AdKeeper, the service that lets consumers store Web ads for later viewing, announced the addition of more than a dozen new clients this week, including well-known brands such as Campbell’s, Papa John’s, CBS, General Mills, Ford, the Gap and Unilever.
The November 2010 debut of AdKeeper was met by skepticism by some who doubted that consumers were interested in viewing display ads at all, much less creating a personal collection of them. Click-through rates for Web ads hovered at about 0.1 percent for 2009, according to DoubleClick.
But AdKeeper’s latest clients seem motivated less by a delusional belief that consumers love their banner ads than a desire to be part of a technology that gives consumers more choice.
“We invest and advertise in areas that involve high consumer engagement,” like Pandora and MLB.com, said Linda Gangeri, advertising manager for Volvo, by e-email. “We realize that consumers may not want to be diverted from these places to visit our website or engage with our ad. By ‘keeping’ an ad, they have the choice to revisit our messages or website on their time. This creates a better experience for both parties.”
“It’s about consumer choice and empowerment,” she said.
Michael Sprague, VP of marketing for Kia America, offered similar reasons for signing on with AdKeeper.
He said, “We know that consumers are not ‘in market’ all at the same time,” and that “consumers are so busy they do not always have time to click through our ads.”
“We know that consumers tear out ads from print publications and come back to them for reference and consideration later on,” he added. “It is only natural that this type of behavior would carry over to the Web.”
AdKeeper works by placing a “K” button on its clients’ display ads that, once clicked, sends the ad to a personalized Web page users can access at their convenience – without redirecting the user away from his or her current Web page. Launch clients included McDonald’s, Pepsi, Warner Bros and JetBlue. Clients of AdKeeper still handle their own media buying, and Gangeri called the investment “minimal.”
Both Sprague and Gangeri said they haven’t worked with AdKeeepers long enough to evaluate results. But Gangeri did say the number of keeps Volvo ads received would help it evaluate ad effectiveness in much the same way TV advertisers now consider DVR playback of their commercials.
“We will look at ‘keeps’ and follow-up visits as a part of our metrics,” she said. “Any consumer action is worth noting and recognizing.”
She also suggested that Volvo would be incentivized to create better, more relevant ads by knowing consumers had the option of saving them.
“By creating a market for ‘saving ads,’ it also means creating a marketplace for better ads that are more relevant to consumers,” she said. “Our ads need to be worthy of ‘saving’ and that means communicating the right things to the right audience at the right time.”
AdKeeper was launched by Scott Kurnit, founder and former CEO of About.com. The company is backed by private investors, including Bessemer Venture Partners and Esther Dyson, former host of PC Forum.
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