If the process of creating and running online display ad campaigns can be challenging, then doing so in mobile adds another degree of difficulty. Think hundreds of device models, multiple operating systems and programming languages -- the mobile Web versus apps and still-evolving ad standards.
Into the mobile morass steps ad technology firm Medialets with a new self-serve software suite promising to streamline the process of building rich media mobile ads in as little as 15 minutes. Beyond ad creation, the system dubbed Medialets Muse also includes a project management component to launch campaigns faster and more easily.
"We want to broaden the adoption of mobile advertising by making display less difficult," said Medialets CEO Eric Litman during a recent demo of the company's free new offering.
The software allows advertisers to develop ads by using a framework that includes criteria such as campaign objective, ad format and size, platform, creative features, and industry vertical. Medialets' back-end technology ensures that ads are optimized to run on selected platforms such as Apple's iOS or Android as well as for apps or the mobile Web, and smartphones or tablets, among other variables. "We mask all that complexity through Muse," said Litman.
The Blueprint provides a digital mock-up that might include elements such as slide show galleries, video, flipping and tilting action, 360-degree rotation of product images, or the ability to locate a nearby store. These options can be combined with a brand's own creative assets, developed with popular tools like Photoshop or Illustrator, to complete the ad.
Once finished, a developer can test the ad in on their own mobile device through Medialets' Showcase app as well as send it to others' smartphones for review and approval.
On the campaign management side, the Medialets system is designed to improve workflow by providing greater transparency and unified messaging.
It includes timelines, centralized comments, email alerts for upcoming deadlines and the ability to assign responsibility for tasks to various users whether at a brand, agency or publisher. The idea is to eliminate meandering email threads and missed deadlines by keeping everyone who is involved in a campaign on track and accountable. If somebody blows a deadline, for instance, that would show up in the dashboard.
Fergal Carr, director of ad operations for Medialets' client New York Times Digital, said the project management part of Muse would be especially helpful in coordinating with agencies and advertisers on both coasts. "So having the process -- creative and timeline -- in one place will keep everything intact and means that multiple users don't need to be on email trails early morning or late at night to find out the progress of a campaign's readiness to launch," he said.
The rollout of Muse builds on a certification program that Medialets started late last year for mobile rich media advertising for agencies including AKQA, Razorfish and The Hyperfactory. That effort has the same goal of making it easier for agencies and brands to run rich media campaigns across apps and the mobile Web.
Last month, Adobe announced it would integrate Medialets' ad platform into its Digital Publishing Suite, allowing brands and other developers to help create and serve ads into mobile apps from InDesign layouts. Medialets reaches a monthly audience of about 50 million through its ad-serving arm.