How Are Rich Media Ads Different from Other Ad Formats?

How Are Rich Media Ads Different from Other Ad Formats?

Rich media ads are different from other ad formats like static ads you’d see on AdWords because they are…like the name implies…richer.

How? 

Unlike these traditional digital ad formats, rich media ads are richer in terms of the content they provide, the format they work within, the engagement and personalization they offer to the viewer, and the general fact that rich media ads just have a whole lot more going on than a single static image of your product with a CTA at the bottom. 

As marketers, we are tasked with grabbing our target audience’s attention and keeping it. 

Rich media ads solve many of the issues advertisers face on-site – engagement, clickthrough, conversion – by providing almost unlimited ways to entice your inbound traffic to convert.

So what is a rich media ad and how is it different from other ads?

Rich media includes all types of non-static, non-interactive ad formats you might see on a web page – everything from banner ads to video ads to pushdown ads. If an ad has anything more dynamic than boring old pictures and copy, you’re looking at a rich media ad format.

So why use rich media ads?

The answer is brutally simple: they perform better than traditional ads, 267% better.

The reasons for the increased returns are also brutally simple: people react to dynamic ads. 

It’s no secret our brains are wired to pay attention when there is motion and movement in our line of vision, so leveraging this psychological trick is necessary to maximize your ROI and not waste money on ads needlessly hampered by an almost obsolete ad format.

Ask yourself – which type of ad is going to get your customer to engage more: a compelling video banner ad that leaps out at your target audience from the top of your landing page and explains the benefits and value of your product…or a PDP image with some text? The answer should be obvious.

Rich media ads go a long way in solving the biggest problem business owners face when marketing their product – how in the heck do you get someone to actually engage with your ad?

Understanding Ad Formats 

In the past, standard ads filled the analog space perfectly – big flashy billboards with vivid imagery and magazine spreads of products with paragraphs of copy. These types of ads solved problems that were present in the pre-digital world. 

While these traditional ad formats lived on in the digital age in the form of display ads, their usefulness online has rapidly declined. Not only have traditional display ads become susceptible to “banner blindness” from end users, but when compared to rich media, traditional display is simply inferior in achieving business objectives

Traditional display ads are limited to one kind of format, one style, in restrictively small sizes and formats. They don’t allow for any kind of video, expansion or pushdown or anything, and – perhaps the most limiting thing of all – they provide almost no useful data tracking besides clocking clickthrough rate. Standard display is an antiquated format, like CDs or cassette tapes.


For all these reasons, rich media ads are both the present and future of digital advertising. Rich media offers much larger file sizes, video formats, interactive elements, broad customization options and the ability to yield precise, meaningful, and actionable data from every visitor. Rich media ads are the way forward for businesses of any size.

Comparison Table

CharacteristicRich Media AdsTraditional Display Ads
File Size/Limit2.2Mb200Kb
File TypeAny media format.jpg, .gif, .png, .html
InteractivityYesNo
FormatBanner, video, lightbox, pushdown, interstitial, expanding, etc.,Static image
Tracking/DataClickthrough, impressions, views, watchtime, etc.,Clickthrough only

You can do almost anything with rich media if you have a skilled creative and coding help. Here are just a few common types.

  • Banner
  • Video 
  • Dynamic creatives – content that adapts or changes either automatically, manually or through interaction 
  • Expanding – content that expands its original dimensions as the user interacts with the hosting platform (by scrolling, for example)
  • Multi-directional expanding (MDE) – expanding ads that can grow in multiple dimensions (as opposed to expanding, which is limited to x and y axes)
  • Interstitial – rich media that fits in as a transition between sections of content 
  • Lightbox – expands creative content that grows by mouse-over or tapping
  • Push-down – creative that pushes down content when it expands due to user interaction 

You could create an interactive banner on your landing page, with eye-catching video and a quiz to quickly warm up cold leads. You could include a pushdown ad so when your audience scrolls, they’re absentmindedly engaging with your advertising. You can create ads that expand, that appear out of thin air in between categories, that flicker when you hover over it, that explode into tacos – whatever!

The pure beauty of rich media is that, given the resources, you can do almost anything you want with it. For successful businesses, that means leveraging all the advantages rich media ads can provide to get people to engage with your message – and ultimately become a customer.

The Advantages of Rich Media Ads

Rich media’s strengths, when compared to puny standard display ads, are many. Here are just a few of the massive advantages rich media ads have.

  • Better metrics → higher CTRs, higher impressions, higher conversion rates → rich media ads just plain perform better along the main engagement metrics, improving the efficiency of your advertising resources
  • More eyeballs → If you’re not using video or expandable ads or pushdown ads to add visual interest to your viewer’s world, chances are they’re just gliding right past your ad without ever seeing it. Rich media is proven to grab attention more effectively. 
  • More likely to buy → Rich media ads are more enticing and are more likely to push audiences to make the decision to buy. For example, viewers of rich media ads with video are 1.16% more likely to buy than those without.
  • More time and space → Rich media ads give you much more time and space to focus and tailor your message. Rich media ad formats allow you a better chance of getting your point across, whether it’s establishing your brand in the marketplace or convincing a hot lead to finally click through and make a purchase.
  • More data – Rich media offers more valuable information in vastly larger quantities than static ads. With static media, you really only have two or three variables to test to reach statistically relevant success, while rich media offers dozens of metrics to gauge performance. This extra data allows you to constantly re-jigger your ads to maximize efficiency so you can earn more and spend less on your ads.

The Disadvantages of Rich Media Ads

The disadvantages of rich media ads, in comparison to standard ads, are minimal. The main thing is that rich media ads require lots more work and effort to pull off. Considering they are highly complex compared to standard display ads, it makes sense!

  • Complex, involving lots of moving parts → Unlike standard display ads that are a simple image file, rich media ads are more complex, with many different creative and technical elements needed to come together. A close attention detail throughout the life cycle of the campaign is needed to make a rich media campaign work.
  • Much more work → Rich media ads require a lot more work than taking one photo and putting some text on it . You need to ideate the campaign, execute it, deploy it, then test it, see if it works, and then repeat the process again until you improve it.
  • Cost → Rich media is always going to cost more than standard display ads, just because the creative work costs so much more than slapping some quickcopy on a product still. It’s worth it, though – the returns speak for themselves.

We Can Help You Make the Right Ad for the Right Audience  

The value of rich media ads over traditional display ads cannot be overstated, but like creating a video ad or analyzing sophisticated data metrics, actually executing rich media ad campaigns requires the skill and knowledge of experts in rich media strategy, creation and deployment.

That’s where we come in – no matter your metric, we can create something that will beat your benchmark.

Whether you’re trying to improve clickthrough rates by drawing more eyes to your hero products  through a video banner or looking to simply spread brand awareness with a can’t-look-away expandable ad, we can take our robust omnichannel knowledge and experience to raise your ROAS by up to 62%!
First Media’s expertise in end-to-end content creation from initial conception through deployment gives us the unique capabilities to put together – piece by piece – a winning rich media strategy that fits your brand’s strategic and tactical needs.

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