VivaKi’s Pool Crowns ‘Ad Selector’ as Top Web Video Unit

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—an ad placement, which allows users to select an advertisers’s video spot to view prior to content—as the winning ad model for long-form online video. That is the very unit that was created and popularized by prominent Pool participant Hulu.

The first phase of The Pool—Lane One—is aimed at finding an industry standard unit for online video better than the much-derided pre-roll ad. Thus, the announcement of The Ad Selector as just such a unit could have major implications for the future of online video advertising, considering the clout of the participants in The Pool. Not only are VivaKi agencies ZenithOptimedia, Starcom MediaVest Group, Digitas and Razorfish on board, but the research project included many of the top media companies on the Internet, including Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL, CBS and BBE (as well as Hulu).

Plus, VivaKi’s research effort, which examined 29 different ad models over 16 months, saw participation from brands such as Allstate, Applebee’s, Capital One and Nestlé Purina PetCare. Overall, VivaKi officials say the group spent 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 the evolving consumer behavior,” said Tracey Scheppach, senior vp, innovation director, VivaKi.

According to VivaKi’s research, The Ad Selector on average delivered clickthrough rates that were a whopping 106 percent higher that pre-roll ads. Plus, online ad-recall scores were 290 percent higher than pre-rolls—possibly due to the fact that consumers must pause for a moment and make a choice among several brands.

Still, given the unique menu-like delivery of The Ad Selector, it will be interesting to see just how many video sites elect to implement this unit, given that it likely requires significant changes to site design and ad trafficking processes.

Next up for The Pool is Lane Two, which is focused on finding a model for short for video. The winning model for that phase will be announced in October of this year. That phase includes participation from many of the same companies as Lane One, along with Google’s YouTube.

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