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Video Ads Spread to Links
June 12, 2006
By Brian Morrissey

NEW YORK Advertisers hunting for more video ad inventory will have another option: running their spots tied to text in Web pages.

Vibrant Media, a New York-based contextual advertising firm, is introducing video to its in-line units, which show ad messages when a user mouses over highlighted words on a Web page. Intel, Microsoft and Warner Bros. have experimented with the unit.

Vibrant Media has signed up more than 1,000 publishers to display its IntelliTxt links, which turn keywords on Web pages into hyperlinked ads. When users mouse over the words, which are double-underlined in green, a text ad appears. Its publishing partners include many small sites, in addition to Hoover's, and gaming site IGN.

The addition of video to the 180 x 150 pixels ad unit will make them more appealing to brand advertisers, which can expand the reach of their video assets, said Doug Stevenson, CEO of Vibrant Media.

"We can supply more trailers and TV commercials than many sources," he said, noting IntelliTxt reaches nearly 65 million Web users.

Despite its focus on brand advertisers, Vibrant Media will only charge advertisers when users click through to their Web site. Stevenson said keyword minimum prices for IntelliTxt video units would be higher.

An advertiser like Warner Bros. targeted trailers of Poseidon over six weeks to a keyword list including Kurt Russell, blockbuster and Imax. "We're very satisfied by the number of views," said Don Buckley, svp of interactive marketing at Warner Bros., who said getting charged only for clicks made the program even more valuable.

When tested IntelliTxt in 2004, it ran into concern from some journalists that it blurs advertising and editorial, sowing reader confusion, which subsequently stopped using the service. Stevenson said Vibrant Media avoids news sites, although it does have deals to show in-line ads on parts of and iVillage.


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