In 2012, in-text advertising was approaching the end of its growth cycle. It was still performing well for clients, but the challenges were beginning to outweigh the benefits. We needed a proactive overhaul with a user-centric approach. My team and I partnered with Big Spaceship to holistically redesign the experience.
I oversaw the ideation and development of contextual advertising updates for the company behind those ads, Vibrant Media. I combined the empirical evidence and institutional knowledge on my team with the brain power at Big Spaceship to bring an update to a tired format.
Insights & Assumptions
In-text was widely recognized and is often seen as a “pop- up” that should be avoided. Accidental click through rates were high - leading to a negative perception by users and even publishers. In addition, 2012 was the time where the industry was beginning its struggle with "mobile" solutions. We had to get ahead by solving the problem and thinking about mobile first. We wanted to leverage the fact that users were in control of in-text ads, and that differentiated the format from display banners.
- We needed to reframe In-text as surprising, useful or delightful content - not just advertising. We wanted to design the experience in a way that both attracts and qualifies clicks.
- We needed to improve all interactions of the product and the transition to the end result on both on desktop and mobile.
- Be even more user-centric by helping the user know what to expect and offering more useful content.
As a result of the re-design we modernized the look and feel of in-text across desktop and mobile and launched 4 new Cost Per Engagement in-text products called Vibrant Mosaic, Brand Canvas, Lightbox and Storyboard. The user experience eliminated accidental click-throughs and let brands integrate bigger content experiences on premium sites.