Will a tool encourage consumers to save, share, click, and engage with ads?
While attending the Association of National Advertisers Conference in Phoenix a few weeks ago, I met the good folks from AdKeeper. This company, which went into beta in February 2011, has raised a ton of money. It is bringing a new dimension to online media by giving consumers the ability to save ads they are interested in so they can click on or engage with them later.
So while there I interviewed MaryAnn Bekkedahl, president of AdKeeper and checked out a demo. She said her technology gives consumers more control of their entire Internet experience, helping them engage with advertising and brands of interest on their own time and terms. So I asked MaryAnn a few questions and here's what she said:
Harry Gold: What is AdKeeper?
MaryAnn Bekkedahl: Quite simply, AdKeeper brings the offline behavior of tearing an ad out of a magazine or newspaper online. With the simple click of the KeepButton overlaid onto digital ads, the consumer can save - or Keep - the ad for later without interrupting their content experience. Once Kept, consumers can view, click, share, shop, compare, and buy, using the ads they'd "bookmarked" earlier.
HG: Why do you think consumers will want to keep ads?
MB: As you know most ads have pretty low click and engagement rates. Why? Because they're engaged with the content they came online to view. AdKeeper and 24/7 Real Media co-commissioned a Nielsen study earlier this year that asked consumers why they don't click on online ads. The number one reason was because they want to stay on the page they're on. So AdKeeper appeals to the non-clickers (or, everyone) by letting them capture ads and offers of interest without disrupting their content experience. Consumers have told us they love the idea. We're here to make it happen.
HG: What kinds of advertisers embrace the idea of making their ads ''Keepable?''
MB: Innovative ones. What we're doing here is a game-changer that will create an entirely new consumer behavior online. Imagine a web where consumers have the ability to Keep every ad of interest for later - a true consumer-first utility that allows for time-shifting and deeper engagement on the users' own time and terms! Innovative marketers who strive to make the Internet a great place for consumer engagement love AdKeeper and they've already seen improvements in engagement rates with their ads that have been kept.
HG: Can you list some brands that have tried AdKeeper or are using it?
MB: Sure, we have run AdKeeper-enabled campaigns for over 60 brands including AT&T, American Express, Best Buy, Bigpoint, Campbell's, Chrysler, Clorox, Dannon, Ford, GAP, Groupon, Home Depot, jetBlue, Kia Motors, Kmart, Kohl's, Kraft Foods, Lenovo, Lowe's, Macy's, New York Times, Nextag, Papa John's, Pepsi Beverages, Pfizer, Progressive, Publishers Clearing House, Sara Lee, Sears, Unilever, Verizon, Volvo, Warner Bros, Wendy's - the list goes on and on.
HG: What kind of advertisers don't like the idea?
MB: We have yet to meet a marketer who doesn't like the idea of a web where consumers can Keep ads for later. The only objection we face is from a minority of people who have skepticism around consumer demand for Keeping ads. There will always be those who wait and see. Our early partners will benefit from pricing advantages and preferential services that our later partners will not. Our partners are all top-tier marketers with significant online media.
HG: I know you are still in beta but can you share some results?
MB: Once kept, ads are getting an average of a 5 percent click rate. Also, once a consumer puts an ad in their keeper, the average time spend with an ad is 23 seconds. In that 23 seconds, they are viewing, clicking, sharing, liking, printing, and all things you might do with a standard banner or rich media ad unit. Also, according to an MTV study from last year, the average time spent on an ad is 1.3 seconds and we all know what click rates are these days. So a 5 percent click rate and 23 second average time spent on even a few ads, never find a moderate percentage of them, can really increase campaign performance. AdKeeper gives ads that would normally be forgotten after their initial first impressions a second life of sharing, clicking, and engagement that can literally live on for weeks, months, and even years.
HG: So what does it cost to use AdKeeper?
MB: Well, right now we are building our audience of AdKeepers (people who store their ads) and a stable of beta clients - so believe it or not it's free!
HG: How can we see AdKeeper in action?
MB: You can just visit our site to see a demo.
Pepsi ad in a consumer's keeper.
It will be interesting to see if AdKeeper hits critical mass with consumers to really add a significant and secondary lift to an online ad campaign. Given that it is free to try for advertisers, AdKeeper has the potential to get billions of impressions to sign up millions of users. I am sure its goal is to make the AdKeeper "K" button as ubiquitous in advertising as the Facebook and Twitter share buttons are in the web's content. Certainly if this happens it will be a valuable enhancement to any ad campaign. A whole new additional action can be encouraged and measured along with clicks, engagements, and shares - essentially we could be adding "saves" to our list of metrics and goals.
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As founder and CEO of Overdrive, Harry Gold is the architect and conductor behind the company's ROI-driven programs. His primary mission is to create innovative marketing programs based on real-world success and to ensure the marketing and technology practices that drive those successes are continually institutionalized into the culture and methods of the agency. What excites him is the knowledge that Overdrive's collaborative environment has created a company of online media, SEM, and online behavioral experts who drive success for the clients and companies they serve. Overdrive serves a diverse base of B2B and B2C clients that demand a high level of accountability and ROI from their online programs and campaigns.
Harry started his career in 1995 when he founded online marketing firm Interactive Promotions, serving such clients as Microsoft, "The Financial Times," the Hard Rock Cafe, and the City of Boston. Since then, he has been at the forefront of online branding and channel creation, developing successful Web and search engine-based marketing programs for various agencies and Fortune 500 companies.
Harry is a frequent lecturer on SEM and online media for The New England Direct Marketing Association; Ad Club; the University of Massachusetts, Boston; Harvard University; and Boston University.
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