Archive for the ‘Best Campaign Practices’ category

Pre-roll Video Advertising Industry Standards Approved

January 8, 2009

new-iab-logoRealizing the need to have standards approved by all industry stake holders, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) formed the IAB’s Digital Video Committee (DVC) in October 2007. In the past 15 months, the IAB’s DVC has written and has submitted 4 major standard initiatives that have been approved for preroll video advertising. Any standard developed by the IAB must go through a public comment phase in order to allow non-IAB members, non-Committee members, agencies (American Association of Advertising Agencies / 4A’s), advertisers (The Association of National Advertisers / ANA), etc a chance to review before it becomes a full standard.

With the standards now approved and in place, marketers and agency buyers can include preroll video advertising in their media plans and have accountability just as they would for traditional media. Preroll video advertising can now be evaluated on an apples to apples basis with television on both a national and local level.

When compared to television advertising, all preroll video advertising purchased through SpotXchange will give the buyer much more accountability in the following metrics:
1) how many unique viewers were reached
2) frequency capping for each piece of creative by viewer
3) real time optimization by creative by site based on ad playrate, ctr and conversions
4) re-targeting viewers based on their interaction or lack of interaction with the ad
5) target in-market buyers for auto’s, home goods, consumer electronics and many more product categories.

As a contributing member of the IAB’s DVC, SpotXchange would be happy to review all standards with you and answer any questions you may have. Here are brief descriptions for each of the 4 major standard initiatives and links to the full document.

1) A Digital Video Advertising Overview
This document serves as a high level introduction to the digital video ecosystem and defines in-stream(pre-roll), in-banner and in-text ad units.

2) Digital Video In-Stream Ad Format Guidelines and Best Practices
This document defines the creative sizes and advertising specs that video sites can offer advertisers. These guidelines simplify operational aspects of creating and delivering pre-roll ads.

3) Digital Video In-Stream Ad Metrics Definitions
This document defines additional non-currency in-stream metrics such as playrate and completion rate for all sites. This will allow buyers to receive common reporting metrics from multiple media partners that are consistent.

4) Digital Video Ad Serving Template (VAST)
VAST establishes a standard way for ad servers to respond to video player ad requests. VAST supports linear video ads, non-linear overlay ads, and companion banners, thus matching the formats specification previously released.

Happy New Year to you!


AdAge: Most Say Ads a ‘Reasonable’ Cost of Free Online Video

July 23, 2008

AdAge covered an interesting study on the acceptance of ad-supported online video content.

I am interested to know if acceptance would change if survey respondents were asked specifically about retail sites who produce informational videos (WineLibraryTV comes to mind–note: I’m just using the show as an example as I’ve never seen an ad on any episode I’ve watched). For me, I would still watch Gary Vaynerchuck’s wild tastings. He’s so entertaining, I’d take an ad–even two! But, a host that wasn’t so engaging…I’d probably go another direction.

Here’s the article,

Most Say Ads a ‘Reasonable’ Cost of Free Online Video

Survey: Viewers Most Amenable to Ads in TV Shows, Movies but Not Amateur Video
By Megan McIlroy

Published: July 17, 2008

NEW YORK ( — Good news for the growing number of ad-supported video services popping up online: The majority of digital video consumers will find the inclusion of advertising a “reasonable” expectation for accessing free online video content.

That’s according to a new survey of U.S. internet users aged 12 and older conducted by market-research company Ipsos MediaCT in February 2008.

Give and take
“Nobody is going to tell you they love advertising,” said Adam Wright, director of Ipsos Media CT. “But the [survey] confirmed the notion that people get the give and take. That can be reassuring for many of the people who are trying to crack the code [of ad-subsidized video models].”

The percentage of internet users who found advertising to be a reasonable price of admission for free video content varies by content but, in general, respondents were more likely to embrace advertising in long-form professional programming. At least three in four digital video consumers said they would find it “reasonable” for advertising to appear in the free digital distribution of full-length TV shows and movies, while about two out of three said the inclusion of advertising would be reasonable with free access to music videos, short news or sports clips.

“If it’s premium content, people are willing to sit through ads. It’s something that consumers already expect,” said Mr. Wright.

Bad news for amateur content
But it’s a different story when it comes to amateur digital content, where viewers are much less likely to accept advertising as a price of admission. Just over half of the respondents in the survey who have downloaded or streamed a video online say they would find it “not reasonable” to have advertising embedded within free amateur or homemade video offerings.

That finding could raise an important question for video-sharing websites like You Tube that are diversifying content to include longer, professionally produced material. According to Mr. Wright, these providers will have to “carefully consider” ad-subsidized models since their current audience has grown accustomed to free streams without any advertising.

One way to approach advertising for different types of content is to use different kinds of advertising, Mr. Wright said. For instance, an amateur video might use a 15 second pre-roll or a pop-up ad, depending on consumer reaction.

Said Mr. Wright, “You have to get into what are consumers are OK with and what they aren’t, and [ask] when do you start to reach a negative impact?”


Here’s a selection of responses from the Ipsos MediaCT survey:

How reasonable is it to have advertising in the following free video content?

Full-length TV show:
82% Very reasonable/somewhat reasonable
18% Not very reasonable/not at all reasonable

Full-length movies:
75% Very reasonable/somewhat reasonable
25% Not very reasonable/not at all reasonable

Music videos:
68% Very reasonable/somewhat reasonable
32% Not very reasonable/not at all reasonable

Short news or sports clips:
63% Very reasonable/somewhat reasonable
37% Not very reasonable/not at all reasonable

Movie/TV trailers or previews:
62% Very reasonable/somewhat reasonable
38% Not very reasonable/not at all reasonable

Amateur or homemade video clips:
48% Very reasonable/somewhat reasonable
52% Not very reasonable/not at all reasonable

Case Study: Nanny Diaries InGame Online Video Ad Campaign

April 8, 2008

Flight Dates: December 2007


Client Objectives
For the DVD release of Nanny Diaries, the client wanted to target a female audience, ages 18 to 35. The objective was to promote the DVD release by driving traffic to the client’s Web site where consumers could experience more of the movie and find out where they could buy the DVD.

The Campaign
Several SpotXchange casual gaming partners had audiences made up of movie lovers. According to comScore, the affinity of movie-goers to casual game players is very high.

Comp Index of Females 25 to 54 Movie-goers vs Casual Game players
113 : Attended a movie on opening weekend in the last 30 days (Yahoo Games)
127 : Attended at least one movie in the last 30 days (iWin)
194 : Attended 10 or more movies in the last 30 days (Yahoo Games)

The baseline index rating is 100. So for example, Female Yahoo Game visitors aged 25 to 54 are almost twice (194/100) as likely to see 10 or more movies in a month than Female visitors 25 to 54 on the average Internet site.

Knowing that, SpotXchange ran studio release campaigns on several casual gaming channels to see how they performed. The results speak for themselves.

Representative Sample Results from One of SpotXchange’s Casual Games Channels
Total Video Impressions Delivered: 24,257
Total Companion Banner Impressions: 1,434
Click Through Rate: 5.9%

Case Study: 1408 Online Video Ad Campaign

November 19, 2007


12-day program
Start: 9/27/07
End: 10/8/07
Street Date: 10/3/07
Creative: Pre-Street, “Available Tuesday on DVD,” 9/27-10/2; Street, “Now Available,” 10/3-10/8

Total Video Impressions Delivered: 714,682
Total Companion Banner Impressions: 555,739
Click Through Rate: 1.51%

How did we do it? 
Matches were narrowed by publishers who accepted 15 second ads and 300×250 banners.
Data collected in the campaign’s early stages enabled optimization that powered the campaign’s success.

Campaign inventory
Casual gaming sites, pre-game ads
Video sites, in-stream ads


“Under a short timeline, SpotXchange delivered quality video and banner impressions for our DVD release campaign. Their targeting and optimization capabilities helped us drill down and reach an engaged and relevant audience.”   Michael Radiloff, EVP Marketing, Genius Products

Local Video Ads « SpotXchange’s Blog

October 14, 2007

usmap.jpgLocal advertisers, be sure to check out our Local Video Ads page on the SpotXchange blog. We’ll update that page routinely with the latest local stats from the SpotXchange network.

