And because Simple Magic had mobile in mind, it built its units to be responsive.
Ran Cohen, GM of North America for Simple Magic, claims it’s technically challenging to support units that aren’t banners or in-stream – a problem he witnessed while at Legolas/Upfront Digital Media (which Undertone acquired in 2014) and Eyeblaster (now known as Sizmek’s MediaMind).
“At Eyeblaster, 60% of the units we sold included video, but there were technological barriers to bring these types of units into the programmatic space and to mobile devices,” he said. “Sometimes you don’t even see the ad if the ad call jumps through several hoops, depending on how difficult it was to coordinate between the DSP, SSP, publisher and technology provider.”
Then came the sales challenges: Creating special units with a publisher required between two weeks to 30 days to create the ad, obtain agency approvals and review the final creative with the advertiser, Cohen claimed. Also, high-impact formats require users to initiate them, or else they don’t render at all.
Therefore, advertisers want these units embedded within a larger media buy that often include more traditional pieces, said Primia’s Stiglitz.
“I would say we’ve had some early success with some strong advertisers like Honda, Corona and Dunkin’ Donuts, but this is about convincing publishers and advertisers that [a more engaging unit] is a good thing.”
But Ben Abbatiello, VP of strategic accounts for SpotX, said the technical gap between high-impact formats and standard ad-serving systems is closing.
Before programmatic and Deal ID transactions were commonplace, the industry wasn’t set up to support high-impact units in an operational sense.
However, now that programmatic is more mainstream, Abbatiello thinks it lends scale to high-impact units such as Simple Magic’s. But he offers this caveat: “Like any tool, programmatic has to be applied correctly to work well.”