Many publishers have passed the tipping point on mobile, with more of their digital audience now coming to them on smartphones and tablets than desktop. But mobile ads are still fraught with pricing and user-experience problems, of both the publishers’ and agencies’ making. The supply of inventory has far outstripped demand, resulting in cheap ads — and because they’re so cheap, many agencies aren’t bothering to redesign them for the small screen, instead just repurposing desktop banners. Publishers are to blame, too, for ads that intrude on (or, worse, confuse) the reader. And many still hold out out on optimizing their sites for mobile, forcing readers to pinch and zoom.
Still, it’s not all bad news. We asked agencies to tell us which content publishers are actually doing mobile ads well. Here’s what they said:
Selina Petosa, founding principal and executive creative director, Rational Interaction
With the limited real estate on mobile, it’s important for publishers to leverage shareable video and images rather than making the site too text-heavy. BuzzFeed is video- and image-driven — and so are its ads. As users scroll through BuzzFeed’s content, they’re served sponsored posts that mirror BuzzFeed’s highly shareable editorial content. The integration of ads on BuzzFeed’s mobile site feels natural for users and adds value to their experience since the sponsored posts have great content.
Mashable, too, does an excellent job of incorporating ads that feel natural to the user. On Mashable, the ad unit size is the same as the content, so it doesn’t create a jarring experience for the visitor. If BuzzFeed’s and Mashable’s mobile platforms serve as a model for other publishers, gone are the days of the banner ad.
Derek Lu, senior strategist, The Media Kitchen
ESPN’s new redesign is a home run. The ad space to content is extremely well balanced. Since the redesign, pages do not load the ad until it’s in the viewable window. On New York magazine, mobile pages are built with platform capabilities in mind — scroll, swipe, etc. — and ads benefit as well. The balance of content to ad space is also spot-on.
Jeremy Tate, vp, group director, media, Digitas
From my vantage point, it’s those publishers who have found that balance between high impact and an integrated feel without negatively disrupting the user experience with units like overlays that may be somewhat more acceptable on desktop. One such publisher that comes to mind is The Weather Company and its development of “native” ads that are noticeable, yet feel like a natural part of their app experience and are targeted in a relevant way based on the user.
Kirk Allen, co-founder and COO of Reshift Media
It’s a real struggle to find a publisher who’s doing a good job. The traffic is there, the desire to stand out is there from brands, but publishers are still tied to the traditional desktop ad units. Although Facebook may not be your average publisher, they get our vote. Their mobile ads appear right in the newsfeed as part of the content well, are clearly indicated as ads and are part of the user experience.
Image courtesy of BuzzFeed.
How Apartment Therapy’s Riva Syrop is pivoting its events business around the economic climate
Apartment Therapy's event strategy closely revolves around its commerce business to appease both advertisers and consumers.
Experts tip in-house operations and retail media as the most fertile landscape for new job market entrants
Although 'readjustment' and 'flexibility' will be required from those laid off by Big Tech.
The Washington Post invests in climate coverage as its team expands to over 30 journalists
The Post's climate team continues to expand as the publisher makes big bets on the beat drawing younger audiences.
SponsoredPublishers are adapting advertising strategies for a privacy-first world
Tina Iannacchino, senior publisher director, Seedtag So much of the attention around the death of third-party cookies and its impact on the digital advertising industry is focused on the implications for brands and consumers, which is far from the complete picture. The digital publishing industry in the U.S. is massive and set to be shaken […]
Member ExclusiveMedia Buying Briefing: What a tour through Dentsu and Microsoft’s metaverse campus says about the future of digital marketing
Digiday gets a guided tour through Dentsu and Microsoft's metaverse campus, where clients can test out retail concepts or build showrooms in the virtual world.
‘Halloween is when Christmas ends’: A look at publishers’ pre-Black Friday commerce content playbooks
Publishers' Black Friday coverage plans are starting earlier and earlier but commerce teams are evolving to meet the demand.