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Will Mazda?s 3D mobile ad spare the banner from execution?

A Mazda mobile car advertisement that leverages three-dimensional technology to bring the vehicle to life may be what the beleaguered Web banner needs to silence claims that it is past its prime and should be placed on the scrap heap.

The Cxense-developed technology, which uses standard Web technology and works with any browser across mobile and desktop devices, uses an optical illusion to create an image that seemingly stands out from a Web page. Already putting up impressive engagement results, the 3D ad technology could rejuvenate the banner ad amid criticism that its time is done and that more creative display advertising solutions are what marketers need to engage consumers on mobile.

?It isn?t easy for car companies to be heard (or seen) in the mobile world,? said Roger Lanctot, associate director, global automotive practice, for Strategy Analytics, Newton, MA. ?It looks like a clever way for Mazda to stand out ? pun intended.  

?More impressive would be integrating the technology into the vehicle?s dashboard via 3D navigation or a head up display,? he said. ?We?ll have to wait for that.?

Standing out
Cxense?s so-called parallax effect creates an optical illusion that makes an image move out from a Web page. The campaign is run as any other banner ad campaign. 

Opening possibilities for 3D.

?The 3D ad solution uses just plain ol' HTML and saves the users from heavy Flash usage, which certainly goes down well on mobile platforms,? said Lauren Pedersen, vice president of global marketing for Cxense. ?By scrolling or even just tilting a mobile phone, the 3D ad can move and rotate ? it really looks pretty amazing.?

Three-dimensional ads are available from Cxense through the Cxense Advertising product suite. Using and displaying 3D ads is possible on any mobile and Web site through the use of ad tags either from the Cxense Advertising suite running on the site, or through media agencies that license Cxense technology and utilize third party ad tags.
Any agency familiar with 3D programs such as Modo and Blender can create the 3D image output required. 

A 2014 Sizmek report revealed that average click-through rates for standard banner ads in the United States fell from 0.1 percent to 0.08 percent, while flash rich media click-through rates rose from 0.14 to 0.25 percent. 

Embedding creative media rather than stagnant display ads in a mobile site is much more likely to yield higher user retention rates, as the consumer can touch, tap and swipe through the interactive advertisement.

Creative consumer interactions also are more likely to result in word-of-mouth engagement. If an ad happens to have a social media element for sharing, the brand?s storytelling platform has the opportunity to reach even wider audiences, with its value and interest corroborated by the user that shared it among his or her social circles.

The Mazda 3D ad technology hits back at critics? claims that banner ads on mobile applications should be ditched.

?We see terrific effect of this banner ad when it is deployed,? Ms. Pedersen said.  ?The effect may actually be even cooler on a mobile platform, since we can use the accelerometers of the device to make the parallax effect even stronger. 

?This is specifically interesting for those brands who have products that readers become curious to examine closely, like peeking around a car by tilting the phone,? she said. ?So, yes, we do see that banner ads can, once again, grab and hold the attention of the reader.?
Cxense licenses software such as the Cxense Data Management Platform and Cxense Advertising solutions which allow media and e-commerce companies to segment their audience and target content and ads. Its 3D offering is a unique feature of the Cxense Advertising products.
So far, the technology is making a strong impact, in product-engagement terms.

?The effect is very strong,? Ms. Pedersen said. ?Results have been strong, much better than the average banner ad. We see click-through-rate of 4.5 times the industry average, and that is even before the Cxense DMP has been targeting the ads, which would raise the CTR even further.?
Norwegian distribution
Working with Cxense and the Danish creative agency Halbye Kaag, the 3D models were turned into 3D parallax advertisements. The resulting ads will be distributed across Amedia sites in Norway, reaching hundreds of thousands of readers throughout the country.
Bringing life back to the banner.

?The Cxense technology can be licensed by publishers or agencies to run 3D ad campaigns or alternatively by e-commerce companies and brands who want to show off products in 3D on their own Web sites,? Ms. Pedersen said. ?There is a wide potential for use of this technology ? imagine the incredible visuals that luxury brands, movie promoters or even furniture manufacturers could develop. 

?We also think this type of display ad engages users without annoying them or disrupting the user experience ? so it is a win-win for all involved,? she said.

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York