Nova tackles adblocking with content-focused mobile ads

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 20 October 2015

With adblocking growing as a concern for publishers around the globe, reported by some to cost advertisers up to US$21.8 billion this year alone, Nova Entertainment has partnered with Sizmek to bring a new ad module to Australian shores to improve the user experience on mobile and to circumvent adblocking.

Nova digital commercial operations director, David McGrath, told AdNews more than 80% of its total audience is on mobile, with a large proportion of it coming through social channels.

However, to protect that audience base, he said the network needed to invest in innovation that made advertising “engaging and not intrusive”.

“We're playing in a space where there have been ads in the past which the audience simply didn't find a positive experience. The challenge is to try and work on something that actually feels like content in its own right,” he said, adding that it plays into native.

Nova is the first Australian media owner to bring Sizmek's 'Butterfly position' ad units to the market. It allows a free floating icon to appear on the mobile screen within the creative. It then moves with the page and, if clicked on, can expand to show advertiser information, creative and video executions. The important thing, according to Nova, is it doesn't intrude on the user experience unless initiated.

“It's not good enough to simply put a display ad in the middle of content that someone is consuming and expect it to work,” McGrath said.

“Mobile is the future and to be able to tell our stories from a content side, as well as commercial, is what we're going to be about. So, we want to get on board and be at the front edge of what that means right now.”

A number of advertisers have signed on already, keen to adopt a non-intrusive mobile format, and the uptake points to the larger landscape of adblocking itself, he added.

“In a commercial sense, the industry is slow to actually move from one format over to another format and I think the thing that has been lost in translation is the native functionality of the device.

“The way I've looked at adblocking is, if you get ads right they actually add to the experience. So, that's where data, native functionality and the contextual relevance of the message comes into it.”

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