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Agency profile: Ignited bets on video to drive next-generation mobile experiences

The Ignited agency?s approach to mobile advertising has progressed significantly since it started dabbling in the space nine years ago.

Back then, the emphasis was on simple deck advertisements displayed against games and other phone features. Today the agency is working with geofencing campaigns and is in the infancy of corralling new types of consumer information to target messages, such as how many applications someone has downloaded.

?We are using a whole new type of data,? said David Martin, senior vice president of media for Ignited, with offices in La Segundo, CA and New York. ?There is still rich demographic data, but there is a whole new layer on app usage and mobile habits that we have never had before.?

At the heart of mobile
Started in 1999, Ignited is a full-service agency providing everything from video production to event planning, but not public relations. Entertainment properties such as Universal Pictures, Bravo, Oxygen and the Style Network are staple clients.

Additionally, it services consumer product clients that have included Pinkberry frozen yogurt, game company Trion and Jose Cuervo rum.

Of its 140 employees, 65 are dedicated to media. Mobile is fully integrated throughout its operation.

?What we are doing more of than anything right now is mobile video,? said Mr. Martin. ?We believe that video has a lot more power than a banner in swaying behavior.?

For nearly every movie release, Ignited is focused on trying to get people to watch the movie trailer, per Mr. Martin. Movie promos will show up on mobile devices if the consumer uses a movie ticket app or perhaps plays a popular video game.

?We buy on a cost-per-view or cost-per-tap basis,? he said.

Winning campaigns
Geofencing is also coming more into regular use. In a campaign last fall for California supermarket Fresh & Easy, Ignited put up a one-quarter mile radius geofence around the store, through which consumers who were surfing the Web or using a map app would see an enticement, such as a deal on bananas.

?It really worked well,? said Mr. Martin. ?We think we calculated it was 10-times return on ad spend because when people come to the store to take advantage of an offer, they tend to buy other things.?

Similarly, during the CES show in Las Vegas, Ignited used geofencing on behalf of client DTS, a sound system business.

Because band width on the conference floor is used up quickly, the campaign opted to reach conference goers with a fence around hotels. The goal was to drive attendees to the DTS show booth.

Trending now
Mr. Martin said one of the biggest trends in mobile advertising is a shift to programmatic media buying. 

While complicated explanations abound, essentially it is automated media buying that is more computer data driven and enables direct access in making placements.

?It is ultimately cheaper for clients because of the elimination of the middle man and also if you need to change something, you can do it yourself immediately,? pointed out Mr. Martin.

The challenges
While exciting, it is also a challenge to learn how to use the new consumer data that is becoming available, according to Mr. Martin. One novel data point is the speed a consumer is walking - the shopper MPH.

?We are now talking to a client about targeting people in a shopping mall,? said Mr. Martin. ?But if they are moving too quickly, they are not window shopping and there is no sense in sending them an advertisement.

?You have to get creative,? he said. ?So we are trying to explore things and test them as much as we can. The idea that the device ID could be going away has stressed us out a little bit.?

Mr. Martin was referring to how manufacturers have been removing some device IDs, which provide easy tracking and usage information, over privacy concerns.

Advertisers are also looking at digital ad verification as a way to verify mobile ads are viewable and are seen, per Mr. Martin.

The future
With a bulk of tablet use occurring in front of the television, advertisers are looking to nab second screen consumption, he continued, referring to when a commercial comes on TV and consumers pick up their tablet or smartphone and do something else.

One solution is serving an ad on the tablet simultaneously.

?The growth curve for mobile advertising now is really, really steep,? said Mr. Martin. ?Most of our clients say, `we need to do more in mobile? and seek our experience for what works and what doesn?t.?