Advertising Technology

Alan Schanzer on Undertone’s Responsive Design Cross Platform Ad Format

The-Makegood.com_Alan_SchanzerAlan Schanzer is Chief Client Officer at Undertone, a provider of quality display, high impact, and video solutions. The Makegood recently spoke with Alan about ScreenShift, responsive design, and seamless brand experience for consumers across multiple devices.

The Makegood: Undertone recently released a responsive ad format called ScreenShift. How does it work?

ScreenShift is a high impact ad format that can be delivered seamlessly across smartphones, tablets, and PCs from a single piece of creative built with responsive design. That means that ScreenShift can dynamically change size, features, and functionality to best fit the device on which it’s served. With ScreenShift, advertisers don’t need to worry about creating, serving, and tracking a separate creative for every device – you build it once, and it just works, everywhere.

The format is highly visible and designed to drive engagement—it displays as a full-browser-width auto-initiated pushdown on desktop and tablet, and a full-screen ad on smartphone. There’s also room for plenty of rich interactive functionality on every screen, including image galleries, live social media feeds, animations, and click to call (on smartphone only). The interaction model can even be dynamically changed by device – click/drag on desktop, tap/swipe on mobile.

The Makegood: How will responsive design impact the media industry?

As Web consumption fragments across devices and mobile use continues to grow, it’s becoming crucial to be able to deliver a seamless brand experience to consumers regardless of device. Right now, a large number of major web publishers have made the decision to switch their sites to responsive design. While this helps their audience have a more continuous experience across devices, their ad solutions typically haven’t received the same level of attention.

We typically see publishers using one of three approaches to advertising on a responsive site: 1) they drop ads for smaller screen sizes; 2) they dynamically swap ad slots as their page resizes itself; or 3) they reduce advertising on all screens to a lowest common denominator – most often the IAB standard MPU.  All three solutions present a big problem for brand marketers who are paying for premium placements. In an industry that has made a concerted effort to move towards fewer, larger, higher impact placements, this represents a pretty big setback, and points to the need for responsive creative that can expand and contract to fit the sites and devices its served to.

The Makegood: Marketers want to see reporting on a per-screen basis; smartphone vs. tablet vs. PC. How will your new interaction reporting work and how will it help marketers to be more successful?

The challenge marketers typically have with cross-screen reporting stems largely from the little concessions they’re forced to make when they convert their desktop creative into mobile-banners. This typically means a conversion from Flash to HTML5, or a complete redesign in order to fit a message on the smaller screen real estate. The end result is a fragmented set of reports that have to be manually merged together, often with dubious results.

Because an entire ScreenShift campaign is served from a single piece of creative, we’re able to offer 100% unified reporting across all clicks and interactions. This allows our advertisers and publishers to more easily gain insights on cross-device behavior and response. We can track multiple engagement metrics (including CTR, interaction rate, engagement time, and replay rate) across devices, giving a unified view into how audiences interact with advertising messages and where those messages best resonate.

The Makegood: Can you tell us about the changes in user behavior that you are seeing across multiple devices?

Overall, consumers are spending more and more time on their mobile devices—comScore reports that about 40% of time spent online is now spent beyond the PC. That time seems to be spent in a more lean-forward mode – in early ScreenShift campaigns that we’ve run, interaction, click through and replay metrics are all significantly higher on mobile devices than on desktop. This could be due, in part, to the relatively limited number of truly high-impact experiences delivered across smartphone and tablet. Regardless of the reason, it underlines the opportunity to engage consumers with something more than a mini banner on those devices.

The Makegood: Thanks, Alan.