In an effort to boost Nielsen ratings and drive online viewers on-air, Houston CBS affiliate KHOU recently used online video spots promoting local news broadcasts to drive traffic and engagement to specific areas of its website.
During a six-week campaign that ran from mid-October through the November sweeps, KHOU worked with Mixpo, a Seattle firm whose video ad platform helps clients extend their TV ads online. “We take display and combine it with video to deliver the client’s message,” said Mixpo CEO Anupam Gupta.
KHOU displayed a series of extensions to four :30 spots that played on the KHOU.com home page and other pages. The spots played after viewers rolled over a banner.
The station also placed ads on a number of outside sites, including People.com, USAToday.com, SI.com and Time.com.
In one example, an ad promoting the station’s traffic reports offered a clickable link to its traffic page and invited viewers to send e-mail notifications about current traffic conditions. Viewers were also polled on Houston’s worst commute.
To promote Investigative I-Team news, KHOU asked viewers to send e-mails with story ideas that could be broadcast later.
Another spot linked to the station’s weather page with data from Weather Bug and links to a live camera for Doppler weather. Another weather spot promoting morning meteorologist David Paul featured a “How well do you know Houston?” trivia question.
Dale Locket, KHOU’s director of creative services, said extending the video spots online is a tactic to reach an audience that’s distinct from on-air. “They want their content online and don’t watch the news at set times,” he said. “We want to push them on air, so they’ll use both platforms.
“TV does a good job of pushing viewers to the Web but the challenge is to use the web to push them back on air,” he said. “Extending our video spots provides us with an opportunity to do that.”
Mixpo provides a self-serve interface to create the extended video spots. Video spots are uploaded and interactive features added. Mixpo also provided analytics that gave KHOU daily reports on the number of impressions and interactions with ads.
Of course, TV stations seek higher Nielsen ratings and the use of extended video spots may have helped. Locket said topical spots promoting specific KHOU news stories “held the audience from prime time lead in or increased it on those nights during the November sweeps.”
YouTube is said to be preparing new non-video features that will allow content creators to interact with their viewers through photos, text posts, links and polls.
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