Advertising Technology

Vibrant’s Cella Irvine on Respectfully Engaging With Key Audiences

Cella Irvine is the CEO of Vibrant Media. Cella has over 25 years of experience in digital, media and technology at companies including The New York Times Company’s About Group, Digitas and Marsh. We recently spoke with Cella about her current role.

The Makegood: Cella, you recently became CEO of Vibrant Media after an extensive career in digital media. What attracted you to the company?

CI:Vibrant is the leader in its space and has a track record of success. Few companies have grown to be as large and healthy as Vibrant without making acquisitions. I’ve spent the lion’s share of my career on the content side, and Vibrant brings a content- and user-focused perspective to advertising.

I see a growing shift in the industry towards contextual advertising solutions that respect consumers’ interests and needs. As well, advertisers are hungry for innovation and that is something Vibrant is known for.

The Makegood: You have said that being “privacy positive” and understanding that consumer interaction is now voluntary is key to Vibrant. Why is this important?

CI: The efficacy of contextual advertising lies in a deep understanding of the convergence of the right moment with the right mindset and the right message. In other words, contextual advertising reflects a user’s current mindset; and behavioral targeting can reflect past behavior.

Our clients look for contextual solutions that help them take a consumer-centric approach to respectfully engaging with key audiences. We have seen the benefits of being transparent, and only using information that consumers share voluntarily – with the goal of providing a better online experience for the consumer. And, using that data, we bring relevant advertising and content to users when they have initiated the brand engagement – if, when and how they want to see it.

The Makegood: What are some of the new Vibrant products that you are most excited about? What types of clients are the ideal users of these products?

CI: We’re seeing a great deal of excitement among top brands for two of our new solutions: Vibrant Lightbox Video and Vibrant Image.

Lightbox is our contextual video ad solution. Advertisers like that it is clearly user-initiated and so do consumers. Unlike pre-roll, it offers more video inventory for brands since it can be launched from our in-image and in-text products. Lightbox is delivering high engagement rates and video completion rates for top brands such as Epson, P&G and American Family Insurance

Our Vibrant Image product is an “in-image” technology that identifies static images within brand-safe content across the Web and embeds small overlays at the bottom of the image. It’s a premium placement that is more contextually engaging than standard display ads. Images are a place where users are naturally focused – being in the edit well is critical in a very cluttered online environment. We believe that a user spends about two-thirds of their time on any page scanning the article, and about one-third of their time focused on the editorial image. In the auto category, Vibrant Image has proven very effective in driving front-end clickthrough rates and back-end results. We’ve also seen a great deal of interest from CPG and entertainment brands.

The Makegood: You have served in senior positions at companies like Digitas and About.com. How have you managed both your career and your family during that time?

CI: There really is no substitute for mommy, and it can really make you feel torn and tired at times. Let me share a story:

Several years ago, when our children were in the early years of grade school, I went on a week-long business trip, leaving the kids in the capable hands of my husband, my mother, and the nanny. When I came home Friday night, I gave everyone a big hug and then noticed something.

I said to my husband, “The kids smell funny,” and he said, “I noticed that too.”

So I said, “Did they have a bath?”

He said, “They need a bath!”

So, three qualified adults were not capable of truly filling in for mommy.

That said, it has gotten a lot easier as my children have gotten older, and being a working parent gives your children a sense of possibility.

The Makegood: What advice would you give recent college graduates who want to join the media advertising business? Where is the best place to start?

CI: It’s a tough time right now, one of the toughest for recent graduates. Don’t be discouraged. The best place to start is by talking to people in the industry. Nearly all jobs are found by networking. Speak with your college career office and ask where alumni are working. Reach out to your parents’ friends, extended family members, and friends of professors and set up informational interviews. During informational interviews it’s important not to ask if there are job openings, but instead to ask for career advice and brainstorm what first jobs might be good ideas.

Lastly, find positive ways to use your time to continue to foster a sense of accomplishment. If you ever thought about taking a course or training for a marathon, this is the time. Have some fun too!

The Makegood: Thanks, Cella.

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