Chip Meyers is currently the CEO at ReactX, an ad firm that enables the programmatic buying and selling of high impact, large canvas type ads in RTB platforms. Meyers brings previous experience from Demand Media, where he was the GM. The Makegood recently spoke with Meyers about the reveal of buy side capabilities.
The Makegood: Congratulations on the reveal of ReactX’s Buy Side Capabilities for RTB Delivery of High Impact Custom Ads. Could you elaborate on what this means, and what this will do for the company?
We are enabling the programmatic buying of high impact custom premium ad inventory at scale via RTB. Our buy side tools now enable brands and agencies to leverage cool, custom branded integrations using audience data and insights, which in turn gives them the ability to maximize their buy value and yield for non standard and highly engaging creative. It’s the same process they already use with boring, old standard ad formats, which unfortunately have contributed to consumer banner blindness and depressed CPMs. This is the race to the top of programmatic, as opposed to what the industry has perpetuated in terms of the race to the bottom.
Today’s world is filled with people who have rejected the status quo of display advertising. To begin to reach these people, brands have turned to high impact custom premium ads, which encompass everything from takeovers, peels and skins, to IAB Rising Stars and anything authored with creative tools like Adobe and others provide – the beautiful ads that you frequently see on your favorite websites today. Most of us have already been exposed to them, and likely remember them because they were designed to captivate your target audience.
These are the kind of highly attractive and effective digital ads entertainment brands love, because they accurately mirror the “larger than life” aspects of the content they promote. For the upcoming Avengers movie, would you rather see a hard coded standard leaderboard, a skyscraper ad format of the Incredible Hulk, or a moving, interactive and engaging larger-than-life comic book character? Audiences actually want and crave this type of reactive and responsive creative marketing.
If these ad formats are so effective, then why aren’t they the norm? Well, the inefficiency in developing and delivering them to market has been a massive industry problem (bottlenecking not just the creative and scale, but also brands’ investment in them). Deployment is a tedious and manual process, involving months of planning to ensure their unique custom ad simply “works” on the websites and the variety of devices where they will be deployed. Traditionally, this has excluded high impact custom ads from conversations about real time bidding (RTB), which is the ever-growing dominant way digital ads will be bought and sold moving forward.
ReactX is transforming the industry because we are automating the entire process for brands and agencies. With our capabilities, anyone on the buy side can create and deploy high impact, custom premium advertising via RTB. The best part is that brands can now programmatically reach multiple touch points across a wide variety of publisher networks, at previously unreachable scale; all while eliminating the associated time, technology, creative, and cost pain-points.
The Makegood: With the industry constantly improving, how does this fit into the need for ever-improving technology?
Ad technology has evolved, but the industry simply hasn’t caught up to meet the needs of brands and agencies, when it comes to deployment. Automation of ad delivery was in its infancy and approached with trepidation just a few years ago. As it has moved towards the mainstream, technically it is has only been possible to serve ‘standard’ ad formats programmatically, with many focused on doing so faster and cheaper. In the grand scheme of things, however, this is ultimately a race to the bottom. It’s pushing us further towards a world where digital ads are less and less interesting for audiences. ReactX is focused on the race to the top, where effective creative that can contain rich media and HTML5 can be delivered via RTB to any device and any platform that the target audience will view the respective publisher on. We’re finally getting to a point where what brands and agencies really want to do with creative digitally and have been doing for years manually is possible—with speed, scale, and automation.
The Makegood: How is it possible that the estimated $200 billion in brand dollars sitting outside of digital has not already been tapped in to? How will the introduction of these buy side capabilities tap into that huge pool of brand dollars?
If you look at where the top brands in the world spend most on budget, the main culprit is TV. The main reason why it demands the spend is because of how simple it is to do so. It’s easy for brands to blast an ad across a network because developing creative and delivering it to the medium is a straightforward and mature process.
Brands simply can’t spend a billion dollars in digital because they don’t want to do deal with traditional digital ad formats like skyscrapers and banners. A brand can’t control that limited medium the same way they can control a 30 second TV ad spot. There’s also no guarantee they’ll get the same reach as TV.
Where ReactX shines is our ability to allow brands to bring same originality and engaging creative to the digital realm—served via RTB using any audience data to grab an impression where the data suggests it makes sense. As we make the process easier for brands and they start to realize it’s possible to deliver high impact custom ads via RTB, free of all the things that make it inefficient (like pre-qualifying ads and frantic coding to make it all work in what can be hundreds of possible scenarios that the audience will see an ad). When brand realize this is possible, we expect they will flood digital with the branding money that was previously slotted for TV.
The Makegood: You have been aware of the possibilities this market holds for some time. Do you believe that when you first realized the potential, the technology/ideology was ahead of its time?
The team at ReactX has been working with high impact, custom non-standard ads for more than a decade, so we know what the limitations are. Three years ago we decided to tackle the inefficiencies of scalability and reach to solve this problem for RTB. We believed as early as 2009 that this was the future how people would buy and sell ads, because it is so targeted and efficient. But it only really worked well for basic digital display. This was the genesis of the idea and with our most recent news, we’ve announced that RTB and high impact custom ads have finally converged not only in display; but in mobile, tablet and iTV. We believe it puts ReactX in a unique position now and in the future.
The Makegood: What do you see for the future of ReactX’s introduction of buy side capabilities? Do you believe that more advertisers and marketers will elect this strategy?
We’re seeing a fundamental change in the way brands and agencies want their brands showcased digitally. Perhaps frustrated with the status quo, some innovative brands are already testing the waters by doing this themselves. In fact, in this article, a Netflix executive bemoans the lack of breadth and scale for high impact custom ad inventory.
Brands will continue to move fast on delivering high impact custom ads via RTB, because they can optimize for the business income, not the vested interest of the existing channel.
The Makegood: Thank you, Chip.