Eric Litman is Chairman and CEO of Medialets, the essential advertising platform for mobile, tablets and connected devices.
Medialets is the essential technology and creative advertising platform for mobile, tablets and connected devices, enabling high value display advertising for the world’s leading brands, agencies and publishers. With unmatched mobile advertising experience, proven technology and the industry’s most flexible creative platform, Medialets reduces the complexity of every phase of a mobile campaign—planning and buying, ad creation, ad serving and measurement. Every major agency holding group and more than 500 of the world’s biggest publishers, including BBC, BSkyB, CNN, ESPN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Weather Channel and Yahoo!, use Medialets to power their mobile and tablet campaigns.
MO: How has mobile advertising evolved since first launching Medialets back in 2008?
Eric: Medialets launched on the day of the launch of Apple’s App Store, long before the iPad existed and before Android had considerable market share. At the time, mobile display ad campaigns were typically static banners running on ad networks, frequently sold on a cost-per-action basis. No one had cracked the code for rich media and premium publishers were only beginning to look at their revenue opportunity for mobile web and apps. So, with that stage set, it’s not hard to understand that mobile advertising has gone through tremendous revolution between 2008 and today, when, according to comScore, one out of three digital minutes are spent on mobile devices, and agencies are regularly integrating premium mobile ads – rich smartphone and tablet ads – into the advertising mix.
MO: What trends are you excited about in the mobile marketing space? Also, what are some of the challenges facing your industry?
Eric: Mobile and tablet advertising are gaining both mindshare and budget, but there still remains the perception that it’s difficult to measure success. First, there has been a lack of standardization in mobile metrics that makes it difficult to compare outcomes across different properties. Varied approaches to when a click or impression is measured, for example, complicate everything from billing to performance analysis. Second, while more advertisers are embracing mobile, there is a tendency among teams experienced in digital advertising to think that mobile is just like the desktop Web, and that often leads to mismatched expectations (hint: mobile is very different). These are real challenges in the industry, but we’re already seeing meaningful progress in both areas that will advance the mobile sector this year. The IAB and MMA recently released measurement guidelines that start to address some of the standardization issues. And agencies, understanding that mobile can’t be ignored, are building up their knowledge about the space. To that point, Medialets launched an education program for agencies, on both creative execution and the overall campaign process, that’s been really well-received.
MO: Who inspires you?
Eric: Stephen Hawking. He’s someone who has and continues to face some of the most significant adversity life can present, and yet has made tremendous contributions to science and humankind.
MO: Can you expand on how Medialets’ partnership with VivaKi marked a significant milestone in the evolution of the agency/ad server relationship?
Eric: VivaKi’s decision to choose a preferred third-party ad serving solution is a clear sign that mobile has left the lab and has become an integral part of advertising. The fact that VivaKi selected the Medialets platform after a careful evaluation of the marketplace, including online ad serving solutions, is indicative of the unique demands of mobile and tablet advertising. This new channel presents a powerful opportunity to connect with consumers, but it has also hurled agencies into unfamiliar territory, where apps are prominent, HTML5 replaces Flash and cookies are no longer viable. As such, mobile and tablet’s potential can only be fully realized by technology and services that are built from the ground up to address its many nuances, as we’ve done with Medialets.
MO: What tips would you give to a business who is thinking about launching their first mobile media campaign?
Eric: First, think about what your goals are. This is true of any campaign, of course, but it’s particularly true for mobile because there are so many different directions to take a campaign. At Medialets, we regularly enable rich campaigns designed to build brand awareness, but we also work with advertisers who want to drive consumers further down the path to purchase, even so far as including a shopping cart in the actual ad unit. These are very different approaches, both effective, but need to be determined up front. Second, don’t think of mobile creative as an extension of your desktop campaign. If you’re just adapting an online Flash unit to work on mobile – and you’ll have to, since Flash doesn’t work across mobile devices – you’re not giving the mobile experience enough thought. How, where and when a device is used is very different than the desktop experience and you want to use that to your advantage. And finally, pay close attention to both the process of executing the campaign as well as the data at its end. Building sustainable success in mobile requires mastery of the channel, and for the time being, how you execute weighs into that almost as much as does the performance of the medium itself.
MO: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
Eric: We have an opportunity to bring a new level of maturity to this rapidly-growing sector, and to help steward some of the world’s most powerful brands into the next generation of how they message and reach consumers. That’s really exciting stuff.