Local advertising on SpotXchange is perfect for restaurants, banks, auto dealers, and just about any business that needs to get the word out to a local audience of consumers.

Local Video Ads « SpotXchange’s Blog

Recipe for Success

October 5, 2007

Online video advertising presents a variety of new opportunities for marketers. For the most part, these opportunities are obvious-additional reach, enhanced brand/consumer interaction, and more. To be sure, a number of best practice methods have surfaced and some are more obvious than others. So, let’s first review some of the more obvious best practices, and then discuss some of the more surprising strategies for success. Given the countless new ad units, various publishers, and lack of standards for measuring success, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by this burgeoning space. However, by sticking to the basics success is attainable.Companion Banner Units
Take advantage of all the opportunities publishers provide to deliver a companion banner unit with the video ad. These units sit adjacent to the video player while, and sometimes after, the ad plays. They also offer an extremely valuable recall and interaction point for consumers. SpotXchange data suggests that banners can provide significant lift (add .5 to one percent CTR) on overall CTR of a campaign. ‘Clickable Video’ units, while also preferred, do not offer as much value since most consumers don’t know they can click on in-stream video ads.

Publishers should let advertisers take advantage of all the targeting applications available online. All publishers should, at the very least, enable targeting by content category and geo-targeting (country at minimum). Good publishers and networks should do the same, but the best of breed will offer more-targeting by content, category, geo-location (down to city/DMA/zip code), demographic, and day-part.

Tracking the behavior and interaction of consumers is crucial, and it is surprisingly easy. When running a campaign on a single publisher or a network of publishers, make sure they offer the most finite segmentation of their traffic. Use any means possible to track the performance of the ads, specific to each level of segmentation. For example, if a publisher or network allows performance tracking by category channel (e.g., sports, travel, finance), then use a unique tracking URL, phone number, coupon code, etc. for each channel.

Best Advertising Campaigns
The most successful SpotXchange campaigns by all measures (CTR, ROI, eCPM) have been those that took advantage of all the targeting options available. They targeted only the content categories relevant to their audience, and selected precise geo-targets down to the city and DMA-level. When trying to drive traffic to an offline brick and mortar business, why waste ad budget running ads in front of consumers in locations that don’t contain those brick and mortars?

Best Publishers
Not surprisingly, the inventory that is in highest demand is high-quality, professionally produced news or entertainment content. However, this inventory is quite expensive relative to other inventory that routinely outperforms it in terms of CTR, ROI, and eCPM. SpotXchange has seen just about every kind of publisher and content that’s out there over the last year and surprisingly nothing has been able to compete with casual gaming inventory. The gaming publishers in the network consistently deliver the highest CTR’s (by two to three times) at reasonable CPM’s relative to other publishers in the network.

In conclusion, look for publishers that provide clickable videos, companion banner units, exhaust every targeting and tracking application available, and don’t count out casual gaming publishers.

ADWEEK: Advertising Green With a Call to Action

October 1, 2007

ADWEEK, Oct 1, 2007, Wendy Melillo

WASHINGTON Using marketing to form a network where citizens can participate in issues they care about is the concept behind the effort to promote Leonardo DiCaprio’s The 11th-Hour documentary about the environment.

The campaign combines advertising technology with social causes in a way that is designed to motivate parties to take action.

The goal is to use the documentary as a tool to foster a community of people who are looking to improve the environment by contributing money or volunteering time at a nonprofit focused on green issues, said Brian Gerber of Tree Media Group, the documentary’s producer.

“We wanted to make it a very inclusive thing by bringing people in, giving them tools for action and letting them have a conversation with other people,” Gerber says.

The documentary takes pains not to plow over the same ground already well worked by Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. Rather, says Gerber, the purpose is to take off where Gore’s documentary ended by showing people that global warming is a symptom of a larger problem rooted in how humans use resources and to offer up some solutions.

