Seven things you didn't know about in-image ads

Sponsored content by GumGum

by Phil Schraeder, COO and CFO, GumGum

Banner blindness, ad blocking, small mobile screens — like it or not, the growing challenges to the online advertising business model are numerous. Meanwhile, quality content isn’t getting any less expensive to produce. So what’s a besieged publisher to do? In-image ads are a good place to start. Here’s why:

They’re highly visible.

Pictures are often the first thing anyone sees in an article. It’s no wonder: Eye-tracking studies have shown that users focus more energy and attention on images than anything else. And according to the Content Marketing Institute, articles with images receive 94 percent more views than articles without pictures. This makes them an ideal place for ads, because they’ll be seen. In fact, in-image ads have an 81 percent viewability rate, which is about 52 percent more than standard ad placements.

They create new inventory for publishers.

In-image ads put marketing messages in a new location that’s in front of readers’ eyes, which enables them to be seen. What’s more, since they’re located in a completely new, “found” space, in-image ads are essentially new inventory and don’t have to fight for precious real estate on a page. Publishers don’t have to choose between a sponsored story or an IAB ad for that right-rail ad unit because in-image doesn’t take away inventory from other sources. It’s truly incremental revenue.

They give precious real estate back to the editors.

By making use of highly viewable locations like the bottom of pictures, in-image ads help publishers return real estate that was previously dedicated to ads back to the editorial department. Space set aside for ad units in the right rail or banners can once again be used for articles, “most popular” promo modules or slideshow thumbnails.

They know their place.

It’s hard to be more contextual than placing a relevant ad right into an image, and in-image ads execute this efficiently and intelligently. To understand what’s going on in pictures and what’s around them, in-image ad technology uses a mix of real-time behavioral targeting, semantic page analysis (keywords, captions, text) and image recognition (faces, hair color, objects). Then it serves relevant ads — say, for a local dealership offer in a picture of a car in a story about the best summer road trips — into the photo.

They don’t overstay their welcome.

Needing as little as a 20 percent fill rate to create incremental revenue that moves the needle, in-image ads don’t have to run 24/7, making them less intrusive than all those pop-ups, banner ads and takeovers that have caused a full-fledged reader rebellion in the form of ad blockers.

They’re cross-platform.

Most content today is consumed on mobile devices, which have smaller-than-desktop touchscreens that immediately reduce space for advertising. In-image ads are designed responsively, making them cross-platform. That means they’ll reconfigure and resize themselves appropriately no matter the platform or screen size. In other words, if an editorial picture is resized and fits on a mobile screen, the in-image ad will follow it.

They’re safe.

There’s no need to worry about an ad showing up in a picture accompanying a sensitive news story or inside an inappropriate picture. Thanks to cutting-edge technologies such as image recognition, photo or article mismatches can automatically be filtered out before ads go in them.