Volvo on Wednesday became the first advertiser to host a live Twitter feed inside a display ad on YouTube, making novel use of a tool that's been available to the site's advertisers since 2006.
The ad, part of the campaign to introduce the Volvo XC60, carried the tweets of EuroRSCG executives attending a demonstration of the car's safety features outside the New York International Auto Show at Manhattan's Javits Center. The feed was brought to the ad unit via DoubleClick's rich media dynamic data feed capability, which is most often used to stream product or weather news within display ads.
"It's never been used for a Twitter feed before," said Rachel Nearnberg, a Google spokeswoman. "That was the agency's creative innovation."
The ad was also the largest expandable unit ever placed on YouTube's home page. Initially a 960x250 masthead unit, it expanded to more than twice that size, filling about half the page when rolled over by a user. It included video, photos, a 360 degree view of the car and a video game that highlighted the XC60's "City Safety" feature, which prevents collisions at speeds under 10 miles per hour.
Alyson Yaffe, Volvo account director at Havas Digital's Media Contacts, said Volvo wanted to do something special with its first YouTube front-page ad, as Google had not been offering them for long -- only since late last year -- and users weren't yet inured to them.
"They don't have one every day, so the cool thing about it from the media perspective is that users aren't accustomed to seeing an ad there, so it stands out more than it would on a Yahoo home page or MSN's home page," she said.
Sites like YouTube have been increasing the functionality and size of their display ads in recent months as online ad spending has slowed. Nearnberg stressed that while YouTube could offer the tools, it depended on the agencies "to bring their vision to the technology."
Douglas Quenqua is a journalist based in Brooklyn, NY who writes about culture and technology. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, The New York Observer, and Fortune.
June 20, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT