With Web publishers—particularly those with traditional media roots—desperate to capture more online revenue, Boston-based video analytics firm Visible Measures is offering these companies a way to add sponsored content to their sites without taking up valuable advertising or content space.
The product, VidWorks, promises to unearth new video ad inventory in two ways. For one, VidWorks ads can be integrated as stand-alone sponsored videos that get baked into publishers’ preexisting video player lists. Or VidWorks ads can be posted in nonvideo environments, essentially creating new video ad inventory where video doesn't exist. Think in terms of those “recommended” or “related” videos that pop up at the end of an article or after another video has been played.
Visible Measures has labeled VidWorks as “AdSense for video”—a bold claim, given Google's success with the contextual targeting product. VidWorks uses Visible Measures’ analytics data to plug a 30-second ad or branded content from its advertising clients (including P&G, Unilever and GM) into relevant video sections of a publisher’s site.
The use of third-party firms to serve up ads has gotten a bad rap among publishers who are understandably wary of questionable ads popping up on their sites. However, the advertiser examples provided by Visible Measures were all of well-known, blue-chip brands.
For instance, visitors to RealClearPolitics—one of VidWorks’ publishing clients—may have seen a 30-second spot from Ford or a three-minute video from Prudential about retirement.
If users click on the sponsored content, they watch it within the site’s video player as they would with any other content. The advertiser pays VidWorks per click, and the publisher shares in the revenue. Publishers also can access Visible Measures’ video analytics.
“Instead of a black box where the right ad gets placed at the right time but you don’t know why, publishers are able to see all of the data that we see and all of the decisions that we’re making when we deliver the analytics package,” said Paul Botto, general manager of analytics and svp of business development at Visible Measures.
Over 100 sites including MensHealth.com, Style.com, Epicurious and Kiplinger are already using the service.