Brands including Cadbury’s, Burtons Biscuits and M&S saw an average 64% surge in site traffic following their first trial with ITV’s new interactive video ad format Ad Explore.
The broadcaster is trialling several different interactive formats with brands, with the view to later extending them to run across all platforms ITV Player is available on including mobile and tablet devices.
Ad Explore, developed in-house, features an interactive overlay with a menu of thumbnails positioned to the right. Viewers can explore more about the brand by browsing through the thumbnails, while the video ad plays. Brands can provide additional videos, images, and recipes within the ad, while also linking through to Facebook games, competitions.
Five brands took part in the trial, which ran for just over a month this summer, with each supplying additional content to run within the ad format.
All the trialists saw an average 64% hike in traffic to their sites following the ad, while 6% of the ad viewers interacted with the ad while it was playing. Over 1.5% engaged the most deeply, viewing extra content, promotional offers and social media activity, according to ITV.
ITV’s group multiplatform controller Stephen Poole told new media age the trials mark the first step in its overall plans to introduce interactive video ad formats to all platforms and devices ITV Player is available on. “We are now running bookings on this format across the site, and one of the brand trialists has already signed up for a long-term campaign. We have several other formats in closed trial and at concept stage, all of which fit with our multiplatform strategy,” he said.
ITV will continue to invest in interactive video formats, which lend themselves well to second-screen devices, according to Poole. “Second screen is an area we really want to innovate in, and our Shazam proposition plays a big part in that,” he added.
Advertisers can choose to provide their own creative, or ITV can produce it for them. The broadcaster is currently creating the first ad for a brand, due to run in the coming months.
ITV’s head of commercial innovation Jon Block said the early interaction rates with the ads and the traffic increases post-viewing were encouraging results. “Research and focus groups we have run shows there is real appetite for these interactive formats. Some formats will work better on specific platforms than others. For example, they may not fare as well on connected TVs, which will most likely be the largest screen in the house and therefore shared viewing experience, although we are developing formast for that space. Whereas these deep-dive formats work best on mobile, laptops and tablets,” he said.
Channel 4 became the first terrestrial broadcaster to introduce an interactive ad format suite last year with the launch of Ad Elect, designed to let viewers choose which ad to watch ahead of catch-up content from a selection of three creatives (nma.co.uk 3 March 2011). It has now bolstered the suite with four more formats, although it is yet to extend them to mobile devices (nma.co.uk 18 October 2011).
Meanwhile YouTube has recently extended its skippable video ad fomrat In-stream to mobile devices, and is moving to extend all its Trueview interactive formats to mobile devices in the coming year (nma.co.uk 28 August 2012).
Block said it has been important for ITV to take its time to develop the right kind of format that best suits its audience. “We have taken things slowly to ensure the user experience we create is perfect for the users. Interactive ads are an entirely new concept to them, and given the broad spectrum audience we have at ITV it’s important to introduce them to new things gently, while maintaining a consistent user experience so their trust in us is sustained,” he said.
It will continue to monitor feedback and interaction rates, to help hone future formats.