Mobile video ads, ad choice, real-time bidding and interactive video ads on mobile? It’s like, my visions of the future have come to pass! Tap your toes for Tapjoy, they seem to be on the verge of something as epic as that peanut butter and chocolate collision.

I spoke with Linda Tong, VP of Product at Tapjoy, and got the scoop on what it is they’re doing over there. Basically it amounts to interactive video ads on mobile platforms.

Incentivized & Interactive Mobile Video Ads

Say for example, you’ve got a video ad campaign running but you also want to target mobile users and get them more engaged. Because of the smaller screens, ads can take up a lot of real estate so you need to make sure that the ad is far more interesting than if it’s just displaying in a corner of a larger desktop or notebook display. Tapjoy gives you that ability while also offering the ability to incentivize the video ad viewing.

Users can watch a video to completion to earn virtual currency (incentivized video viewing). Then there’s an end page for the video where they have options set by the advertiser, for example, Facebook and Twitter links, or a website link as well as app download links, etc. Some of this is brand awareness plus  app discovery. They recommend that two links be the max but there are four possibilities including links to other video content.

Mobile Video Ad Choice

The users can be given the option to choose which video they see to obtain the incentives via an Offerwall which gives users a choice so they can find a video that interests them or is of most interest of the presented options. What this allows the developer is a way to monetize the consumers who do not want to manage a micro-transaction. This could be highly effective in many games and apps with premium content layers.

For an incentivized offerwall the users get something for completing an action. Advertisers are allowed to bid in real-time, which affects the incentive for the ad and the ranking on the Offerwall.  The Offerwall is optimized for app and user based on what they might like the most as the service looks at what they’ve clicked on in the past or what they’re playing right now. So it has smart targeting based on the content of the apps and user behavior.

In this service, Tapjoy have pulled together the three main trends for the year which myself and some others saw back in January: mobile videoads, real-time bidding and interactive video advertising. I nice well-rounded package indeed.

Tapjoy believes that there’s a big future in mobile video advertising as well as a lot of room for innovation. Some mobile video ad services are focused on user experience and some on inventory. Tapjoy believes that users, when given the ability to quit a video whenever they like, will do so and that engagement after video completion is key. With their service you get 100% of the audience because they are more captive since the videos play within the app and in order to get the incentive they need to finish the video.

How Tapjoy Integrates

The Tapjoy video player is built into the app and takes up the full screen and from there if they activate a link they might leave the app and go to a browser but just as often there could be just a thanks for watching and return to app, or some links to more videos.

Tapjoy has a sales team specific to video to bring inventory into the app. A mix of brand and app developers are integrating now and almost all inventory is targeted for mobile users specifically because of their dedicated sales team.

Tapjoy Targets Smartly

As I mentioned before Tapjoy looks of user behavior as well as app content. But on top of that they also track what offers convert the best on the app and the user and then try to position those offers, or similar ones in front of the user more often. Additionally, users can self-flag based on their interests which helps better target them and is a plus for the user as they get more relevant ads and can still achieve the incentive they want. The targeting is mostly based on what users click on and what they convert on, and that then creates the Offerwall, ranks the videos for them, etc.

That’s a Tapjoy Wrap

Tapjoy really seems to be positioned for rapid growth and expansion. They seem to have got all the right features and at the right time as apps are the boom town of mobile computing at the moment with everything from smartphones to tablets using them. The apps integrating Tapjoy are as diverse as the people using them. Gun Bros, a video game, allows gamers to earn more warbucks while Text Free by Pinger allows people to get around texting fees on theirs. The main categories seem to be social and casual games and other non-game apps like texting and doodling.

But I can see it expanding into say, news apps with a freemium model. Watch this video to get access to extra information, exclusive content, etc.

I’ve been processing this interview for about a week and the only real issue I could see is video ad length. Generally, I think, people will be less inclined to take too much time away from whatever they want to do, especially on mobile because you’re usually not in a sedentary position or you’re in between one thing and the next – commuting, shopping, eating, whatever. It’s all a bit more time compressed and so time sensitive. So if you were going to utilize Tapjoy I would suggest you keep the ads shorter to see higher completion rates. But I will talk with Tapjoy again and see if we can get some numbers on what kind of ad lengths work best, what kind of content they see converting well etc. After all, knowing is half the battle.

Go JOE! (anyone? remember? G.I. Joe cartoons?) Bah, Kung Pao I’m out!