Innovator Insights: PadSquad’s Lance Wolder
His career has spanned both ad tech and media, but to Lance Wolder, everything is driven by the creative you put in front of a consumer.
His career has spanned both ad tech and media, but to Lance Wolder, everything is driven by the creative you put in front of a consumer. That means he not only understands why audiences are drawn to video but also how brands could better use their video assets.
As the head of strategy and marketing at PadSquad, Wolder has been spending more time over the past year having discussions with marketers about the opportunities behind “shoppable video,” an approach that weaves interactive elements into video ads to take consumers from the top of the funnel, down to drive actual purchases.
Given the current economic climate and the need to prove greater return on investment for every marketing dollar spent, Wolder argues that shoppable video offers a chance to translate video assets created for brand building and iterate on them to create versions that work for direct response.
“We're a media company, so we sell advertising to brands, but everything we do is through a creative lens,” Wolder told Brand Innovators. “It’s about taking a brand's existing assets, figuring out what their objectives are, and helping them enhance those assets to build what we call ‘remarkable creative.’”
Brands are already moving into shoppable video in digital. For example, PadSquad has worked with a major consumer electronics retailer to develop six interactive video formats that offer product cards and carousels, allowing the company to promote and highlight featured products within their ads to help drive sales during the holiday season.
“What we attempt to do is help the brands take what's already there, make it better, and ultimately inspire consumers to take action,” Wolder explained. “Even just calling out the fact that there are five days left in a sale, or that you can get a free gift with purchase, can change your consumer’s mindset.”
PadSquad gained new capabilities to produce shoppable video earlier this year when it acquired patented technology from Source Digital. This led to the launch of Vidstream+, which lets PadSquad add in-stream elements like live polling and shoppable product cards that are aligned to meet advertiser KPIs.
What the creative process for shoppable video looks like
Wolder said brands should take a three-pronged approach when they evaluate their existing video assets and consider turning them into shoppable creative.
First, consider consumer preferences regarding what kind of content they want to watch and their go-to media channels. Next, think about how you can assess how a video asset connected with a consumer on an emotional level: did they find it funny, inspiring, or annoying? Then, identify the metrics that will matter in a shoppable video initiative. These could be as simple as brand awareness, but Wolder cited purchases and customer loyalty as well.
In April, PadSquad released research that found 80% of consumers are more likely to remember a product being advertised after viewing an interactive video ad. Meanwhile, nearly half (46%) are likely to purchase after viewing an interactive video ad.
“What that says to me is that not only is (shoppable video) great for ROI, but consumers crave it,” he said. “You want to try and connect with consumers when they see 6,000 ads a day. You’ve got to find ways to do it where you can actually capture their attention.”
The power of measuring ‘earned media time’
Another key difference with shoppable video is the way in which engagement can play out, Wolder added. Instead of just looking at completion rates, for instance, PadSquad has been tracking how a consumer will pause a video ad and interact with a product card or carousel to learn more about an offer.
“We call that earned media time or earned view time,” he said. “What would normally be a 15-second commercial can end up being a 40-second experience, where they’re not only engaging but in a meaningful way.”
Over time Wolder said he expects brands will begin thinking about developing shoppable video at the outset of a campaign, much like they have become more intentional about developing creative specifically for social media rather than treating it as an afterthought.
“You can have a creative team that isn’t just brainstorming a Super Bowl spot but is also brainstorming how they’re going to create something that works on connected TV,” he said. “Once people dip their toe in the water, I see more and more brands taking (shoppable video) and making it a bigger priority.”