The idea of cross-screen advertising has been getting a lot of press in recent digital and media news. We’ve talked before about why responsive design is important, and two weeks ago we introduced ScreenShift™, our new cross-screen high impact format. We’re really excited about the format—and the response it’s been getting in the market—but we’re equally excited about the technology we’ve built that makes it possible to easily deliver consistent advertising experiences across screens. That would be the Undertone Impact Accelerator, a new, proprietary platform that serves as a framework for rapidly developing and launching new cross-screen high impact formats.
The launch of the Impact Accelerator is a big deal for us—and, we hope, for our advertisers and publishers—because it will allow us to greatly increase the speed at which we can develop new cross-screen ad formats. What makes cross-screen advertising a challenge? It requires a switch from ads built with Flash to ads built with HTML5. And while it’s not significantly harder to build in HTML5, it is much harder to make sure the ads actually show up. With HTML5, advertisers are essentially creating small, self-contained websites that are delivered as ads. Like any website, these mini-sites (HTML5 ads) have to be tested extensively to make sure they display properly across browsers and devices—a process that become infinitely harder when taken into account that the ads will serve across thousands of pages on hundreds of different websites. Yet without testing, neither advertisers nor publishers can be sure the ads will show up looking as they should and in the correct placements, or that they won’t interfere with the page content or layout.
Flash ads get to skip the testing process because of the Flash plugin: an application that all Web users run on their computers, which makes sure that Flash behaves as expected by its creator, Adobe. Unfortunately, there’s no Flash plugin for HTML. That’s where the Impact Accelerator comes in.
The Impact Accelerator centralizes all of the HTML5 integration, testing, and event handling, enabling us to deliver ads across multiple screens that just work. Ads show up exactly the same, on every platform, in every environment. And if there are changes in Web standards (inevitable) or new browsers, we can easily update the Impact Accelerator and fix every ScreenShift ad (and any other new formats) at once, minimizing the impact of these changes on our live campaigns. We’ve also pre-built a library of rich functionality for the Impact Accelerator – animations, photo galleries, integrations with social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and more. We built this functionality with ScreenShift in mind, but it’s all intended to be reusable. As clients ask for more functionality in their ads, and as we integrate new data types, features, animations, and more, we can make them instantly available to any future Impact Accelerator format that we release. This lets us continually raise the bar.
What does this mean for our advertisers? A significant reduction of the time and budget it takes to launch ads across screens—a seamless brand experience on every device with no separate executions required. And because ads delivered through the Impact Accelerator are delivered across screens, we can also provide centralized tracking and reporting, giving you new insight into how brand messaging performs across different devices.
Publishers will see benefits, too. New, premium formats built in the Impact Accelerator can increase the value of their inventory—and will help them make the most effective use of all of their inventory across screens, including mobile. The Impact Accelerator gives you a way to more reliably deliver high impact formats across every screen, without having to worry about ad sizes on smaller screens or different executions for different devices. And once your site has been certified on the Impact Accelerator, you’ll immediately have access to all new formats developed using it.
The Impact Accelerator has changed the way we create new ad formats here at Undertone. ScreenShift is just the beginning; we can’t wait to share our next developments.