Customer testimonials are nothing new in the world of advertising. Nor are the doubts, held by prospective customers, about their truthfulness.
In its new partnership with homemade consumer video publisher ExpoTV, ad network Tremor Media might have found a way to overcome that problem. Tremor is offering its customers the opportunity to adorn their online advertising campaigns with some of the amateur reviews found on ExpoTV.
These regular folk product reviews, called “videopinions,” are being embedded into advertising units served by Tremor, which claims to dole out ads to more than 800 sites and reach more than 92 million unique visitors per month.
Tremor CEO Jason Glickman said the ads are vetted to ensure, among other things, that they are generally positive in nature. However, they’re the Real McCoy, he said. While all usage rights are procured by ExpoTV, which does pay its contributors small stipends for their efforts, there is no interaction between the reviewers and Tremor or the companies whose products are being discussed.
“There is no additional compensation [to the videographers],” said Glickman. “The key to this is it’s authentic… With customer testimonials you may have seen in the past there was always that question, `Is this real? Are they being paid? Is this an actor?’”
The ExpoTV clips generally consist of a person showing a product and telling about his or her experiences using it. The company, which calls its service a “social commerce network,” claims to have more than 150,000 of these amateur reviews in its catalog.
Generally, thumbnail-sized videos will play without sound when the ad is initially served on a Web page. “There’s a little call-to-action above the video that says, `Roll over to expand to full size,’” said Glickman. When the viewer rolls a curser over the silent, 160 x 600 pixel video, the clip expands to five or six times the thumbnail size and the audio plays. There is no buffering or download delay and the viewer is presented with several additional videopinions, all clickable, that can be watched.
“It’s a way to get users very interested in a product or service,” said Glickman. “And, obviously, they are looking at positive reviews. At the point when they click on the creative to go to the advertiser’s site, they are very interested potential buyers much more likely to have a positive reaction.”
Glickman said the ads containing the videopinions can be targeted like any other ad on the Tremor network, including by demographics, region or context. “It’s obviously a very unique format, but all the same rules apply,” he said. “It has to be able to run across all our publishers’ sites seamlessly.”
ExpoTV calls itself a blend of YouTube and Consumer Reports. Glickman said his company’s partnership with ExpoTV provides “a way for advertisers to tap into… user generated hype but do it in a safe way. You won’t see anything violent or otherwise questionable.”
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