Advertising Technology

MediaBrix CEO Ari Brandt on Emotional Targeting and Breakthrough Moments

MediaBrix CEO Ari BrandtAri Brandt is CEO and Co-Founder of MediaBrix, the industry leading ad platform that delivers immersive brand messages during breakthrough moments in gaming. He founded the company in 2011 with current CPO, Jay Drago and their “emotional targeting” is changing the way advertisers reach consumers. The Makegood recently spoke with Ari about his new marketing technique.

The Makegood: MediaBrix utilizes Breakthrough Moments (BTMs) in games to push branded messages. What creates a BTM and why are audiences so receptive during them?

Unlike any other form of media, when someone is playing a game they go through a wide range of emotions – from frustration, to relief, to elation. Through our bi-directional communication with the game developers we know exactly when users are experiencing these emotions and have built a suite of products to target each one. This is the birth of emotional targeting. MediaBrix calls these emotional moments Breakthrough Moments™ (BTMs). These moments include when a player gets a new high-score, achieves a personal best or gets stuck on a level and is in need of help. By tapping into BTMs, MediaBrix’s campaigns routinely see average video completion rates 84x the industry average, a 500% lift in brand awareness compared to online normative averages and engagement rates as much as 2000% higher than other forms of digital advertising. Purchase intent is 10x higher than normative averages and ad likability increases by 50% when brands align with players’ emotions. When users appreciate the brand’s message, an emotional and memorable connection is created, producing engagement rates that are at another level.

The Makegood: Campaigns that use MediaBrix are deployed across multiple platforms, but all are connected to social and mobile games. Do you feel this will alienate specific demographics, i.e. seniors or those who cannot afford mobile devices?

Not at all. Gaming is embraced by everyone. There are over 250 million playing social and mobile games around the world. As a matter of fact, by 2016 over 80% of smartphone users in the US will be playing games on their devices according to eMarketer. That said, if a brand is trying to reach an older demographic that might not have a smartphone and be more web focused we can target platforms to ensure the optimal reach.

The Makegood: You recently launched a digital advertising campaign with Arby’s to promote their limited time offer KING’s HAWAIIAN Roast Beef Sandwich which drove a brand awareness lift of 319%, significantly exceeding market norms. Can you tell me a bit about this campaign and why it had such great success?

Arby’s introduced a new twist to their classic Roast Beef sandwich by partnering with KING’S HAWAIIAN brand. For a limited time in May, they added two new sandwiches to the Arby’s menu. During this time, Arby’s wanted to launch a digital marketing initiative to generate awareness and drive intrigue and ultimately trial in their target demographic.

They ran a cross-platform campaign with MediaBrix to target their audience’s favorite social and mobile games and leverage BTMs. Through our Flex product, Arby’s engaged and celebrated with their consumers when they won a level or reached a high score. Through our Views product, Arby’s helped consumers during times of need within gameplay by offering virtual goods in exchange for brand interaction. For example, when a player needs help reaching the next level on Beach Buggy Blitz, a top-ten ranked mobile/tablet game in which users drive their beach buggy on a mysterious tropical island, Arby’s would provide an opportunity to upgrade their buggy in exchange for watching their video message.

The end result of the campaign was a brand awareness lift of 319%, significantly outperforming Nielsen’s market norms. MediaBrix was also a top performer for Arby’s and contributed to one of their most successful limited-time offers. That’s pretty cool.

The Makegood: Social and mobile gaming is still a relatively new medium. What do you think the biggest challenges moving forward will be?

I think we’re at the inflection point where gaming has become mainstream for users and marketers. With social and mobile gaming driving one of the most seismic shifts in media consumption, the biggest challenge will be keeping up with the advertising demand while remaining thoughtful to the user experience – we believe that can be achieved with BTMs and emotional targeting. Also, the world of social and mobile gaming is different than any other playing field for advertising. There is no other digital medium that stimulates such a wide range of emotions multiple times a day across hundred of millions of people. Helping advertisers understand the unique characteristics of social gaming and how to best leverage them is an ongoing challenge.

The Makegood: Pure branding in the digital world is still a relatively new concept. As new technologies and methods arise, where do you see the industry heading in the future?

Brand advertising needs thought, human connection, and creativity, or else it is ineffective. The days of offer walls, interstitials, pre-roll video and other disruptive ad formats are slowing becoming history. The digital advertising industry has spent too much time focused on efficiency and programmatic buying, leaving brand advertisers scratching their heads about how to engage in the space in a meaningful way.  The ultimate goal of brand advertising is to make a lasting impression, which is hard to achieve if you’re only focused on efficiency.

Soon, expect to see a closer alignment between brand objectives and user experience, as companies increasingly understand how to provide value to their consumers and create emotional connections. The metrics by which campaigns are measured will also evolve; primary campaign metrics like clicks and impressions will soon be replaced by likeability, engagement and emotional connections.

The Makegood: Thank you, Ari


  • Kirby Winfield

    Kudos to Ari on evolving MediaBrix and finding a unique path around brand and gaming – lots of people talking the talk in that space but there’s really something happening here.