To Move or Not To Move: Should I use static or motion in programmatic ad creative?

by | Oct 3, 2022

In the last handful of years, HTML5 has taken over GIFs and Flash (R.I.P.) as the industry standard for rich media programmatic advertising. And while clickthrough rates for HTML5 banner ads are generally higher, there’s still a time and place for the standard static ad, especially when viewing it through a purely creative lens.

Where to start

While planning a campaign, ask yourself three key questions to determine the type of creative that will be successful:

  • What’s my budget and timeline? Usually money is the bottom line, but keep in mind what kind of timeline you’re looking at, as well. Is this a timely, quick-turnaround campaign, or do you have wiggle room for longer execution?
  • What’s my messaging? The length of messaging is a key factor in successful creative. Are you driving a simple, to-the-point CTA, or are you telling a full narrative of your brand?
  • What’s the campaign objective? This is important in any advertising, but especially when you’re fighting for attention online. Figure out what success looks like for this specific campaign. Is it clicks? Purchases? Brand awareness?

Once you have those questions answered, you can start comparing and prioritizing the key benefits of each.

Benefits of static ads

Use of resources: If you’re looking for cheap and/or quick ads, static is the best route. Static ads simply take less resources to produce, which means a campaign could be up and running much faster (and cheaper). The quick turnaround and lower price point could also leave room in your budget for additional ad sets, placements, or testing.

Message simplicity: Static ads are extremely effective if your campaign messaging consists of a strong, simple CTA or statement. Unlike HTML5 ads, where a user might start paying attention to the ad in the middle of a message, static banners are extremely clear the entirety of the view. An eye-catching image, short line of copy, and CTA button are key — the combo provides instant communication and simplicity in messaging.

Benefits of HTML5 ads

Dynamic nature: Simply put, movement catches attention and eyeballs. With increasingly shorter attention spans on screens, HTML5 ads incorporate motion to grab and hold viewers’ attention. They also offer the potential to integrate user interaction (hovers, clicking to change photos, etc.), lengthening that hold and time the user spends with the ad and the brand. Due to that interactivity, HTML5 ads also offer more data tracking variables, as well.

Storytelling ability: Unlike static ads, HTML5 ads are not limited by space. While keeping messaging as short and simple as possible should always be the goal, motion offers the ability to transition through various lines of text and visuals. This is perfect for brands trying to tell a story or explain a product to a new audience.

Bottom line

If you’re under any budget constraints, short on time, or really trying to reinforce a simple message, static ads are the way to go. Otherwise, embrace the potential of motion with HTML5 ads.

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