There is an evolution happening in the rich media space. Don't know what it is? Think rich media is stale or played out? In many ways, we do too! But, the truth is, the evolution is happening less outside of the banner and more inside of the platform. The old days are slowly fading and modern technology is prevailing, as more and more companies are launching every year offering advertisers a quick way to build dynamic, templated solutions that help us launch campaigns without having to do much work.
Like you, we used to dread banner campaigns, between the k-size limitations, revisions, different platform specs, and ridiculous lingo you had to learn. We thought it was torture to launch a campaign and we were in the business. But after learning some great tips along the way, we found that banners were not in fact the digital devil. Even if this isn't your first rodeo, a few things might make your life easier if you just stop, drop and slow down. So if you are going at it old school, below are a few simple points people sometimes forget when launching a banner campaign.
Don't sell something that can't be done.
There's nothing worse than selling a great banner to a client only to discover that it can't be built. 40k isn't much. Looks are deceiving. Even the simplest looking banners might not be under 40k. Have a developer review designs well before your client presentation to plan accordingly. (We can't believe the 40k limitation still exists, but more on that later.)
Where is your banner going to live?
Ask the media planner to provide or at least confirm current live examples of the banner placements. Spend some time surveying the neighborhood. Especially with custom units, check the site a few times a week to see how the space was being used before your launch. Seeing a unit and how it expands or interacts with accompanying units in context makes a huge difference. Knowing this will help determine if different messaging or animation should occur in some of your units.
Tedious, but vital: track copy changes.
Although easy to execute, copy changes can get tedious and be revised all the way to launch. Don't let a tiny misspelled word be the Achilles' heel of a clean banner campaign launch. Use a copy deck. Date and track versions of the copy deck. Have client's review and approve copy changes in the copy deck.
K-size limitation – confirm, confirm, confirm.
Site specifications are always changing and the media plan for a campaign can be in constant flux. It's best to stay on top of both to insure that the banners you are building meet the requirements.
Yes, "design lock" should mean design lock, but ask your client what elements, if any, have potential to change after design is "locked." It's never ideal, but seemingly inevitable. When there are multiple voices shaping decisions, there are a few that linger, continue to be pondered and discussed. Even though elements are approved, getting an understanding of what could change will help you keep your resources nimble to react.
It's going to be OK.
No banner is an island. There are a bunch of hands in the mix, between the creative team, developers, media planners, rich media vendors and of course, the client. Use the kick-off call as an opportunity to create an alliance among your banner family. Encourage everyone to keep communication open, especially if anything is running late. Ask what can be done on your part to make what happens before and after your role smoother for the other vendors.
Don't let the system get you down. Make the system work for you. More on Dynamic Platforms next time.
AJ Vernet is Founder and CEO of Rey Interactive, which is a Los Angeles and New York based digital and video production company positioned to partner with agencies, creative firms, publishers and brands as a scalable and seamless production resource. AJ can be reached at email@example.com.
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