Detroit automakers and their rivals are the nation’s biggest users of so-called ‘rich media’ online ad technologies, according to new research from Nielsen/NetRatings AdRelevance.

Rich media advertising uses a range of software to offer more audio, visual and interactive features than can be contained in a normal banner ad.

Auto marketers – manufacturers, dealers and internet vendors – used rich media in 37.4% of their online advertising during the second quarter of 2002. Ford Motor Company did so most in this category, especially for its Expedition model.

By contrast, the other twelve categories in the survey – entertainment, business-to-business, consumer packaged goods, financial services, hardware/electronics, health, public services, retail, software, telecom, travel and online media – employed such features in only 3.9% of internet ads.

Retail and financial services came last in the survey, while use of rich media was a surprisingly low 9% among entertainment firms.

For technology buffs, the most used format by auto groups was generic Flash, employed in 84% of rich media ads, while 14% used Eyeblaster and 2% utilized other software.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff