Automating The Hands-On

ReactX, an ad platform that entered the programmatic arena earlier this year with a focus on trading “high-impact, custom” ad units, recently announced new tools to audit the creative of ads flowing through its platform.

“High-impact, custom” ad units are digital ads such as page takeovers, peel downs, video overlays, etc.

Since these types of ads could be disruptive to the user experience and are more expensive, it’s logical that buyers and sellers would want them audited. But ReactX is all about offering this technology in a programmatic environment, so it needed to come up with a way to audit in real-time.

“For buyers, [the] creative is audited once before it is eligible for exchange trading,” Meyers said. “Many creative audit tasks are automated through programmatic tools, such as checking for media file sizes, technical attributes, etc.”

On the sell-side, Meyers said the “technical and content attributes” of the ad’s creative are checked in real-time to make sure the ad is shown as intended and that there aren’t “content conflicts” from the publisher’s perspective.

I find this relatable to the “native advertising at scale” debate -- how do you automate something that, intuitively, you would think requires human input?

I know the high-impact ad units ReactX deals with differ from the native advertising we currently see in display -- native ads are camouflaged, while high-impact units are in-your-face. But the underlying concern is the same: the ads could disrupt the user experience in such a way that it harms both the buyer and seller. However, there is value if the ads can be traded efficiently and if the creative fits.

Meyers is aware of that concern. I asked him if auditing high-impact ads was more important than auditing a traditional display ad, and he thinks it is.

“Let’s face it, advanced rich media capabilities -- flash, HTML5, Javascript, video, etc. -- increases the potential for issues, and require more in-depth reviews than traditional display advertising,” Meyers said.

Of course, he thinks those potential issues are worth it because of how “impactful” rich media can be, he said. He also thinks offering high-impact ad units “at scale” in the display space is needed to bring more brand dollars online. (Yet another similarity between this and the “programmatic native” conversation.)

I found it interesting to hear from Meyers in regards to how the automation process works, even though it was highly technical stuff. It gives us a nice look into how the industry is trying to automate these more hands-on advertising techniques.

"Automation" image from Shutterstock.

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