“Some companies cleverly place their banners near to navigation so people click by mistake, others use pop-ups or interstitials that interrupt the user experience,” Foran said. “TheStreet knows that mobile is going to eat the world, but they want ads where the user initiates engagement.”
It’s a valid concern. Around 60% of clicks on mobile banner ads are accidental, according to a report released by Retale in February, which also found that 65% of people encounter the most banner ads when checking news sites, like TheStreet.
Although TheStreet had experimented with other mobile monetization partners in the past, including Millennial Media before it was scooped up by AOL and AdMarvel before it became a part of Opera Mediaworks, “they were doing nothing for me,” Freiman said.
TheStreet was Yieldmo’s first publisher client in 2012, and in January the duo expanded its partnership. Now, in addition to selling Yieldmo units directly – Yieldmo incubates an internal creative ad lab to develop proprietary mobile formats – TheStreet is also tapping into Yieldmo’s exchange platform for access to the latter’s advertiser relationships, which include Intel, DISH and Goldman Sachs.
Over the past few months, TheStreet has seen increased revenue, CPMs and fill rate, Freiman said. And rather than struggling to monetize all of its mobile traffic each month – it’s still hard to keep DR advertisers investing in mobile campaigns month by month “because they’re looking for the same results they get on desktop,” Freiman said – TheStreet relies on Yieldmo to pick up the slack.
Mobile monetization is still a work in progress at TheStreet, but one thing is clear – the standard mobile banners aren’t the way forward. That said, mobile display is just hard to pull off without being annoying or irrelevant.
“It’s not just about size [of the ad], it has a lot to do with why people are there,” Freiman said. “On mobile, they’re just there to get what they need quickly and then move off. … You need stickiness. People have to react to what you’re doing.”