Belo Interactive Product Leader Karabag Reviews Three-Screen Audience Targeting And Mixpo

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On Wednesday, video ad technology company Mixpo announced a solution which it says "extends in-banner, dynamic video ads beyond the Web to tablet devices" enabling efficient deployment of campaigns across digital channels. Read the release.

David Karabag, Director of Product Management for Belo Interactive Group, and part of media company Belo, discussed trends in the marketplace as well as the impact of Mixpo's product.

AdExchanger.com: First, please share a brief background on you.

DK: Sure. I've been with the Belo Interactive Group a little over a year. Previous to that, I was on the broadcast side and originally came out of the newspaper industry including 12 years with Knight Ridder Newspapers which included experience at the Miami Herald and for a San Jose paper mostly on the digital side. When I left they were Media News Group Papers where I had been the director of classified and product development for interactive.

At Belo Interactive, I oversee all our product development and our partnerships ‑‑ advertising partnerships. We're a stakeholder in cars.com, so I maintain that relationship and a lot of our advertising vendor relationships.

Broadly speaking, where are you focusing your product strategy today as it relates to digital advertising?

One of our biggest focuses is obviously mobile ‑ just like everyone else. We always pride ourselves on being innovators. We're innovating our core mobile apps, developing and continuing to grow our traffic and getting into the niche areas around some of the most powerful things broadcast stations do, and do well, which is weather, traffic, and local news. Mobile is very big. And keeping ahead of the technology, whether it's adding different apps to the different phones as they come out and so on. We're about to release our iPad app a little bit later this year, which is going to be very cool. We have a lot of other things in the development pipeline for mobile.

But still a good focus on our core sites and bringing the multi‑screen experience- we've got television, online and mobile – that’s where we are and where we're going.

What sort of trends are you seeing on the client side in display, and mobile display, in particular?

We're seeing a lot more creativity with ads. You don't see static GIFs anymore.

I think the display is maturing into "it's not all about the click‑through rate." It's about getting my message out there in front of the right audience at the right time. That's why advanced targeting is such an important piece to everybody's business now.

On the mobile side, I think people are just starting to figure it out: “What's the value?” If you have a mobile banner and you click‑through on it and goes to a non‑mobile site, it's pretty much worthless. So what is that messaging? If you're on a phone, click‑to‑call, something actionable seems to yield higher results. The message is very important. Basic branding can do very well. If you're just looking to put a name out, it's a great place. There's not enough ‑‑ currently with the ad units available ‑ there's not enough space otherwise. Also, when you're clicking through, what's on a website is very different than what's in a mobile experience. Everyone is still trying to figure that piece out, in my opinion.

Overall, we are hearing a lot more from agencies in terms of, "What do you have for us in mobile now?" ‑ and from advertisers. It used to be as an add on. Now it's going, "Well, how does this become part of our overall buy from you guys?"

Getting into Mixpo's product, what problem are they solving for?

There are a couple of pieces.

When we started with them a little over a year ago, it was all about the response that you're actually able to get on behalf of the advertiser – so, engagement rate. It has the functionality within the banners to let people do different things such as sharing. Now, and also looking at it from a sales perspective, we’re marrying what we're doing in a TV spot. The advertiser has a TV campaign, an online campaign –and now we can run it mobile, so we can do it across all of our platforms.

What do you think about success metrics for the Mixpo platform for you?

User engagement. At the end of the day, it's still advertising. Our goal is to bring message in front of our audience, in front of the advertiser's message and drive them business and get their name out there. So the success metrics is going to be the success of our advertisers. Engagement is a way to track that.

Do you anticipate changing the way you sell mobile, or sell PC‑based display in terms of selling on an engagement basis versus a CPM?

I don't, at this point. I don't think it's mature enough yet. I know the CPMs are under pressure, but the CPM model is the way it gets sold right now. As new things come up though, you never write anything off.

By John Ebbert

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