AdExchanger: Why would studios agree to use Tumblr to host the microsites for their movies?
DAVID HAYES: Movie marketing campaigns are in a bit of a shrink and need to cut costs. One of the first things I did when I came from the studio side was I went right back to Lionsgate and back to Sony Pictures and told them: “Here’s how you can save money: Instead of spending $100,000 building a website, spend $20,000 building a site using one of the Tumblr themes, then take the $80,000 you saved and spend it on media.”
When did that start?
I got to Tumblr in January of 2013. By May of 2013, we’d hit the top 20 studios and networks all regularly building theatrical websites. Since then we’ve had Verizon build a corporate Verizon answers. We’ve had candy brands like Trolli. Hyundai’s World Cup site was built on Tumblr. Samsung cameras.
The only reason you might not see it more often is because creative shops might not want to build on Tumblr because they might want to keep their offering [and] their service price high.
But it’s all gonna change because the pressure to have budget content marketing is very high. All marketers, movie industry or not, want to cut costs, so they’ll do it on the site so they can spend more on content.
How exactly does Tumblr fit into the Yahoo advertising ecosystem?
All of our ad technology is powered by Yahoo. There’s a much greater degree of targeting and specificity you can offer brands on Tumblr and across the Yahoo world.
What was your take when WPP, Snapchat and Dailymail announced a joint initiative to create a content agency called Truffle Pig?
The Snapchat announcement is great for anyone that doesn’t understand the brand-as-publisher movement, or hasn’t bought into it yet.
It's a little unclear what it is.
The release was one of the most beautifully worded vague things I’ve ever read. Like nine parties involved, but no clear resolution on how it actually works.
I had a lot of clients walk up to me last night and say, “Sucks for you.” It’s actually awesome for us. Where do you think that content is going to come from? We’ve been doing it for almost two years now. We figured out all the hard stuff.
The whole concept of content marketing isn’t new, though.
It’s a display-based world where your ads are always on, but ignored. Then you had interruptive moments where you had big page takeovers and floaters. I designed those for eight years at a movie studio. That was my bread and butter: How interruptive can you get?
One of the big ones I did was [Sylvester] Stallone on a brand channel for “The Expendables,” where he’s being interviewed by Shira Lazar. Suddenly he looks at the right-rail thumbnails and there are these assassins coming in. So it becomes this shootout in the brand channel page. That’s pretty interruptive.
Now you’re doing the opposite at Tumblr.
Eye-tracking tests have proven we’ve already internalized where to ignore a display ad. But display is still gargantuan. I’m passionate about content marketing and native advertising because I did all that stuff and I saw the statistics on the lack of click-throughs. It was depressing trying to figure out how to make a better way. But it didn’t exist until today.
Facebook and Apple are trying to be less interruptive as well. You’re betting this will catch on?
Companies like Facebook and Apple are trying to attack that infrastructure. But it makes sense because I don’t know how to put a display ad on a mobile phone to begin with. There’s no room.
It slows the web page loading. Everything on your phone is based on speed, so it’s much more upsetting when I take a long time to load, just so I can interrupt you and force you to wait for 10 more seconds. Especially when you just want to know what time the movie is showing.
Will the measurement variables change?
All platforms and brands are beginning to understand that the variables you measure on desktop might be time spent total. On mobile, you’re also looking at return business throughout the day.
We think it’ll be return sessions across a 24-hour period. You’ll never get someone staring at their phone for seven straight minutes. The question is: How many times a day do you return to the app?
Is there an ideal?
We want a consistent pattern – we get you in the morning and in the evening. A year from now, everyone will have that number. “People returned to the app 22 times a day or 10 times a day!”
You’ve got traffic moving in circular patterns where it’s in-app, bounces back to Safari, then back into the app. It’s fascinating because it happens so quickly. That’s something I think people will study more.