From OTT to music, publisher, gaming and dating websites/apps and more, Opt-in Value Exchange advertising is increasingly being embraced as an ad format that provides true value for consumers, with a delivery that consumers actually prefer and with countless studies proving effectiveness for brands on a number of key dimensions.
The IAB Opt-in Value Exchange Advertising Playbook is designed to help brand marketers and their agencies identify the various Opt-in Value Exchange advertising options available today. It is the first guide of its kind to provide guidance on creative delivery, what to buy how to buy, and measurement to help brands who are new to the space get started. Case studies are also presented to show the range of possibilities available to engage with consumers in a way that truly puts audience needs first.
*aka Rewarded Ads, Opt-in Ads
MISSION AND CONTRIBUTORS
Opt-in Value Exchange Advertising, (aka “Rewarded Advertising” or “Opt-in”) is an ad format that is growing in importance, notably on desktop and mobile and increasingly on connected TV/OTT. Ads offering consumers something of value in exchange for their time and attention was largely born out of the social game advertising space, but has quickly spread to non-game environments. Numerous studies show the consumer appeal and effectiveness of this tactic, citing benefits such as engagement, brand safety and an enhanced overall user experience.
The IAB Game Committee and Video Committee joined forces to form a working group to create an Opt-in Value Exchange Advertising Playbook designed to help brands and marketers better understand this growing tactic, and to provide tactical information on how to execute creative and how to buy. To bring the concept to life, numerous case studies are provided to show the scope of applications available today. The working group was led by Susan Borst, VP, Mobile at IAB with co-chairs from Jun Group, Pandora and Verve:
IAB acknowledges and thanks the Working Group members:
|JOEL KIRK — ACTIVISION BLIZZARD MEDIA||PRISCILLA VALLS — PANDORA|
|JONATHAN STRINGFIELD — ACTIVISION BLIZZARD MEDIA||SCOTT MCCLELLAN — ROCKYOU MEDIA|
|DAVID POKRESS — ADCOLONY||JARKKO RAJAMAKI — ROVIO|
|LLOYD LIM — CHOCOLATE||KATHY AARONSON — SALES ATHLETE, INC.|
|DENISE MOOREHEAD — ELECTRONIC ARTS||EVE FRIEDMAN — SMAATO|
|JACKSON BAZLEY — ERNST & YOUNG||JAKE ROTHMAN — SMAATO|
|RAANAN ERAN — FORTVISION||MICHAEL SHANG — STACKADAPT|
|NOAM DVIR — FYBER||LINA WANGFANG — STACKADAPT|
|MATTHEW VALENTINE — GAMELOFT||MARIA ZAVIDOVA — STACKADAPT|
|JENNIFER SCHINDLER — GOOGLE||LAUREN BACA — TAPJOY|
|JENNIFER BENENSKY — INFINITIVE||SHANNON JESSUP — TAPJOY|
|MIKE HAIGHT — INFINITIVE||MEGHAN MCADAMS — TAPJOY|
|KAYLA WILSON — INMOBI||IMRAN KHAN— TEADS|
|MICHAEL TUMINELLO — INNOVID||LAYNE HULLER — TELARIA|
|MISHEL ALON — JUN GROUP||ROB GROSSBERG — TRESENSA|
|REGINA GUINTO — JUN GROUP||TRACY SWEETBAUM — UNITY TECHNOLOGIES|
|MITCHELL REICHGUT — JUN GROUP||ARI BRANDT — VERVE|
|FLORIANA NICASTRO — MEDIAMATH||ROSS BLANCHARD — VUNGLE|
|NATALIE BREITBACH — MOPUB (A DIVISION OF
|MICHAEL DEIGNAN — VUNGLE|
|BORIS LOGVINSKIY — MOPUB (A DIVISION OF
|JASON SANTILLANO — VUNGLE|
|SOPHIA CHUNG — OPENX||GABRIELLE HEYMAN — ZYNGA|
|FRANZ BERNSTEIN — PANDORA|
OPT-IN VALUE EXCHANGE ADVERTISING
OPT-IN VALUE EXCHANGE ADS (AKA REWARDED ADS) ARE PREMIUM ADS THAT OFFER CONSUMERS SOMETHING OF VALUE IN EXCHANGE FOR PROVIDING THEIR TIME AND ATTENTION.
