What is Rich Media?

Rich media ads generally look similar to standard display ads. They are often packaged in the same standard sizes; rich media ads can come in the form of a 728×90 leaderboard or a 300×250 rectangle.

However, when they are served there are more possibilities for engagement than simply a click-through by visitors. For example, rich media ads may allow for a video to start playing when a user clicks a certain section or may expand to provide more information based on user action.

Rich Media Examples

Below is an example of a rich media 300×250 rectangle. Note the “Click to Expand” button that appears within the ad:

Example of Rich Media Ad

When this button is clicked, the ad expands to the right. A video with sound also begins playing within the ad (see also the entry on expandable ads). This ad has two examples of user-initiated interactivity: an expansion to the left and a video embedded within the ad.

Example of Expanded Rich Media Ad

Another common use of rich media involves an ad unit expanding to take over the screen if users hover on the ad for a long enough period of time (generally a few seconds). Here’s how this looks while the user is hovering (click on ad to see a more dynamic demonstration):

Example of Expanding Rich MediaOnce that hover has lasted for a few seconds, the ad expands to take over the entire screen.

Again, this high impact takeover is being driven by the user interaction; it only occurs if the mouse remains hovered over the ad for a specified amount of time:

Example of Expanded Rich Media Ad Unit

For many more examples of rich media ads, see the link to Google’s gallery full of samples in the Resources section below.

Measuring Rich Media

Many rich media ads will allow more in-depth interaction. Whereas most standard text and display ads simply direct visitors to a landing page, rich media ads may be capable of delivering additional information without sending visitors to a third party site.

Advertisers and agencies who use rich media will often measure the success of these campaigns by a metric called engagement rate. Because the advertiser can accomplish their objective without getting visitors to click through to a site, simply measuring the CTR of an ad won’t tell the whole story.

If you’re a publisher who is selling directly to advertisers, you have a couple decisions to make regarding rich media.

The first is whether or not you want to allow rich media ads to appear on your site. For the vast majority of publishers, there is no reason to prohibit rich media. Though the high impact ads can be a bit intrusive, rich media ads only expand via user interaction (meaning that unwanted expansions generally won’t occur).

Implementing rich media ads typically doesn’t require any additional work; in most cases, publishers wouldn’t know whether the third party tags they receive are rich media enabled or not. However, because of the increased value to advertisers there may be an opportunity to charge more.

Many publishers will give advertisers the option to use rich media, and require a premium to the standard non-rich media rates. Below is an example of this; note at the bottom of the rate card the additional fee for rich media:

Example of a Rich Media Premium

The benefits of using rich media ads

There are many benefits you can get by using rich media ads. 

  • Better Revenue

As you might noticed, rich media ads possess the characteristics of delivering high CTRs and CPMs since the ads are highly engaging and provide better brand recall.

  • Attain High Interaction Rate

With interactive ads like rich media, you can attain a high interaction rate, better measurability, and scalability with in-depth metrics.

  • Worth Of Effort 

Rich media might require a significant amount of times. But it will bring great results for your ads to engage with web visitors. So it would be worth of time. 

Measurement Metrics For Publishers

Rich media come with specific metrics meant for publishers to measure the performance.

  1. Interaction rate: the percentage value of users/audiences engaging with the ad

  2. Interaction time: the average amount of time users spend engaging with the ad

  3. Display time: the average time for which the ad is displayed on the web page

  4. Dwell rate: the percentage of users seeing specific ads and engaging with those ads but through movement, but not ad click

  5. Average view time: the average length of play with the total length of play of video ads

  6. Expansion rate: the ratio of ad expansion to the total number of ad impressions

  7. View ad completions: the start and finish rate for video ads

  8. Custom events: the tracking of events like mouse hover, downloads, or others


What is rich media?

Rich media is a digital advertising term for an ad that includes advanced features that encourage viewers to interact and engage with the content. 

How are rich media ads different from other ad formats?

Rich media is different since they are ads with animation or other types of motion. While text ads sell with words and display ads sell with pictures, rich media offer more ways to involve the audience with an ad.  

Why should you use rich media?

Rich media ads are more complex and allow for greater creative freedom. Rich media uses of interactivity or multimedia to give an enhanced experience to web users. 

What are rich media ad formats?

Rich media has many variants of ad formats you can choose, those are included rich media banner ads, interstitial ads, expandable ads, pushdown ads, and media slider ads.