Big Brands Like CoverGirl and Coke Are Finding the Perfect Moment to Deliver Mobile Ads

Timing is everything

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Bottom-of-the-page mobile banner ads can be tough sells nowadays if you work at a media company, whether you're pitching them to an advertiser or a consumer. And mobile banners' underlying issue mirrors the predicament that's been growing around desktop promos: Marketers need to offer something of real-time value rather than a simple advertisement or one-size-fits-all discount.

What engages on-the-go consumers? If you are MediaBrix—a four-year-old startup that's gone through a few iterations with a strong emphasis on social gaming ads—the answer to that question is "emotion." The New York company today is announcing the third version of its Breakthrough Moments platform, which promises more data than before. It is designed to deliver in-app ads at just the right time based on a cocktail of biometric data, consumers' interests and hundreds of other factors.



Coca-Cola, BMW, Nestlé, CoverGirl and pets products marketer Merial are using the system, which MediaBrix says will become programmatic in the coming months. Theoretically, such brands can target a Chicago Cubs fan with a celebratory offer minutes after the team wins a game ("since the Cubbies won, here's 50 cents off your next soda"), or scrap the ad if the team loses. If you are playing a puzzles game and cannot figure out the next step, a marketer could offer a helpful hint in the form of an ad. And in a real-life example, MediaBrix has delivered "congratulations" video ads via exercise apps for CoverGirl right after mobile users reach a workout goal. 

DJ Perera, director of consumer marketing at Merial, suggested MediaBrix's style of advertising has reaped benefits for her brands. "By connecting with [consumers] during pivotal moments in a premium environment," Perera said in a statement, "we are building brand awareness and forming bonds with consumers that we can nurture over time."

As consumers increasingly move away from television and get their content on smaller screens like smartphones and tablets, it's imperative for the advertising community that ideas like the ones being marketed by MediaBrix pan out. And it's crucial for MediaBrix that its solutions work; otherwise, brands will surely take their dollars elsewhere, including to competitors such as NativeX.

Mobile ad spend reached nearly $14 billion in 2014, almost double the $7.7 billion brands spent in 2013, according to the International Data Corporation. But everyone agrees, much work remains to be done. 

Ari Brandt, CEO of MediaBrix, said that while the industry has lamented big problems such as ad viewability and bot-based fraud, it's lost sight of making experiences worthwhile for viewers.

"The vast majority of mobile advertising solutions are poorly executed, ineffective holdovers from desktop strategies—resulting in worthless impressions and delivering a negative ROI for the advertiser and user," Brandt offered. "These limited options have become the catalyst for the ad industry to become lazy, complacent and unimaginative."

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.