The marketing effort’s structure is what makes it unusual, says Emily Riley, an analyst at Jupiter Research. “The combination of the mainstream movie, social marketing know-how and the action-oriented causes behind the movie is likely to stimulate more consumer response than a typical nonprofit might get,” Riley says. “The fact that it is that organized is unique.”

Here’s how the campaign, which began Sept. 12, works. (11th-hour officials say it is too early to offer any results.)

An online video player features a preview for the documentary- and the player can be expanded to fill a full screen. Four buttons at the bottom of the unit allow users to perform different functions:

Clicking on the first button sends the entire player to a friend.

The “take action” button links viewers to more than 100 nonprofits focused on global warming and other environmental issues.

The “embed” tab uses widget technology to allow viewers to post the player on social network sites and blogs or social bookmarking sites like

And the last tab offers exclusive footage not seen in trailers for the film.

“This campaign enables cause-oriented groups to be tied with word-of-mouth marketing,” says Michael Leifer, CEO and cultural anthropologist at Guerilla PR, a non-traditional marketing and media shop that built the widget technology used in the campaign.

PopRule, a company that helps create digital networks allowing online users to take action, focused on the user participation part of the effort. “We affiliated with organizations who appear in the ‘take action’ button to expose users to those groups that are doing things around the climate change issue,” says Rob Kramer, PopRule’s CEO and founder. “People are willing to take action if they are given the proper tools, and the tools have to be easily accessible and simple to use. Here is a nice little neat package that allows users to branch out.”

The campaign is organized in three phases. The first phase began when the video players were placed on nonprofit sites like,, and Al Gore’s personal MySpace page. Each player is customized so that the nonprofit groups’ logos appear instead of the documentary’s logo.

“A lot of these nonprofits don’t have a video server or customized player and it makes them look much more advanced,” Leifer says. “It also offers them a whole array of interactive content which ultimately will increase their support base.”

In the second phase of the campaign, which began Sept. 25, Zango, an online media company providing Web videos, games, music and other tools, pushed the player out to its list of 20 million customers through its new advertising format called “Slider.” (The player ad “slides” up from the lower right-hand corner of a Zango user’s screen in a manner similar to instant message notifications.)

“We like the Slider because it is not an intrusive format and it is different from a banner ad,” says Val Sanford, Zango’s vp, marketing. “Bringing this kind of citizen democracy content that is cause-based helps us to be valuable to our users. And our brand is available to everyone who sees this [movie] trailer whether they are a part of our network or not.”

The 11th-Hour video player also carries a seven-second sponsorship ad from Gaiam, the lifestyle media company. SpotXchange, an online video advertising network, secured the sponsorship deal and created the Gaiam ad. SpotXchange allows advertisers to target their commercials by region or by context through a network of video content.

“The folks at 11th-hour said, ‘This is the movie and we want to promote it via this widget idea in front of people who are concerned about the planet, and we would like to get a sponsor that matches our demographic audience who believes in the same causes,'” says Michael Shehan, SpotXchange’s CEO.

From Gaiam’s perspective, it was a natural fit. “This online branding campaign reaches our target audience and positively associates Gaiam with those who are educating and assisting on the issues of global warming,” says Jason Marshall, a Gaiam vp.

The details for phase three are still being worked out, but current plans call for more traditional online banner ads on sites like YouTube and ESPN.

Zachary Van Doren, director of integrated marketing at the digital consultancy Alliance Network Group, says the 11th Hour effort goes beyond what is typically provided within a widget.

“This is a like a widget on steroids because it provides a more complete content experience than what is usually articulated in one widget,” Van Doren says. “It provides a means in which to solicit action on the users’ end. Whether it is going to a green shopping portal or a green action network, it provides that immediate funnel. It harnesses the power of the DiCaprio brand and the nonprofit brand and that is unique.”

Jupiter Research’s Riley says nonprofits are well suited to this type of initiative. “They have low marketing budgets and social networking tactics are not very expensive,” she says. “Half of all marketers have an online marketing budget that is less than $25,000 a year, and very few online efforts ever crack a couple of hundred thousand dollars.”

Wendy Melillo is an Adweek contributing writer and assistant professor at the School of Communication at American University.

Link to article