commercial isn’t just an ad for their cars — it’s pure genius.
They placed an ad in a conventional magazine, asking people to download an app and take their phones for a test drive along a fold-out road.
It’s an interactive ad that gets people physically involved in the experience.
For a company that competes with the likes of Nike and Adidas, Reebok needed to come up with a creative way to set itself apart.
One of the interactive ads they ran in Sweden did just that.
They would install a combination speed cam and shoe display in the town center. They’ll then ask users to run past it, and whoever ran the fastest would be rewarded with a new pair of Reebok shoes.
We all love Pizza. Who doesn’t?
And while some people might have the patience to call their local pizza restaurant and wait for delivery, others might not.
The guys at Domino’s found a clever way to solve the problem.
They’d give their followers a chance to order Pizza via messenger, through their chatbot, and via Twitter.
They announced the campaign and proceeded to show users how the whole process works.
The interactive ad campaign was a success, with people ordering pizza by tweeting a slice of pizza.
We all know Serena Williams is one of the best (if not the best) Tennis players in the world.
That explains why big brands like Nike and Gatorade love partnering with her.
But none of the brands she’s partnered with has done it better than Snapchat and Gatorade with their Match Point Game.
It’s a clever ad that allows users to relive all of Selena William’s big wins.
New York Times Crossword Puzzle
The New York Times is a world-renowned newspaper in publication for over 150 years.
And while the print edition is still prevalent, the NYTimes has taken their crossword puzzles online, becoming one of the most popular interactive ads on the web.
They designed this Instagram ad specifically for Millennials.
Not only does it redirect users to a show most millennials have watched, but it also makes it easy and fun for them to download and install the app on their phone, all within seconds.
Verizon Wireless, one of the biggest telecommunications companies in the United States, knows how to grab attention through ads.
Their most notable ad was one where they partnered with Star Wars, one of the largest movie franchises in the world, to create a truly immersive Twitter ad campaign.
Using hashtags #TheoryWars and #theForceAwakens, they would ask users to share their theories to win a ticket to the movie.
Spotify is the world’s leading music streaming service.
The app has over 172 million users worldwide, and they’re always looking to engage their fans with high-impact ads.
The previous presidential election in the US was a heated one. After noting the term “move to Canada” trending on social media, Spotify came up with a clever way to capitalize on the moment.
They allowed their users to “Canadify their Playlist.” They would recommend Canadian Singers and Songs for people to add to their playlists.
It was a fun and clever way to get users engaged and drive massive traffic to their Spotify app.
7 Tips for Using Interactive Advertising Effectively
Anyway, here are seven tips for using interactive ads to create lasting user impressions and increase conversions:
Multimedia is an effective way to tell a story, create brand awareness, and draw users’ attention.
The key here is to have a clear call to action. For example, if you’re using video content for your interactive ad, place a button that allows users to click through to the next step in the conversion funnel.
Keep it Short and Sweet
Interactive ads don’t have to be too long to be effective. In fact, if they’re too long, users might get bored or overwhelmed. Try to keep your ad time under 15 seconds for the best possible results.
Use Engaging and Eye-Catching Graphics
Interactive ads work best when users find them visually engaging and eye-catching, so choose your graphic assets carefully.
Optimize for Mobile Screens
Since most users view ads on their mobile devices, you want to make sure you have optimized them for smaller screens.
Focus on Personalization
The biggest push in running an interactive ad is to get user input. This can be done in several ways, but the key is to make sure that users feel like they’re in control. One way to do this is by personalizing the whole experience. Listen to user feedback and consumer data, and use the generated information to fine-tune your ads.
Don’t just bombard users with information. Rather, try to give them the option to choose whether or not they want to see more of your information. That is also a great strategy to collect data from them. And since they approved the information first, they’re likely to feel less targeted and tracked.
Tell a Story
Stories are a great way to connect with users and evoke an emotional response. If you can interactively tell your story, you can be sure to engage users for longer.