Opt-in means that the consumer has a choice to engage or not with the offer that is provided by the publisher.
For this type of advertising, in exchange for opting-in, the value exchange for the consumer is directly related to accessing the media experience that the user intended to access at that destination, e.g., engage with a brand message on a music app and get xx hours of ad-free listening time on that music app.
This is different from other kinds of value exchanges that may be opt-in, but where the value obtained is not related to a media experience. An example of this are apps that consumers can download with the express purpose to opt-in to take brand surveys to get rewards that are not related to the app itself and are redeemed externally. Another example would be when rewards are for use outside of a game vs. in-game. While this tactic, which is often referred to as Incentivized Ads, can be valuable and motivating to consumers, it is different than the Opt-in Value Exchange ad experience which is the focus of this Playbook.
“Opt-in advertising is an honest transaction that provides value to the advertiser, publisher (developer), and the consumer. Understanding what this format is, and more importantly, what it is not, will go a long way towards helping Brands embrace this highly engaging advertising opportunity.”
- Alberto Aceves, Senior Director, Programmatic Strategy, OMD
WHAT’S DRIVING GROWTH
Opt-in Value Exchange advertising is now being used across the digital ecosystem and while there is no definitive spend data, there is every indication that spend is increasing as more publishers and brands jump on the value exchange bandwagon on desktop, mobile and, increasingly, on OTT. Often associated with social games, it is clear that growth has extended well beyond games. To illustrate both overall growth and growth beyond the gaming vertical, MoPub, a division of Twitter, Inc., that provides monetization solutions for mobile app publishers and developers around the globe, cites a majority percentage of non-gaming advertisers on their platform buying rewarded video, with more publishers also now offering this advertising option:
IAB identified a number of factors contributing to this growth:
WHAT’S DRIVING OPT-IN VALUE
EXCHANGE ADVERTISING GROWTH?
- CONSUMER ANNOYANCE WITH INTRUSIVE ADS, ESP. ON MOBILE DEVICES
- BRAND DESIRE TO CONNECT WITH CONSUMERS IN MORE NATIVE AND ORGANIC WAYS
- BRAND DESIRE FOR BETTER PERFORMING ADS THAT ARE ENGAGING, VIEWABLE AND BRAND SAFE
- PUBLISHER DESIRE FOR ADS THAT ENGAGE AND KEEP VIEWERS ON-SITE, ESP. ON MOBILE DEVICES
- PUBLISHER DESIRE FOR NEW AD REVENUE STREAMS THAT PROVIDE A “WIN-WIN” FOR ALL
- TECHNOLOGY THAT ENABLES SCALABILITY OF VALUE EXCHANGE FORMATS
- INCREASING SUBSCRIPTION BASED PUBLISHER WORLD WHERE PUBLISHERS CAN OFFER VALUE IN EXCHANGE
FOR ADVERTISING VIEWS
“Perhaps more than any other factor driving the growth of Opt-in Value Exchange ads is the fact that they are powered by consumer choice. The mobile era has flipped the traditional advertiser-consumer relationship on its head, putting more power in the hands of consumers. On mobile devices, the most personal of computers, disruptive ads are no longer acceptable. Consumers instead want opt-in ads that give them full control. Advertisers have learned that by giving over that control through value exchange ads, they can actually forge stronger, more beneficial bonds with their target audiences.”
- Shannon Jessup, CRO, Tapjoy
COMMON USE CASES
Opt-in Value Exchange advertising is used in a wide variety of applications today. From games, to music, dating apps and more, the value exchange will vary depending on the publisher offer, e.g., free lives in a game, free articles on a subscription-based site, or free hour(s) of ad-free/fewer ads music listening or full episode video viewing. The examples grow every day of innovative value exchange use cases. (See Case Studies section for recent examples of many of these use cases.)
Here are some of the many types of rewards that consumers can opt-in to on different publisher apps/sites and on OTT.
