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Interactive Advertising: Definition, Examples & Types

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Have you ever taken a survey online or watched a video for a new product? Chances are, you've been on the receiving end of interactive advertising. In this lesson, we'll explore the topic of interactive advertising.

Quick, Steal This Ad!

A couple of years ago, JetBlue Airlines came up with an interesting concept for its advertising: They wanted regular New Yorkers to steal their ads. No, really. Using the campaign titled #NYCTakeoff, the brand placed more than 150 poster-sized vouchers in bus shelters all over the city complete with text encouraging the ad viewer to peel off the ad in exchange for one of many prizes, including round-trip flights, tickets for sporting events and free ice cream.

JetBlue's innovative stunt is just one of many ways that marketers can engage with their audience through interactive advertising.

What Is Interactive Advertising?

Interactive advertising is a shift from the more traditional (and perhaps, boring) method of advertising, which relies on customers seeing and remembering a typical magazine ad or hearing about a product on the radio. Interactive advertising is about developing two-way communication between brand and customer, because the brand has developed advertising that requires the customers to react in some type of unusual way (not simply going to a store and buying the advertised item).

You're probably most accustomed to seeing the interactive nature of advertising through the medium of the internet, right? After all, you have to click on links to view content and choose to follow through on an advertisement you see on your favorite news site. Savvy marketers have determined that interactive advertising can take many different forms (like JetBlue discovered), in an effort to open up the dialogue between a business and its audience, engage them, build relationships and ultimately, convert them into customers.

Benefits and Disadvantages

Interactive advertising, like any form, has both advantages and drawbacks that marketers should consider. Among them:

Benefits

  • Gives viewers more control over their interpretation of your content
  • Proves the importance of the consumer (by asking them to respond or react in some way)
  • Opens lines of interaction and dialogue between a brand and its audience

Disadvantages

  • Can be more costly in terms of finances and time
  • Requires a clear understanding of the audience being targeted
  • Can be overshadowed by other marketing messages

Types of Interactive Advertising

So, we've seen one really outside-the-box example from JetBlue, but what are some other types of interactive advertising at marketers' fingertips?

1. Videos: Videos are a logical first place to start because they are inherently interactive. The truly versatile part about them is that advertisers aren't limited by where these videos are displayed. Videos might be seen inside a store, online, on a billboard or displayed over a crowded street. For example, chef Gordon Ramsey undertook a video display before the start of his new television show, ''The F Word,'' to promote it.

2. Social media: Social media is one of the best venues to be completely and totally interactive with your audience. The word ''social,'' after all, is right in the title! Social media is a great place to have conversations with consumers, ask for their opinions or feedback, get them to participate in contests, download free content, click links to your website and more. Best of all, your audience is there because they want to be; they've opted-in to hear what you have to say.

3. The Internet: Admittedly, citing ''the internet'' as a category of interactive advertising is about as open-ended as it gets. The vastness of the platform means that the sky is the limit for marketers and advertisers wanting to get into the online space. You might choose to incorporate a fun ''getting to know you'' quiz on your website for visitors or build engaging and compelling advertisements to run on high-traffic websites. Another great option is to incorporate a pop-up ad on your own website, which offers free content of some kind if the user submits their name and email address. Pay-per-click advertising, which lives on search engines, is another way to interact with consumers, who must click through to view your message.

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