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Standard Banners, Digital Video Ads & the Quest for High Engagement

Standard banners, expandables, floating ads, polite banners, in-stream video advertisements… The list goes on and on. But how effective are all these formats and how do they perform in different verticals?

By Dannos Tsakalos, Marketing Manager of the Thinkdigital Group

The brand new 2012 Benchmark Report by DG MediaMind has all the answers and there you’ll find plenty of useful insights and takeaways. For, this 67-page document features analysis of more than 600 billion (!) display ad impressions from 47 countries, dating from January 1 to December 31, 2012.

And do you know what else is great? That you can download the report for free here! Before embarking, though, on a statistical journey around the globe, what would you say if we had a quick look at some of the most interesting findings?

“Interact with me & I’ll engage”

It was October, 1994 when the first ever banner ad was sold. Since then, countless millions of banners have been clicked and the likes of 300×250, 728×90 and the other sizes have been standardized to such an extent that they gradually became known as the “Standard Banners”. Users are, of course, still clicking on them, but the truth is there are some new “boys” in town: the new generation of Online Display Advertising, which provides advertisers with some very promising tools in their quest to stand out in a cluttered environment and engage with their target group.


The first ever banner ad

These new formats seem to be quite effective. For, as the report clearly demonstrates, “engagement with online ads jumps for ad units that incorporate interactive elements such as compelling animation, expansions, sound and video”. How does this translate into numbers? In Europe, compared to the Standard Banners’ mediocre CTR of 0.09%, Expandable Banners enjoy a much higher rate (0.51%), with the 728×90 format being the one that performs best (0.86%). And then there are the Floating Ad and the Floating Ad with Reminder, which up the ante with 2.27% and 3.02% respectively!

Still not convinced? Maybe you have doubts whether your market is ready to welcome and fully utilize these new formats? Have a look at the table below to see how well each of these innovative banners has performed in Greece, Hungary and Romania.

Format Greece CTR* /Dwell Rate** Hungary CTR/Dwell Rate Romania CTR/Dwell Rate
Standard Banners 0.06%/   – 0.16%/   – 0.11%/   –
Rich Media 0.31%/ 5.6% 0.33%/ 8.5% 0.40%/ 17.8%
Expandable Banners 0.27%/ 6.9% 0.33%/ 8.9% 0.24%/ 10.7%
Floating Ad 3.29%/ 37.5%     -/ – 1.29%/ 62.6%
Polite Banners 0.13%/ 3.1% 0.31%/ 6.3% 0.14%/ 7.1%

*CTR: The number of clicks divided by the number of served impressions. A historic metric that is used primarily for Standard Banners.

**Dwell Rate: This proprietary MediaMind metric measures the number of impressions that were dwelled upon out of all impressions. Dwell is defined as an active engagement with an ad including positioning the mouse over an ad for more than 1 second, user-initiation of video or an expansion, and any other user-initiated custom interaction.

“Show me the… Video”

According to the DG MediaMind report, a notable shift in 2012 was the substantial growth of in-stream video (VAST) advertisements, which enjoyed high rates of engagement globally. In Europe, for instance, in most cases, the rate of videos that played their full duration (Fully Played Rate) exceeded the 50% mark. And this trend was clearly evident also in the markets of CE and SE Europe.

Format Europe Average Video Duration (sec)/ Fully Played Rate Greece Average Video Duration (sec)/ Fully Played Rate Hungary Average Video Duration (sec)/ Fully Played Rate Romania Average Video Duration (sec)/ Fully Played Rate
Rich Media 54.4″/ 58.7% 25.4″/74.9% 15.4″/55.8% 26.1″/77.8%
Expandable Banners 76.8″/ 55.7% 12.9″/43.1% 14.6″/54.7% 20.6″/56.2%
Floating Ad 8.8″/27.7% 8.3″/ 53.4% -/ – -/ –
Polite Banners 50.7″/59.6% 25.9″/75.8% 15.6″/56.1% -/ –

So, it’s clear that Rich Media and Digital Video ads are here to stay and for good reason. Therefore, I would say that the best way to conclude this post would be to introduce you to these formats, no? Click on each of the following images to watch a live example and then be kind enough to let us know which one you liked the most!

In-stream video





Expandable Banners





Floating Ads




Polite Banners





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