Web era will change its way on 2009. You can find new technology trends below.
Veeple video-inserted ads
So, how much did Google pay for YouTube? $1.65 billion. And how much revenue comes in from all those YouTube videos? Um, it’s pretty safe to assume no numbers starting with a “b.” Plus, all those videos don’t have an ounce of interactivity within their digital bits. So how do companies capitalize on the video craze? Companies like Hulu have experimented with pre-roll ads with some success, but online advertisers need a better way of turning the passive video-watching experience into a possible revenue giant for brands.
Enter Veeple. The company claims its new technology allows users to imbed any type of content into static videos, spicing them up with text overlays, captions, thought bubbles, and, most importantly for advertisers, web links. These “spots,” as the company refers to them, are simply dropped on top of a video, and can even follow an element — like a person, a poster, a DVD — in the video if it moves.
“The idea of pop-up ads, and banner ads and pre-rolls, where all the money is being spent today, is not where all the money will be spent tomorrow,” Veeple CEO and co-founder Scott Bloomberg said. “The in-stream model, over time, will be the more interesting one for advertisers.”
Veeple just launched version 2 of its software platform at TechCrunch50, adding a number of new features, and it should be available commercially soon. Developers can program in “one-click, two-click” interfaces, bringing up info screens on the video before clicking off to the next website, and even send content to mobile devices.
Any sort of logo or link (like all the social networks) can be embedded, as can audio and separate video files. The service will also include a pencil tool, allowing developers to sketch a transparent spot of any size and shape. As for performance tracking, Veeple is launching its analytics service, giving advertisers all the expected stats, including which spots are performing well and which aren’t.
In the demo I saw, the process looked simple: upload a video onto their site, and then start adding the spots. In a way, it feels like a social application — a way of personalizing videos like the old “pop-up video” of our VH1 past.
The question is whether users will respond to spots in the way they responded to pop-up ads. But overall, Veeple has the potential to create a more seamless watching experience for online videos than with pre-roll ads, while producing more possibilities for advertisers.Super banner ads from Analog Analytics
As Sean X Cummings so frequently reminds us, consumers — you, me and everyone else — pretty much feel unambiguous hatred toward banner ads. Not quite reaching the level of loathing reserved for pop-up ads and, ahem, Windows Vista, banner ads are one of the scourges of browsing, prompting many users to go to great lengths to block them.
So, how do we make the banner ad effective again? Advertisers have been experimenting plenty over the last few years, and the folks at Analog Analytics feel they’ve struck some sort of gold with their Super Banner Ads, which combine interactive marketing with direct response, offering users an immediate value when they engage the banner.
“The Super Banner Ad is a traditional banner, but we attached a coupon or promotional offer to it,” Ken Kalb, CEO and president of Analog Analytics, said, adding that the real key to these banners is their dynamic functions. “We figured out how to combine an offering that would change rapidly over time as a function of the conversion rate.”
Coming in two flavors — coupon for retail and coupon for call centers — these banners ask users to input their information, including name, email and telephone, and then immediately delivers an e-coupon to that mobile device that users can redeem at a nearby retail store.
But if users aren’t reacting to the banner along set goals, advertisers can have the coupon automatically increase (or decrease) along preset levels of value. Say you’re advertising flowers before Mother’s Day and offering a $10 off coupon. Nobody’s is going for it, so the banners automatically add free shipping, without changing the creative element of the ad. Suddenly your conversion rate jumps. Mothers get flowers. Your brand smiles. That’s the idea, at least.
The second part of the Super Banner Ad is to bridge people with the analog world, instantaneously connecting them to a call center. While not necessary for all brands (“Hello, this is Coke.” “Good And how are you today?”), a travel company or a pizza brand might find this very useful in converting that coupon into a real-world sale.
When I tried their demo, it was quick, taking about 10 seconds to get the text; it comes in standard text message, but the company will also allow email coupons. No clipping, no scissors, no paper waste — just an immediate return of monetary value. As an easy way of giving users value, the Super Banner Ads have a lot of potential, if they can get people to stop ignoring banners in general.
