It’s a sentiment becoming more widely expressed throughout the ad tech ecosystem. As Paul Longo, managing director at Accordant Media, observed to AdExchanger, the industry has spent a lot of time developing audience segments and creative pairings for desktop display with great success.
“Those segments and aligned messages now need to scale to mobile,” Longo said. “Progress has been made here, but nascent mobile tracking capabilities and the smaller, less flexible creative palate are specific obstacles to overcome. Additionally, advanced dynamic efforts used on desktop, such as ad sequencing and storyboarding, are difficult to execute in both complexity and reality of the consumer’s engagement and attention.”
That’s the nut Undertone is looking to crack with Sparkflow.
Although Sparkflow’s technology is self-serve, Undertone will remain hands on in varying degrees for the clients who want it, which Ferengul expects will represent the majority, especially as they grapple with new options like motion-triggered ad units. That’s not the kind of thing an advertiser or publisher can just repurpose from existing digital assets – it requires a whole new contextual concept, Ferengul said.
“From our experience in programmatic, when we say to customers who want self-service, ‘No problem, here’s the console,’ half the time they change their mind, while in other cases they might come back after six months and want our help,” he said. “It depends on the customer, but I think most will use a hybrid model.”
Undertone has 300 employees spread across offices in New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Washington, DC, London, Hamburg and Tel Aviv. The majority of Sparkflow’s employees, just shy of a dozen, will remain on board, including the company’s three co-founders. Sparkflow raised a $50,000 seed round in 2014 from NXTP Labs.