5 Questions for John Vincent

CEO, EyeWonder Inc. 

Oh, 1999. We here at OMMA remember it fondly. The dot-com bubble just kept inflating, Napster hit the Internet with illegal gusto, and sex-teen-bubblegum-pop-machine Britney Spears actually washed her hair. Those simple times were made even better, though, by the co-founding of EyeWonder Inc. by CEO John Vincent. Vincent, a Vanderbilt alum who lives with his two dogs, helped launch the first-ever instant play video ad in 2000, and he sure takes his video seriously. So seriously that the company launched its fourth European office in Amsterdam earlier this year (though Vincent was strangely vague about the office's proximity to De Wallen).

We just caution you to not use the term rich media around him - you'll get an earful. "The term rich media is antiquated at best, and does a disservice to the industry and does not align with what EyeWonder is about," he explains. "We are launching Interactive Digital Advertising, which we define as any advertising campaign that combines digital technology and interactivity." See, told you so.

Can video be over-used, or used badly?

Across all campaign objectives, video has consistently proven to be the single most effective tool to use. It always drives higher interaction rates, and has been shown to roughly triple the lift across each of the core brand metrics. It is very powerful when used properly, because it conveys emotion like no other medium.

One trick for online advertising is to use video in systematic ways that optimally support your specific campaign objective. For brand-awareness campaigns, instant play and full-banner video are great ways to draw audiences into the ad unit. Once they've expanded the ad and gotten into the full experience, multiple videos or interactive video narratives prove to generate extremely high brand-interaction times. Direct-response and brand-endorsement campaigns also benefit greatly when video is added.

There is a big difference between innovatively using video online and simply repurposing an existing TV spot into a banner ad. As interactive digital advertising moves forward, there will be newer and more compelling features designed to attract an audience's attention and get them interacting with your brand. 

What's the most surprising thing you've learned from EyeWonder's in-stream research consortium?

We've learned just how tired everyone is of the current in-stream ad scenario. Continuing to repurpose the same old passive TV spots into pre-roll ad spaces online is a losing proposition, especially given today's better options and technology. Our next generation of in-stream advertising will deliver interactive ads that let users dive deeper at their own discretion, creating new opportunities for brand interaction in this formerly passive arena. The result is that everybody wins: Audiences enjoy more rewarding ad experiences, advertisers generate better and more measurable interaction rates, times and ROI, and publishers benefit from the opportunity to generate more ad revenue from these richer, more interactive ads. 

QuickTime or Windows Media Player?

 Neither - Adobe Flash is the clear leader. [Yes, we got owned. - Ed.] It reaches the largest online audiences with the most creative and user-friendly video available. Plus, it's the preferred authoring environment for just about every one of today's creative agencies for online advertising. Given that, we built our AdWonder Flash component as a module that designers can download into their Flash environment and easily create even the most sophisticated rich media and video ads. 

What is the most annoying new online trend?

The trends toward spam and privacy [violations] both come to mind. 

If a "Video Expandable Ad" and a "Video Floating Ad" were locked in a cage match, who would win and why?

I would go with the expanding video as the one that wins here. If this match went 15 rounds, expanding video would win for its reach, ease of purchasing across all inventory, less expensive CPM and an interactive experience that is completely user-initiated. If it is a one-round fight, the floating ad would win because it is so much more intrusive. The problem is that it is typically so tough and annoying that the audience may revolt and beat up the fighter.

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