Solve Media Creates User Engagement With CAPTCHAs for Online Ads

Last fall, BIA/Kelsey introduced Solve Media, a company that uses CAPTCHAs as a new marketing vehicle for brand advertisers, while also creating  new revenue streams for publishers.

You might not be familiar with the word, but if you’ve ever tried to post an interactive comment or make an online purchase, you’ve seen a CAPTCHA. It’s a security program designed to protect websites against bots by making users interpret random characters that are only decipherable by humans. It isn’t a memorable experience for most online users so Solve Media decided to change that. Instead of random, distorted code,  users type in brand slogans.  A recent example is Universal, which used type-in video ads to promote the movies “Devil” and “Catfish.” After watching a trailer, users were asked to type in the films’ release dates. 

The innovation doesn’t just entertain users, but benefits publishers and advertisers as well. Publishers are seeing an 8 percent increase in site traffic with the new CAPTCHAs. Solve Media CEO Ari Jacoby told BIA/Kelsey that thousands of publishers already integrate type-ins on their sites and enjoy a 50-50 revenue split.

Through type-ins, Jacoby wants to build “the single most memorable online ad unit that money can buy.” The direct interaction with the type-in ad dramatically improves brand recall, which ameliorates the problem of banner blindness.  

Jacoby sees a robust opportunity and lots of demand in video advertising. Currently, it constitutes up to 20 percent of  the company’s business. He projects it will become a third of all business by the end of the year.

Goals for 2011 include increased  revenue growth by serving as many high-quality brands as possible. The company plans to begin geotargeting so that national brands can target messages to local and regional audiences.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. alex K

    interesting product…not sure if watching a 30 second video and then having to answer a quiz is any less bothersome to me as a user than trying to solve Recaptcha in 1 or two tries…almost seems worse – also, can you help explain how my site traffic will increase by putting a captcha in place?

  2. Elise Simmons

    Hi Alex.

    There is recent market research that studied the effectiveness of the type-in ads and their effect on consumers. The study found that not only were the type-in ads more memorable but that consumers did not find them to be a nuisance. In addition, Solve Media has a creative gallery with an example of type-in video ads. The one I viewed was about 15 seconds long and the user just typed in a quoted phrase that was on the screen as the preview played in the background. It was relatively simple.

  3. Jed Williams

    Alex,

    I think what Ari means by traffic lift is simply that because these CAPTCHA codes are easier to crack, users will be less likely to prematurely abandon sites because of CAPTCHA frustration.

  4. Tony

    I don’t get this at all. If the words are so clear to read, does that not defeat the reason for making the words hard to read in the first place to avoid machines from reading it??

  5. frank

    @tony the security is dynamic, based on hundreds of variables like IP, and images are pixelated differently even though you can’t tell with the naked eye

  6. Rigas Papagolos

    I am not a professional advertiser. I am a simple consumer. I find that in general CAPTCHAs are a minor nuisance. The CAPTCHAs that are generated by SOLVE MEDIA are a MAJOR nuisance; I always leave a site that uses the SOLVE MEDIA CAPTCHAs with a negative feeling towards the site and the advertisers. I use the sites if it is a sole source for my purchase or information gathering but I always use alternative sites if they use a different type of CAPTCHAs.
    As a consumer, I understand the need for CAPTCHAs but I think making the process of positive ID easier/less annoying should be the goal of site owners and advertisers. Advertising has its place we all know that without advertising we would not have all the free access we now enjoy. However, SOLVE MEDIA CAPTCHAs have made the process just as annoying as it can get. I visited this site today just to complain about SOLVE MEDIA CAPTCHAs. I do hope my “rant” has not wasted a lot of your time.

  7. Elise Simmons

    Solve Media recently announced the launch of Solve Media Insights, a new feature that offers in-unit survey capabilities for type-in ads. This feature will allow advertisers to survey consumer interactions with CAPTCHA ads to measure how effectively consumers remember the key brand messages that they have typed in.

  8. Aaron Y Moss

    The day I start seeing this system rolled out among any sites that I regularly visit is the day I switch to a competitor that does not use such an obnoxious and obtrusive form of advertisement.

    While I understand the need for captcha, making users have to watch a video first is just plain silly, people (including myself) will just get frustrated with this in a short amout of time, and if anyone is thinking of using this system on a movie/music download site that uses a paid subscription, they would likely resort to piracy, remember those games that had unskippable intros? Remember how they got cracked fairly quckly after the release?

    Another disadvantage is that not everyone can even watch these videos, some people in my area still use dial-up, mobile “broadband” or an ISP that throttles their connection. What about phones? Do you expect people to watch these on their phones, most people don’t know how to install flash on their phones and the iPhone doesn’t even support it. People on older PCs will struggle too as the video playback is choppy.

    Well, that’s my rant over with

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