Viral By Design: Visible Measures Opens "Choice-Based" Ad Network


The media measurement company that has become a mainstay of gauging viral video success, Visible Measures, is launching a new division to run an ad network leveraging that accumulated intelligence. Viewable Media will let media buyers acquire user-initiated video views across social media, the company claims. Visible Measures tracks 250 million video viewers a month, says CEO Brian Shinn. "We track what people watch and know what works. So, many advertising customers have been asking that we have a platform that might drive ad campaigns."

In fact the Viewable Media model will use the lessons of past campaigns to make predications and assessments about the viral potential of a campaign and how and where it needs to be pushed in order to optimize performance. Shinn argues that one of the myths of user-initiated video ad viewing is that success is unpredictable. "We are saying in fact it can be predicted and programmatically orchestrated." Viewable Media is designed not only to place advertisers' media across the major video hubs like YouTube, Break, DailyMotion, etc., but to predict how viral the spot will be ahead of time to create a distribution and media buying strategy that achieves a specific goal.

The company says it will be using data from a base of close to 400 million clips that have been segmented by industry, brands and creative types (humor, sex appeal, animation, etc.). When an advertiser brings a video of a certain type to Viewable Media they can compare it to and benchmark it against others to determine its "Earned Media Potential." "Your content can be syndicated to these sites and use paid media to get those videos viewed by a certain critical threshold to maximize the chance of it being viewed by other people," says Shinn. A video with strong earned media potential may require less of a paid push while one with less virality requires more.

Viewable Media cites research from The Pool that indicates earned media, user-initiated views of video result in brand lift metrics that are three and four times those of force pre-roll video views.

Shinn says that the distribution and paid media strategy around a campaign can benefit not only from the usual targeting techniques but an added understanding of consumers' video habits. Using the data sets Visible Measures has accrued over the years, the Viewable Media network can determine user interests but also propensity for clicking through to video. "We think of ourselves as a decisioning system, so we can recommend certain kinds of advertisers and related content." For now the push towards virality comes mainly from paid media but ultimately one can imagine this approach becoming more efficient if it is integrated with video recommendation systems as well.

Because Visible Measures is an independent measurement source for advertisers and publishers, it was imperative that the ad network be separate from the metrics firm in order to avoid perceived conflicts. The Viewable Media team is led by General Manager Steven T.A. Carter, formerly of Tremor, ScanScout and Specific Media. Following the advice of its own clients to spin off the ad network piece from the Visible Measures parent, Shinn says he hired a new team and created "a separate technology stack" for the platform. Visible Measures announced the new network this morning at the IAB 2011 Digital Video Marketplace.        
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