Engagement Ads and why they should be part of your display strategy

We live in a world where advertising is everywhere. Our TV screens, magazines, streets and especially the digital environment are filled with it. So how do we break through the information overload, data smog and cyber clutter? How can we connect with our customers and get them to connect with our brand? Thanks to Google we now have Engagement Ads, and according to them users are 10 times more likely to engage in these types of ads than normal GDN banners. Engagement Ads, also known as rich media ads, are similar to your standard display ads but they are far more interactive! These ad formats give the user a choice whether they want to engage or not. The user sees an ad but has the choice to open/expand it by simply hovering over it for two seconds. This eliminates accidental clicks and will improve your click-through rate dramatically. Advertisers can also save money as they are only charged once the ad has expanded. It is important to remember that clicks are now ‘engagements’ and the CTR is, in fact, the engagement rate. This means that instead of using the cost per click (CPC) pricing model engagement ads use cost per engagement (CPE).


Hover-To-Play: Appears like a standard banner but expands to show a rich media video with sounds and motions. The creative can expand in two sizes 300×250 and 336×280. Lightbox: Also appears as a standard banner but expands to almost full screen take over. There are three types of Lightbox ads:

• Standard – starts with Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) sizes and expands to 900×400

• Masterhead – making use of your YouTube master head and using that to reach and impact in lightbox format.

• Catalog – Online Digital catalogues that, through the use of annotations, can deep link directly to your specific destination URLs on your website.


Private Property (one of the first companies in South Africa to implement Lightbox catalogues and Hover-To-Play engagement ads) used these ads as a platform for generating brand awareness for their latest “Where do you want to live” competition, where people had to vote for their favourite city or where they would like to live. This campaign proved to be a great success, with extremely high interaction rates and generated increased volumes of traffic to Private Property’s site with sessions growing by 9% and users by 7%.So the question remains, should we make engagement advertising part of our display strategy? The answer depends on what your ultimate goal is. We are not saying dismiss GDN banners all together, as they are the driving force in your reach and unique views. But, ultimately, if interaction with your brand is your end goal, you can’t go wrong with Google’s Engagement Ads.

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