About two years ago, I wrote about my belief that high quality publishers could make Internet advertising work at least as well as the best TV advertising. At the time, that was a pretty lonely position. In a world of banners and remnant inventory,online advertising was heading toward commoditization. Yet I continued to believe that we could make Internet advertising work brilliantly for high quality product launches and brand building and also that we wouldn’t always be stuck with text based CPC ads.
This year, with the launch of our ZINC high impact formats, we’ve begun to show that the best sites can indeed run fantastic graphic and video ads that sell great products. Agencies are buying those ads for quality brands.
We’ve been validated by a marketplace that seems finally to have discovered the value of online ads for brand building purposes. The convergence of mobile and video has made that happen; more online video ads are watched than TV ads. According to the Pew Research Center,
tablet ownership in the U.S. has nearly doubled in the past year, with 34% of American adults owning a tablet, up from 18% a year ago, according to the Pew Research Center. With 56% of these tablet owners living in households that earn at least $75,000 annually, publishers are pitching brands on reaching affluent audiences.
Fortunately, we had already developed our suite of high impact formats, including the InViewSlider, the Shuffle, and our full screen video. These formats have been tested and deployed by premium publishers in the US, Europe, and Asia. They are getting great results and making agencies very happy. Needless to say, the increased revenue makes our publisher partners happier, too.
I’m still looking toward the day we measure something besides CTRs, an irrelevant metric for brands. Viewability should be a more important metric than click-through rates; think of the traditional billboard along a highway — you don’t do anything when you see it, because you’re driving. But it might make you take action later. That’s brand lift.
Another new measure for video advertising might be engagement, or how much of the video ad did you actually watch. There’s no substitute here for great creative that can keep a visitor watching through to the end of the ad.
It has taken a while for brands to get comfortable with online advertising for brand awareness, but with the combination of new formats like full-screen TV ads on the web and better creative, we’re heading in the right direction.