It seems that Google is updating its policies, interface and features each and every week! Just as you might get your head around one particular feature, they go and update it to improve targeting, responsiveness or creativity. In this instance, Google’s update to their engagement display ad format (Lightbox ads) is no exception! Things are moving fast surrounding their AdGallery ad formats and Lightbox ads are a new twist on an old (and largely under-utilised) favourite.
Lightbox ads have the potential to be pretty incredible. If used in the right way, Lightbox ads can be an exceptionally cheap and effective way to build brand awareness, product engagement, drive action and ultimately build loyalty to your brand or product.
Have I got you hooked? Want to know what these Lightbox ads are all about?
Well here it is, Lightbox ads are an ad format set up on the Google display network. In essence, they look exactly like a standard display ad (or banner ad). They appear in the same locations that you’d expect to see banner ads, the only difference is, and they’re interactive.
Lightbox ads allow you to present rich media content to your target audience allowing them to engage with your content before they make the decision to act on the call to action. The ad format allows you to embed a video, game or other piece of creative content into any standard ad size which expands to full screen of any device once hovered over. Once your user hovers their mouse over the ad for more than two seconds, the ad will expand and that is where the fun begins!
How to use Lightbox Ads
Lightbox ads allow for multiple formats within the single expandable advert. The format gives you a number of ‘screens’ in which you can embed or upload content and allows your ad viewers to scroll through the content and engage with each screen individually. What this means is that you can embed an auto play video into the home screen within the ad and a series of images within the other screens which you can scroll through. This allows you to showcase products with billboard style image ads which can build awareness around your products.
On the other hand you could create an embeddable digital catalogue, allowing anyone who hovers over your ad to expand the content, scroll through the catalogue and find the items which grab their attention.
Alternatively, you can create a series of videos that your users can scroll through, almost like a directory of video content. If your videos are embedded through YouTube, the views within the ads will count towards your video views in YouTube.
It’s exceptionally cool and allows you to take all of your targeted ads to a whole other level. In my experience, depending on your marketing objectives, Lightbox ads work well targeting the display network. On the display network they work to build awareness for your offering and engage new customers. However, when used as a remarketing ad… it goes to a whole new level.
In doing this, it’s important to set your remarketing lists up to specifically target an action which you can encourage through engagement. For example, let’s say you’re an online clothing store and you’re getting a lot of people abandoning a cart full of goods. You could remarket to these people with Lightbox ads including catalogue specials with in built, interactive image ads. Imagine remarketing with images which display your product on models (to show people how the clothes could be worn) as well as using engaging video content which will draw people in and reinforce your brand for the future. It’s a double-whammy and if targeted well will certainly make people remember you, if not come back to your site to make the purchase they previously forgot about.
If set up well, it has the potential to be huge for your business, and realistically is only limited by how creative you can be. This is an example from: http://www.richmediagallery.com/detailPage?id=8063 and is not a real business, it’s purely set up by Google to show how it can work…
Have you been using Lightbox ads? I’d love to know what you think of them!