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AutoUpdate: Gannett ads get in your face, just like TV

Plus, slide and skip ads from Israel and Facebook targets based on strength of cellphone signal

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Gannett gambles on intrusive video ads with Gravity

Gannett is the latest publisher to respond to banner-blindness by making ads more obvious and intrusive. Starting today, USAToday.com and 119 other Gannett sites will take over users’ browsers with full-page video ads from advertisers like Netflix and The History Channel. Steve Ahlberg, Gannett VP, revenue solutions, says the new “Gravity” ads are “premium,” TV-style advertising that really gets consumer attention. While some publishers have opted to make ads more subtle, a la native advertising, to slip them past the consumers’ spam radar, the alternative is to make ads even more intrusive, so the consumer doesn’t have a choice but to pay attention. With these new ads, Gannett’s letting us know which side of the divide it plans to fall on.  Ahlberg even had the chutzpah to say he thinks Gravity ads are native – perhaps the web’s “first native video ad opportunity.” It’s hard to see anything native about a giant, in-your-face interstitial.
Read more at the WSJ’s CMO Today

Minteye says its found a way to turn skippable ads into engagement

An Israeli startup claims it’s found a way to turn ad skips into clicks – four times the number of clicks than the industry average, in fact. Minteye’s solution allows users to “slide and skip,” by grabbing a play-through slider and dragging it to the right, like an iPad unlock screen. As users move the slider, a banner ad comes into focus, and then rapidly out of focus again – so users have to find a sweet spot about 75% of the way along the slider to see it. Minteye says that by creating this puzzle-like format, it’s getting users to actually look at the ad, and that click-throughs have gone up to 3.5% as a result. Of course a lot of those could be accidental – users trying to slide, and clicking on the ad instead – but having played with the ad, it’s hard not to try and hit that sweet spot.
Read more at Media Post

Targeted Facebook ads based on cell signal strength

Facebook has added a new audience targeting parameter to its mobile offering – signal strength. Advertisers can choose to target users based on how much bandwidth they have access to, meaning they can limit expensive rich media and video ads to those users that can fully take advantage of them, and target limited-data users with image banners and text ads. The upgrade should help buyers make more efficient use of their spend, particularly with the social network’s more premium, high-touch placements – making sure that users only get them when they have access to a good connection and can see the full ad. Additionally, it should help advertisers get more reach for their dollars in emerging markets like Thailand and India, where signal strength is generally low, and moments of strong connectivity are an important opportunity for advertisers.
Read more at Ad Age

Twitter invites agencies to enroll in Flight School

Twitter Flight School is a new educational initiative that trains agencies and marketers in features and best practices for advertising on Twitter. Allegedly Flight School is comprised of bite-sized tutorials, divided into programs for account managers, campaign planners, media buyers and senior executives, and covers features like Tailored Audiences, rich media cards and TV audience targeting. Twitter’s encouraging entire agencies to sign up for the training, rather than just social media teams – and so far agencies have shown interest. Starcom Mediavest Group, the first agency to test Flight School thanks to Publcis’ deal with Twitter last year, signed up all 2,000 of its employees.
Read more at Ad Age

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