3 Questions Every Small Business Should Ask Before Utilizing Incentivized Video Ads

By now, you’ve probably heard from a myriad of sources that you should invest in online video marketing. The statistics cannot be ignored—in March 2014, 187.8 million Americans watched 28.7 billion online video ads. According to a BrightRoll survey, advertising executives also believe online video is equally or more effective than display advertising (91%), TV (75%) and social media (68%).

Once you’ve decided to add online video to your marketing mix, you then have to decide where and how to promote your content. The most popular video sharing site is obviously YouTube, and housing branded videos on a YouTube channel should be a priority. However, in order to reach the right audience with your video content, you’ll need to invest in paid media.

Now here’s where the real decision-making comes into play. Should you sponsor content on social media sites? Use YouTube TrueView in-stream, in-slate, in-search or in-display ads? Or maybe you’d like to reach Internet users through social games. Typically, video ads that appear during social games are incentivized, meaning a user will receive an extra life or other game-related reward for watching your video.

These kinds of ads can be incredibly effective, but after Apple threatened to eliminate incentivized video ads from the mobile apps in its App Store, some industry players have begun to warn advertisers about the “hidden dangers” of this ad format.

Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer of Vdopia Saurabh Bhatia recently wrote a MediaPost article in which he states:

“Brands don’t realize if their mobile video app ads generated a forced view or the better version—a “true view” or “view by choice.” Moreover, interrupting game play is not a positive way to deliver any brand message—nor is paying for users to watch your ad by giving them a free tractor in Farmville or extra lives in Candy Crush. It should be obvious that this results in negative brand associations.”

Let’s start with that first sentence, “Brands don’t realize if their mobile video app ads generated a forced view or the better version—a “true view” or “view by choice.” This should NEVER be the case. You should know exactly what type of view you’re paying for. This leads us to our first question:

1. Are these incentivized video ads opt-in?

You don’t want to bombard social gamers with interruptive video ads. Instead, you should work with platforms that offer opt-in video ads, this way users have to choose to engage with your branded message. Because players are earning rewards for watching your content, opt-in incentivized video ads tend to elicit positive feelings, not negative ones.

Now, let’s address this sentence: “Moreover, interrupting game play is not a positive way to deliver any brand message—nor is paying for users to watch your ad by giving them a free tractor in Farmville or extra lives in Candy Crush.”

What could be a more positive way to deliver a brand message than by offering viewers rewards in exchange for their time and attention? It’s a win-win. When I’m playing social games, I love that I have the ability to watch a branded video in exchange for an extra life. Fifteen seconds of my time is worth it, and many other gamers feel the same.

Ultimately, if the incentivized ads are opt-in, you won’t be interrupting game play. If anything, you’ll be enhancing the gaming experience for players willing to trade their time for added incentives.

2. Will these ads meet my company’s expectations in terms of viewership and engagement?

Both MediaBrix and Jun Group have found this ad format to be incredibly effective. MediaBrix found that in-game value exchange ads generated a 91.4% engagement rate, while the same ads on desktops generate a 102.2% engagement rate. Jun Group reports a 98% completion rate for incentivized ads, vs. 67% for pre-roll, along with a 3x higher sharing rate.

JW Player, an online video player that provides media solutions for publishers, also found that incentivized video ads have an average CTR of 11%, over 100X higher than the CTR of standard banner advertising campaigns (source).

We here at ViralGains offer opt-in, incentivized video ads for social games through our Viral Marketing Platform. We find that this ad format drives greater engagement, awareness and purchase intent.

“We’re essentially capturing consumers’ attention while they choose to embrace a brand’s message; as a result we are measuring substantially above-average KPI performance on metrics, from social sharing to actual purchase behaviors,” said Dan Levin, COO of ViralGains.

3. Will I have transparent reporting when it comes to individual placements and performance?

This is a must. You should be able to track each and every placement so that you can optimize your video marketing campaigns.

“Transparency is important because brands need to know what they are paying for—they shouldn’t have to blindly throw money at something that may not even benefit their company,” said ViralGains Ad Operations Manager Vitor Petrone.

With transparent reports, you’ll be able to see which placements are benefiting your brand and which ones are not. You can use this data to make more informed decisions about video ad placements in future campaigns.

We pride ourselves on providing clients with 100% transparency—our platform shows you each site/placement where your video ad appeared. We know this kind of reporting is essential for brands and businesses of all sizes. You need to know exactly where your hard earned cash is going and how it is furthering your marketing efforts. Ergo, transparent reporting is incredibly important regardless of the ad format you’re tracking.

Though there has been some negative buzz surrounding incentivized video advertisements recently, if you can answer “yes” to all three of the questions listed above, you can rest assured knowing that your incentivized video ads will be increasing social sharing, positive sentiment and engagement with your brand.

Enjoy what you’ve read? Check out our Small Business Owner’s Guide to Inexpensive, Effective Online Video Advertisements here

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