Beyond the chaos theories and maddening conjecture, contextual advertising—to this author, at least—is a crapshoot. For one thing, I’ve rarely, if ever, clicked on a text ad sprung from my favorite sites, and the whole ad strategy—which is of course Google’s and many other’s cash crop—still feels more wild and random than a hunting expedition with Dick Cheney.
Then, a company like Vibrant Media comes along, one whose sole focus is on the contextual space, but with different implications. Recognize the double-green underlines coating the words within your choice online destinations? You have Vibrant to blame, as the company’s best known for those text-filled balloons emerging from a mouse over of those lines, a format which they dub IntelliTXT. Consider it the most subtle, un-invasive form of contextual targeting. But now, the company is taking bold steps with IntelliTXT, creating a video-based form of their brainchild, which completely emphasizes their “user-initiated advertising” strategy.
Recently, ADOTAS sat down with Vibrant Media’s co-founder/CEO Doug Stevenson (a former ecommerce head at AOL Europe), as well as Marketing Director Anna Kassoway for an in-person, in-depth chat about the goings on at Vibrant, what makes them tick, and what separates them from the pack.
ADOTAS: Hi, guys. So what’s the story with Vibrant, what is going on with new ad unit?
Doug: I think the really interesting thing about our business is we’ve been focused on contextual advertising for nearly six years now. So, we’re in-depth specialists in this space. What we’re doing with the new video ad unit is, we believe, pushing the envelope of contextual advertising—moving contextual advertising to the next evolution, where you start bringing branded video advertising onboard.
A: Tell me a little about your history.
D: We started off in London. Then, we moved over to San Francisco back in the end of 2001. When we arrived, everybody was saying, ‘by the way, everyone’s left’. (Laughs) It was a very different time. But in hindsight, it was a good time because it allowed us to get office space and people pretty easily, and we have been building our presence pretty nicely over the last 5 years.
It again goes back to the fact that we are specialists with 120 people in the business focused on one area: that is contextual advertising. It’s making the point of right place, right time, relevant advertising placed next to relevant content. Now, I guess our technology, which is patent-pending, allows us to deliver results in seven different languages.
Now, it’s gone from text to video.
Anna: First, just to reinforce what Doug’s saying, I think having such an early start in contextual advertising and really being here at the very, very beginning in the United States has allowed us to have such a large distribution and such a sophisticated technology at this early stage of the game. So just out of the gates with IntelliTXT video, we already have over 200 million commercials that we can deliver a month.