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ATG expands eStara connections

ATG expands eStara connections

eStara Video Connect transforms passive video advertisements into active, revenue-and lead-generation tools by allowing consumers to take immediate action while viewing

ATG, the premier provider of e-commerce software and platform neutral optimisation services, today introduced eStara Video Connect, an addition to its eStara Connections product line that transforms passive video advertisements into active, revenue and lead-generation tools by enabling consumers to instantly 'take action' while watching video ads. These actions, such as in-bound phone calls or visits to advertisers' websites are tracked and measured in real-time, allowing media companies and Internet video providers to provide advertisers with true return on investment data from each online video ad.

Dallas-based Media Distribution Solutions is one of the first companies that have already implemented eStara Video Connect: "Video advertising is clearly on the rise but to truly take advantage of the medium, video ads need to allow viewers to act and then deliver rich statistics so that businesses can measure the effectiveness of their campaigns," said Mike Shell, CEO, Media Distribution Solutions. "We use eStara Video Connect as part of our BetterVideo player, which allows us to provide our customers with actionable videos that in turn deliver more measurable leads to advertisers."

According to Forrester Research, by 2012 video advertising will account for $7 billion, or nearly 12 percent of the $61 billion market for interactive marketing. While much of this market today is made up of pre- and post-roll video ads from major consumer brands, a growing segment includes direct-response advertisers who see the potential to drive direct leads to their businesses with online video.

Statistics from the Kelsey Group reveal the untapped opportunity to use video for direct response advertising: After viewing video ads, 47.3 percent of consumers reporting visiting a Web site, 19.1 percent requested information about a product or service, 18.2 percent visited a brick-and-mortar store to check out a product, and 16.9 percent made a purchase. This data shows that consumers are taking action when they see something they need or want in a video ad; eStara Video Connect simply gives consumers the power to act instantly, right from the video player itself.

Two Flexible Options
eStara Video Connect is an ideal solution for local and vertical media, online directories, Internet Yellow Pages companies, and Internet video providers who are either looking to add video to their advertising packages, or who already offer video advertising but are looking to more effectively track and measure leads generated from video ads. Customers can choose between two flexible options to add eStara Video Connect to their sites or platforms:

Video Connect API Media companies or Internet video providers with an existing video solution can choose the Video Connect API. This option offers the flexibility to add eStara Connections capabilities on an existing flash module or player, which can be used before, during, or after the video is watched (or on-demand by the viewer at any time). This option supports Adobe Flash and Adobe Flex video formats.

Video Connect Flash Container Media companies without an existing video solution can choose the pre-configured Video Connect Flash container. This option offers a turn-key, flash video container pre-configured with eStara Connections capabilities. This option supports Flash video formats.

Click to Call, Save & Send, and More
eStara Video Connect brings to video existing eStara Click to Call and eStara Save & Send capabilities, as well as several new capabilities. Specifically, Video Connect allows consumers watching video ads to:

Call the advertiser's business with a single click; viewers can opt to be called back by the advertiser on a mobile or landline phone number, or can place a PC-to-phone call using VOIP;

Go directly to the advertiser's Web site and map its location using Google Maps; and

Send the advertiser's listing information to friends using SMS, email or fax; or save it to a file, a contact list, or a Web bookmark.

These capabilities are delivered to advertiser videos via software-as-a-service (SaaS), eliminating the cost and complexity media companies or Internet video providers would incur if they provided these services themselves. Once up and running, Video Connect customers and their advertisers can log-in to the eStara Webcare console to access reports on the performance of their video ads, including the number of in-bound phone leads generated from each ad via Click to Call as well as the number of Save & Send actions generated by each ad.

"While consumers are more comfortable watching video clips online now than ever before, direct-response advertisers -- many of whom are small, local businesses -- have struggled to find a video advertising model that is cost-effective and measurable," said Ruth Habbe, vice president, eStara Business Group. "eStara Video Connect solves this problem by making video ads actionable, and by giving media companies a rich tool for tracking consumer actions and leads generated from each and every video ad.

Over time, we also expect that retailers, insurance companies, travel and hospitality businesses, and telecommunications entities using video as part of their Web marketing strategy will be able to significantly boost online sales by adding eStara Video Connect to their e-commerce Web sites."

eStara Connections, a family of services that engage online visitors with human assistance and other tools that help convert transactions and leads, are part of ATG's expanding line of e-Commerce Optimisation Services. Delivered as flexible on-demand services, these offerings help companies lift online revenue by optimising the experience of any commerce- or transaction-oriented sites -- even those not running on the ATG Commerce platform. The product line also includes ATG Recommendations, which present consumers with personalised product suggestions based on their known intent and shopping behaviour to drive conversions and order values.

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