Microsoft Launches Clickable Video Ads for Kohl’s

If the Daisy Fuentes shirt in that online video ad looks like something you’d want to buy, go ahead and click it. Microsoft has made it possible for viewers watching ads for Kohl’s department stores to click the images they like for more information, or even buy the items directly from Kohls.com.

The Video HyperLink (VHL) technology was developed by Microsoft’s adCenter Labs, and is the group’s first stand alone product. The Kohl’s ad (click to view) is currently running only on the MSN Video portal.

While the video is playing, viewers will see small icons on the bottom half of the screen that inform them something in the frame can be clicked on for more information. Along with links to Kohl’s Web site, viewers can also get basic information about the items clicked on, such as the make and design of the clothing items. The VHL technology requires viewers have a Flash Player installed to parse the metadata and render the information or an Active X plug-in to Windows Media Player, according to the company.

The VHL technology uses algorithms that track selected objects in a video between selected key frames and can interpret that image from others as the video continues.

The ability to provide links directly from within the video frame has seen increasing interest from software developers and entertainment companies as a means of monetizing video content while creating a new marketing channel.

“Video hyperlink ads are a milestone for Microsoft adCenter Labs. As the first stand-alone product from Microsoft adCenter Labs, video hyperlink ads symbolize Microsoft’s promise to innovate and advance the entire industry to new levels,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a prepared statement.

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