Made a new contact on twitter today (@OPENtwit) who opened my eyes to a new rich media display online advertising banner format. It is called an IMU format – an Intelligent Media Unit. Joshua Rex is the founder of an agency in London, This Is Open, who are creating these IMU banner formats.

Intelligent Media Unit - rich media display video streaming banner ad format

Johnny Walker example of Intelligent Media Unit - rich media display video streaming banner ad format

First impression is that the banners are very busy. There are a lot of buttons and icons to allow the user to share, interact, switch content, play a game, watch in full screen, visit the homepage and more. A couple of examples I saw (Johnny Walker and Duplo Lego) had 3 windows within a standard 300×250 Med Rec ad format. One is a text content window, the other two have video streaming – they’re user initiated, which I personally prefer.

Via twitter, I asked Joshua what the CTR% was like. I imagine that the interaction rates are impressive but I wondered if the busy nature of the banner fragmented the call to action. Joshua advised me “it’s not about CTR – all the content and exp is available in the banner..” – this makes sense and aligns with much of my own experience and what I’m hearing/ reading in the industry – that online video streaming banner advertising must be viewed as brand advertising.

It goes without saying (for a digital marketer) that if we try to compare video premium CPM (cost per thousand ad impressions) media buy costs against standard banner formats or acquisition and performance networks, where you’re paying only on a low CPM or more often these days, a cost per click (CPC) or cost per acquisition (CPA), you’re going to lose. Video will look exorbitantly expensive and with a low ROI. You need to consider multiple factors, like:

– were there increased post view visits or conversions on your website?
– what is the value of the positive brand experience that the user had with your IMU ad?
– was the video/ ad campaign shared via social media (Facebook in the example above)? This can be tracked by social media mentions.
– are people talking about your campaign and the ad? I guess that’s kind of like the above, sharing. But the things we share online, we often discuss with friends over food or wine as well.

So, having never experienced these IMU formats in a professional capacity, and not having bought them, I cannot give you advice on whether or not you should test it. But they look pretty cool and if you have some budget to burn and your primary marketing objective right now is brand awareness, i don’t think it would hurt. It will be a great test either way.

And if you can’t find anyone in Australia who knows how to build them, perhaps you can contact This Is Open in London, tell Josh Rex that I sent you.