The Ad Tech Reader | Jul 30, 2012
Posted by Carla Rover
Medialets, is arguably the premier brand advertising platform for mobile, counting companies such as The New York Times, ESPN and Toyota as clients and serving as a major catalyst for the industry-wide shift towards rich media. The company, founded in 2008, may also be one of the industry’s most formidable sleeping giants. Medialets recently launched a private ad marketplace and has driven a unique merger of high quality creative with advertising technology innovation. Mr. Eric Litman, Chairman and CEO, sees brands moving ad spend with greater confidence towards mobile rich media as consumer engagement rates continue to outshine other formats and marketers begin to understand the space’s ability to deliver results
Why is mobile rich media so impactful?
It’s a surprisingly simple set of answers. Think about the experiences people have with their smartphones and tablets and just how different they are from any other medium advertisers can buy. We look at our phones first thing in the morning and right before we fall asleep at night. They’ve become our cameras, our watches, our news, sports and weather sources, and are our link to our friends, family and colleagues. They’re incredibly personal, and yet at the same time are focal to our social lives. And the premium content experiences, whether in the form of a game, a publisher’s tablet site or a utility for checking the weather, are beautifully designed with a focus on driving engagement. Layer in some more of the advertising-related factors. Most premium mobile/tablet properties have no notion of a below-the-fold placement. There are rarely multiple placements on screen simultaneously which by extension means there’s rarely concern about competing messages. Video is up close and looks great on both phones and tablets. And with the right ad serving platform in place, mobile is the most measurable medium in digital advertising. There’s never been a better environment for brand, and in mobile, brand means rich media.
Brands are now waking up to the value of mobile- why did it take so long for marketers to see the potential there, considering how high the engagement rates are?
Creative generally lags behind media in new channels because it takes time to develop assets and train creative professionals how to think differently. Like most new media, mobile initially attracted direct response dollars, which helped familiarize advertisers with the opportunities and gain operational experience at relatively low risk. As the scale of the audience has grown and the options for creativity have exploded, brands have become increasingly comfortable with the value of the channel and have begun to shift spend. We and others have and continue to publish benchmarks showing just how high engagement rates on mobile rich media are, and that’s a good start. But mobile still needs significant support from the industry at large, including brands, publishers, industry associations, to publish case studies and other representative data to broadly and clearly state what we in the industry intuitively and increasingly by measurement know: mobile is a great channel for brand marketers.
Medialets has a slew of major brand clients- what are the objectives of brands in digital in 2012, as we see ad spend shifting towards mobile?
Several verticals are investing heavily to move beyond the early adopter phase of the market. Auto, finance, tech/telecom, entertainment, travel, and retail are category leaders, and CPG is going to come out in a big way next year. The KPIs vary by vertical, but we’re seeing similar objectives to online rich media, augmented by mobile’s unique ability to drive phone calls and foot traffic into stores. We see an increasing number of upper funnel campaigns that are complimented by features that extend the relationship with the brand – often through the use of social elements – and amplify the investment in a marketer’s earned and owned media. From a measurement point of view, the metrics that quantify the rate and depth of connection are generally a focal point, including engagement and time spent with the creative, as well as custom event data that provides more details on each interaction with an ad.
What is in the works for Medialets?
Rich media is an incredibly important component of what we do, but it’s just one piece of a much larger strategy to dramatically simplify the overall process of advertising in mobile: from media discovery, to planning, booking and buying, to creative, serving, measurement and ultimately ROI analysis. Every step in the campaign process comes with its own unique set of challenges, and the more we can do to help to reduce the number of friction points in a campaign, the more a marketer can focus on the value of the medium rather than get hung up on operational challenges. We are laser focused on narrowing the gap between what it takes to launch a TV campaign and a mobile campaign, and have the roadmap of the display landscape to help quickly guide us even beyond where online advertising is today. Through our Muse platform, we’ve tackled ad creation, delivery and measurement across the vast array of mobile and tablet device types, operating systems and properties, and we do it at big scale. Earlier this year, we launched Medialets Private Marketplace – a fully transparent buying platform expressly designed to ease the pain of planning and buying in mobile on the world’s biggest publishers. And in the coming year, we’ll continue to build out our ad serving platform and exchange to continue to make it easier and more cost effective for brands to migrate an increasing portion of their ad spend to mobile.
Eric Litman is Chairman and CEO of Medialets