Will Smith was close with his 'Get Jiggy with it' hit. Jivox is even closer with their recently announced interactivity elements that can be added to almost any video ad (provided you're using them that is). But how does it work?
Jivox has recently introduced some new interactive elements for video ads that consist of a mouse rollover activation that then allows for the viewer to get more information via multiple resources, share the video, email it and even get special discounts and coupons.
Who is Jivox?
Jivox is a privately held company and headquartered in San Mateo, California with offices in Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai in India. They are an online video advertising platform that can do it all by allowing advertisers to create, distribute, manage and track their video ad campaigns as well as through directory listings, viral marketing programs, email campaigns, social networks and more.
How does it work?
What we are really interested in is this new interactive element. In the examples I saw, a drop down layer prompts (somewhat annoyingly I must say) the viewer to rollover for more information. When one does that an interactive menu is displayed that allows for a variety of features such as sharing through social networks or email, store locators, discounts and coupons, links to websites, contact avenues and even just related information (like style tips for men from a clothing shop) or other video clips.
When the menu is shown the video is automatically paused and a button is displayed to go back to the video ad itself as well as the other features.
Here is an example of the interactivity functionality as provided by Jivox for RoundTable Pizza:
Will it work?
The question is, will people be interested enough to utilize the ads or be savvy enough to know that mousing over the ad will bring up an interactive menu? Some of the drop downs I have seen aren't the most explanatory and many viewers might dismiss them out of hand. The "rollover for more" is probably the most descriptive of them and even then, it's not all that enticing.
This does do the one thing that TV ads have been unable to do (up until now) which is give the viewer the ability to quickly find more information with specific ways to do it. Television ads have always been a mostly non-interactive form of advertising. The ads are displayed, the viewers head off to the kitchen, toilet or watch and wait for the show to begin again. I suspect that with the recent surge in Internet-connected televisions and widgetry that these ads too will begin to become more interactive as well. This could prove great for advertisers as it will give them ways to capture the attention of consumers longer and perhaps even boost the value of television ads again.
Jivox adds an extra benefit for online video ads in that they track all interactions with the video ad and overlay interactivity. Another added bonus is that a lot of the elements don't take the consumer away from the ad or the page they are on. Of course, the viewers won't generally be aware of this until they click on an element. After they do it once though, they might be more inclined to do it again when they see a similar setup. However, most of the examples I saw did in fact open a website in another window or tab. Only a few showed another set of images or video clips with information and the only way to get back to the menu was to click "return to video" then mouse over the video again.
Worth the Effort?
It feels gimmicky to me. Perhaps just because it's new and unproven. Some of what is being offered, sharing via social networks and email, is incorporated in almost every video player out there now. So that's nothing new. Clicking a video ad to open a website is also nothing new. So really what is this adding to the advertisements?
Well, aside from the annoying drop down, very little right now. That's not to say that it has a vast amount of potential. It just means that advertisers based on the examples I saw) have yet to fully realize how best to use the system. Wasting space on a 'Go to website' button seems pointless to me when we all know that clicking a video generally will take you to the site in question. But using those menu buttons to target specific people who are seeking specific information might be a valid way to utilize the system.
The system is said to allow for an unlimited number of interactive elements for each campaign but I can see that becoming burdensome if viewers are expected to scroll through a list of menu items on a video ad. One of the best uses I saw though was to have a button load another video. So if you're a car manufacturer and you have a standard video ad for a model you could, in your interactive menu, have other videos that give finer details about the models or focus on a particular area of the car - gas mileage, features, etc - and then you have a series of videos where the viewer controls what information they see. That could certainly be a huge bonus when someone is comparison shopping for a large ticket item like a new car.
That's a Wrap!
With some creative thinking and use this could certainly be a huge benefit to many, especially with Buy Now, request for information and specifically targeted information becoming available without leaving the current page where the ad is shown. Of course, looking at it from a publisher's standpoint, it could be a curse. If people are hanging out checking out all the videos and clicking around to other sites, how does that benefit us? We could end up losing pageviews as people are distracted from the content they were first coming to see. Sure, it's unlikely and probably a very low percentage but it is a possibility. Pageviews equal revenue as a publisher and so ads that pull people away could be less desirable. However, also as a publisher if I could use the overlay on videos on my site that linked out to affiliates where people could say, buy video games, then I would certainly be interested in seeing that as it could increase my revenue.
For myself and GDN I would be interested in experimenting with the technology to have an overlay on videos (we have a lot of game videos) that are not advertisements with links to more information about the game (raising pageviews) and links to buy now (affiliate links) which could both do wonders for our bottom line and overall traffic.
As I said, I can see a vast amount of potential for the technology even outside of straight video ads and just as a tool to help drive traffic and affiliate sales which might help publishers get on board with it in the future.