Video Ads Drive Traffic to Ready.gov

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Online video advertisements have increased the awareness of the Department of Homeland Security's public service campaign to push traffic to the site at www.ready.gov.


The streaming ads from EyeWonder Inc., Atlanta, feature homeland security secretary Tom Ridge and New York first responders like police officers and firefighters. They are part of a nationwide cross-media campaign in partnership with The Advertising Council Inc. to prepare Americans in the face of a terrorist attack.


"The challenge is just to get people's attention," said Tony Foleno, research director at the Ad Council, a New York nonprofit. "I think they do a good job to draw people's attention to advertising."


Click-through rates are the best evidence of the effectiveness of the streaming video ads.


Take the ads that ran on The New York Times' site at www.nytimes.com. The America spot in 468-by-60 pixel size delivered 2.07 million impressions, 2,934 clicks and a 0.14 percent click-through rate. The families ad in 336-by-280 pixel size delivered 2.1 million impressions, 16,472 clicks and a 0.77 percent click-through rate.


Overall, the average click-through rate on nytimes.com was 0.46 percent. Both ads ran June 16-27 and required the user to click for audio sound.


The America ad on sites working with ValueClick, a provider of Internet advertising solutions, delivered 3,018,526 impressions, 13,426 clicks and a 0.44 percent click-through rate. It ran June 11-17. By contrast, the families ad delivered only 608 impressions, two clicks and a 0.33 percent click-through rate. The ad was up June 16-27.


The ValueClick sites reported an average click-through rate of 0.44 percent. The sites initiated audio.


"Our average click-through rate for ads that require the user to click for audio, like the nytimes.com execution, is around 0.5 percent, and the average for ads with host-initiated audio, like the ValueClick sites, is around 1 percent," said Jason Scheidt, director of marketing at EyeWonder.


"So, given the nature of the content, which traditionally trails the compelling nature of paid ads, the nytimes.com ads fared very well and the ValueClick sites also held up, considering the content," he said.


The online video ads were adapted from television spots repurposed and streamed using EyeWonder's instant streaming technology. Visitors to Ready.gov were asked a few questions that threw more light on the ability of the ads to perform.


For instance, it was found that those exposed to the online ads were significantly more likely to visit Ready.gov. Among all segments tracked, the ads delivered a lift of an estimated 4 percent in terms of users' intent to visit.


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