Looks Are Everything

By: Rich Kane

Looks Are Everything

Here’s a great slogan: “Saving the world from bad mobile ads.”

The line belongs to Yieldmo, a mobile advertising solution that’s getting some big traction in the publishing universe. And if bad mobile ads are Darth Vader, then Tony Wills, the company’s general manager of local advertising, is clearly Luke Skywalker.

Wills has heard all the complaints: Mobile ads are too small, they cover over the entire screen, they just don’t work, and on and on. But that’s one of the reasons why the company was founded.

“We created the company because of really bad ads on mobile,” Wills said. “Most of the digital traffic is going mobile. The ad units are the same as desktop, but everyone shoves the ads down to this little environment. Publishers are always telling me how disappointed they are with mobile ads and how terrible they are, so why do publishers think they could make money at it?”

Yieldmo has exploded in its relatively brief life. Wills said more than 500 news sites have hooked up with Yieldmo’s offerings. TimeWarner and Google have infused the company with nearly $20 million, helping it grow from nothing in 2012 to a New York City-based staff of about 70 today.

Yieldmo’s secret is to make mobile ads as unobtrusive as possible, yet still be visible enough to capture those all-important eyeballs. These aren’t pop-ups or cover-up ads that hide content until you tap it away. Instead, they’re more organic, resting at the top or bottom of a site’s mobile space, or casually floating by on an infinite scroll.

“They’re not intrusive, and they aren’t native ads at all” said Wills. “We’re not trying to fake people out. We want people to know they’re going to advertising when they tap our ads.”

So far, Yieldmo has worked with major outlets like CNN, Fox and CBS, and more newspapers are finding out about what they offer. Wills said the New York Daily News ad department sold a Yieldmo-powered mobile campaign for a local supermarket chain, and it’s proved so successful that they’ve renewed the account seven times.

But Wills said the real story is Yieldmo’s ad lab, where new ad formats are tested to future-proof against whatever changes lay ahead for the mobile world. “We hired some really smart engineers who create formats that have never been seen before, then we run them through, really taking the mobile environment from the tablets on down and figuring out all the ways to monetize them.”

And mobile, you may have heard, is the future of ad revenue for all news media outlets.

“More than 50 percent of digital traffic is coming from mobile devices, so publishers are really being forced to figure it out,” Wills said. “We’re just trying to help publishers in any way possible.”

For more information, visit yieldmo.com.

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