HOW OPT-IN VALUE EXCHANGE ADS WORK – WHAT A CONSUMER EXPERIENCES
Regardless of the use case, the structure of an Opt-in Value Exchange ad works the same in terms of how the consumer experiences the ad. There can be some variations in terms of the creative format (e.g., video/ interactive video vs. static image) and possibly the use of an end card, which will be described in greater detail later in this Playbook. Using a game example from Tapjoy that includes an End Card, the consumer experiences a value exchange ad as follows:
As an example in the OTT space, Innovid worked in partnership with true[X], to leverage Opt-in Value Exchange ads that let viewers choose between engaging with one interactive ad while watching content, or instead watching multiple ads in the manner of a traditional commercial break. To complete the ad, viewers must first choose the interactive option, then spend a minimum amount of time within the ad, and have any interaction within the ad.
In another video example, NBC partnered with Google for an Opt-in Value Exchange ad experience on YouTube. As reported in AdAge, “YouTube users who watch certain ads without skipping ahead after six seconds will be rewarded with a clip from season 3 of ‘The Good Place.’ NBC ran ‘quirky’ YouTube ads featuring fluffy bunnies, disco dogs and cute kittens with ducks to discourage viewers from hitting the skip button. One of the ads shows a bunny in a bucket with a voiceover that says, ‘Only a monster would skip a video of a bunny in a bucket… Enjoy a moment of goodness, and maybe, just maybe, you will end up in the good place.'”
In 2019, IAB plans to conduct a US-based consumer study that explores Opt-in Value Exchange video ads, plus other creative formats detailed below to provide an independent, third-party-based view of consumer receptivity and effectiveness. This will include multiple use cases beyond gaming.
In the meantime, we’d like to highlight key benefits for consumers and advertisers, based on existing research that confirms consumer preference for Opt-in Value Exchange ads.
Opt-in Value Exchange ads benefit advertisers and, most importantly, consumers, in many ways. Research shows consumers overwhelmingly prefer Opt-in Value Exchange video ads.
Video is the most commonly used type of value exchange placement. The 2017 Kleiner Perkins Internet AdvertisingTrends Report cited a Millward Brown/Ad Reaction Video study conducted in eight countries, including the US, that showed that video ads that offered rewards were the overwhelmingly preferred video ad units on apps with nearly 70% of respondents viewing them as positive. Compare that to other ad formats, notably pre-roll, an often-used video advertising tactic, that are viewed significantly less positively.
“Mary Meeker has given my secret away! Rewarded advertising is so critical and an important model. What can be better? A user raises their hand and says that they want to be entertained and rewarded for their participation. They have actively chosen to play a game and then we have the opportunity to come in and entice them with a relevant ad creative and experience that is tailored to both the context of the game and their interests. This model is a no-brainer”
- Izzy Hedges, EVP International Media, Vizeum,
Media Agency for 20th Century Fox
THE OPT-IN NATURE OF VALUE EXCHANGE ADVERTISING IS THE SINGLE BIGGEST DRIVER OF CONSUMER FAVORABILITY AND RECEPTIVENESS.
Q: What are the most important aspects of a video ad that make you receptive to its message? Choose up to three. n=465
Source: Bi Intelligence
In the OTT video space, where we are increasingly seeing new Opt-in Value Exchange ads, viewers of Ad Supported Video services (ASV) like Hulu or Roku, like ads where they are given the choice to interact with a sponsor in exchange for commercial-free viewing for a period of time. Viewers of Subscription Video on Demand Services (SVOD) such as Netflix, which currently does not have advertising, are, perhaps not surprisingly, less likely to say they like these types of value exchange ads.
Pooja Midha, President of true[X] explains how Opt-in Value Exchange works on Ad Supported Video Services: “Let’s say you’re streaming an episode of your favorite show on FX or A+E. At the start, you might see a choice card, (which is what true[X] calls them) that would give you an option to remove all the commercial breaks in the stream if you’re willing to interact with a brand upfront for 30 seconds. Or you might be given a similar choice to remove all the remaining ads in a single commercial break.”
In the game space, where Opt-in Value Exchange started, there are numerous studies from app publishers and vendors showing consumer receptivity*. In the social gaming environment, these ads appear at a critical time for the player in the game and are well designed in the content/game flow. Here are results from Tapjoy’s 2017 study conducted with mobile gamers age 18+ that shows the appeal of this ad format relative to pre-roll ads in the game space. Nearly 80% of US gamers in the study indicated that they prefer opt-in ads vs. pre-roll ads. The same study shows that heavy gamers were actually slightly more likely to prefer these types of ads.
