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AOL uses action-and-reward strategy for new interactive ad platforms

AOL and Verizon are building an ad experience designed to increase sales for ad partners across its media properties with useful capability such as downloadable coupons.

The new ad platform BrandBuilder will allow brands better control over unique campaigns designed to entice consumers with rewards. Two ad experiences will be available for advertisers through the platform – one, a new pre-roll video format and the other, an incentive program to save data on Verizon.

“We anticipate higher engagement levels and more views per ads, especially given that our new ad formats such as DataPerks and Player Up are non-intrusive and put consumers at the center of the experience,” said Spencer Sloe, vice president of advertising product and strategy of AOL Content & Brands. “The new formats allow brands to organically engage and better connect with consumers because they are providing users with the experiences they already desire.

“The DataPerks format offers consumers endless opportunities for mobile-based value-exchange,” he said. “Brands can prompt Verizon Wireless customers to take a survey, enter their email address, or download a coupon or app in exchange for free data towards their Verizon plan.

“These are just a few examples, however; there are countless other opportunities that can be utilized, depending on the what the brand desires.”

Interactive advertising
Readers and users on AOL media properties are being given the opportunity to earn data from its owner, Verizon Wireless, in exchange for participation. Users will be prompted to download a coupon, take a survey or enter in information to earn free data from Verizon.

As part of AOL’s new advertising initiatives for partners, DataPerks will likely pave the way for higher sales and engagement for partners.

PlayerUp is BrandBuilder’s video ad network that has transformed the traditional ad interruption experience. The experience is an alternative to preroll ads, says AOL, by forgoing the 15-to-30-second time length for shorter lengths at 3 and 7 seconds to adhere to shorter attention spans.

The ad experience is different than a traditional video ad. The 3-to-7-second intro, named the Bumper, introduces the campaign, while the rest of the video includes the brand’s logo.

Interchanging with the publisher’s logo, the spinning logo is located in the corner of the video and does not hinder the viewing experience. The pause button can also be replaced by the brand partner’s logo.

Commerce and advertising
Interactive advertising with sales elements are becoming more popular for brands and platforms. The strategy is beneficial for both consumers and advertisers.

For instance, American Eagle Outfitters drove sales conversions among Facebook users by sponsoring ads that expanded into a full-screen denim guide, enabling consumers to toggle through several jean styles before visiting the retailer’s mobile site to make a purchase.

The retailer attempted to stand out in millennials’ Facebook feeds by inviting them to swipe upward to interact with the denim guide advertisement, which features models donning jean styles such skinny, legging and straight leg. Consumers can examine each style before tapping the “shop now” button to visit American Eagle Outfitters’ mobile site, where they can purchase their desired pair of jeans (see more).

Gulf Oil also fueled enrollment for its digital rewards program by offering a chance to win Boston Red Sox tickets to new enrollees and leveraged social, banner ads and email to push the campaign.

Power Points is Gulf’s mobile rewards program that spans multiple retailers and allows users to earn points for every dollar they spend at participating partners, which can be tracked on its mobile-optimized Web site. Gulf directed shoppers to sign up for the program through social and banner advertisements by offering free tickets to selected winners, who are automatically entered to win by enrolling in the program (see more).

These strategies are proving to be positive for these advertisers, which is what prompted AOL to develop these new ad experiences.

“With Player Up, consumers will click ‘play’ to start the video, which automatically introduces the content with a custom :03 to :07 second bumper ad experience,” Mr. Sloe said. “Once the bumper disappears and the video begins, the brand’s logo can be seen as a watermark in the bottom right-hand corner that alternates with the the publisher logo as the video plays.

“Additionally, if the viewer pauses the video, the brand logo or imagery will appear on the screen until the video is resumed,” he said. “With DataPerks, the user experience will depend on the type of action the brand is using to prompt consumers in exchange for the Verizon data.

“In other words, the user experience will be based on the value-exchange the brand has chosen to use – they may be asking users to take a survey, submit their email address, or download a coupon.”