Forget the standard pre-roll. Ditch the overlay. Tremor Media today is set to release V-Choice, a set of new online video ad placements that the company claims will successfully marry the sight, sound and motion of TV spots with the control and interactivity that users expect on the Web.
The company, which boasts a video ad network that reaches 57 million unique viewers (comScore, March), has just completed a beta test period with several top advertisers, including Procter & Gamble, Universal Pictures and Ubisoft. Now, it plans to roll out V-Choice ads to the general market.
V-Choice units are now available on Tremor’s 900-plus site partners. The network has tapped Web metrics firm Quantcast to provide both demographic and user interaction data for campaigns.
When encountering V-Choice ads, users are first shown a short five- to 15-second teaser video spot, either before or during content, and then have the choice to skip the ad entirely or view more content. That’s a better alternative for all parties, according to Tremor CEO Jason Glickman. “This is a whole different experience,” he said. “Publishers like it because it’s a great user experience. For advertisers, it opens up a whole new world. It kind of changes the game for in-stream ads.”
Among the new V-Choice offerings are “showcase” units, which enable brands to present multiple ads or products in a single campaign, allowing users to choose which ads to watch (if any) and in some cases to determine the length of commercials.
For Universal Pictures’ upcoming movie Land of the Lost, Tremor has been testing an in-stream video ad on sites such as Fandango.com. The placement gives users the option to view a film “teaser,” full length trailer, or to visit the movie’s Web site.
Other showcase campaigns could direct interested users to sample different videos for a group of brands — such as different car models from the same company — or even long-form video content, such as product demos.
Allowing for even more interactivity and potential creativity are V-Choice “storytelling” units, which let advertisers present campaigns in chapters, with users controlling the navigation. Tremor executives said these units should work for advertisers’ whose campaigns have extended scenarios and also support vehicles such as branded entertainment Webisodes.
In either case, Glickman believes V-Choice ads are better suited for Web video than pre-roll spots — which are mostly repurposed from TV — and overlay ads, which he claims are no better than basic banners. “These [V-Choice] ads take advantage of the interactive capabilities of the Internet that pre-roll doesn’t,” he said.
However, once users realize how much control they have with V-Choice ads, won’t most just skip past them? During the beta test, only 20 percent of users elected to skip V-Choice ads entirely, said Glickman. And even in those cases, brands were still able to expose users to short teaser messages.
But the real benefit to brands, argues Glickman, is the heavy engagement potential for those who opt to view additional content from a particular brand. For the “showcase” units, brands don’t necessarily have to produce new material. However, for the storytelling placements, agencies and clients are better off “doing some advanced thinking,” said Glickman — and perhaps producing original Web video creative.
That can be a challenge, particularly in this rough economic climate. That’s why in addition to pitching the digital media world, Tremor’s been actively courting creative executives. “You have to sort of open their minds to what they can do,” he said. “Help them flex their muscles like they haven’t before.”