* Numerous other studies in the game space show equally positive results among consumers. Additional studies can be found in the appendix.
“Rewarded video drives engagement and conversions. The mobile (or casual) gaming industry got the message right away. Their approach is straightforward and spot-on: consumers watch an in-game rewarded video at a moment of need or achievement; in return, they receive content such as coins or lives or points. As a result, as eMarketer reports, 74 percent of gamers say they watch rewarded video specifically because this exchange improves their in-app experience.”
- Ari Brandt, EVP, Strategic Development, Verve
The demand for quality ad inventory continues to rise. Shortened attention spans coupled with cluttered interfaces, especially on mobile devices, have led to poor consumer experiences and, as a result, brands are not only demanding brand safe and highly viewable environments for their marketing messages, but, also ad formats that deliver against meaningful consumer engagements. Opt-in Value Exchange ad formats lend themselves to these marketer needs because they are designed to:
- Natively address an immediate consumer need: Opt-in Value Exchange ad formats are seamlessly delivered to meet the consumer in a state of desire/need within the context of the consumer’s behavior.
- Capture authentic attention in a 100% share-of-voice brand moment: Value Exchange ad formats are by definition opt-in, therefore the consumer is actively raising their hand to participate in the requested brand engagement with the expectation that in exchange they will be given the desired access/ reward/content. This desired access, which would have otherwise not been available to the consumer, ensures that the brand is capturing the authentic and undivided attention of a desired customer which is key when trying to move the needle on brand awareness and consideration. Further, the brand benefits from exclusively owning the opt-in moment, versus being in a pod of other ads vying for the consumer’s attention.
- Meet consumer expectations: In exchange for a consumer’s meaningful time and attention paid to the brand, the publisher unlocks access to the desired consumer outcome. This literal “value exchange” creates a unique, positive brand experience with a target customer and a halo effect for the brand, which can drive increased affinity for the brand and consideration at the time of purchase.
- Be effective for both upper-funnel and lower-funnel metrics:
- Many brands use Opt-in Value Exchange ads for upper-funnel KPIs such as Engagement, Consideration and Affinity. Affinity is related to both favorable brand impressions associated with the advertising itself, as well as favorable impressions associated with the benefit of the reward itself. The opt-in nature indicates high intent to engage with the brand’s message in the first place.
- Opt-in Value Exchange ads are also effective for lower-funnel, more performance-oriented KPIs. The use of static and interactive end cards at the completion of an Opt-in Value Exchange ad are designed to follow the value exchange video impression and enable brands the ability to deliver a personalized, dynamic offer, of which can drive the traditional lower-funnel performance metrics. Uses for call-to-action end cards are wide ranging. Some common examples include:
- “play again” and share features for additional engagement
- additional video views for entertainment clients
- dynamic store-locator opportunities for CPG, Retail and Auto clients
- shop now calls-to-action for mobile commerce
- link to download app, especially for games who may feature a shorter version of their game in a playable ad
- the opportunity to deliver detailed CRM data, via a form-fill component
- the opportunity to port the value exchange experience to a consumer’s mobile device
through the use of SMS
- The combination of a choice-based video experience which respects the time and attention of a user, with a personalized, dynamic offer if an end card is used, gives mobile marketers the chance to capitalize on both topline media performance metrics such as guaranteed high-completion, high-viewability video impressions and delivers additional engagement and downstream performance opportunities.
“Value exchange lies within the core customer experience and advertisers should look for experiences that are rewarding for users and by doing so, will have a direct impact on the media performance with brands.”
- Joel Kirk, Senior Marketing Manager, Activision Blizzard Media
CREATIVE ELEMENTS AND DELIVERY
When it comes to creative delivery, Opt-in Value Exchange ads allow for many creative options, from the use of existing creative that can be repurposed to custom execution options developed specifically for a given publisher or app that can vary based on objectives.
As a brand, you have control on what the best creative delivery should be. Looking for awareness? Seeking unique engagement? Looking for ways to learn more about your audience? Is performance a top priority? Opt-in Value Exchange ads can meet many of your goals with new options that continue to be developed to meet a brand’s KPIs.
