On July 1 AdMob introduced four new ad formats that can be used on iPhones that extend the expandable banner formats it launched last August. The first advertisers to use them are Microsoft for Bing and Sony Pictures Television for Drop Dead Diva, a show that debuted on the Lifetime Network July 12.
The Bing ad, placed by mobile ad firm Point Reach, utilizes the syndicated search format that features the advertiser's logo in the left side of the ad with a search box on the right. Users can type a search query directly into the ad unit.
Sony Pictures Television, which created its own ad, utilized the multi-panel banner format that sequences four pieces of creative into one ad unit. The Sony ad shows three separate pictures from the show and a fourth that can be clicked to a microsite.
The other two new formats are the mobile social networking unit that connects users to advertiser content on Twitter and the other social networks and the scrolling canvas that allows users to flick the ad and scroll down the page. The scrolling canvas may be ideal for pharmaceutical advertisers that are required to include long fair balance language with their ads.
"Mobile advertisers are looking for ads to be more engaging, similar to executions that are done on the PC," said Tony Nethercutt, vice president of sales for AdMob. "When sellers in the mobile space ask agencies to consider mobile they need the same types of units and engagement factor."
Patrick Moorhead, director of emerging media at Razorfish, said, "Mobile clients have struggled to build messaging because of the real estate with inventory that is too small and limits what you can do. Now we have units that deliver more experience to consumers who can engage with the media and it doesn't use up their mobile bandwidth."
Neil Strother, a Forrester analyst, said the new formats are interesting and more interactive but provide low metrics, "because 95 to 97 percent of the audience doesn't have iPhones." The latest Nielsen numbers show 6.4 million iPhone users in the U.S. in April 2009, up from 1.8 million in April 2008.
Nethercutt said half the impressions AdMob sells come from outside the U.S.
The new ad formats are being sold on a CPM basis at prices close to standard banners. "There's no up charge," Nethercutt said.
The new formats are exclusive to the iPhone, which is expanding mobile advertising opportunities. "IPhone is the first device that allows ad creative to become as interesting as the PC world," he said. "It enhances the elegance of the platform and provides more creative freedom than WAP from a tech and usability standpoint."
The new ads play with iPhone apps. There are currently 2,700 apps in the AdMob network, Nethercutt said.Correction: An earlier version of this story said the Bing syndicated search placement was handled by Universal McCann. In fact it was placed by Point Reach.
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