Catering TV Advertising Content to Online Campaigns

Interactive Video Ads Don't Have to Cost a Lot of Money

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Naj Kidwai
Naj Kidwai
What's the secret to making online advertising scalable and sticky with the consumer? Is it about new formats, fresh content, or catering to a different viewing experience? The answer is all of the above, but most of all, it's about an increased level of interaction.

Agencies like VivaKi have been working steadily through a long-term project, "The Pool," to test new formats, both long and short, to gauge what resonates best with the consumer in achieving maximum stickiness.

Even online-video providers are getting in on the race to find a new ad format that works: CBS's TV.com unit, Hulu's ad selector, Tremor Media's vChoice and YouTube's "choose your own ad."

All of these new formats utilize the same basic concept of letting consumers select an ad they'd like to view, then serving a linear video ad just like TV. However, this concept doesn't guarantee that the viewer actually stuck around to watch the entire ad, because the viewer isn't directly clicking as a means of navigating through the advertisement. It's not about the format; it's about delivering a new type of experience.

What advertisers are starting to realize is that although consumers may watch the same episode of "Gossip Girl" on a laptop and on TV, the degree of interaction that is possible with the episode online is much greater. The traditional 30-second TV spot that works on TV hasn't translated well into the online space because of its lack of interactivity. Online, viewers are housed in a fully branded environment where they're able to engage with the characters through quizzes and speak with other fans through forums. The CW, for example, has been able to cross-sell the other shows on its network and its website, CWTV.com. Yet, that methodology hasn't been completely translated into advertising. Online viewers are looking for a completely different experience compared with how they are watching TV at home.

The economic realities make it hard for advertisers to invest in creative that is specifically made for the online channel. Instead, they repurpose the original TV ad content but still deliver a linear ad online, rather than an interaction where the viewer is urged to be a part of the advertising experience. It's time for advertisers to put themselves in the shoes of the online viewer who is looking to be engaged in the online-viewing experience.

According to a July 2009 Forrester Research report, adults in the U.S. find ads that are less linear and more conversational in tone and format to be more effective and less disruptive. To continue to improve ad relevance, Forrester recommends marketers take a "customer-guided" approach, requesting user feedback prior to ad launch to better optimize and execute campaigns.

There are tons of ways that advertisers can splice, dice, tag and reformat TV content to deliver an interactive online-video-advertising experience that will maximize ROI, create a new channel of ad revenue and boost brand awareness without making a huge investment in the online space. Here are some technologies that are leading the way in increasing interactivity in online video while keeping costs down:

Hotspots
As the name suggests, hotspots are taking product placement to the next level by allowing viewers to interact directly with their media content. The benefit to advertisers is low to no creative costs, because previous entertainment content can become the creative advertising content. Consumers interact with the video by clicking on products and items in the videos to find out more information.

Personalized video
This method segments, tags and categorizes TV video clips based on the overall goals of the advertising campaign. Using personalized video technology, ads are tailored to a user's preferences. Instead of one generic video, you can have literally thousands of ad variations, each made specifically to resonate with each viewer.

Building brand awareness doesn't have to be expensive, but it does need to deliver an experience that won't be easily forgotten. One of the key benefits to interactive advertising is that it's highly customizable, leaving viewers with a memorable brand experience, and advertises with a better picture of how their consumers behave with their product.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Naj Kidwai is CEO of Real Time Content, a leading provider of personalized video ad technology based in New York City. He can be reached via e-mail at nkidwai@realtimecontent.com.
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