Skip ads and increase engagement

October 20, 2011

After outrage over excessive ad breaks, ITV have experienced a substantial drop in viewers for both The X Factor and Downton Abbey, the two jewels in their weekend schedule. 400,000 deserted Downton Abbey last Sunday, many of whom will be catching-up with the latest episode they missed on ITV’s video on demand service. But, advertisers are concerned that they cannot guarantee whether viewers won’t use the ad breaks to browse on another tab, check emails or flick through their Twitter newsfeed. So, ITV has decided to tackle the problem head on, launching a new ad format on their video on demand (VOD) service, ITV Player, which will keep the viewers attention by empowering them and putting them in control.

The new ad format will allow users to skip ads if they correctly answer question based on the brand or product in the spot. This format has been designed not only to keep viewers within the ITV Player platform, as opposed to a separate web browser on a third-party site but also to encourage a deeper level of interaction and engagement with the product or service being advertised, rather than just exposing them to it.

ITV trialed the new ad format “behind closed doors” with Kellogg and LG this year and after positive feedback is ready to launch it publically. Previously, clicking on ads on ITV Player would open up a separate web browser for a third party site, but the new ad format will keep users within the platform; similarly to the effect Apple’s iAd service has on mobile advertising within Apps.

Tired of intrusions, consumers are increasingly exercising more control on how they view, interact with and filter advertising, as they continue to shift their attention away from linear TV to multichannel formats. The multichannel world is opening up an array of possibilities for advertisers to offer more intrinsic value to consumers and ITV isn’t the only channel to jump on the bandwagon. Channel 4 offers several digital ad formats including the new Ad Social format, which allows viewers to recommend or check in with a brand using social media from within the 4oD player. Ad Pop, which “pops” the ad out of the player to reveal more detail and functionality through an overlay, Ad Interact, which allows viewers to interact with an ad, enter their details and sign up for coupons and Ad Elect, which allows viewers to choose to watch the ad that is most relevant to them.

Click here to see which brands will be first to use Channel 4’s new digital ad formats.

ITV is also hoping to develop a series of formats to increase their offering to advertisers, so it will be interesting to see how these two platforms compete.

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