Interactive advertising: Is it time to engage & invest?

Future chasing advertisers are examining how interactive adverts can help boost brand awareness and get conversions. But with best practice for combating limited attention spans and multiple devices constantly changing, are interactive adverts really worth the investment?


Hyper-engagement doesn’t mean hyper-attention

We’ve entered an era of hyper-engagement. The average human attention span has dwindled down to less than that of a goldfish and one screen is no longer enough to occupy our wondering minds. For advertisers, this is also increasing the opportunity to catch the viewer’s attention, double the screens, double the chance.

Advertising has always been at the forefront of attention grabbing innovations and now it’s moving to embrace the wave of new ultra-interactive technologies.

Industries are falling over themselves trying to cater to the needs of increasingly distracted generations, looking to transform the way they engage with their audience in order to compete with the use of multiple devices.

However, anti advertising software is readily available for desktop and mobile devices. Ad blockers, for instance, have shifted the power dynamic away from some marketers; consumers have the power to define what is interaction and what is intrusion in advertising.

While users are taking up multiple devices and using the internet more often each day, it’s not about looking for places to be seen but making those advertising spots worth your while.

Augmented reality advertising for exhibition stands

For the vast majority of brands, print and television adverts are simply too expensive to pursue, especially for SMEs. Their focus is on marketing themselves to customers and potential investors through exhibition stands at market fairs and trade shows.

These are highly competitive environments where audiences are actively looking to be engaged by a range of branded marketing techniques. Trade show curators continue to champion inclusion of cutting edge interactive technologies in exhibition stands, as it enables companies and audiences to enjoy a successful connection.

Exhibition stand designers at Skyline Whitespace encourage marketers to explore the possibilities of promoting audience interaction through augmented reality. These techniques involve bringing audiences into virtual contact with your products or service by syncing with phones and VR headsets. Converse, for example, used an augmented reality catalogue to invite audiences to try on shoes in virtual reality, creating a memorable experience which will strengthen audience brand familiarity and demonstrate innovation to  investors. Similarly, virtual reality production agency Rewind created an exciting interactive flight simulator experience for visitors at the Red Bull Air Race.


Mobile gaming is encouraging us to look to advertising for an experience

Smartphones are at the heart of the interactive advert revolution. A constant presence across all target audiences, marketers are increasingly anxious to exploit this route onto potential consumer radars. Maximisation of accessibility to customers is the name of the advertising game.

Already ‘Digital Out of Home’ advertising, which relies on mobile phone integration with audience on the move, is one of the fastest growing ad mediums in the world. This additional engagement can connect with people in the form of mobile games and virtual catalogues with messages that vary to suit the location, time of day or any upcoming special event.

Having the option to interact with an brand in this way may be an antidote to ad-blocker crisis that other online advertising techniques, which can be perceived as obvious or intrusive, are suffering under.

Bigger risks when interacting through the big screens

Gone are the days of arriving at the cinema 15 minutes late in order to skip the multitude of adverts before every film. Interactive adverts could transform this experience into something much more appealing and fun.

Last year, Volvo introduced an interactive cinema advert which allowed the audience to steer an onscreen car from their seats by waving their arms to the left or right. As cinemas become filled with the next generation, who expect higher levels of engagement than those before them, offering a more immersive on screen experience may become the norm.

However, this is also where advertisers risk straying into the category of intrusion, where the viewer is more irritated than engaged. In television and cinema, where the adverts are interrupting another experience and the viewers are not given a choice in the interaction, engagement might feel like a big ask.

Where there is an immediate reward, such as the interactive cinema app which offered audiences a the opportunity to win a tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream by taking part in a quiz, involvement may feel justified and become an accepted part of the wider cinema experience.

While these methods of interactive advertising vary, they each offer separate avenues for brands to engage with users. The core of each, and how businesses can decide which to use, should be based on whether they want to integrate with a user’s day, sneak into their lives with gaming or be part of a bigger experience.