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Value Exchange Digital Ads Show 22.5x ROI


Our media team achieved a 22.5x ROI through the use of the emerging digital media strategy of promoting Value Exchange ads.

Part 1: The Challenge

Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona is the largest Goodwill organization in the country. The client operates 84 retail stores, 20 donation centers, 3 clearance outlets, 3 furniture stores, and 20 career centers and has revenues nearing $150 million. Zion & Zion has served as the client’s Agency of Record for the past several years.

Goodwill_Value Exchange_Right Side_ChallengeAs Agency of Record for Goodwill, our challenge is to continuously improve ROI through the discovery of new, promising traditional and digital media tactics.


Data from Nielsen Media Labs shows that 54% of users want to be rewarded after watching an ad online. Consumers prefer these “Value Exchange” ads, or rewards-based ads over traditional digital ads by a 2 to 1 margin. And while advertising is traditionally an interruptive experience, these opt-in advertisements are changing that landscape.

Some publishers who offer Value Exchange inventory include:

Goodwill_Value Exchange_Right Side_Strategy

For example, with Google’s consumer survey app, users can take survey questions to earn Google Play credits. Pandora listeners can unlock an ad-free hour of music by watching or listening to an ad.

However, when placing a media buy, while it’s great to know that consumers prefer an opt-in ad experience, we must first know what the business implications are. How do brands fare in these situations? Does it lead to increased conversions, brand awareness, and/or purchase intent?

To answer these questions, we put Value Exchange ad units to the test for our client Goodwill to see if they would generate superior results.

We focused on our Goodwill “Donate” campaign for a three month period. We ran digital advertising using two sets of ad inventory. The first set of inventory was select traditional display and video inventory (pre-roll and banner ads), and the second set was Value Exchange display and video inventory. To keep this as controlled as possible, both sets of inventory ran during the same time period, and with the same creative.


The key performance indicators to gauge success were the following three metrics:

  • Video completions
  • Utilizing a zip code search on the landing page to find a nearby donation center
  • Scheduling a home pickup online

Goodwill_Value Exchange_Right Side_Results

It is important to note that consumers were NOT required to engage in the activities that we were measuring. That is to say, they were not required to watch the video, schedule a pickup, or lookup a donation center. They received their reward, i.e. their value exchange reward, simply by viewing the ad. The fact that they engaged in the activities we were measuring after their viewing of the ad was complete was at consumers’ discretion. Value Exchange ads out-performed traditional display inventory in every category and it is our ongoing discovery and testing of techniques such as these that continue to generate superior ROI for Goodwill and for our clients in general.