Opt-in Value Exchange creative options include video (vertical or horizontal), survey, playables, custom execution rich media and more. Here, we describe these creative options and considerations for each that you should be aware of:
Vertical or Horizontal; Durations :06, :15, :30, :45, longer form, existing creative or custom Opt-in Value Exchange video ads play full-screen after a consumer opts in to unlock a reward. In all cases, the video is opt-in, but once opted-in, the user can exit the video, but the reward is not unlocked until a specific amount of view-time or engagement is completed. This covers a few important cases:
- Upon opting into an ad, the consumer still retains control because they can exit at any time. They *choose* to complete the ad for a reward, as opposed to being forced.
- Many of these ad formats don’t require a full video completion. For example, the creative may be 60 seconds long, but only 15 or 30 seconds of view-time is required to earn the reward. After those 30 seconds, the user could skip the rest of the ad and still get their reward, and the advertiser would get insight into their creative quality by seeing how many consumers chose to view more than 30 seconds rather than jumping to the reward state.
Static End Cards – flat JPEG file, Interactive End Cards – HTML-based, Rich Media End cards, which might also be known as “companion banners,” typically appear after a video, playable, or rich media unit has completed. They can be designed to drive traffic to web pages, deliver social media actions, drive coupon downloads, invite people to shop or view a video and more. End cards make these already engaging ads even more engaging. Here is an example of an interactive video end card:
Playables are an emerging, interactive, HTML5 video ad format that involve some sort of game play, meaning that the player wins or loses. These opt-in ad units are comprised of three elements: a short demo to show the consumer how to play, the game play itself and a call-to-action at the end. The call-to-action will usually include an option to “play again,” and can also include a variety of other calls-to-action which can vary based on the advertiser’s goals. This could include a link to watch a video, order food, shop now, join a club, a link to download a longer version of the game (if a game app) or even share the playable with friends. The options are endless.
In the below example by TreSensa Playables, when a consumer taps the icon to get free coins, they are taken to the playable ad from Grubhub. The user plays the ad, which ends with a call-to-action that invites the user to keep playing, link to social or click to the website to order/get a discount. The user will get their free coins no matter what.
*Note: In 1Q 2019, IAB will be publishing a separate Playbook devoted entirely to the Playable ad format.
Consumers can be asked to opt-in to advertiser polls/surveys which can include multiple-choice questions, form fills, scale questions, and rank-order questions. These can be used to measure a variety of brand lift metrics like awareness, effectiveness and purchase intent.
The below example from true[X], represents how a brand could use a survey in an opt-in video ad experience. In this instance, the consumer could opt-in to take a quick survey to more quickly get back to the content they were watching, or they could choose to continue without taking the survey and be exposed to a longer commercial break.
CUSTOM EXECUTION RICH MEDIA
Opt-in Value Exchange ads can accommodate full-screen, immersive ad units that can include a range of custom functions such as 360-degree video, AR/VR, haptic technology (e.g., when a user’s device has motion capability, like tilting a phone, or the TV remote impacts the creative), voice and weather-based targeting. These are typically bespoke, and consumers must engage with the ad experience for a selected amount of time before unlocking their reward.
In the below example, HP partnered with Pandora to create an interactive Opt-in Value Exchange ad unit. HP connected with their audience through Pandora’s Sponsored Listening product, where listeners can engage with a brand video or rich media ad for 15 seconds in exchange for an hour of uninterrupted listening.
To further amplify their impact, HP partnered with Pandora’s creative team to create a custom Sponsored Listening activity that took advantage of the interactive features of the phone’s touchscreen. The user flow was as follows:
- A listener clicks on the album art playing on their station to learn more about the song playing.
- A trigger banner (display ad) is served inviting the listener to interact with HP in exchange for an hour of uninterrupted (ad free) listening.
- The user clicks “Start My Hour,” opting in to interact with HP.
- Upon entering the experience, the user is asked to customize the design of the guitar on their screen using their finger while a timer at the top of the screen counts down from 15 seconds, indicating the time remaining to unlock the reward.
