I sat down with Walter Harp, VP of Marketing, from Mixpo to talk about their new SmartVideo product. The Mixpo SmartVideo product combines interactivity with full multi-platform compatibility in what is one of the more interesting video advertising services I have seen in a while. It allows the advertiser a high level of customization along with a deep look at the data for the campaign and allows for some auto-customization based on specific variables.
Interactive and Customizable Elements for Video Ads
Starting with the basics, Mixpo offers you interactive elements that can be put into the video player to help extend the engagement with a brand during and after the advertisement. There are options available for everything from social networking, surveys, coupons, more video and even more complex, rich-data things like directions to the nearest retailer, auto lot, local office, etc.
Now, interactive overlays are nothing new, this we know. However, I think Mixpo has a unique implementation of these overlays. You see, based on information like the viewer demographic, location, gender, time of day, etc. the interactive elements can be automatically tailored to be more specific to the viewer. So it's something like automatic customization at a viewer level that helps give the information and advertisement more impact which in turn should help brand uplift and recall, engagement, purchase intent and conversions.
Publish Once, Everywhere
Here's what Mixpo had to say about that:
All of the interactive and personalization functionality is the same between Flash and HTML5. It's the same ad, we just serve and HTML5 file or a Flash file based on what device we detect at run-time. The only difference today, really, is custom Flash widgets. If an advertiser wants to ad custom/animated Flash on top of a video (i.e. a fireball flying across the screen), we do that in Flash, but would need to take extra time to do the same (produce the fireball) in HTML5. We can do it, but we don't lead with that offer since design tools aren't as mature for HTML5 as they are for Flash.
Again, with some of the recent tools that Adobe has been putting out, that might all change very soon.
Built in Testing
Through the Mixpo SmartVideo auto-optimization and customization engine, the ads you put together will become highly focused as the campaign continues. This allows you to see what kind or which message works best and the system can automatically start showing that one or you can analyze the real-time analytics and make changes as you need in order to get the most out of your message and video advertisements.
In fact, you can run multivariate testing right from the platform by sending the same ad to different viewer profiles and by sending different ads to the same profile members. This is something that I was keenly interested in when talking with Walter because it seems to me that a lot of services, when being built, don't take into account the depth to which some brands and agencies might want to do testing and so when that comes up it's more work. However, Walter assured me that testing was definitely in mind when they were building the system because it's all about getting the most out of the ads and creating ads with maximum impact.
With the Mixpo platform you can catch real-time stats just about anywhere whether you're on a smartphone, tablet or desktop. The Mixpo Studio, where you build and edit the ads, is Flash-based so you wouldn't be able to use that on every platform just yet. However, you can complete instant campaign checks/real-time creative changes on any laptop/Macbook with WiFi.
Repurpose with Purpose
Another thing about Mixpo SmartVideo is that, because of the interactive elements that can be added in, ads that were shot for TV can be repurposed but still hold more value online thanks to the extension of the video ads. So you can take the same piece of content that you've been showing on television and turn it into an interactive piece that can then spread a consistent, cohesive message across all platforms.
There is a definite difference between TV and online and that is, for the most part and probably not for long, built in interactivity in online video. Lots of things are going on and products are coming out that could change that very soon though. But until something comes round, this is a fantastic way to reuse creative I think.
Tracking your Prey
Just as testing was thought about during creation, so were analytics. In fact, all interactions are trackable in both HTML5 and Flash meaning you will have some pretty in-depth metrics at your fingertips. This means that you will have more than enough information to optimize your message, targeting and campaign ROI.
Overall, the product looks like a great service for agencies and large advertisers. The amount of information and capabilities of Mixpo SmartVideo are really quite impressive. I will have to have another meeting with them because it seems that during a recent thunderstorm I lost all my notes and this article is far from complete compared to what it would have been with those notes. So stay tuned as I get more information from Mixpo on their SmartVideo product.