You can start by turning your ad campaign into a series of exciting sagas. You also want to use the media you’ve chosen to let users decide on their own adventures as they interact with your content and learn more about your company or products and services.
Usability should drive everything. It’s the most critical element of all interactive ad creative. So, test your ad for easy navigation and relevance before deploying it.
To sum up, there are many benefits to using interactive ads. They allow you to engage users on their terms, boost customer conversion with page views, and increase sharing and virality by making content more engaging and memorable while collecting valuable user data.
How to Create Interactive Ads
The question now becomes, how do you create interactive ads?
There are a few different methods you can use, but the most common way is to use HTML5.
HTML5 allows you to create ads that are interactive, engaging, and easy to navigate. You can also use it to create ads that are compatible with various devices, including mobile devices.
Of course, this involves coding, so if you’re not familiar with HTML5, you might want to hire a developer to help you create your interactive ad. Alternatively, you can use a pre-made solution like Adobe Edge Animate or Google Web Designer.
A Simpler Way to Create the Ads (No Coding)
If you can’t code for whatever reason or are just not interested in learning how to code, there is a simpler way to create interactive ads.
You can use this animated banner maker tool from Creatopy to create eye-catching animations that are also interactive.
This tool makes it easy for anyone to create HTML 5 banner ads without laying down a single line of code.
It works by providing users with a wide range of templates that are already pre-coded. All you have to do is choose one that best suits your needs and enter in your custom elements to personalize it.
You can also use this tool to create animated GIFs, logos, presentations, banners, buttons, and other interactive images for your website or social media profile.
After you Create the Ad
It bears repeating that you don’t have to hand-code the ads. So, there’s no need to be a developer or hire one for this task.
Once you have created your ad, you can embed it to your website via a simple line of code that the tool provides.
You can also publish it on social media or use it in an email campaign.
The sky’s the limit.
Working on Your Ad Idea
It’s one thing to know how to create an interactive ad. It’s another to come up with an effective ad idea.
There are many ways to approach this task. But, before you can create your ad, you need to know how it will benefit the company and what specific goals you want it to achieve.
So, don’t ignore the why in favour of the what.
Here are some helpful tips to get you started:
- Plan Out Your Campaign Strategy: The first step is to build a strategy before doing anything else. By knowing where your ad will be shared (i.e., social media or email) and how it will be shared (i.e., click-through or video), you can create a campaign that’s tailored to your target audience.
- Know Your Audience: This is key to any successful ad campaign. You need to know who you’re targeting and how to get them interested. You can then create ads that appeal to them personally.
- Start with a Strong Idea: Don’t start with the ad’s design. Start with the message you want to communicate and then work backward. This will ensure that your ad is effective and on-brand.
- Keep it Simple: People are more likely to interact with an ad if it’s simple and easy to understand. So, keep your message clear and concise.
- Use Scarcity: People are always looking for a good deal, so including scarcity in your messaging will get them more excited about it. You can achieve this by mentioning specific dates or timeframes to create a sense of urgency.
- Test It Out: Since interactive ads aren’t that common, you don’t know how your target audience will respond to them. It’s always a good idea to test it on a small group or a select few users first before going wide with it.
Ideas that Have Proven to Work
HubSpot studied different interactive ad campaigns and found out that while some generated the most interaction with the user, others didn’t.
They’ll also find out that the ads that worked were mainly focused on the following ideas:
- Solving a problem
- Telling the story behind their product (the story also had to be interesting)
- Creating their own product categories (in which they dominated)
- Being honest and authentic
- Making their products come off as cool
- Encouraging customers that are already using their products to use them more
- Being relatable
- Being consistent while engaging their followers
- Experimenting with something new, even if what they’re already doing is working for them
- Including a strong CTA (call to action)
When it comes to interactive ads, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. It helps to experiment with different types of content, messaging, and design to find what works best for your company.