Fuisz partners with Sizmek for automated object-recognition in video ads

Image from Fuisz Video

Image from Fuisz Video

Way back in the last century, I worked with interactive video’s first commercial incarnation, videodiscs tethered to computers. But now it’s the 21st century, and there are a variety of ways for users to interact with online video, including Spotful’s overlays with apps and Advrtas’ 360-degree video.

Santa Monica, California-based Fuisz Video offers what interactive video really wanted all along, the ability to tag an object — say, the cup an actor is holding in the clip — and then let a clickable hot spot automatically follow the cup throughout the video.

Now, Fuisz is integrating its technology with ad platform Sizmek so marketers can programmatically deploy video ads with object-based hot spots.

Here’s an example, and here’s a gallery of such video ads.

For instance, if you’re watching a video ad from the Gap, you can click on various clothes at any time during the video, see product info on each one, and, if the retailer so desires, buy any of the items. The idea is that viewers can stay inside the video, “query” anything in it, and act on their interest.

Other applications for this form of responsive video, Fuisz said, can include a viewer clicking on specific features in a car to learn more, audiences engaging with specific characters in a video, or a viewer clicking on a dish in a restaurant scene to discover the recipe and buy the ingredients.

The company says that its proprietary platform offers authoring tools much easier to use than more time-consuming approaches of tagging a visual object through a video clip. That’s because the Fuisz technology allows you to designate an object, and the machine vision then follows that object, instead of manually tagging the object throughout the video.

Fuisz SVP for Sales and Partnerships EJ Laratta told me that competitors offering similar object recognition for video are much more manual and less distributable across ad servers.

Sizmek, which operates in over 70 countries, describes itself as the largest ad-serving platform next to Google’s. While it has deployed interactive video before, this is the first time it has integrated this kind of object-recognition interactivity.

For its part, Fuisz says it has run over 45 video ad campaigns with its technology over the last two years, where Fuisz either served the ads or worked as an outside vendor through other ad platforms, including Sizmek. But Laratta said this partnership is the “deepest integration with an ad server” his company has undertaken.

According to Sizmek Director of Product Marketing Jaime Singson, this integration means that all video engagement data — such as how long viewers watched the video, how often they clicked and so on — will be available through one source, Sizmek.

While Fuisz will still host its own authoring tools in this phase of their cooperation, both companies said they are working toward the next phase, when the tools will be available through Sizmek.

Laratta told me that an unnamed entertainment brand was able to increase time spent on its video ad by about 40 percent with Fuisz, compared to non-interactive video. But he didn’t have data on Fuisz’ object-recognition interactive tech versus other kinds of interactive video, such as Spotful’s.

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