How the Cartier Exhibition Deploys Larger Ad Units

“Cartier. Le style et l’histoire”, recently held at the Grand Palais in Paris, is the first exhibition of this scale to be held in Paris by the “Jeweler to Kings” in a quarter century.

The exhibition featured extraordinary jewelry, bejeweled accessories and timepieces, including the diamond “Halo” tiara, which was created by Cartier in 1936 for the British royal family, and worn by Kate Middleton for her wedding to Prince William.

I want to share one takeaway: Cartier’s use of a 300×600 online ad unit to promote this exhibition.

I have used this larger ad format for my clients’ shows, and have been impressed with the results across multiple metrics: click-through rates (CTR), interaction rates and expansion rates. I have seen CTR deltas six times the average for standard banners on my clients’ best performing 300×600 creative assets.

(Want to see how your creative assets perform vs. the industry, and how various ad sizes and formats perform relative to one another? Check out Google’s Display Benchmarks tool.)

The 300×600 format stands out, offers a richer visual canvas and is ideal for rich media and video, but you also need to consider the following:

• There is far less ad inventory available for 300x600s than for the “Big 3″ (i.e., 300×250, 728×90 and 160×600) formats, which means you need to consider if you can achieve the scale you want with this format against your target audiences.

• I have seen wide variances in key performance indicators (KPI) within the 300×600 format for different clients’ creative for the simple reason that there are multiple variables which affect it (creative, context, offer, etc.). Ad size plays just one part so, while average CTRs are higher for 300 x 600s than for the “Big 3,″ that does not mean it is an automatic ROI booster for you.

Why? See the next point.

• 300x600s cost more and cost differentials can be significant vs. the “Big 3,″ so you need to decide if the lift you get in your target KPIs justifies the increased cost. You also need to factor in reduction in frequency. For instance, given the same budget, if you are spending more on each ad, you won’t be able to run as many.

If you are searching for new ways to boost results from your online advertising, think beyond the “Big 3″ and optimize your portfolio of creative assets by testing some of today’s larger formats, but don’t forget to factor in the considerations listed above.

Cristopher Levy runs Encore Media Partners, an audience strategy, marketing and media buying agency, which specializes in “live” exhibitions and events. Connect with him on LinkedIn or at

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