Advertisements usually prompt one of two responses from consumers, they either ignore or watch passively. Chicago-based AdYapper wants to add to those options by allowing consumers to discuss ads, and essentially make them a two-way conversation between consumers and a brand. The company launched out of private beta recently and now provides a tag that advertisers can embed in their ads, letting brands get feedback from the consumers viewing their online video and display ads.
To date AdYapper has 500 brands verified and registered in its system and has launched brand pilot programs with the likes of GrubHub, and during its beta period saw brands generate up to 100,000 comments per month. Co-founder Elliot Hirsch believes the goal of the platform is to create more transparency between advertisers and consumers.
“We’ve created a platform that lets consumers freely comment on any ad anywhere in the world. The system is media agnostic, it’s very hard to define what an ad is these days. It’s really important for us to allow consumers to comment on ad boards, or TV ads, or even the products in their hands,” Hirsch said in an interview, though right now it only works for online ads, with plans to expand into mobile augmented reality, traditional and outdoor advertising and television. “What we felt was missing was a centralized purposeful community for people to have a real voice in advertising and impact brands in a meaningful way.”
The platform strives to provide a third-party independent platform where consumers don’t feel the conversation is being swayed any one way because of sponsorship or brand-promoted content. Advertisers can embed AdYapper tags into any online ad, and consumers can then click on a badge in a corner of the ad, which opens up an AdYapper discussion box where they can rate the ad as “Loved It”, “Meh”, or “Hated It,” and see comments and posts from others. They can then see the broader conversation on the AdYapper website, where they’ll find related brand ads. Brands can build a profile to aggregates all their ads, and consumers can also submit ads via a YouTube link, by uploading a screenshot, or by snapping photos using the company’s Android app.
“The ad tag lets brands leverage their own distribution to get a volume of feedback, early testing of our services has shown that brands can expect on the lower end of the scale that one in 10,000 impressions will gain a rating,” Hirsch said. “So the brands we’re working with advertise at 100,000 impressions a month, and so for an average brand that’s at least 10,000 ratings and many of the brands we can work with do a billion and half impression a week, so it scales pretty quickly.”
Companies can pay a subscription fee to get their brand verified, and to get access to real-time analytics. AdYapper then offers a two-tiered pricing model for brands, either hiding the AdYapper badge on ads and providing analytics and tracking, or showing the AdYapper badge and letting consumers offer their feedback (consumers can interact with any ad, regardless of whether a brand has signed up, by submitting it on AdYapper’s website). The company isn’t disclosing the subscription costs, but said it’s designed to be integrated into standard media buys for brands and agencies.
Advertisers are trying to find ways to advertise that moves them away from being intrusive and passively consumed to being natively embedded, with the opportunity for consumers to engage and react. Consumers can now expect ad placement to be more fluid, with companies like ShareThrough leading the way for native video advertising on publishing sites, not to mention companies like AdKeeper, which lets advertisers embed a button viewers can click on to have the ad sent to their email for later.
“This is about transparency in the industry for consumers and for brands, the times has come to give consumers a real voice regarding the ads they see, and brands are desperate to listen, and we’re here to make it possible,” Hirsch added.
The company is working on an iPhone app, which in addition to its existing Android app will enable consumers to submit ads by snapping a photo, and it will also be adding other video platforms like Vimeo in addition to YouTube. While the platform has seen success in its pilot phase, the question of whether advertisers will be willing to accept any feedback about their ads, no matter how negative, could lead them to push back. And for consumers, it’s more a question of whether interacting with advertisements is something they actually want to do, but praising a creative ad and giving others a thumbs-down might be worth the time it takes to interact.