- After 12 seconds, HP delivers a message. After the full 15 seconds are up, the listener receives an audio chime and prompt to confirm the reward.
- Once inside the ad-free experience, a countdown clock shows the time remaining in the ad free experience, a secondary call-to-action is displayed via the status bar – “Learn More” – which is complemented with a display ad that can be clicked for more information or has swipe to dismiss functionality. If the user chooses to learn more, their ad-free listening experience continues uninterrupted while the user explores the brand destination page.
- At the end of the ad-free hour, an audio spot with a clickable banner serves with additional HP messaging for listeners to further engage. (See Case Studies section for campaign results.)
HOW TO BUY AND PRICING MODELS
Now that you know the range of formats that can be used with Opt-in Value Exchange advertising, below are the two ways you can actually buy: Managed I/O – Publisher Direct and Programmatic/Network. In both cases, these should be considered premium buys. It is important to restate that in all instances, it is the publisher, not the brand, that owns the transaction of the rewards themselves.
The below provides information about your options to help get started adding Opt-in Value Exchange advertising as part of your media plan.
Managed I/O – Publisher Direct
Purchasing via a managed IO/publisher directly follows the same processes and procedures media buyers currently use to place site media buys. Adding Opt-in Value Exchange advertising to the media mix can be as simple as adding a specific line item(s) to an overall media plan. However, because these units are opt-in and most are purchased on a CPE/CPV basis, impression and/or budget allocation is most often estimated.
When buying direct, the advertiser will know exactly where their ad will go and the precise value exchange offer that the consumer can opt into.
Programmatic/Network, including OpenRTB
There are now more options to buy Opt-in Value Exchange ads programmatically, including OpenRTB. These options provide more scale and can be tracked with the bid request so that buyers can see that a video opportunity is specifically for value exchange inventory. (In OpenRTB 3.0, the “reward” field specified is in AdCOM 1.0.)
When buying programmatically for your video buys, it is important to note which buys were value exchange vs. not value exchange as Opt-in Value Exchange ads may function differently in terms of view rates and other metrics such as time spent.
In terms of pricing, there are a number of models that largely depend on how you buy, but can also be impacted by what creative format you are using (e.g., video vs. non-video formats.)
BUYING AND CREATIVE TIPS
As stated previously, there are a number of factors that can impact Opt-in Value Exchange ad effectiveness. Here are some suggestions to ensure maximum impact:
- Know where your ad is running. This is a no-brainer for publisher direct buys, but when buying value exchange programmatically you’ll want to:
- understand which sites or apps your ads will be running on
- what the value exchange proposition is and where that proposition is in the consumer’s journey (e.g, for content unlock on a publisher site, the offer will appear as a result of a consumer trying to view a specific article; for games, the proposition will come mid-game in a moment of need to get a new life, etc.)
- Use data to your advantage. Related to buying and placement, use available first- and third- party data to enhance the propensity for users to engage with your ad. This way you’ll be able to target based on where your consumers actually are vs. where you’d like them to be.
- Evaluate your creative execution in the context where it will live and with engagement in mind.
- While creative designed for other uses can be repurposed for Opt-in Value Exchange (e.g., using an existing TV :30 or :15), you should ask yourself if this is the optimal creative for a value exchange scenario, keeping in mind the consumer’s intent when opting in. For example, if the value exchange of opting in allows a consumer to get back to their content more quickly, might a shorter video be better for the consumer?
- Understanding that a consumer has opted in for some kind of value exchange, acknowledge their decision by making interactive elements obvious. Lean towards simplification with interfaces, game play and controls.
- If your buy is largely on mobile, do you have any vertical video executions to enhance the user experience?
- Pay close attention to creative specs. Opt-in video is expected to cache and render quickly, regardless of where the user is located, what device they are using, and their bandwidth or connection type. Check your publisher or network’s specs to ensure that the creative, creative specs and video specs are optimal.
- Make end cards work as hard for you as possible. For end card calls-to-action, make sure that the desired action is clear to the consumer and that the offer ties back to the brand’s KPIs.
