Hearst Magazines UK was looking for a way to take its mobile strategy from out of the box to outside the box.
“We definitely had a history of 320 x 50 mobile banners,” admitted Rob Wilkin, head of commercial product at Hearst UK, which is home to 26 titles including Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Red and Harper’s Bazaar.
Desktop-based ad products like site skins or home page takeovers were Hearst’s bread and butter, but that was partially driven by a misconception among advertisers – namely, that there are limited creative canvases available on mobile.
“That’s one of the main things we hear from advertisers and marketers, but that’s the perception, not the reality,” said Lolly Mason, head of publisher development for EMEA at mobile ad company Celtra. “It’s also part of why advertisers are slow to spend more on mobile even though their traffic and their audiences are moving there. Banners aren’t going to move dollars from desktop to mobile.”
At the beginning of May, Hearst UK and Celtra entered into a partnership to start wooing advertisers away from desktop with more interactive mobile units. The units will remain in private beta and be exclusive to Hearst for at least three months, after which Celtra will make them generally available to other clients.
One such native mobile product is called “reactive pull,” which sits in a default position at the top of a publisher’s page. Users engage with the ad by pulling down on the screen to reveal a piece of interactive content, anything from a video or animation to a swipeable image gallery. Users dismiss the ad with a swipe gesture to return to whatever they were previously reading.
Jewelry brand Pandora was the first of Hearst’s advertisers to take reactive pull for a spin across Cosmo and Red in the lead up to Mother’s Day. According to Celtra, the pull-to-expand rate for the ad was 150% higher than its own benchmarks for expandable mobile banners, while the video within the unit had a 69% view-through rate.
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