Answers Served: Captcha Ads No Puzzle for Solve Media

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captchaADOTAS – Back in September, Business Insider proposed Solve Media’s just-launched Type-In Ads as one of its “Daily Million-Dollar Ideas.”  Eighty-one percent of readers agreed: replacing hard-to-read and sometimes insulting captchas with brand advertising was “brilliant.”

But there would seem to be a lot more than $1 million at stake in this space — especially with big-name brand such as Toyota and Microsoft hopping onto Solve’s advertiser roll call.

Captchas are filled out for Internet security purposes around 280 million times a day globally and take about 14 second each. Solve Media’s Type-In Ads, which have numerous rich media and targeting options for advertisers, get a user to fill in a brand message for a security code. Revenue is split equally with publishers.

No surprise, recent research found that both brand and message recall for Type-In Ads killed other types of digital advertising.

Recall with banner ads vs. Solves Type-In Ads
Recall with banner ads vs. Solve's Type-In Ads

CEO and cofounder Ari Jacoby took a few minutes to explain his inspiration and enlighten us to the various features of Type-In Ads.

ADOTAS: So what inspired you to put ads in captchas? What was your eureka moment?

JACOBY: We embarked on huge project to figure out where people are truly paying attention and where they are receptive to messages online. The result? We found captchas to be the only real instance of consumer focus.

How can a brand best take advantage of Type-In ads?

Brands that want to reinforce messages or influence consumers can take advantage of a channel (vertical) buy on our network or a run-of-network buy if they are looking for a broader audience. Brands that utilize Type-ins as a portion of their regular display campaign efforts, on a recurring basis, have enjoyed real success.

What have been your favorite Type-In ads? What are some clever uses you feel advertisers have so far missed out on?

Type-ins are a new palette for marketers and creatives.  Consumers really remember what they type-in, so we love to see messaging that helps to differentiate products.  Toyota’s recent campaign geared towards safety and executed by Saatchi & Saatchi comes to mind–they did a fantastic job.

In the online realm, how important is a brand message compared to engagement through a social ad?

This is where it becomes really important to define engagement.  Social ads have very low engagement rates compared to Type-ins (40%), but are very effective at predicting “birds of a feather” behavior.  Social ads tend to be transactional, where Type-in ads perform more like television, delivering extremely high recall and recognition.

A study found that Type-In ads have 1,200% greater message recall and 111% greater brand recall than static banners. But how does Type-In message recall compare to television or rich media advertising?

Type-ins compare very favorably to both rich media and television advertising. Type-ins garner more than 10 times the engagement rate of rich media and deliver more message recall than TV. Type-ins are also performance-based, so you get exactly what you pay for. We are doing more research to define these metrics further, but one big difference factor is that type-ins require human cognition whereas TV is simply a broadcast.

Captchas tend to use scanned print text that bots can’t decipher — how does Solve Media prevent bots from passing as humans?

Solve spent a year building a strong security foundation and layered a marketing company on top of it. Solve’s methodology makes for a much better user experience, in half the time it normally takes to bypass a captcha, while maintaining security for our publisher partners. Our technology can ratchet up security on a per site, per user basis based on any number of factors which is a significant improvement for publishers who need a more flexible solution capable of delivering both revenue and security.

Type-In ads force a brand message to be condensed into a few words — what’s the upside and downside of such a short message?

Solve allows for up to 64 characters, but shorter messages perform better. Creatives and marketers know that they are creating or reinforcing brand memories, so they are careful with the messaging they deliver. Type-ins have made them excited about the science of brand advertising again.

What requirements are there for a publisher to add Type-In ads? What kind of publishers do you seek and which do you avoid?

Implementation is a 30-minute exercise. We are excited about adding publishers in commercial categories we serve like finance, travel, entertainment, health, small business, women’s content, for example. We don’t serve the gambling or adult communities.

How common are video Type-In ads in which a user has to watch a video ad to reveal the security code? What has been the consumer reaction to these ads?

Video Type-ins are very successful in the entertainment category for tune-in ads and theatrical/film releases. Consumer reaction is very positive and engagement rates are excellent.

Do you plan to offer more rich-media features within Type-In ads?

Yes, we currently offer a variety of rich media features, but we will continue to build out those capabilities.

Do you employ any targeting methods for advertisers, such as matching up CPG ads with mom-focused sites? Are you planning to offer more advanced targeting in the future?

We offer several advanced targeting options, such as channel-specific (like CPG), by browser-type and geotargeting.  We will continue to add targeting options as our partners ask for them.

Do you have a way to stop inappropriate advertising from showing up — for example, forgoing an airline ad when someone is forwarding an article about a plane crash?

Yes—it’s part of our vision—to help solve the problems plaguing the advertising industry and we’ve certainly solved this one.

You previously were a founder of VoiceStar and Newsletters.com — how did those experiences shape your approach to Solve Media?

Both of those businesses helped us to understand the math and science behind direct response advertising. We specifically apply those learnings to the brand world so we can provide marketers and agencies with a performance-based branding option that performs like TV. Both VoiceStar and Newsletters.com were instrumental in guiding our original thinking for Solve Media.

I’m sure you’ve seen some great “Captcha FAILs ” — what’s your favorite?

There are a ton of awful user experiences at which to point. Jamming random nonsense words together is a recipe for disaster sometimes. Not all words are appropriate or nice!

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