When Skipping Ads Are Good For The Advertisers

I have been writing a lot lately about all the ways that consumers try to opt out of watching pre-roll advertising, so it was probably inevitable that I would run across company that has found a way to make ad-skipping seem like almost a good thing.

That probably overstates it for Minteye, a firm whose slide and skip technology called Skip Ad is being used now by BMW on AOL networks, other brands and sites in Poland and its home base in Israel.

With Skip Ad commercials, the user gets a sliding bar on the bottom of the frame — just like the slide that unlocks an iPad or iPhone.  A consumer is invited to “slide to skip ad” and make it go away. Users move the bar as the ad plays, usually for 5.5 seconds or so.

But as it stops, its reassembles into a banner-ad image inviting the user to click on it, for more info, or maybe a coupon. If you don’t click, the material you came to see begins playing.

All right so far. But Minteye, in data it’s releasing today, claims that over four times as many users who opt to “slip and skip” after a few seconds end up visiting the advertiser’s landing page as those who just choose to let the ad run in its entirety.

Minteye claims 3.5% of users click-through, compared to an industry average of 0.6% 

“When you slide you get an image with the focused message of the advertiser. There is one advantage. Your eyes are on the message,” says Gadi Hadar, the CEO.

“So if you are focused on the message, your clicks are higher. I don’t think those click-through rates are a surprise. If you pay attention to the message, sometimes it is the message you are interested in. “

Not often, even Hadar would admit. But more often with Minteye’s technology than would happen otherwise.   

Hadar sees the same surveys I do, about how consumers would prefer to do almost anything but watch commercials.  And those are good stats to him, because his product is pretty much aimed at those skippers.

Sliding and skipping gives them a familiar tactile task with a quick reward that is more involving than the typical “skip ad” banner, because this sliding thing involves a little timing and touch.

“Almost there,” a graphic on the slide says, and on the AOL version, when you reach the right point, another graphic says “Bingo!” and tells you that a click stops the ad.

The user is rewarded by having the ad disappear. In the meantime, he’s interacted with the advertiser. That’s the idea with other skipping techniques, but Minteye’s takes more involvement and features than momentary banner ad.

There’s an interesting history of this slide mechanism. “The real story is that my partner, the inventor, has a problem,” Hadar says. “He cannot solve any Captcha [codes] because he is dyslexic. ‘I see the letters in the wrong way,’ he told me. So we thought, there must be a different solution.”

So Shay Inbar, the partner, hit on the slide, which became another product called Sliding Captcha. But Skip Ad is the one Minteye thinks has wider applications.  AOL was the first publisher to offer it to advertisers, earlier this year.

It doesn’t have to say “bingo,” by the way. “The advertiser and publisher can personalize the entire skip environment from the colors to the messages to the timing — that “skip” only shows after 10 seconds, or seven or eight you can do it—if you want wider or the colors can match the campaign,” Hadar explains.

So far, Minteye has discovered the three places it’s been able to use the ad skip tech; consumers act pretty much the same way, showing that one unifying force in this world might be the desire to avoid pre-roll.

In Israel, it has been used for a beer brand and for Nokia in Poland. Prior to the BMW campaign, AOL used Skip Ad for a Comcast pre-roll.

“The behavior was almost identical. It’s unbelievable. It doesn’t matter where,” says Hadar. “It takes the same amount of time, the click through is almost the same. You know, there’s a small range -- but I can’t tell you that it’s different in Europe or the U.S. or Israel. It’s the same.”

pj@mediapost.com

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