From the day the first ad was placed, the Holy Grail has been to make advertising effective while remaining unobtrusive to the target customer. First came print ads that were easily ignored. Later, the remote control made it easy to click away from unwanted TV commercials. With the Internet came banner ads, and most of us quickly trained our eyes to practice "banner blindness" so advertisers continued their quest to blend the content with the commercial. Over the years, product placement proved to be the best solution but consumers still had to go somewhere else to buy the product. The Holy Grail was to integrate the ad, the store, and the entertainment all into one place and put it in front of the consumer in a way that they wouldn’t even realize they were being pitched.
If you walk by the old storefront office in Venice Beach California that houses Compulsion, you’d never expect to find a tech company that that has developed the Holy Grail of advertising. Founder Scott Mahoney and his tiny team of five engineers can turn any video into a fully interactive "clickable" ad for as little as $10. I can ramble on about the technical details of what they’ve built but before you read any further, play with the demo yourself and I think you’ll immediately understand why this company is buzzworthy.
If you tried it out and you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking, "How’d they do that?" I was curious too so I talked to Scott and he explained that Compulsion is a video browser that allows you to assign "hyperspots" to anything in the video. You can assign links to everything on the screen, or just the product your selling. And unlike most of their interactive video competitors, converting your video only requires you to have a web browser and no technical expertise. The end result is invisible advertising since the content actually becomes the commercial. For the first time ever, you can sell people the shirt right off your back while they’re watching the show. No more interruptions. If you’re wondering, "If it’s invisible will it still be effective? Will people actually click on products in the video?" I wondered about that too so I asked Scott what kind of click through rates they were seeing and he said between 10%-30%. No wonder people have been trying to blend the ad with the entertainment, those kinds of click rates is unheard of.
People often ask me how I decide what’s buzzworthy enough for this column. 10%-30% CTR is definitely worth writing about but I may just have to tell them, "Buzzworthy is when you develop the Holy Grail of your industry."
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