“The fundamental advantage of advertising in-content is that you have untapped relevance and reach. Even in SVOD environments – or especially in SVOD environments – and in AVOD environments, this solution will be become relevant more than ever,” says Stephan Beringer, CEO of Mirriad, an in-content advertising platform provider whose technology can insert a soft drinks bottle into a television scene, as one simple example, helping to monetise both new and library content
He continues: “In AVOD you obviously cannot just infinitely increase your ad loads, but you need to make more money – how? In-content is really the green field where you can go. Everyone who operates an SVOD service needs to rely on subscriptions, and is happy to make more money. The advantage of what we do is that it really works in every environment.”
Mirriad deploys it’s AI technology – SceneFinder – to analyse thousands of hours of video content and to identify contextually relevant moments where brands can appear within the programming itself, either in the form of product placements or poster/billboard ads. The technology then inserts the brand virtually, post-production. Mirriad is also fully addressable, with the ability to serve by audience, device, geography and platform. Beringer remarked that the company is working towards achieving programmatic activation this year.
According to data from Kantar, ad awareness among viewers exposed to Mirriad ads was 20 percentage points higher than for those who were not exposed, with brand affinity and purchase intent also higher by ten percentage points and seven percentage points respectively.
Beringer cites data from Nielsen which shows that 23% greater reach on average is achieved through in-content advertising compared to the reach of ads placed in adjacent spots to the same programming. “And that’s the average”, he continues, “We’re seeing campaigns which have 45-46% more people being reached.”
Beringer explains that these differences in reach and other KPIs is due to viewers being engaged in the programming they are watching, but typically tuning out or going to complete small domestic tasks during ad breaks.
In addition to boosting reach and driving business outcomes, Beringer argues that viewers prefer the ad format significantly over traditional ad spots. Kantar data shows that there is a 6X preference for the company’s ad format, with 80% of viewers saying they liked Mirriad’s ad formats and a further 83% saying Mirriad ads integrated well with the content they are placed in.
Beringer believes that in-content advertising allows service providers to monetise their libraries of content, while simultaneously enabling advertisers to access untapped attention, relevance and reach without overwhelming viewers with ads.
He says: “You want to watch a YouTube video, for instance, and you’re forced to watch one or one-and-a-half ads, and after a few minutes you’re interrupted again with a mid-roll. The same happens of course when you turn on broadcast TV. In the U.S., out of one hour of content, 25% is consumed by ads – which is an incredible amount. It feels like you’re bombarded with ads.
“Our paradigm is the opposite. We go into the content and by doing so we’re opening this massive new market and giving content owners the ability to monetise the content that they have and distribute.”
He argues that the ad format can even reach viewers watching TV in SVOD environments without alienating them, through a “fusion of content narrative and story-telling, and brand narrative and story-telling.” He elaborates that, in real life, ads surround us constantly as we move about the world and therefore ads can appear realistically in content without seeming jarring.
He notes however, that it is important not to negatively impact users’ viewing experience by over-saturating programming with in-content ads. He says: “Our systems are drilled to avoid exactly that, and content owners have no interest in over-polluting the content, either.
“If you start doing things which are inappropriate from a contextual standpoint, the viewer will react negatively and the consequence is that the impact for advertisers is not great. No one has an interest in doing something that is detrimental to the viewing experience.”
The platform is also equipped to ensure brand safety. Advertisers can specify contexts or emotional registers which they do not wish their brand to appear in, and the AI technology will avoid placing the in-content adverts within those environments.
Beringer gives the example of an alcoholic drinks brand: “You will want to exclude scenes with children. You will want to exclude driving scenes that come within several scenes after the ad placement. You can programme the system to exclude these scenes because you don’t want to have a bottle of whisky in an environment where there are children playing. You don’t want that as an alcohol brand and you don’t want that as a broadcaster.”
According to Beringer, Mirriad’s global inventory currently represents 82 billion impression media opportunities.