Now, getting the 7/11 guy to believe I actually have a coupon on my phone — that’s a whole different story.1020 Placecast’s geo-targeting ad network
We can safety rely on the fact that position-target advertising on mobile devices is a big part of the future. As unsettling as this prospect is to Big Brother-fearing types, these GPS-laden devices open up huge new opportunities for advertisers and, according to a few online creative marketing pros I spoke with, everyone is now looking to include the ultimate iPhone app as a part of their new advertising platform.
It makes sense, of course. Brands want their products to reach out to the people most likely to use them, and those people just might be the consumers walking down the street right now.
Lo and behold, 1020 Placecast is here — a geo-targeting ad network that just inked an agreement with online events tracker Eventful to deliver location-based ads to the iPhone.
The clever idea is this: A young consumer, 18-35, is driving down Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, and she checks her iPhone for nearby concerts using, say, Eventful. She not only sees that Death Cab for Cutie is playing down the street at the Viper Room but also sees an ad for a nearby Burger King where she can grab a bite to eat beforehand. That ad, delivered by 1020 Placecast, may not yet consider her dietary habits (she’s clearly vegan) in its geographically targeted advertising (just give them time), yet the customer has just received relevant advertising while on the road from information provided by the GPS chip in her phone. That’s pretty cool.
“People have been talking about location-based advertising for years, and we are the first ones to be capable of actually doing it,” Anne Bezancon, founder and president of 1020 Placecast, said at the product’s launch at ad:tech in May. She assures users, however, that this won’t be a hit against privacy. “We do not need any personally identifiable information to target our ads based on place.”
Not reserved for mobile devices like the iPhone, the ad network also operates over broadband and Wi-Fi. To deliver its ads, the company defines “place” as more than just location, taking into account things like store locations, time of day, and demographic information. It culls location information from service providers, consumer-entered data, GPS, Wi-Fi hotspot locations and cell ID.
This is all a little experimental still, but the idea of getting useful ads on a mobile device rather than just more spam is an intriguing one, for both advertisers and consumers. With a good iPhone partner like Eventful, 1020 Placecast has a chance to establish a formidable footprint on this new online advertising space.
The technologies above are only a few of the many that could break into the mainstream. In the last few weeks there has been a veritable deluge of news in the online advertising world, with hundreds of new companies making their own splash in the giant Web 2.0 pond at TechCrunch50 and DEMOfall08. Here are a few others that just might be worth following:
Seesmic’s slug-line — the video twitter — is certainly catchy, and the video platform pretty much works the way it’s advertised: as a way to carry out video conversations with users all over the globe. Started by French entrepreneur Loic Le Meu, Seesmic could be interesting for brands in the future, but it currently feels like a community in flux. Still, Seesmic is certainly worth watching.
Like Analog Analytics feels about banners, AdRocket believes the email ad just isn’t quite dead yet. Its founders might have a point, with billions of emails sent every year from companies to subscribers. AdRocket is trying to make the ads within those emails — and they are text ads because images are blocked in most email clients these days — more useful and relevant to the actual customer receiving them. AdRocket targets its ads for publishers using non-personal information gathered from registration, browsing habits, cookies, and other means. So, the email ad is evolving.
AlfaBetic is the one of the coolest ideas in a long time. Launching at TechCrunch, this translation service/ad network is betting it can be cheaper and better at translating the world’s domains than competing companies, a.k.a. Google. The idea is to be able to translate blogs, websites, ads, even comments into 10 of the world’s most popular online languages via software, which is checked by a team of proofreaders worldwide and published on alternate language sites for the brand. This means a comment posted on Yahoo Russia will show up in English on Yahoo U.S. Most importantly, AlfaBetic doesn’t charge for the translation service — instead, it gets paid through its local ad network throughout the world.
While all these companies caught my eye, what technologies are you watching out there? Will you share with us, or is it too top secret?