March 1, 2011, 11:33 AM

Consumers respond to videos in ads, a Unicast survey suggests

For the fourth straight quarter, ads featuring videos are the best at engaging shoppers.

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Nothing works quite as well as video at luring consumers to interact with an online ad, suggests a new report by rich media and video ad server and service provider Unicast.

The report, “Unicast U.S. Analytics Benchmark Report Q4 2010,” found that the ad formats with interactive elements, such as videos and 360-degree spin, were the most likely to lure consumers to engage .

In-stream branded canvas ad formats, which feature video players that play a video before a consumer views something else­­­­—for instance, a YouTube clip—had the best interaction rate in the fourth quarter, 14.7%, along with a click-through rate of 0.8%. Unicast defines the interaction rate as the total number of positive user interactions divided by the total number of rich media impressions.

Pushdown ads, which display an ad when a consumer touches a banner with his mouse, had an interaction rate of 13.2% and a click-through rate of 0.3%. Expandable ads, which, like pushdown ads, expand when a consumer mouses over a smaller ad, were next at 9.5%

Because of that success, the number of interactive ads is likely to grow, says Dan Berra, vice president of business intelligence for Unicast. “The market opportunity of online video is extensive and we haven’t even begun to tap into its full potential,” he says.

However, the most effective ads at driving consumers to click through to the advertiser’s page were transitional ads, which are ads that a shopper sees after he clicks on a link before being transferred to his desired page. The second-best click-through rate comes from wallpaper ads, the static images behind a web site’s content.

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