How Interactive Ads Can Supercharge Your CRO

Traditional ads are prone to banner blindness, which happens when you see an ad but your brain automatically ignores it without being consciously aware. By improving ad engagement and retention, interactive ads help your brand stand out from traditional advertisements.

Interactive ads may just be a solution to the growing problem of banner blindness.

How so? 

Let me explain.

Ever since the first ads went up on the internet via Google display ads, banner blindness, also referred to as ad or advert blindness, has been a thing. 

Coined in 1998, banner blindness happens when you see an ad but your brain automatically ignores it without being consciously aware, and it’s clearly bad for advertisers. 

Studies from all the way back to 1998 have confirmed the existence of banner blindness, while more recent studies, like this one from ACM, have lent further proof. 

But those studies have confirmed something else concerning: banner ads have a low memory recall in users

And while it was theorized that animated advertisements might be the solution to that, studies have since mostly debunked those as surprisingly less effective than traditional static banner ads.

Fortunately, there looks to be another answer, one that actually shows marked promise towards not just fighting banner blindness, but actually improving ad engagement and retention: interactive ads. 

What are interactive ads?

Interactive ads are banner ads that the user can click on or interact with in various ways. They take the traditional banner ad and turn it on its head. 

Examples include:

  • Shoppable ads (video and images) you where you can click on the item and add it directly to your cart
  • Augmented reality like what Toys r’ Us and other brands have since done with their app
  • Interactive infographics
  • And quizzes 

Not only are they harder to ignore, but they can be a lot of fun and offer more value than traditional banner ads for users.

As a result, they show engagement levels a multitude of times higher than traditional banner ads and even show improved conversion rates.

4 Awesome Interactive Ad Examples

Below are four diverse examples of amazing interactive ads.

The purpose of these examples is to give you an idea of what interactive ads look like plus what you can do with interactive ads. 

While we go over each example, we’ll also talk about what said ad got right and how that can help improve your CRO.

1. New York Times

The New York Times has done a great job in recent years with pushing the envelope and utilizing interactivity to its fullest. 

One way they’ve done this is by bringing back the classic New York Times crossword puzzle in the form of a fresh new interactive ad

Image from New York Times

The minigame slash ad expertly combined nostalgia with the latest AR tech to create a viral sensation.

The virality aspect of the campaign is its strongest point, with the game aspect combined with the nostalgia being a surefire win. 

It was particularly geared towards Millennials, likely the last age group to really remember the old New York Times crossword puzzle craze. 

As a result, the ad helped draw in new audiences and keep NYT relevant in the eyes of modern demographics. 

How does this help improve CRO, though?

A simple banner ad can only do so much. However, an interactive ad can tell a compelling story that says so much more.

Plus, as you’ll see from the next example, it can make the user feel more in control of the process, making them more likely to take the next step. 

2. Gatorade

Gamification is a popular method of productivity, but the idea of “gamifying” things stretches far beyond that. 

In this Snapchat ad by Gatorade and ESPN (in partnership with Serena Williams), users played an interactive game called Match Point. 

Throughout 22 levels, players would face off against various tennis opponents that spanned Williams’ career in a game akin to an old NES classic. 

Users were then able to share how far they got in the game to compete, enhancing the virality of the interactive ad.

This is also vital as, depending on where you see the ad, the user will be more or less likely to trust it.

When an ad becomes viral, the trust factor goes up and the user is more likely to click through to proceeding steps. 

3. LEGO

LEGO is no stranger to viral sensations, and this ad is yet another classic. 

In this interactive ad example, which originally showed on streaming platform Hulu, the viewer follows LEGO City police officer McCain. 

As he’s joyfully reminiscing about what a peaceful city he lives in, green jelly-slime begins to pour out from the sewers and run rampant throughout the city. 

Just before the green slime is about to sweep away the (presumably) last bit of land left in the entire city, the city cuts away.

That’s when they give you one of 3 choices: 

  • Suck it up
  • Hide it, or
  • Get to the choppa!

The interesting thing about this example is, when the user makes a choice there’s a kind of ownership that takes place. 

When the user is able to take ownership of their actions throughout the process, they’re more likely to take the next step, feeling like they’re taking control as opposed to being influenced in a particular direction. 

4. BMW 

A unique example, this one comes from BMW via Roku, the smart TV box, and is a great example of an interactive TV ad. 

During the ad, viewers use their Roku TV remote to interact, changing the color of the BMW shown in the ad as the ad plays:

Other parts of the ad allow the user to focus in on a particular part or aspect of the vehicle, from the engine to the interior:

They’re simple forms of interactivity, but they work for the same reason the previous ad examples work: they make the user an active participant, instead of feeling like they’re just being sold to. 

This changes the entire experience and relationship with advertisements and turns them into opportunities to explore new things or just have a bit of fun. 

And, when a product or service resonates with them, it can make it that much easier to take the next step.

Use interactive ads to amplify your CRO

It’s not yet known just how big a role interactive ads will play in the future of digital banner ads.

However, one thing is for certain: the evidence points towards interactive ads as magnifying engagement and elevating conversion rates. 

Which types of interactive ads you use depend on your brand, so study the above and other examples to get a better idea of what interactive ads can do for you. Once you’re ready, get started with Spott to make your very own interactive ads!

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