Earlier in the week, Jivox grew its publisher network where it distributes the self-serve videos that small-business advertisers create. Like a growing crop of local video producers, these are stock videos that are customized with text and logos.
I just got off the phone with CEO Diaz Nesamoney, who claims the network now consists of more than 600 Web sites. This includes a number of radio, TV and newspaper sites (San Francisco Examiner, Denverpost.com, etc.) that promise locally relevant traffic. Beyond geotargeting, ads are contextually placed based on the page content within these sites (home & garden section, for example).
The network overall is distributed fairly evenly in terms of geography and has a national footprint, says Nesamoney. Its sales outreach is primarily toward advertisers in the S.F. Bay Area (where it’s headquartered) and New York. But about 90 percent of its advertisers sign up on their own and are likewise geographically distributed.
The goal going forward will be to add more targeting features to its ad creation dashboard (day parts, specific site placements, etc.) as well as growing its publisher network. The latter will be more important in the long run as distribution will be a vital proof point for local video ad providers.
Though the ad creation engine has unique features from the perspective of an analyst, many SMBs will see the flood of self-serve stock-based video creation engines as pretty much the same. Getting the video out there in front of targeted local audiences is therefore where value will be proved. Jivox has an interesting approach in this respect, given that it is pushing video out into an ad network of local destination sites.
The alternative is what most other SMB video plays are trying to do: work with channel partners such as IYPs to place video within their listings (plus some additional distribution on YouTube and search engines). The benefit here is that video meets users at the point where they’re doing a local search and where their buying intent is proved to be higher. It’s more of a pull than a push, in other words.
Jivox could start to go down this road as well. It’s already putting videos on YouTube and optimizing them for Google Maps. The next step could be the creation of landing pages for its advertisers which not only give the video a place to live in a local search context, but can also be a hook for the many SMBs that don’t have Web sites. This would be similar to eLocalListing‘s strategy, minus the search marketing services.
The company could also begin to take on larger advertisers such as mid-market or regional companies that wish to support their local branches. This is an opportunity that’s largely been lost on a lot of national brand advertisers and agencies that are more comfortable with the demographic targeting at the DMA level that they’ve been doing for years. But regional chains could be more likely to see the value in a video ad network that is targeted toward local traffic in the areas where they have locations.
It’s still early days for local video. But the conversation is evolving beyond who shoots the video to the arguably more important question: Where does it go? We’ll continue to see lots of experimentation before that question is answered — and of course there will be more than one answer.