Vivaki/Starcom: Tests Underway for New Digital Video Ad Format

What digital video ad format will best the 30-second pre-roll?

Two executives from Vivaki and Starcom, speaking at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Digital Video conference today, outlined the timetable for testing alternative online video ad formats to determine which one will resonate the most with consumers.

The presentation by Curt Hecht, president of Vivaki Nerve Center, and Tracey Scheppach, video innovation director at Starcom USA, was noteworthy for another reason. It shows that that Hecht and Scheppach, both associated with Publicis Groupe businesses, are working with the IAB, which sets standards for digital ad formats, and not against the industry group.

The initiative, dubbed “The Pool,” started with seven participants including Yahoo and Microsoft plus six advertisers including Capital One, Purina, Applebee’s, and Allstate. Executives from these companies kicked around ad format ideas, coming up with an initial list of 30, according to Scheppach. After presentations and a series of votes, five formats were selected for qualitative testing. After testing and more votes, two formats were selected for quantitative testing — a phase now winding down.

Scheppach and Hecht both declined to reveal any details out the final formats, but emphasized that The Pool’s testing is designed to identify what works for consumers — and not just advertisers and publishers.

Next up, one idea will selected for a five-month field trial and will be tested against the 30-second pre-roll. The group is aiming to have its final meeting about the online video ad format in November and roll out its findings by early 2010.

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