Pre-rolls are the dominant form of online video advertising, but display ads still rule the Web in general. So it’s natural for technologists to look for ways to build video into all those omnipresent banner ads.
One of the latest efforts comes from social video platform VideoGenie, which has rolled out a new ad unit that marries user-generated video and display ads. With the spot dubbed “SoapBox,” marketers can incorporate user-generated video in a campaign and distribute it in a testimonial type of display ad -- consumers simply record a short comment from their Webcams and then VideoGenie vets the videos and populates them into the ad formats.
VideoGenie piloted the format with kids-product deal site Totsy and travel site Priceline. The result was an interaction rate of over 36% with Priceline and 39% with Totsy. Those figures are 14 and 15 times the industry standard for rich media, according to Google's benchmarks of about 2.4% interaction for in-page video, VideoGenie said.The video completion rate for the Priceline spots was below average at 44% (average video ad completion rates are in the 60% range), but Totsy’s exceeded the norm at 71%. Those completion rates may have more to do with the audience; Totsy targets moms who are an active demo online, while Priceline is a brand everyone has heard of.
Display ads overall corralled $12.4 billion in ad spend in the United States last year, and should bring in about $15 billion this year, eMarketer said. Yet one-third of display ads go unseen by site visitors, and that’s why technology firms and marketers have been on the hunt for new formats to reinvigorate a staid medium.
Whether more marketers sign on to use the VideoGenie format remains to be seen. However, social video is powerful and brands are trying to tap into it. Social video platform Unruly Media has reported that brand recall and purchase intent rose when a branded video had been recommended to a viewer or shared.
But here’s the drawback of the VideoGenie ad unit, in my opinion. Consumers are constantly being asked to take a survey, share a review, post an opinion, log into a social service to crow about a TV show, fund a friend’s project on Kickstarter, like a photo, and so on. At some point, do we burn out? Do we all get tired of talking about what we like?
Other VideoGenie customers for the social video platform include Levi’s, Hearst Digital Media, Williams-Sonoma and Stanford University.