5 Tools That Might Juice Your Online Video Ads

Summary: Video remains the most promising ad format for publishers hoping to improve their ad returns. The industry is still in early stages but here are five winners of a contest to make video ads more interactive.

Website owners drool at the prospect of TV ad dollars pouring into online video. The medium, which is growing rapidly and commands prices far above the sickly display ad market, also offers advertisers a chance to interact with viewers in a way they can’t do through TV.
To spur interest in new video ad formats, the Interactive Advertising Bureau on Monday announced five winners in a contest called “Rising Stars” that is intended to create standards for the emerging industry. The idea of the contest is also to facilitate large-scale video ad-buying through the creation of interactive formats that are “built to work on a range of video players across multiple devices.”
Here’s a short summary of the contest winners along with my quick thoughts:
Ad Control Bar: an interactive tool bar that sits in the ad, inviting viewers to interact (good idea — provided ad makers can come up with reasons for people to interact with an ad in the first place)
Filmstrip (shown at right): a “scrollable, multipanel, horizontal” ad unit that can be stuffed with ad content (is this content overload for someone already trying to watch a video?)Filmstrip screenshot
Extender: invites viewers to watch a longer version of the ad (not a bad idea but sounds like wishful thinking that viewers will use it)
TimeSync: a way to insert rich media at the right time in order to invite “interaction at the most appropriate moments”; a visual display of TimeSync shows an American Apparel ad appearing when hands clasp in a Bruno Mars video (this idea of context sensitive ads within a video is impressive but can it work in practice?)
FullScreen: a viewer who clicks will see screen taken over with “a full canvas of interaction possibilities, including more video, social and catalogs” (this sounds intrusive but could be valuable to an advertiser who gets it right).
The IAB only provided short descriptions of the winners so it’s unclear when (or if) these tools will get adopted by ad buyers. The potential seems enormous, however, as a recent report says online ad impressions grew 52 percent in the last quarter of 2012.
The contest winners included a broad spectrum of media and ad tech partners, including CBS Interactive, Microsoft, DoubleClick and Tremor Video.


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