- Know your platform and device capabilities. Platforms should be taken into consideration when developing creative or choosing which executions to run. On desktop and mobile, you have a 1:1 interaction, whereas connected devices allow for opportunities to have a dialogue with more than one user, potentially a room of users. Devices can expose variations of capabilities, which may vary dramatically especially when considering connected devices. If you are developing creative for multiple devices, consider how interactions, inputs and UI elements may need to change based on the technical limitations and controls for each device and platform.
- Experiment! Test different creative executions and offers to learn what works best in the value exchange space. Incorporating interactive elements may allow for longer video length formats and engagements. You could even explore offering different levels of access or rewards based on different lengths of engagement. This is an opportunity for creative storytelling where a brand can preserve contextual relevance to continue the narrative and reinforce the power of choice.
- Measure! As with any other type of advertising, beyond media metrics such as completions and time spent, consider working with a measurement vendor that can assess impact of the execution on both upper and lower funnel metrics.
When it comes to measurement, like all advertising, effectiveness will be determined based on the going-in KPIs set by the advertiser and can be measured accordingly using a number of different tactics/tools:
- App dashboard to count views, viewability, interaction rates, bounce rates, engagement rates/time spent completed engagement and specific interaction with end card call-to-action(s)
- Post viewing surveys, e.g., via companies such as Millward Brown, to measure brand impact metrics such as ad recall, brand awareness, favorability, intent to take future post-ad action, affinity (likelihood to recommend brand) and purchase intent.
- Tracking of store visits or sales uniquely tied to codes in the value exchange ad campaign.
A number of Opt-in Value Exchange case studies seen at the end of this Playbook show how a wide variety
of brands in a wide variety of use cases define their goals and how they measure success including both
upper and lower funnel KPIs depending on the advertiser’s goals.
Opt-in Value Exchange ad effectiveness can be impacted by a number of factors:
- The app which the ad appears. Is it a relevant environment for the advertised brand’s target audience?
- The perceived value of the “reward” to engage with the ad. How compelling is the reward in context of when/where the offer is placed? e.g., a new life in a game at a critical moment could be very compelling as would the opportunity for free content on a news site, etc.
- The brand itself and the consumer’s going in pre-disposition of that brand. Millward Brown studies show that people who have a strong predisposition to a brand will react differently to advertising than those who are less predisposed.
- Your creative execution. Is it entertaining enough to hold attention on a mobile device? Is the length “appropriate” for the content and the environment? If an end tag is used, how compelling and clear are the calls-to-actions for the viewer?
To prepare for a successful Opt-in Value Exchange campaign, you should work with your publisher or network prior to the campaign launch to:
- Agree on the business and campaign objectives; e.g., percent viewability, video completion rate, click rate or view through rate, video completion rate, conversions, etc.
- Understand which environments will be supported; e.g., exclusive to one publisher/app or found on a variety which could include mobile web vs. mobile app; mobile, audio, desktop, etc.
- Understand what measurement capabilities may be available
Viewability, time spent/time in view and brand safety are three key considerations for all digital advertising, including Opt-in Value Exchange. Below are considerations relevant for Opt-in Value Exchange ad formats:
Viewability is an important part of the ad quality measurement equation for many brands/agencies. Most publishers and vendors are consistently delivering Opt-in Value Exchange video ads on 90%+ viewability rates for in-app. This is significantly higher than the global viewability rate for all video ads on desktop, mobile and tablets at 66%. (Source: Google and DoubleClick data which uses MRC’s Viewability definition*, May, 2017.) This is also significantly higher than Oracle Data Cloud’s human and viewable rate for in-app mobile video which is 40.4% and 35.6% for mobile web video (Oracle Data Cloud Q2 2018 Benchmarks.)
When purchasing Cost-Per-Engagement/Cost-Per-View (CPE/CPV) value exchange video formats, these units are inherently “100% viewable,” as marketers are only charged on the enforcement/completion of viewed time. Buyers need to take into account the following in advance of executing campaigns with specific partners to avoid discrepancies later on:
- the partner and mobile web vs. in-app environments
- what is considered “viewable” by industry standard vs. how/what measurement vendors are willing to track
- viewing times that may be longer than what is required to be measured
TIME SPENT/TIME IN VIEW
Opt-in Value Exchange advertising gives brands the opportunity to choose the amount of time consumers spend with their content. Because consumers must opt-in to engage with a brand, publishers and vendors can set a time frame for the ad experience. Time spent is typically based on video length (:06, :15, :30, etc.) and can include longer experiences. Interactive experiences can increase time spent and engagement even after the video is complete.
