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When Shazam first became popular, people everywhere were fascinated by the way a smartphone was able to “listen” to a song and spit back information about the artist and name. The app eliminated the need for memory and Google. Not only was it a useful tool for music lovers, it evolved into what the company refers to today as a “media engagement company,” by partnering with music labels to directly sell the songs people were “shazaming,” and working with TV program producers and broadcasters.

This ability to break down the wall between the media and the consumer is changing the advertising space, and taking it to a new level is Clicktivated, an interactive video startup gaining momentum among brands and networks. Similar to Shazam, it eliminates the Google guessing game by providing a non-intrusive way for viewers to click on items within a video and learn where to purchase or find more information without interrupting the stream. The “clean screen” video technology, meaning no pop-ups or text overlays, is the first of its kind.

“The idea stemmed from frustrations I would have when I was watching something online or on TV, and constantly seeing things I either wanted to buy or wanted to know specific information,” Chris Roebuck, Clicktivated CEO and co-founder said. “You go to Google and search for an item, but you really didn’t know what it was, or who it was – you’re throwing a penny into the ocean.”

With Clicktivated, for example, it’s possible to watch an online cooking segment by Rachael Ray on the Food Network, and click around the screen to find the recipe, chef info, or purchasing information for the kitchen products seen in the background—like a mixing bowl. The service offers a unique way for networks and brands to partner and work together for a mutual benefit.

“We see Clicktivated as having the capabilities of fundamentally changing how brands advertise and how content producers sell advertising,” Roebuck said. “Brand integration and product placement is becoming a bigger and bigger part of traditional content, and growing every day. Clicktivated allows brands to continue to market their product or services to the consumers in a totally non-intrusive, non-sales-y way, increasing value and ROI for the sponsor and creating an enjoyable experience for the viewer.”

While it might be easy to see how lifestyle industries like fashion, sports and cooking could benefit from this technology, Roebuck says he sees even more industries using the service in the future. The news business, which has been struggling to find the best ways to generate revenue in recent years, is one which might benefit from using Clicktivated to promote content.

“It allows media outlets to better control the internal traffic flow throughout their site,” Roebuck said. “This happens by allowing the viewer to click on a news story for additional information, click the bookmark and be directed to the story inside of their site. I refer to this as keeping the viewer inside the ‘content funnel.’”

Typically when viewers watch an online news story that interests them, they run to the search bar and Google the story for more information, he said. “Before they know it, they are off the video’s site and on a competitors’ reading about the story. It’s very important for media and news companies to be able to capture the consumer’s attention and gain further engagement within their site.”

In addition to the story itself, Clicktivated’s technology could allow viewers to interact and engage with the onscreen media personalities. The outlet could link to its onsite blogs or social media pages, and also offer additional sponsorship opportunities—having brands clothe on-air personalities is nothing new, but the capability to click on those items to purchase is. Allowing the viewers to interact and shop the clothes being worn by the on-screen talent adds substantial increased value for the brands—not to mention the analytic capabilities.

“Clicktivated’s data is critically important for all content producers. In the news and media world, it allows you to see, in real-time, which stories, segments or individuals are gaining the most attention. This allows for on-the-fly distribution and placement of certain video, based on their engagement results,” Roebuck said.

Currently, the service is only available for online video for computers and mobile devices but the Clicktivated team is hoping to take the service to smart TVs in the future, which could mean big changes are coming to the ad industry as a whole.

“They’re really not quite there yet for that type of experience,” Roebuck said. “But the plan is to develop into television, so it doesn’t matter how you’re watching it, it can be interactive.”

See how Cision is using Clicktivated!

About Gina Joseph

Gina Joseph is a features writer for Cision Blog, and is also the digital engagement manager for Cision’s marketing department. She’s a book nerd, Detroit sports enthusiast, lover of cats, lifelong Phil Collins fan, and budding snowboarder. Find her on Twitter @gmg912.

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