Bidding The Data Points For The New Video Ad Selector Format – a.k.a. Forcing The Click For Brands

VideoPublicis VivaKi’s Pool efforts appear to be paying off.

ClickZ’s Jack Marshall reports that Google’s YouTube will add VivaKi’s Pool video ad format, known as the “ASq video advertising unit”, and joins Hulu, AOL, and Yahoo which had already announced adoption of the format in August. VivaKi’s video ad methodology allows consumers to select their own ads in return for seeing the content they really want to see. Read more.

This news follows up Google’s own announcements at the IAB MIXX event the day before and Google’s prediction that cost-per-view model video ads will achieve a 50% adoption rate by 2015.

So, what’s the implication for advertisers whether they are targeting with cookies, RTB-style, or not?

Assuming all the ads are the same length, from here, it seems that three key elements will drive performance and be important data points for understanding and targeting users who are about to select an ad they like best:

  • Creative – Does this ad look visually compelling to the user? For humans making the creative, the data-driven video ad industry should be a fascinating goldmine that looks at user engagement with the constant circus of an A/B/C test.
  • Brand – Does the user recognize the brand and do they like it (affinity)? This is why brand dollars should like the video ad selector.. brands should win often as they are recognizeable. Of course, if there creative and brand isn’t compelling – the user may be going elsewhere.
  • History – Has the user seen an ad before? In one way, this is simple “frequency capping.” If the user has seen another ad and the current ad extends the conversation of the first ad – that works. “Recency” is in here as well meaning: when has the user seen the ad?… today or in this user session?

And then, overlay these three bullets with competition.

What is striking is the increased power of the brand in a competitive format. Normally, top-of-funnel brand ads are driving awareness and are seen, but not clicked. Here the user is “forced” to click to see the content they really want to see. Brand and direct response advertising continue to merge in this new data-driven world of online advertising.

It would follow that a brand for which a user has affinity may be a key driver in the selection process. Hey those VivaKi people know what they’re doing! Brand dollars right this way. This echoes Solve Media‘s recent product launch announcement around display ads in CAPTCHA as marketers and publishers force engagement with the end user to pay for content and drive ROI.

Warning, Will Robinson!

If you can force engagement, there are payoffs for publisher and advertiser. But … warning.. if you force engagement and the payoff is week or non-existent, then double (triple? who knows) the negative effect to your brand, product or website in comparison to passive display or skippable video ads.

By John Ebbert

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