The migration of brand advertising dollars online is a delicate one, padded with efforts to assure marketers that their money isn’t going to waste. Solve Media—known for its branded Captcha type-ins—now offers pre-roll insurance, providing advertisers and agencies a means to prove performance even if an ad flops.
The concept is similar to Google’s TrueView feature. If consumers don’t want to watch a video ad, they’re asked to type in a phrase, most likely a branded message, that skips them ahead to the desired video. The product proposes a choice to consumers: watch this ad or type in some slogan to not watch this ad. The pitch to advertisers is the ability to affix some value, even if negative, to an ad. Plus the type-in serves as an exercise in brand washing.
Ari Jacoby, CEO and co-founder of Solve Media, said the feature “offers consumers a reward for participating cognitively with a brand message.” The reward being the ad getting swept aside like lima beans from a fourth-grader’s dinner plate. But Jacoby said the message implanted when a consumer completes the type-in is reward enough for advertisers.
InterContinental Hotels Group’s vp of U.S. sales and marketing Del Ross agrees with Jacoby. Consumers “have to internalize [a brand’s message] if they’re going to be typing it in,” he said.
At launch, advertisers using the feature include Toyota, General Motors and IHG. Solve Media’s platform supports more than 4,000 publishers such as AOL, Meredith, VerticalScope and Internet Brands.
According to research conducted by Solve Media and comScore, 53 percent of respondents said they “zone out” during pre-roll ads, and 47 percent open a new browser tab or window in the interim. Solve Media pegs the dollars wasted on skipped or ignored U.S. video ads at $33 per second.
IHG tested the product last fall in a campaign for its Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts brand that promoted a Nike golf equipment giveaway. Ross said 78 percent of consumers exposed to the campaign’s display or video ads interacted, whether by clicking on the ad or typing in the corresponding phrase. The pre-roll spots generated more than 50,000 type-ins, Ross said.