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Everything You Need to Know About the Attention-Grabbing Ad Format That’s Winning Consumers Over (even on OTT)

Everything You Need to Know About the Attention-Grabbing Ad Format That’s Winning Consumers Over (even on OTT) 3

Brands are constantly seeking viewable ad formats that deliver meaningful consumer engagement to meet their goals in a way that won’t be disruptive to the consumer’s content experience. Opt-in Value Exchange ads have emerged as one of the best ad formats to address these marketer needs.  And while many may know about this ad format from the social game space, Opt-in Value Exchange ads are now truly mainstream across many different types of websites, apps, and, increasingly, in connected TV/OTT environments. Most importantly, numerous studies show consumer preference for this type of adverting more than any other, especially for video.

Opt-in Value Exchange ads are premium ads that offer consumers something of value in exchange for their time and attention that consumers actually prefer.  These ads put consumers in control as they are always opt-in, meaning that the consumer has the choice to engage with a publisher reward – or not.  And, importantly, the value exchange for the consumer is directly related to accessing the media experience that the user intended to access at the destination, e.g., engage with a brand message on a music app and immediately get xx hours of ad-free listening on that music app.

–          The Playbook points out the distinction and differences vs. a different type of reward-type ad, sometimes called an Incentivized Ad, that may be opt-in, but the rewards are NOT related to the media experience. (e.g., points won in a game environment that are redeemed elsewhere, meaning that they are not redeemed in the game that the consumer is playing.)

In response to the growing demand, members of the IAB’s Digital Video and Game Committees formed a working group to create the Opt-in Value Exchange Advertising Playbook for Brands. This comprehensive Playbook is designed to help brands and their agencies quickly identify, create, buy and measure numerous Opt-in Value Exchange advertising options. This includes details on creative elements including video, surveys, playables, end cards and custom execution rich media.   There are also helpful tips you should think about upfront to ensure maximum impact and compelling case studies.

According to Alberto Aceves, Sr. Director, Programmatic Strategy at OMD, “With this guide, the IAB has taken a leadership role in clearly defining a highly misunderstood, and sometimes overlooked, ad format. Opt-In Value Exchange 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.”

The working group* co-chairs shared some behind-the-scenes insights about the playbook:

Opt-in Value Exchange ads:  Inspiration, not interruption.  

Everything You Need to Know About the Attention-Grabbing Ad Format That’s Winning Consumers Over (even on OTT) 4A funny thing happens when you listen to your customers: they listen to you, too. Opt-in Value Exchange ads create a space for engagement and conversations that are relevant and timely. By putting people in charge of their media experiences, you empower them to engage on their own terms. That pays big dividends in the form of completion rates, viewability, and actions after the view.

The Playbook identifies the wide range of Opt-in Value Exchange use cases and innovative creative options available today, and we expect the list to grow longer from here. It’s an exciting time work in this field, and I’m so grateful to the IAB for bringing together the best minds to lead the way forward.

~Regina Guinto, Director, Creative Strategy, Jun Group

Opt-in Value Exchange ads:  Consumer-preferred engagement with both upper and lower funnel benefits.

Everything You Need to Know About the Attention-Grabbing Ad Format That’s Winning Consumers Over (even on OTT) 5The working group spent a great deal of time discussing the benefits of Opt-in Value Exchange advertising for publishers, brands, and most importantly, consumers.  The Playbook highlights numerous research studies that show, without question, consumer receptivity and preference for this type of advertising across the board.  Effective for both upper and lower funnel benefits, Opt-in Value Exchange ads create many possibilities to meet a brand’s objectives.  The featured case studies illustrate effectiveness for a variety of brands and use cases.

This said, we know there may be some misconceptions about this ad format.  For this reason, it is clear that the industry would benefit from a more robust study that explores consumer receptivity and effectiveness of this ad type across multiple formats and creative/reward use cases beyond gaming, including OTT. We are pleased that IAB is committed to conducting this study in 2019 to help grow awareness, understanding and continued adoption.

~Priscilla Valls, VP, Agency Advertiser & Industry Partnerships, Pandora

Opt-in Value Exchange Ads:  Video is a bright spot for this non-interruptive and highly relevant ad format.

Everything You Need to Know About the Attention-Grabbing Ad Format That’s Winning Consumers Over (even on OTT) 6For 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 engagements 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.

~ Ari Brandt, EVP, Strategic Development, Verve

It is IAB’s hope that this Playbook provides the information that brands and their agencies need to help evaluate and, hopefully, adopt today’s Opt-in Value Exchange options as part of your media plan.



*IAB acknowledges the working group members listed in the Guide from the following companies for their contributions:  Activision Blizzard Media, AdColony, Chocolate, Electronic Arts, Ernst & Young, FORTVISION, Fyber, Gameloft, Google, Infinitive, InMobi, Innovid, Jun Group, MediaMath, MoPub (a division of Twitter), OpenX, Pandora, RockYou Media, Rovio, Sales Athlete, Inc., Smaato, StackAdapt, Tapjoy, Teads, Telaria, TreSensa, Unity Technologies, Verve, Vungle, and Zynga.

IAB publisher members are invited to contribute additional case studies in the format seen in the guide.  Please email [email protected] with subject line “Opt-in Value Exchange Case Study” to receive the submission form.  You can submit up to three examples, preferably those where you can share as detailed results as possible.


Susan Borst
Head of Social and Content Marketing Solutions
at IAB