Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Non-Intrusive Relevancy. A New Prototype.

There's an interesting VOD platform that is now up and running in the Midwest.

I'm biased about this platform as I helped to develop it.

It looks like this.



If you look across the bottom of the screen, you'll see three options: View Now, Cancel, and what is called an Ad Badge. The Ad Badge reads "The Story of the 50 Foot Gimme", with the Titleist logo next to it. When a viewer clicks on this Ad Badge, it immediately takes them to a story about a 50 foot gimme. The viewer can stop watching the story whenever they tire of it. Or, they can watch the whole thing if they find it interesting.

The viewing decision, after all, is entirely in their control.

But perhaps the most unique aspect of this platform is that it allows advertisers to target programming content (in this case, "The Perfect Golf Swing" on Sportskool), without being intrusive to the programming content itself.

In other words, the platform doesn't just offer relevancy, but non-intrusive relevancy.

Now your first reaction might be something along the lines of, "Yeah, right. But who is ever going to opt-in to watch an ad on their own volition?"

And the only correct answer is - those who are interested in what the ad has to say.

As you see, the Ad Badge indicates the type of message that the viewer can expect to see when they click on it. If the commercial doesn't disappoint those expectations, and if it's entertaining and involving and intriguing in how it presents the story, then, chances are, viewers will stay.

What we have found out in the initial trials is that viewers don't mind investing time if they control the time invested. This platform was designed to give viewers complete control.

But back to the question as to how many are going to opt-in in the first place? In total, not many. The reason is the niche aspect of the program itself.

As you can see, it's a golf show. So only golfers would have any interest in navigating to this program in the first place.

Obviously, this reduces the size of the potential viewing audience considerably.

That said, it also reduces waste on the part of the advertiser. After all, Titleist really only wants to talk to golfers. This platform offers them the opportunity to do just that.

So while it wasn't surprising that the total number of viewers was low, what was surprising was that the percentage of viewers opting into the ads was high. The average opt-in rate to Ad Badges across programs was 18%. Some programs had up to 59% of the viewers who came to program opting-in to the Ad Badge.

The other interesting aspect of the platform is that it accurately measures how long viewers are engaged or involved in the ad. In other words, once interested viewers clicked-in, how long did they stay?

Allowing viewers to initiate the interaction with the commercial gives a definitive starting point and a more accurate measure of engagement than what is available through current pre-roll, mid-roll or post-roll options.

Why is this important?

With niche programming, the total number of viewers and/or impressions will always be smaller than what traditional media models consider to be worthwhile. So there needs to be another way to offer value to advertisers outside of impressions.

Measuring time spent offers advertisers a way to optimize their creative product. They will know when viewers stopped watching and can adjust the creative before increasing the distribution across other platforms.

That said, just measuring time spent isn't enough anymore.

Advertisers are looking for ways to use the time spent data. So in addition to measuring time spent, this platform is also introducing a way to monetize it.

By monetizing time spent, advertisers have the opportunity to pay their creative agency based on how well the creative actually involves those who choose to watch it.

In other words, it offers advertisers creative accountability.

The name of the platform?

Ingage.

More results are available for those who are interested.

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