Three powerful ways to make interactive ads part of a contextually relevant customer journey.
Interactive advertising targets creating more engagement during watch-sessions, particularly on streaming platforms. But what is the impact of an ad that lets you interact where you are for more information instead of taking you to a new page? Apparently, it’s significant: Interactive ads are more memorable than normal ads because like video ads, they engage different parts of the brain. The problem comes in when the same ad is shown dozens of times across a session, such as when customers watch several episodes of a show in sequence. Consumers quickly become no longer interested in the novel experience but rather frustrated by repeating or irrelevant content. In this way, interactive ads can be even more intrusive than regular ones. This can result in a negative experience for customers to the point that they purposefully avoid your brand.
The Solution? Make Interactive Ads Personalized
Interactive ads shouldn’t provide a negative experience. In fact, consumers are willing to interact with more engaging content and 71% prefer personalized or more targeted ads compared to generic. We also know that the human brain is wired to understand stories. Building narratives help consumers identify with a brand, especially when used to create a positive customer experience through that connection. Customer experience is the competitive battleground for nearly every business. Managing the customer journey at your business is the best way to deliver great experiences.
We’ve identified 3 ways that interactive ads could be better integrated with the ongoing customer journey at your business. We also go through an example of what a better ad experience would look like in practice.
Make Interactive Ads… Interactive
Interactivity has to be more than simply changing based on how a customer interacts with the screen. Traditionally, interactive ads have simply represented dynamic experiences, but only within the current session. This usually means providing more copy on a particular subtopic, without really changing the experience overall. This does increase information density for the ad but doesn’t result in a significantly better experience for the consumer.
This isn’t to say that current interactive ads perform poorly. On the contrary, they increase memorability by 32% and have a significant impact on both purchase intent and brand recognition. To be even more impactful, interactive ads should change throughout based on customer behaviors. If an ad is for cars, and the customer’s favorite color is indicated as being blue, then the cars should be presented as blue through the rest of the ad, no matter what portion of the ad they navigate to. Once you’ve made your interactive ads actually adapt to customer input, the next factor is time.
Make Interactive Ads Matter Across Time
The age of the binge-watch is upon us. American consumers may very well be watching hours of content in a single sitting. It’s well known that when you show customers a sequence of ads, you can get more clicks and ad recall than by simply showing the same one time and time again. This is especially true with interactive ads that can grow tiresome more quickly. While some businesses have used pre-determined ad sequences before, and have seen purchase intent lift around 40% they often don’t change based on customer choices. Instead, find a way to record what customers have done within a previous ad to influence the experience in a future ad.
If your business is able to retrieve data and use real-time or near-real-time decision making, then you can use the ad experience to personalize the customer experience. This makes the overall journey more interactive. For a car brand, this might mean determining in one interactive ad that customers like blue hatchbacks. Then in the next ad, the business could learn they are interested in the latest technology. The next ad could show some of the new technologies available in their latest blue hatchbacks. It may seem simple, but changes like this can truly show you’re listening. Not only that, but also it can build a progressive profile of the customer, and by doing so increase the value of future advertising. By building a narrative that takes the customer’s context into account, you are thinking about these ads in terms of a customer journey, not just a one-time experience.
Incorporate Data From Outside of the Ads
Today, brands can target specific individuals with specific ads while they’re streaming content. This means you can use a customer’s previous behavior to influence which ads are shown to customers. Why waste ad spend on showing a loyal customer an interactive ad for a product they already own? For most businesses, these advertising dollars would be better used for upselling to the loyal customer instead.
For a cruise-line or hospitality business this can be an enormous opportunity to add value. Instead of simply presenting a series of cruise destinations, you can acknowledge the existing customer relationship and make them excited for their upcoming cruise experience all over again. Instead of dreading another ad from your business because they interacted in the first place, now each experience can build actual value for your audience, motivating them to return and purchase.
One of the beautiful things about interactive ads is that they can prove valuable not only for acquisition but for loyalty and service as well. A hotel could ask about customer’s expected arrival times to better coordinate housekeeping efforts and delight customers with rooms ready when they are. One of the beautiful things about interactive ads is that they can prove valuable not only for acquisition, but for loyalty and service as well.
Interactive Ads Can Empower Real-Time Personalization
Interactive ads are more memorable and provide more opportunities to personalize than traditional advertising. By taking advantage of this memorability and using interactive ads in sequence based on an intelligent customer profile, businesses can truly maximize their value for personalization. Even with traditional ads, you can apply some of the techniques detailed above to improve the customer experience, make your ads more memorable and more impactful with each impression.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can personalize your customer journey then we recommend our Guide to Real-Time Interaction Management. It has a thorough breakdown of what you need to make your customer journeys change and react in real-time. Whether you apply those lessons to powering adaptive and interactive ads or some other part of your business the guide will be a valuable asset to have for your customer journey efforts.