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Can online advertising actually be engaging?

This Finnish start-up thinks so. Meet Kiosked, the company that wants to cater to your every impulse.

Can online advertising actually be engaging?

Text by Mandi Keighran

What’s the big idea?
Micke Paqvalén and Antti Pasila, co-founders of Kiosked, want to make online advertising engaging by turning all the visual content you consume into an opportunity to shop. They call the concept “everywhere commerce”. Hopefully, they say, it’s a new way to monetise content – one of the major stumbling blocks for publishers in the shift to online. They’ve developed and tested the platform for three years, and launched it at the beginning of this year.

Sounds like something from Minority Report. Where did the idea for “everywhere commerce” come from?
Paqvalén and Pasila wanted to create a form of advertising that would offer value to both online publishers and readers. “We are seeing a rapid increase in e-commerce and mobile adaption, alongside an increase in visual consumption,” says Paqvalén. “In simple terms, we wanted to combine these two mega-trends to provide an automatic interactive layer on top of the content people consume that brings you, for example, highly targeted shopping services.”

Okay, so how does it work?
Basically, any visual content you consume – from watching television to playing Angry Birds or browsing social media – can potentially be linked to a related product or service. “Say, for example, you’re watching Sex and the City and see a blouse you want,” says Paqvalén. “You will immediately be able to purchase that blouse from a ‘kiosk’ linked to that content.” To activate the ‘kiosk’, all you need to do is click the ‘K’ symbol.

Is this a good idea?
While “everywhere commerce” might not be everyone’s idea of engaging, Paqvalén says there are benefits for all. “Consumers can act immediately on an impulse, brands can engage with the consumer directly, merchants can sell anywhere, and publishers become the next generation of web stores.”

So, it’s all about making me want to shop?
Not entirely. Kiosked can also be used to provide rich content, like videos or music, to online publications. For example, an online article on Norway might use Kiosked to link to a cruise video. “The publisher can decide if they want to use Kiosked for commercial purposes or online engagement purposes,” says Paqvalén. “It’s not always about providing a retail service.”

Who’s using it?

Everyone from Spotify and Nike to Rovio. It’s proving such a success that the company has expanded from its base in Espoo, Finland, to London, LA, New York and Singapore. “Turning advertising from an intrusive annoying experience into a contextual, personal service is the future,” Paqvalén says. “We only want people to have good experiences with online advertising.”


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