Interview: Jun Group’s Corey Weiner Hopes You’d Watch A Web Video For Facebook Game Prizes. Would You?

Would you watch a video to get some virtual currency in your favorite social game?  Jun Group, a New York social video advertising business, is betting that you would.  I had the chance to sit down with Corey Weiner, co-founder and Chief Product Officer for Jun Group, to discuss how two of the web’s fastest emerging trends — video and social games — can work together to help gamers, advertisers and platforms alike.

The real question here is what does Jun Group offer?  Corey explained that Jun Group started offering videos as a way for brands to make their presence felt on Facebook games as a sort of test, but when the results came back extremely positive, that became their core focus.  It works like this.  You’re playing a Facebook game like It Girl, and you want to get one of the premium virtual items. Corey explains that “you could swipe your credit card to get that virtual good, or you could do a series of offers, or thanks to Jun Group you can watch that video to get that currency or good.  In It Girl, you watch a video, and you get a random prize from a selection of premium goods.”

The idea seems sharp, and for people within the social games industry, it probably sounds even better.  The idea of people dropping Facebook Credits or their Credit Card for virtual goods seemed absurd years ago, and then when companies like TapJoy began offering Blockbuster coupons in exchange for virtual currency, that got scoffed at as well.  But years later, after millions of transactions, games makers and brands are looking for any way to attract users to virtual goods, and video seems like a great fit.  Corey explained that the numbers back up the anecdotal potential: “We ran one of these campaigns on Valentine’s Day, and 3 to 5% of people who watched a video went on to share it with a friend.  In another study, we targeted 25-50 year old women with a recipe video, and 5% went on to download the recipe at the brand’s website.”

The numbers sound outrageous compared to sub-1% engagement rates for most ads, but that’s exactly why Jun Group got attracted to this area in the first place: people respond to quality video more than any other form of advertising.  It’s not that simple though, and Corey explained one of the secrets.

“It’s all about targeting.  If you don’t target, the brands don’t care.  We see results that are 60% better when targeting the video.”

So with their expertise in social and exposure to social games, will we see different types of advertising campaigns from Jun Group?  ”We’re fully focused on social video,” Corey explained.  The only place they’re going to be expanding is to mobile, and when we pressed them on the difference between the two, Corey explained that Jun Group’s CEO has a buzzword on the brain: convergence.  Eventually, we’ll be consuming a lot of games and video in the same way, regardless of the device.  And Jun Group wants to be there to make sure they can connect you with brands in a win-win sort of way.

The interview came right on the heels of Jun Group’s announcement that two big brands, ConAgra Foods and Tiny Prints, have used Jun Group’s new offering to deliver their videos on popular Facebook games.  “We’re big believers in this type of social interaction,” said Fernando Arriola, sr. director media of ConAgra Foods, who ran a campaign for its Slim Jim product. “It’s a non-interruptive way to connect with consumers and meet them on their terms. It’s a great feeling to see so many people watching and sharing your video.”  Strong positive feedback that is likely echoed from their other clients, including Nike, HBO, P&G, Unilever, Frito-Lay, ConAgra, MSN, Disney, Clinique, and many others.  We’ll keep an eye on how Jun Group develops in the future.

For a bit of fun, take a look at Tiny Print’s sample video here:

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