TRANSPARENCY AND BRAND SAFETY
As with any type of advertising, brand safety is in the eye of the beholder — it all depends on what is or is not appropriate for the brand so it’s obviously important for you to know where your ads will be running when serving programmatically. For example, a quick serve restaurant might have different standards than a baby products company. Whatever your brand, the expectation should be that your ad will only appear among content or on sites/apps you find acceptable.
The IAB Tech Lab Content Taxonomy, which was updated in late-2017, should be leveraged by publishers and advertisers to describe the topical “aboutness” of content with the primary purpose of facilitating relevant, brand safe, and effective advertising. When it comes to taxonomy, some best practices as outlined in the IAB AdQuality Measurement Buyer’s Guide (9/18) include:
- Take a nuanced approach rather than blocking entire content categories or keywords. Think of possible false-positives and false-negatives that content category or keyword blocking may trigger, and consider any trade-offs or implications of how you define brand safety.
- A site or app may score high, but actually have inappropriate content for that advertiser. For example, financial news is typically a contextually relevant and safe place for financial services brands to advertise, until stories start hitting about malpractices at banks, and SEC settlements, etc.
- Ensure that your DSP supports your chosen Brand Safety Filter Vendor for app (IAS, DV, Grapeshot.) All need specific updates made to read bundle IDs.
- A site or app may score low on the brand safety scale, but not actually have inappropriate or unsafe content for the brand, if the service being used is limited to keyword search. For example, sites that fall under the news & current affairs category, which are often considered premium, may score low because of certain words that a brand wants to avoid. For example, if “war” or “sex” indicates unsafe content, then sites reviewing the “Avengers: Infinity War” movie or content about “Sex and the City” would be flagged. However, services with advanced algorithms and sophisticated word analysis will not have such classification problems.
- Brand safety should extend beyond keywords, and take into account any applicable age and/or regulatory restrictions.
The Future of Opt-in Value Exchange Advertising
The future looks bright for Opt-in Value Exchange advertising that is being used across the digital ecosystem, with new use cases popping up at a rapid rate. Here are the top trends that IAB predicts will happen in 2019 and beyond that will spur growth:
- Better receptivity on the buy-side of this premium ad format based on proven effectiveness
- Evolution of creative that can be used including AR and audio/voice executions, which may include haptic technology, uniquely developed for mobile devices and smart speakers
- Desire will be to have a balance of an engaging, immersive experience that doesn’t take away from the action
- Advertisers will become smarter on different types of formats to marry/complement the KPI of the brand, with increased emphasis on performance metrics that can actually be measured
- Changing public policy/privacy environment allows brands to collect data on an opt-in basis
- More publisher offerings, both direct and programmatic, particularly in an increasingly subscription- based publisher world
- Enhanced tech alignment for better media performance metrics and reporting
- Consumers will continue to benefit from a user experience that they actually prefer
Moving forward, IAB will be conducting research on both media and brand metrics to learn more about effectiveness about this ad format across numerous use cases and with a variety of different creative execution formats to help advertisers better assess their options.
Opt-in Value Exchange ads are premium placements that provide measurable value to consumers, brands, and publishers: they allow for immersive creative options, advanced targeting, and sophisticated buying tools. Most significantly, these ad experiences are powered by consumer choice. In a mobile-first environment where disruption is no longer effective, this control is a critical difference. And we are increasingly seeing use in OTT.
Opt-in Value Exchange advertising, including video, playables, end cards, and surveys, has gone mainstream. For video formats specifically, the future of mobile advertising is interactive, conversational, and bi-directional. It is a world in which we are already living, working, and marketing, and where consumers have come to understand the power of Opt-in Value Exchange Advertising. As mobile technology evolves, publishers and advertisers are meeting their consumers in a way that finally allows for the true sharing of engagement in a two-way conversation. As mobile spend continues to increase and use cases expand, the rewards and benefits of these rich, non-interruptive, and personalized ad experiences will grow and provide value for advertisers, publishers, consumers for years to come.
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