Booyah starts auction network for video ads

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Digital marketing and technology company Booyah Networks launched an online video ad serving platform called the SpotXchange in beta at the end of September to try to bring more accountability and efficiency to pre-roll, post-roll and mid-roll video ad serving.

The auction platform helps publishers monetize online video and user-generated content while advertisers looking to use Web channels to reach consumers cost-effectively also benefit. Like other auction-based ad models, the ability to trade media in an open system may add more value and equitably to the industry.

"We try to feed as much information as possible to both parties," said Michael Shehan, founder and president/CEO of Booyah, Westminster, CO.

Booyah's ad-matching, ad-serving technology platform was inspired by search bid functionality. Publishers create profiles for advertisers to search through that set minimum bid levels, spot length, omit specific themes and specify synchronized banners adjacent to the advertiser's video commercial. The profiles are audited and confirmed by Booyah Networks staff before publishers can join the network. Publishers include blip.tv, VideoEgg, Jambotv.com and 365JokePlace.com.

"It's kind of like they are taking a really good direct advertising model to online video," said Troy Young, chief marketing officer at VideoEgg, San Francisco.

Unlike other operators of ad-matching and ad-serving networks such as Lightning Cast, Broadband Enterprises, Unicast and Tremor, spots on the SpotXchange are negotiated on a cost per single impression rather than a CPM basis, letting any changes to the advertiser's bid take effect immediately.

"[The bidding system] really empowered me to allocate a budget that works for us, and now we know exactly what we are paying for and who is seeing it," said Craig Smith, senior vice president of the consumer division at advertiser Service Magic, Golden, CO.

Service Magic traditionally advertised with local search directories and used search engine optimization but expanded to online video for the ability to brand its home improvement services directory.

Advertisers on SpotXchange get granular targeting that includes the context of videos their ads are shown with, location of the viewer to the ZIP code, demographic information about the viewer and time of day that the video ad can be seen.

"My theory is I'm trying to use a lot of small audiences to accumulate up to that small broadcast audience," said Will Gardenswartz, chief marketing officer at home-care professional directory service and advertiser Done Right (www.doneright.com), Pasadena, CA.

He said that Done Right's ad budget could not sustain a television campaign but that the company sought a video branding opportunity. It gets most of its business from its biannual "orange book" directories. Done Right uses its ad spots to familiarize customers with the directories.

Banners for the ads must be clicked on to start the video. Advertisers are charged only if 25 percent or more of the video ad is played. SpotXchange supports all Interactive Advertising Bureau standard banners and manages the running and converting of various video formats. Advertisers upload their pre-made click-through banners, or the system auto-generates banners for each campaign.

A partnership with VideoEgg lets advertisers upload their commercials using VideoEgg's in-browser plug-in. SpotXchange transcodes this master media file into the three file types (Flash, Windows Media Viewer, QuickTime) and the different bit rates (low, medium, high) that publishers require. This frees advertisers from worrying about codecs and frame rates, and allows them to focus on the creative.

"We've basically taken all of the hurdles out of the creative management nightmare going on [in online digital video] right now," Mr. Shehan said.

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