Opt-in value exchange ads are moving beyond gaming

BFI video demo on FoxNow Roku app / IAB

As consumers' expectations for relevant advertisements increase, brands not only need to find highly viewable environments to place ads, but they also need to consider different ad formats to deliver more meaningful messages.

The IAB today (5 December) released its Opt-In Value Exchange Advertising Playbook for Brands, a guide to an ad format most prevalently associated with the gaming space.

Susan Borst, vice president of mobile at IAB, said opt-in value exchange ads have a worthy place beyond gaming.

“If there are any misconceptions that [opt-in value exchange ads are] only in gaming, think again,” Borst told The Drum.

Borst gave examples of dating apps and music streaming services using the ad format. Users can opt-in to an ad and receive a reward like opening their dating profile to more people or unlocking music.

“There is some confusion… It’s the publisher, not the brand, that owns the reward transaction. If you’re a music site, it’s the site that dictates what the reward will be,” Borst said.

Priscilla Valls of the IAB working group said research shows that consumers prefer this ad format.

“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,” Vails said in a blog post from IAB. Vails is vice president of agency advertiser and industry partnerships at Pandora.

Borst said much of the research has been done in the gaming space, and while opt-in ads are making their way across media, including into the OTT space, more research needs to be done.

“IAB is doing a robust research survey in 2019 that will cover different creative formats from video, static, surveys, and different offers in each case that extend beyond gaming,” said Borst.

Still, the research that’s been done shows the utility of the ad format. On the creative front, Borst said there are opportunities for brands to both use existing material and to create custom options.

The playbook details how brands need to consider where and for how long their creative elements will be viewed.

According to the playbook, “Opt-in value exchange advertising gives brands the opportunity to choose the amount of time consumers spend with their content. Because consumers must opt-in to engage with a brand, publishers and vendors can set a time frame for the ad experiences.”

The use of end cards in opt-in value exchange ads also allows for greater interactivity and highlight more performance metrics.

“In the end card, [brands] can obtain additional consumer engagement in terms of play again or view again. You can have dynamic store location opportunities. You can have a call-to-action with local commerce with a shop-now, and other examples where call-to-action end cards can drive more lower-funnel performance metrics,” Borst said.

The publisher direct buying process for opt-in value exchange ads is the same as any other ad format.

There are options to buy value exchange ads programmatically, but advertisers should be careful to note which buys are value exchange and which are not. Opt-in value exchange ads may function differently in terms of metrics like view rates and time spent.

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