In a bid to evolve online video advertising beyond the world of standard pre, mid and post-rolls, yesterday Sharethrough announced Sharethrough Sponsored Videos a "native" video ad format, meant to incorporate brand videos more seamlessly into publishers' web pages.
As Sharethrough explains them, native ads have three commonalities: they're integrated with the publisher's look and feel; they are choice-based, rather than interruptive; and they're meant to be standalone content experiences. The goals are better user engagement, improved user experiences, and higher brand lift, as compared with traditional video ad placements.
Beyond its video-only focus, Sharethrough is also differentiating from native ad alternatives like Twitter's Promoted Tweets and Facebook's Sponsored Stories by positioning its platform as "open," meaning that brands can use Sharethrough across multiple publishers' sites. That helps to drive scale and also customize specific placements. Publishers can determine exactly where to integrate sponsored videos.
Sharethrough said that branded videos of all lengths can run in the native slots, including those that might typically be used in 15 or 30 second pre, mid and post-roll and are still often re-purposed from TV. However, Sharethrough is clearly betting that as native video ads gain acceptance, brands will become more creative and develop longer-form video. To accelerate things, Sharethrough has also built Sharethrough.tv, an app showcasing creative agencies and production houses. The challenge here is that producing quality video ads is costly, and so in order for native video ads to take off their ROI will have to be further proven in.
Sharethrough also released the video below with CEO Dan Greenberg and Forbes Media's SVP, Digital Ad Sales Mark Howard explaining the benefits of native video ads.