Joining the dots with HTML5 cross-screen advertising

HTML5 – not just the latest buzzword in this content crazy worldLast year saw extraordinary growth in mobile advertising with a 105 per cent increase in global mobile ad spend. What’s more, predicted growth for 2014 is almost as high as advertisers continue their quest to reach today’s distracted, on-the-move consumers. By the end of the year, mobile is expected to account for almost a quarter of digital ad spend worldwide.

With all the noise around mobile advertising, it’s easy to believe that mobile is actually replacing other screens such as desktop, but while mobile use is increasing, consumers still interact with traditional screens just as often as they do with tablets and smartphones. Consumers are not only on the move, but are continually switching between devices for different uses and expecting a seamless transition along the customer journey. Rather than being a separate media bucket, mobile should be considered as part of a wider strategy that enables cohesive advertising campaigns across every conceivable device including gaming consoles, connected TVs, and desktop.

The constant switching between channels has led to a huge demand for a cross-screen experience, with both advertisers and publishers recognising the benefits it can bring in engaging the always-on consumer. Until recently the many barriers to a true cross-screen campaign made it unfeasible for the majority of brands. Many adopted a quasi cross-screen approach by loading similar content in different ad sizes and formats, based on device or screen size. However, this is an expensive and fragmented process that leads to a disparate brand experience for consumers.

For advertisers, there have been three key barriers to cross-screen marketing:

Difficulty in tracking target audiences across multiple devices;

A lack of common performance metrics between devices when delivering ad content;

A lack of the resources required to produce complex creative content to work across all screens.

For publishers, the barriers are focused around technology in particular, where adoption of cross-screen is hindered by the adjustments required in site design.

Fortunately, due to increasing demand, technology has now been developed to make unified cross-screen display advertising a reality, and to allow both advertiser and publisher to move beyond a device-specific advertising approach. Through the ability to use responsive HTML5 technology within desktop browsers as well as mobile, it is now possible for brands to run fully scalable, programmatic-friendly, cross-screen ad campaigns from a single overarching platform. This enables effective serving and tracking of cross-screen ads, as well as consolidated reporting with common metrics – such as viewability rate, expansion rate, video play rate, and time spent on page – across all devices.

From a designer’s perspective, a single platform for cross-screen advertising also allows streamlined ad production from a single point of creation, sharing assets for a consistent ad experience throughout various formats. Ad design is adapted for cross-screen, taking into account the unique way consumers relate to each device and matching the ad message to the user’s environment, making use of device specific technology.

Cross-screen ad production can also make use of the latest design technologies such as dynamic creative optimisation, which allows ads to be broken down into individual elements, each with a number of variations. When an ad is served, the most appropriate elements for the viewer are selected and combined to create an experience that is tailored to the audience as well as to the device.

A genuine cross-screen approach allows marketers to simplify the increasingly complex ecosystem of brand advertising and reach consumers across all digital touch points. Cross-screen provides programmatic-friendly display ads that run on any device, while also adapting to the environment of the viewer. As mobile takes on an ever-increasing role in the customer journey, true cross-screen campaigns can now join the dots for a new era of smarter, more engaging advertising.

Jonathan Milne is general manager, EMEA, at Celtra

  • Julie Strawson

    All the tech’s there now to enable consistent cross-screen brand experiences but workflow’s holding us up. Another missing component early in the campaign planning phase is access to sufficient information about the ad formats and devices supported by the publishers that reach your audience. One free source for this information, covering 100 leading titles in the US and UK is: