New Hearst ad units house high-def video, photos - and editorial content
A funny thing happened on the way to the new high-definition advertising units that Hearst plans to launch on its websites next week: It found the units useful for housing editorial content as well.
The “high impact” ads, which Hearst is distributing through a partnership with Pictela, include two OPA-approved ad units: the 336x700 fixed panel and the 970x66 “pushdown” unit, which expands for seven seconds to 970x418 pixels.
The Pictela platform enables advertisers to load the unit with all kinds of branded content, including high-definition video, photo galleries, text and social sharing tools. It’s the equivalent of a full landing page inside an ad unit.
The new ad units are part of a broader program that Hearst and Gillette have launched for Gillette’s Venus shaving products. The program involves several components, including:
- print advertorial that is running in the August issue of Cosmo
- content integration with Cosmo’s Bikini Bootcamp microsite, which features articles, tips and a series of webisodes that will debut later this week
- a Facebook tab, launching Tuesday, that links to Bikini Bootcamp and includes the Pictela ad unit
- Pictela units that will begin running on Hearst sites next Monday.
The Pictela platform acts as a container for housing and distributing high-definition content in real time, according to Matt Straz, CMO of Pictela, a year-old startup whose technology has been certified by about 30 publishers, including Hearst, Time Inc. and Rodale. Because the unit is portable, it can be syndicated across Hearst’s 24 digital properties or integrated with Facebook pages, increasing the reach of the content.
The functionality convinced Hearst that the Pictela platform could be used not just for ads, but for editorial as well.
“They’ve essentially created a rich-media solution, and we saw the opportunity to create content modules that include video,” said Kristine Welker, vice president of sales and marketing for Hearst Magazines Digital Media.
Hearst and Pictela are creating a special 600-by-489 unit that will be integrated on editorial pages. The first iteration will feature Hearst-produced content from Fashion Week in September. Two additional programs are scheduled for testing later in the year.
Each will include sponsorship opportunities for advertisers. “We will be including brands within that experience,” said Welker. “Bringing the content and advertisers together, out of the standard banner, provides a more impactful, relevant, experience that adds value for the user.”
Welker says this type of content integration with brands has become a key element of Hearst Digital’s advertising strategy.
“Most of the types of deals we’re architecting now are very much built upon deep levels of content integration,” she said. “We’ve done it with a high level of success.”
Welker said Hearst has done extensive research with OTX, a global research provider, to determine the comfort level users have with the integration of editorial and advertising content.
“As long as the brands are bringing value, they value that,” said Welker. “We’re very careful about measuring their engagement so we’re not crossing the line with our users.
“The consumer values expert information and expert content,” she added. “As long as it’s clearly stated that something is from an advertising partner, we are able to bring the power of our brands together with the power of their brands in a way that creates a level of trust with the user.”