FOX’s True[X] Brings Engagement-Based Video Ads To Messaging App Kik

TrueXkikAs more brands and publishers seek to reach millennial audiences, FOX’s video ad platform True[X] is eyeing tech like chat bots and messaging apps that are trendy with teens and 20-somethings.

In a partnership with messaging app Kik, revealed Wednesday, True[X] will begin to integrate 15-second interactive video ads that allow Kik users to exchange attention for digital goods via Kik Points – the platform’s virtual currency.

Like video ads it places on platform partners like Hulu, True[X]’s Kik ads aren’t “forced views,” like unskippable pre-roll.

“The user makes the decision when they want to allocate their time to it and we de-coupled the advertising from the content rewards sequence,” said Josh Jacobs, president of Kik Services and former global CEO of Accuen. “Instead of sidetracking the user from whatever it is they’re doing to watch a video, they’re in control.”

Kik claims it has 300 million users and that more than 40% of teens and young adults in the US use its messaging platform. That, in turn, has attracted brands seeking youth-oriented campaigns such as H&M and Sephora. Publishers like Yahoo are also working with Kik on branded chat bots.

“Since our acquisition by Fox, both Fox theatrical and broadcast have bought advertising from us to apply across our network [and drive tune-in],” said Matt Howe, VP of business development for True[X]. “Some of their movies and shows lean young and fit the demo of Kik really well.”

Although he declined to share specifics, True[X] will be responsible for fill on all of the video engagement ads on Kik at least in the beginning; there will be a standard revenue share. 

Since Kik knows a lot about its users via first-party data, that audience intel will command slightly higher rates from True[X] than it would otherwise pay to a publisher partner.

Kik says there are “downstream” benefits for brands, since it claims 30% of Kik users continue engaging with advertisers after completing a rewards-based interaction.

Beyond a one-time sticker download or interactive video ad view, advertisers want to figure out how messaging campaigns contribute to outcomes such as a sales conversion, so Kik is in the early stages of exploring ROI measurement to help determine brand lift and offline impact.

Since joining Kik a year ago last month, Jacobs believes growing brand interest in chat bots and messaging put the company in a beachhead position.

“With Gen Z, they take much more of an active participatory role in creating their own media like on Vine and Instagram, rather than being a passive recipient,” Jacobs said. “But because messaging is so personal and used so often for a specific purpose, the only way you bring brands in is to be additive and engaging.”


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