The Fuse mobile ad units are placed within content, such as between paragraphs of a Post article. When users click or swipe the ad unit, they can instantly engage with the ad content, which takes up the majority of the screen. The creative stays within the current application, so that users don’t have to leave the current app, mobile site or desktop site.
This removes latency or load time. When they're done with the ad, they can exit out and resume where they were in the editorial content.
The ad units are “pre-cached,” marked with a lightning bolt in the top right corner of the ad.
In a guest blog post, Jarrod Dicker, WaPo’s head of ad product and technology, says the rise of mobile sparked a movement among publishers to redesign sites to load faster and run smoother. Now, the newspaper is applying that same thinking to advertising.
Dicker calls Fuse a “seamless, immersive, cross-platform experience” that is fully-hosted on WaPo. Fuse will eventually be the default advertising experience on the paper.
“Marketers will be able to deliver their brand story with the same speed and execution as editorial content. Advertisers are able to use their existing assets or leverage our studio to create new ones (whether branded content, infographics, 360 video, etc.) and place them within Fuse. This is a solution for both branded content and traditional media, paving the way for brands across platforms,” Dicker wrote.
Fuse is currently running as a solution for WaPo branded content, with a larger rollout across all advertising products -- including display and video -- in the following weeks.
While many publishers have been turning to Facebook Instant Articles to post content directly to social networks, “ads have been ignored for the most part" in this new push for faster content delivery, Dicker told TheWall Street Journal.
“Nobody has thought about how to solve these issues for advertisers,” he said. “We’re saying, ‘Don’t treat them like second-class citizens.’”
Slow ads and mediocre user experiences lead to users quickly bypassing the content, either closing the window all together or installing ad blockers, a publishers worst nightmare.
“Given this crisis we’re in, [we see] a lot of publishers going in one direction, which is to block ad blockers,” Dicker told the WSJ. “We want to teach users, you can click on this content. You can come right back.”
WaPo hopes to eventually license this ad product to other publishers and pursue additional projects in the ad tech business, an interesting path to take for a publisher.
Fuse was created by RED, a Washington Post team formed last year focused on building products and strategy for the digital ad industry.