Hulu’s ‘Ad Selector’ Could Set Web Video Pace

Credit Hulu with possibly establishing the creative template for the entire online video ad industry.

Publicis’ VivaKi has released the long-awaited results from the first phase of The Pool, the agency group’s highly ambitious media research project. The company has deemed The Ad Selector — a placement that lets users select video ads for viewing prior to streaming content — as the winning model for long-form online video. That unit that was created and popularized by prominent Pool participant Hulu.

The emergence of The Ad Selector could have major implications for the future of online video advertising, considering the clout of the participants in the project. Not only are VivaKi agencies Zenith Optimedia, Starcom MediaVest Group, Digitas and Razorfish on board, but the initiative also includes many of the top media companies on the Internet, including Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL, CBS and BBE (in addition to Hulu).

VivaKi’s research, which examined 29 different ad models over 16 months, also saw participation from brands such as Allstate, Applebee’s, Capital One and Nestle Purina PetCare. Overall, VivaKi officials said the group invested 230,000 hours of research, surveying over 25 million consumers.

“Consumers have an insatiable appetite for online video content, [but] they dislike the irrelevant disruption of pre-roll, and the industry was simply struggling to adapt the advertising model to keep pace with evolving consumer behavior,” said Tracey Scheppach, svp, innovation director, VivaKi.

According to VivaKi’s research, The Ad Selector on average delivered click-through rates that were 106 percent higher than pre-roll ads. Plus, online ad-recall scores were 290 percent higher than pre-rolls — possibly due to the fact that consumers must pause and choose among several brands when using The Ad Selector.

Still, it will be intriguing to see just how many video venues elect to implement the unit, given that doing so could require significant changes to site design and ad trafficking processes.

Next up for VivaKi: finding an ad model for short-form video. The winner will be announced in October. This new phase includes participation from many of the same companies that contributed to phase one, along with Google’s YouTube.