We’re extraordinarily pleased to welcome back Mixpo’s President and CEO Anupam Gupta to ReelMarketer to reintroduce us to the company and it’s developments. Seattle-based Mixpo is an advertising tech provider delivering smart video ads tailored to localized audiences. Read on as Anupam Gupta shows us how it’s done:
Welcome back! Please tell us about who are you, and about your company, Mixpo.
MIXPO / ANUPAM GUPTA: Great to talk with you again! Our business has expanded quite a bit since the last time we spoke. Our mission is to provide everything needed to run “smarter” video ad campaigns on any online ad inventory, and be the best platform for doing so. There are three core parts of the platform:
- Create compelling best-in-class video ads. That means turning video assets into compelling, interactive “app-like” experiences that run across online, tablet or smartphone ad units. The video ads are also flexible to change messaging, dynamically, based on who’s watching and where.
- Easy and flexible campaign management tools. Lots of powerful capabilities like making creative changes on the fly, localization, A-B testing, auto-optimization, day-parting and dynamic personalization are included, which remove complex implementation hurdles for video campaigns.
- In-depth analytics that go beyond the basics and address the unique attributes of video vs display. We all know marketers are clamoring for better ROI and reporting for video.
Today, our platform is used by publishers, networks and agencies to better serve their clients’ video needs across a wide range of vertical categories, and we are very excited with the positive feedback we are seeing.
What technologies does Mixpo’s platform bring to the table for its partners?
MIXPO: Our tagline is “make video ads smarter,” which really represents the promise and capabilities I just mentioned. The broader way we’re thinking about context is this: video is still in its infancy and will take five to ten years to evolve and mature. That represents a lot of upside for advertisers as well as companies like Mixpo as innovation brings greater ROI (return on investment) on video ad spend.
Video marketing ads started out less than five years ago when they first appeared on YouTube as flat video files. So much more can be done now – interactivity, personalization, cross-device enablement. The reporting for video is also multi-dimensional whereas display traditionally has been a one-dimensional focus on click-throughs.
Our ad units are broadly accepted in the ecosystem on ad inventory across publishers, ad networks and DSPs. And multiple ad formats like in-stream, in-banner, in-app or mobile web. Thus we think of our platform as a ‘bolt-on’ on the existing ad tech infrastructure out there.
We think our primary value proposition is comprehensiveness. Video ad technology is a fractured market. Different vendors address different portions – like interactivity – others do personalization. And the cross-screen story is inconsistent. We truly provide everything you need for a best-in-class video ad campaign with advanced capabilities made easy.
What are some notable projects and clientele resulting from Mixpo partnerships?
MIXPO: We work with a broad array of brands, retailers, auto OEMs, restaurant chains and so forth. Some of the executions of these ads can be found in the Gallery on our site here. I think that some of our cooler engagements recently have been around creative interactivity such as enabling consumers to pause video ads to send themselves scheduled text reminders to watch a show or incorporation of real-time travel deals localized for where the consumer is watching. We’re seeing increased engagement and impact from these kind of executions.
Referring to your Chevy Cruze campaign, what were the client’s goals and what was the strategy Mixpo created to meet those goals?
MIXPO: We really enjoyed working with Cobalt (the agency) and Chevy on that campaign, the case study for which is located here [PDF]. The primary goal was to drive foot traffic at the dealer level. To do that we were able to customize the video ads for the Chevy Cruze in real-time right at the microsecond each was served in order to show geo-specific dealer information – maps, directions, request for quotes – based on viewer location. Great way to cover all ends of the marketing funnel. Broad awareness marketing through TV spend and then leveraging localized video online to encourage visits to local dealerships, which in this case numbered nearly 3,000.
What key factors really helped make the Chevy Cruze campaign a success?
MIXPO: I think the primary factor was the commitment and great collaboration of the parties involved – Chevy, Cobalt and Mixpo. From a technical standpoint, I think localization was key. Based on our own observations, localized video ads result in 30% greater engagement rates (number of clicks divided by number of video impressions), which results in higher awareness, interest and intent.
What metrics were used for the Chevy campaign to measure return on investment (ROI)?
MIXPO: The qualitative metrics – aka the top to mid funnel metrics – included awareness and purchase intent at the dealer level, higher viewer engagement as measured by time spent and interactions and reliable localization of ads across nine different executions for 2,900 dealerships resulting in 26,100 executions generated on the fly.
Quantitative metrics included conversions, in this case visits to the dealer site, impressions and views.
What is it that makes online video such a desirable medium for marketing today?
MIXPO: Sight, sound and motion. It’s the power of television advertising combined with the innate abilities of the web to increase impact through interactivity, localization, personalization and precise measurement. Per Google, they’ve seen an average CTR of nearly .9% for in-stream that is almost 10x higher than the average for Flash display (.09%). However, clicks is not the foremost metric to be looking at for the success of video campaigns… it’s fundamentally about impressions (views) delivered and the lift impact on brand metrics like awareness and intent. We have seen lift impact of anywhere between 20% and 60% with our campaigns compared to a control group who didn’t see the ads!
From working with your partners, what would you recommend are the top 3 must-dos to hit a higher conversion rate from an online video view?
MIXPO: For this question I will step back and provide an answer that is probably less Mixpo-centric and just more industry observation from my years in this business:
- First and foremost I think it’s placement. We’re not a video ad network, but strategic placement is key for getting in front of the right audience and in a position on the page that is visible and within a context that’s relevant and of high quality. As a corollary to this, audience targeting capabilities are getting much better now and making media buys more effective.
- The second most important must have is an intelligent video execution equating “intelligence” to the IQ of the video ad’s technical capabilities. Flat video is no longer good enough. A video ad needs not only to be compelling aesthetically, but to drive brand and performance metrics, it needs to be appropriately interactive, localized and personalized.
- It must work across any screen. Even if advertisers aren’t making mobile or tablet specific buys yet, anywhere from 2% to 5% of their video impressions will land on smartphones and tablets simply by nature of video consumption habits of consumers. This means that to avoid wasted impressions, the video ad needs the ability across both Flash and HTML5 (iOS) environments.
As Mixpo is constantly innovating to stay ahead of the curve, what can we expect to see from Mixpo?
MIXPO: As techies we love to dabble just as much as the next guy/gal. We’re nerds. That said, we think less in terms of innovation, and more in terms of staying in close communication with our partners and clients so that we’re hearing early what it is that they’re looking for: pain points that need to be addressed and upsides that needs to be harvested. Innovation naturally follows; we have always taken that approach.
What is one thing you know about the video advertising market now that you wish you knew when you started?
MIXPO: Ecosystem. The video ad ecosystem is still evolving. It’s important to evolve with the ecosystem to ensure that we stay current and valuable to stakeholders.
No one can predict ecosystem dynamics – at least not at this juncture. So far we feel good about our ability to provide value to our customers and partners – and we will continue to work hard to maintain that role.