With New Ad Units, Vibrant Media Comes To Smartphones And Tablets

Vibrant Media, which powers in-text ads and other contextual ad products, is going cross-platform today with the launch of a number of new units.

Some of those ad units are entirely new to Vibrant’s lineup, while others take the company’s desktop ads and optimize them for touch interactions. CEO Cella Irvine told me that there’s growing interest from ad agencies in campaigns that span desktops, smartphones, and tablets, and also in mobile-specific campaigns. Some of Vibrant’s existing ad units already worked on mobile, she said, but they weren’t really designed for non-desktop devices. The goal with today’s launch is to make sure “the experience is native to the device.”

Irvine walked me through quick demos of some of the units that are launching today. There’s a redesign of Vibrant’s full-screen Mosaic ads, which are now designed for tablet and tablet gestures (like tapping and pinching to expand), and which can launched from in-text or in-image ads. There’s also a Brand Flex unit built for smartphones, which allows users to navigate and filter through relevant brand content. And there’s a Dynamic Adhesion unit, which is a spin on the keyword-based advertising that Vibrant is best-known for — in this case, the ad is specifically tied to the keyword, so as you read an article, you might see multiple keyword-based ads, which collectively tell the advertiser’s story.

Vibrant is also offering versions of its Image and Lightbox ads that should work on mobile, the company says.

In a follow-up email, Irvine emphasized that the new units allow for “creativity at scale” — “A brand today doesn’t have many venues to tell its brand narrative across platforms,” she said.

And while there’s probably always going to be some grumbling about whether Vibrant’s ads are intrusive or annoying, Irvine said the mobile units will continue the company’s emphasis on “viewability and choice” — she said the viewer always has a choice about whether or not they want to engage with the ad. (And people are making that choice on desktops — one of Vibrant’s ad units only launches after users highlight a keyword through a three-second countdown, and Irvine said 4 percent of consumers actually do highlight the keyword long enough to activate the ad.)

As for monetizing the new cross-platform units, Irvine said she wants to move away from the idea that CPMs (the cost per thousand impressions) are “the only way to measure effectively across devices.”

“We believe that … CPE – an actual engagement by a user with an advertisement – along with viewability, dwell time and brand lift, will be the most important metrics for brand marketers in mobile,” she added.