pop-up-video-vh1-returnOnline video advertising revenue is continuing to rise. By 2016, ad revenue in that vein will rake in $9 billion. This year online video ads are expected to bring in about $4 billion. With this predicted revenue increase of over 200 percent over the next three years, online video ads must be doing something right.

However, that statistic is only for the platforms hosting online video ads, like Hulu and YouTube. What about the people making and submitting them? How can they potentially make a profit on their own videos? Tel Aviv-based Viewbix claims to help this problem by embedding clickable apps into video content. Today Viewbix announced that it has more than 50,000 registered business customers, so video makers are beginning to catch on. This comes about a year after raising a $2 million Series A round of funding led by Canaan Partners.

Viewbix calls the content it embeds apps because of the range of what it can be. Users can throw in a link to their company’s websites, a Twitter handle, some pictures, a map, etc. Here’s an example of the service in action: you stumble upon a company’s YouTube video showing one of its products. Let’s say it’s a cabin rental (I am taking this directly off the Viewbix website, by the way). The video just enthralls you with the lincoln log interiors, picturesque wooded landscape, and quaint man blithely talking about all of cabins you could rent. In one case, you could watch this video and then close the browser not acting on your intense initial urge to rent this cabin now!

Imagine, though, what could have happened if, instead, you were linked within the video to something else related to the website – say, a map showing where the cabins are, social media for the cabin rental company, pictures of, yes, more cabins, and a link to pricing plans. Suddenly there’s a potential transaction.

That is essentially what Viewbix does: it allows companies to embed ads to transform static video viewings – be it on Youtube, Vimeo, Facebook, etc. – into actions. That is, potential transactions, which means money for all. 

Of course, the content Viewbix touts is those pesky popups you see in YouTube videos that annoy the hell out of you. You know when you’re enjoying a funny/cool/thought provoking video and somewhere in the middle of it an amateurish looking popup appears saying something like “Click me for more information!” That’s all thanks to companies like Viewbix. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never clicked on one of those.

But it seems others are. According to Viewbix’s website, “More than 20% of the viewers who watch a video in a Viewbix click on the call to action button or engage with at least one of the apps inside the player itself.” If you can believe this stat, these apps are translating into positive quantifiable data. 

And Viewbix isn’t the only company embedding outside material onto streaming videos, in fact this seems like quite a crowded market. There’s the widget LinkedTube, which, according to online forums, works just fine. But then there are other, bigger companies like Clickthrough, which was founded in 2000. And there’s Overlay.tv, as well, which raised a $3.8M Series B in 2008. Most of these other embedded video content providers, however, focus on large-scale video providers, like music labels. In contrast, Viewbix is predominately for small to mid-sized companies.

Annoyance and peskiness aside, the growing number of registered users speaks for itself. So it’s looking like embedded popups are here to stay – be it for better or for worse.

[Image via IFC]