Affiliate Marketing Firm Buy.at Launches Interactive Video Format

Platform-A’s buy.at affiliate marketing network has teamed up with British video tech firm Coull to offer its affiliates access to an interactive video ad format.

The ads, developed for U.K. retailer Shop Direct, enable individual items within video footage to be tagged and linked independently, allowing users to click through and purchase from a dedicated product page on one of the company’s sites: LittlewoodsDirect.com. The activity is then tracked and logged, and affiliates are paid commission based on the leads they generate.

The use of interactive video, sometimes referred to as hot spotting, has been growing slowly but steadily over the past few years, but has yet to see widespread adoption by advertisers.

“Our technology has been around for a while, but hasn’t been used as part of an affiliate campaign before,” said Irfon Watkins, Coull CEO. “The key is, it’s now becoming accessible and scalable,” he added.

Buy.at will be responsible for tracking click-throughs, sales and cost-per-acquisition commissions by embedding its tracking and analytics tags into the video itself. As a result, the units can be copied and placed elsewhere online, for example on social networking sites, while ensuring that reporting functionalities remain intact.

Louise Green, client services director at buy.at, said feedback from affiliates was already very positive, and she anticipated the format will offer “increased reach and response for advertisers.” She also expects other major U.K. retailers to follow suit, particularly within the fashion and homeware verticals.

“Online video is still a very linear experience, but our technology enables users to really engage with the content, and doesn’t interrupt their online experience,” said Watkins. “The format lends itself to any video showcasing multiple products or choices. In theory every pixel can be individually linked, so its potential uses are broad,” he added.

Coull’s video tagging technology has already made appearances on well-known publisher sites including Bebo, MSN, and MySpace. Previous advertisers have included major U.K. retailers such as Boots and Agent Provocateur, as well as European automotive manufacturer Renault.

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