Which comes first, the message or the medium?
When creating digitized magazine ads, it seems that high tech engagement tactics are de rigueur for most marketers. But do those digital gewgaws outperform static, or nearly static, ads?
Based on recent ad research, according to Michal Galin of Advertising Age, ads don’t need bells and whistles to be effective. Comparing the characteristics of the more memorable ads, he finds that “although many of the most-noted ads invited readers to play videos or pull up websites, it turned out that many were just as static as in print.”
“Placement and exclusivity seemed to be at least as important. Ad positions in the first 10 pages of a tablet issue performed particularly well. And ads that had some or all of the issue to themselves climbed to the top of the rankings,” says Galin, citing figures from the recent GfK MRI Starch Advertising Research report.
For example, a static ad for Neutrogena in Self was among the highest ranked in the study. Clearly it wasn’t from its clever digital interactive capabilities – it had none – but more likely from its front-of-magazine placement.
And while Cadillac pulled out all the stops in its fully interactive and memorable XTS ad, it was the only ad in the tablet version of Motor Trend’s June issue. Would it have had as much appeal among a host of other ads? Hard to know.
It’s tempting to pull out all the stops when dealing with any kind of new technology. Just as print designers must edit their choices, so too should digital designers curb their enthusiasm for overload. As the saying goes, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.