I was a week behind, but my interest was piqued by a headline in last week’s Ad Age: ”Vivaki predicts $100M market for choose-your-own-ad format.”
Several times in the last few months I’ve tossed around the question why can’t I simply have a channel on my satellite provider that has all the restaurant ads, another for the apparel ads, another for car ads, another for insurance, etc. It could be they’re there and I don’t know. But, either way, it would be so much more useful and, potentially, entertaining if I could go watch the ads because I wanted to, not because someone is making me before I can get to what I’m really interested in…
So, the Ad Age headline was interesting. The article explains how Vivaki (viva-key), a Publicis unit, has teamed with Hulu, Yahoo, CBS, and others to deliver the online commercials in a way that allows consumers to pick the ads they would like to watch.
Cool. My wish come true?
Well, sort of, but not really. You sort of get a choice.
ClickZ writer David Ward has a good article describing how they arrived at using the Hulu-pioneered format for the “Ad Selector”, which is the platform they’re using. What happens is you are given a choice of which of up to three ads you’d prefer watching before you can watch the Hulu, or Yahoo, or CBS video you originally clicked on and wanted to watch.
So, while they’re research in developing the tool references “the consumer belief it gives them more choice and is more respectful of their time,” it’s still just a small step in the direction of being about relevance to the viewer. I totally agree with one comment left to Ward’s article that why give three ads to pick from that may be totally irrelevant to begin with? Can’t we use technology these days to truly be relevant to the user and allow you to pick whatever category we are interested in at the time?
Don’t get me wrong, I applaud the Vivaki effort. But, it’s still so advertiser and publisher / content owner focused.
So, their research showed higher click-through rates than other formats in which you have no choice. Well, no duh. Imagine the click-through rate if you decided you wanted to watch the specific ad content in the first place, not just picked one of three served up to you.
Podcaster Daisy Whitney chimed in last fall with one of her New Media Minute pieces covering on-demand advertising effectiveness. Her examples were in the fitness category and seemed to indicate how people who choose to watch Fitness TV programs are more likely to watch fitness-centered ads and buy fitness products promoted on the channel. Can you say relevance?
On-demand advertising on TV is not new. You can readily find news reports about its potential and specific platforms from companies like Rentrak back in 2005. A quick search yields companies like Koeppel Interactive and others who offer on-demand advertising solutions. But the focus remains on the distribution channel / content owner and the advertiser. Obviously, that’s who gives us the stuff and they need to make money.
Case in point, in April , Thomas Morgan posted a piece primarily from the network executive POV as to where the most money can and should be made in shifting more advertising to internet TV. While agree with a lot of his business arguments, I wish you’d find more focus on the consumer perspective.
You remember the choose-your-own-adventure books when you were a kid? They were the best. I couldn’t get enough of them. Funny that I’ve never heard any of my kids come across them today, but they’ve got to still be around.
Today, with digital solutions, we can make choose your own adventure something beyond the imagination of a kid choosing one of four endings in a book.
Rather than toss out one of three ads to choose from and, by the way, force you to watch them before you can watch your video on Hulu, why not offer up something that is really about choose-your-own-ad?
Give me a way to click onto categories of products or services that I’m interested in, then serve up as many 30, 60, 90-second, or long format commercial content you’ve got on everything in that category. On-demand advertising on some cable and satellite networks are almost there, but make it easier for me to find, use, and interact with on my terms, not simply holding me captive because you know I want something other than what you’re about to show me.
That’s choose-your-own-ad. I can’t wait to see the likes of NBC, Fox, CBS, ABC, etc., offer up a solution within their network that lets me, as a consumer, access advertising content in this way on my terms.