Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 4:48 PM ET|Posted by Will RichmondIncented video views in social games are all the rage and yesterday, SupersonicAds, one of the many players in this space, raised a $4.2 million financing from Greylock (bringing its total to date to $6 million). I caught up with SupersonicAds CEO and co-founder Gil Shoham who sees this model as the "new prime time" as it marries the massive usage of social game use in Facebook and elsewhere with brands' desire to reach the audience.
For those not familiar, companies like SupersonicAds (and others such as Jun Group, Blue Noodle, WildTangent, Social Vibe, etc.) work with social game publishers and social networks to promote video ads that reward users with virtual currency for viewing (see Kellogg's example below). Gil sees the reward as the "hook" to get users watching, but the post-viewing engagement (e.g. "Likes," click-throughs, sign-ups, etc.) are based solely on the brand's appeal and the strength of the creative. Gil said 50-80% of users watch the full video, with an average 20% of those "Liking" the brand and 40% returning later to visit the brand's web site.
Gil concedes incented video viewing is a new model for brands and it's taking a lot of education to get them to understand gamers' expectations around virtual currency and rewards. SupersonicAds "BrandConnect" platform allows advertisers to target audiences, monitor results and pay on a cost per engagement basis. Game publishers are able to keep the audience within the experience, implement the videos as desired and gain additional revenue.
To differentiate itself from competitors, SupersonicAds is focusing mainly on Europe and is leveraging its team's experience with consumer experience gained from prior work at Metacafe. It is also exclusively focused on social games and virtual currency.