NeXplore Brings Interactive Video To Search Advertising

nexploreNeXplore plans to unveil today a search advertising platform that enables marketers to create and manage paid search ad campaigns through images, text and video. NeXplore Ads 2.0 also lets brands interact in real time with potential or existing customers by linking to the ads via video chat, call scheduling, email and instant messaging.

The fledgling search engine launched in January 2008 will go head-to-head with rival Yahoo, which revealed in February that it had been quietly testing the sponsored search tool Rich Ads In Search with national brand advertisers Pedigree and Pepsi. The brands noted seeing click-through rates increase by as much as 25%.

NeXplore also has been testing video search ads. William Reisel, a World Discount Telecommunications (WDT) member of the board of directors involved in strategic development, has been working during the past month with NeXplore to deploy video ads for Allvoi, a WDT subsidiary focused on voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) services.

WDT has several locations throughout the U.S., but through Allvoi the Dallas, Texas company has found a niche in supporting Indian families now living in the U.S. who want to stay in touch with loved ones back home in India through VOIP services. "We are looking to buy into the new features in a big way," Reisel said. "I'm monitoring Web traffic and getting six-figure results in the number of visitors to our Web site from NeXplore. It has really made a difference in our monthly stats."

The new advertising and interactive features allow small- to-mid-size (SMB) businesses such as Allvoi to reach millions of consumers through video ads without adding major production costs to budgets. From search engine results, one click lets people watch a brief video commercial. Another click initiates a real-time video chat with a call center representative of the advertiser.

The features aim to draw in NeXplore's more than 5.5 million unique monthly visitors, as of January 2009, according to Dion Hinchcliffe, chief technology officer for the Frisco, Texas-based company.

Hinchcliffe said self-service video ads allow NeXplore to "literally service advertisers for pennies per month." Brands upload the media assets to NeXplore, which screen them before advertisements are created and appear in search results based on keyword bids tied to paid search campaigns.

In a demonstration for MediaPost, Hinchcliffe created an advertisement in about 120 seconds. Within 10 minutes, the ad returned in search engine queries based on predetermined keyword searches.

NeXplore Search runs on cloud computing, distributed architecture, Ruby on Rails, Ajax and DoJo. Search query results appear in three display options such as summary, gallery and line item. Scott Grizzle, NeXplore's CMO, likens the ad pricing model on NeXplore Search to pay-per-click auctions offered by Google or Yahoo. He said the prices are similar, but NeXplore adds fee branding, video commercials and interactive features.

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