Idearc Media-owned site tests local video ads in Seattle, L.A. and San Francisco.
Online companies that advertise on Superpages.com might soon be able to augment their ads with customized video clips.
Superpages.com, owned by Dallas-based Idearc Media, is beta testing a local video program that will focus on showcasing small businesses. Now being tested in Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco, the advertiser videos are either :30 or one minute long.
Robyn Rose, VP of Internet marketing at the company, said online video clips are an ideal way for "both advertisers and consumers to get more information to each other" especially because they add life to otherwise static ads.
"What we are finding, through tests, is that owners can really communicate the value of their businesses, the look and feel of their businesses, the personality," said Rose. "And they can communicate it even before the customer visits their Web site or picks up the phone."
Superpages has not committed to a pricing plan for the video clips but Rose and Superpages media relations director Mary Delagarza said they estimate the production fee for a half-minute clip will cost advertisers less than $1,000.
On top of that fee will come the placement and distribution costs. Superpages plans to use a bidding model in which advertisers will pay based on the number of views an ad receives. "We recently launched a new sort model," said Rose. "It takes elements such as bid price, as well as the performance of the ad and multiple other factors, and sorts the ad giving relevancy the top billing."
Superpages.com is not the first directory service to offer video ads. In May, IAC/InterActiveCorp-owned Citysearch announced it was introducing advertorial video in an effort to court small local advertisers.
Rose noted that the Superpages.com pricing model will differ from those of competitors like Citysearch. "They bundle it with ad spend," she said, adding that Superpages wants to separate the production cost from fees associated with "the ongoing value to the advertiser from the traffic we are driving to them."
Since all the video clips will be custom made, the program entails some logistical heavy lifting. The clips for Citysearch are produced by commercial video producer TurnHere, but Rose would only say Superpages is "working with several vendors who have networks of videographers across the country."
There is no timetable for when the project will emerge from the trial period and be rolled out nationally. "Now it's just in pilot mode," she said. "We'll announce a national launch when we are ready to go."
Delagarza said Superpages.com believes there are three areas in which a company must excel to be successful in the local search business: content, technology and distribution. "This is a content play for us," she said. "It brings more content to the consumer and when the advertiser can get more content to the consumer, the consumer can get a more relevant return on the local search result. Therefore, that brings a more valuable lead to the advertiser."
Delagarza and Rose said the company will make the video clips available for viewing on mobile devices "as soon as the capabilities are there" in more mobile devices to view the clips.
Idearc was spun off from Verizon in November. It publishes the Verizon Yellowpages and is home to Superpages.com. Superpages.com says it's home to about 18 million business listings, and a May comScore report found Superpages.com received 21.4 million unique visitors.
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