Real-Time Marketing: Ad Unit Optimized within Hours of Launch

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Solution At a Glance

Challenge: Quickly identify ad performance issues, and update the functionality of the ad across all publisher sites to improve performance.

Solution: Observe user interactions with the ad in real-time to identify the problem, update the functionality of the ad in minutes with Ad Studio, and instantly publish all changes to all publisher sites with Flite’s live updates feature.

Benefit: “Massive improvement in interactions.” Interaction rate increased from 3% to 27% while the clickthrough on the ad increased from 0.4% to 0.91%.

Click the ad to launch an interactive demo of the background takeover.

The Challenge

Wikia operates the world’s largest network of collaboratively published video game, entertainment, and lifestyle content on the web.

In March 2012, Wikia built an interactive ad using the Flite Platform and trafficked it on Wikia’s Basketball Wiki pages. The ad unit highlighted March Madness and featured team logos for the final four teams in the NCAA tournament. The ad’s behavior was based on the viewer’s click – when the viewer would click on each of the four logos, the entire skin of the page would change to reflect the theme of the corresponding team.

A few hours after the ad went live, the Wikia team turned their attention to the ad’s real-time metrics within the Flite Platform.

“As I watched the data coming in, it became apparent that my original setup to have users click on the ad to change the skin was a poor strategy. No user was going to click unless they wanted to pass through the ad to a new URL. The ad creative didn’t clearly tell the user they would only change the skin if they clicked one of the buttons,” said Adam Carey, Vice President of Ad Operations at Wikia. The ad was not performing as expected, and it was clear that Adam and his team needed to do something quickly to improve its performance. 

The Solution

“Using Flite’s easy-to-modify Platform, I quickly changed the ad’s behavior from click to mouse-over to allow users to change their ad skin. This resulted in a massive improvement in interactions.”

Adam and his team used Flite to quickly instrument a change in a matter of minutes; they updated the ad and when it was ready to go, hit the publish button to instantly push changes live to all corresponding media. 

The Results

“This resulted in a massive improvement in interactions as users actually do mouse-over an ad without fear of being taken off their current page,” said Adam Carey.

Interaction rate jumped from 3% to 27% when the toggle skin interaction was changed from a click to a mouse-over. More importantly, the ad’s CTR also seemed positively affected by the increased interaction rate. The ad was getting a decent 0.4% CTR before, but jumped to 0.91% once the mouse-over interaction was added. It is fair to conclude that the mouse-over interaction increased the general interest in the ad which then doubled its CTR. 

“I had not really appreciated the power of the real-time data until this ad campaign,” said Adam Carey.

As the online publisher business becomes increasingly commoditized with the rise of audience buying, publishers need to offer compelling reasons why an advertiser should include them as part of its media plan. One of the many ways that Flite helps publishers make their offering more compelling is by providing real-time metrics, which can be used to give the publisher insight about how and where to optimize the performance of an ad. Flite’s real-time metrics then enable publishers to act quickly on those findings.  Publishers can learn from each real-time optimization and develop best practices on which implementations maximize user engagement with the ad unit.