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Interactive Advertising Agencies

Discover how interactive advertising agencies operate and how to hire an agency.

Interactive advertising agencies create ad campaigns that engage consumers. [© Jupiter Images, 2009]
© Jupiter Images, 2009
Interactive advertising agencies create ad campaigns that engage consumers.

Interactive advertising agencies design advertising campaigns that allow businesses to interact with their customers. According to the Journal of Interactive Advertising, interactive advertising gives users more control over how and when they view ads from companies. In many cases, interactive advertising doesn't look like traditional advertising at all. These advertisements are meant to entertain users and encourage them to participate in the ad campaign.

How Interactive Advertising Works

In the past, advertisers have controlled when and where consumers see their advertisements. For example, television viewers could not avoid commercial breaks. Newer technologies, such as the Internet, are giving this power back to the consumer. For example, consumers are able to choose whether or not to click on Internet ads and DVR recording allows a viewer to fast-forward through television commercials.

Forms of interactive advertising include banner advertisements, branded games, online quizzes, and advertisements on social network sites like Facebook or MySpace, that allow companies to advertise to a very specific demographic.

Interactive advertising encourages consumers to actively participate. A well-known example of interactive advertising is McDonald's Monopoly Game, a campaign created by Leo Burnett. In this campaign, customers receive game pieces when they purchase certain products at McDonald's. An individual must then enter the game codes into the Web site to see if they are an instant winner. Customers can also collect game pieces in order to win. This annual game encourages customers to make repeat visits to McDonald's in order to collect more game pieces.

Another example is the software selection tool that Blitz Agency designed for Adobe. This is a device that helps customers determine which version of Adobe's Creative Suite 4 is the most effective for their purposes.

Hiring an Interactive Advertising Agency

The Philadelphia Business Journal writes that it's important to vet an interactive advertising agency. Some of the factors to consider include the size of the agency and the agency's level of experience. Decide ahead of time what is expected from the agency. For example, some companies expect an interactive advertising agency to collect and track customer data, and monitor the campaign's effectiveness. Others simply require an agency to complete the creative work. Be sure the agency is capable of managing all aspects of the campaign.

When seeking out interactive advertising agencies, the Interactive Advertising Bureau is a good place to start. The IAB offers a directory of members, which a company can use to search for interactive advertising agencies. This offers direct links to agency Web sites, including portfolios of previous work. Browse these portfolios to find an agency that has the right style.

Once a company has selected a few interactive advertising agencies, the company should put out a request for proposal (RFP) that details the project.

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