Interactive video ads was something I thought we would see a lot of in 2011 and, we did, just not up to the level I had expected. The major difference, to me, between TV ads and online is the interactivity that is possible and the different demographic and yet, so many advertisers don’t take advantage of the prior. Jivox, who has an interactive video ad platform (overlays, widgets, etc.), is now showing some numbers from the recent holiday shopping season.

As usual we need to approach these numbers with caution as they’re coming from a company involved in the subject matter (i.e. a grain of salt).

Jivox analyzed ten of the largest holiday season interactive video ad campaigns using BrandGage (its internal ad metrics platform), which collects user engagement data in real-time from interactive video ads and determines user intent.

The data showed that due to interactive video advertising consumers increasingly moved from awareness to purchase consideration during the holiday season. Jivox interactive video ads provide all of the relevant information a shopper needs about the product, where to purchase it, any special offers and the ability to listen in on social conversations about the product. On average, between Thanksgiving and New Year, 8.6 percent of consumers who viewed an interactive video ad considered a purchase. This is three times the typical average for interactive video ad engagement and more than ten times the average performance of a standard banner ad click-through rate (CTR).

I wonder, how are they judging “purchase consideration” because if I’m going to click on an ad for a product, I’m probably already considering a purchase at that point. They break down purchase intent into five areas; awareness, consideration, engagement or intent to purchase. Now, given the time of year they used, the fact that they themselves stated, “…we saw online consumers delaying shopping to the very last minute and retailers becoming more aggressive…” and that many people were most likely in need of gift ideas, this doesn’t seem to be all that groundbreaking to me.

The data below highlights engagement rates of the ten leading brand campaigns between Thanksgiving and New Year, 2011.

  • The overall engagement rate averaged 1.37 percent in the weeks leading up to Cyber Monday
  • The first spike in engagement rates began Cyber Monday at 1.6 percent and climbed to 6.73 percent by Wednesday
  • Engagement rates reached an average of 10 percent Christmas week and peaked at 15.9 percent on the day before Christmas eve
  • On Christmas Day average engagement with an ad was 7.87 percent

Engagement is defined by BrandGage as deliberate interactions with the ad e.g., expand to view details, click on “Learn More,” or “Download a Coupon.”

Perhaps this should be the basis of a study on holiday shopper desperation and the economic climate’s effect on holiday shopping because when I look at the numbers here’s what I see bullet for bullet.

  • Huh the holidays are coming, I should look into getting some presents.
  • Time to check the online deals and see what’s there. Damn I missed them I had better keep checking. Oh crap! It’s November 30th!
  • OMG, OMG, OMG I need to get some presents, what do I do? what do I do? AHH! just 48 hours left what do I get Uncle Fredkin!?
  • Holy crap this family dinner is boring, I wonder if I can sneak in some web surfing on my phone. (OR) Damn them for buying me X, now I need Y and Z to go with it, I had better search online.

Come on, you know some of that is true. You get, say, a printer and no one ever buys you ink cartridges; you get a tablet computer and no one gets you a case; you get a game console but not the exact game you wanted. You always have that one person on your list you don’t know what to get (Fredkin is a name I use often like for my plant in Prague, an imaginary dog I had for examples when teaching English, etc. I just think it’s a funny name).

To sum up, as this is long enough, interactive video ads got some play this holiday season, no doubt about it. But is it because of the interactive ads themselves or because of the economy coupled with pressure of holiday shopping? It’s hard to say because the stats here were collected in a vacuum and didn’t take into account a wide variety of other factors. Still, I do think that interactive ads will have another big growth year in 2012 and it seems like, in certain situations, they do have some benefit to advertisers and consumers.