Mobile Ops Talk: Ad Ops Insider Q&A With Brian Hoskins, Disney Technology Solutions & Services

The Trouble With In-App Rich Media Integrations

Continuing our series of chats with leaders in the mobile ad ops space (check out our Q&A with Bryan Moffett, VP of Digital Strategy and Ad Operations for National Public Media) in front of the upcoming OPS Mobile conferences (April 19 in NYC and May 16 in London), Ad Ops Insider sat down with Brian Hoskins, Senior Manager of Ad Services for Disney Technology Solutions & Services to hear what he thinks matters right now and his team is adapting to Ops in a cross-platform world.


From an Ops perspective, what’s your biggest challenge in mobile right now, and do you see that changing in the next 6-12 months?

I believe our biggest challenge is mobile revolves around apps, and how best to integrate with apps in a consistent manner. From a sales perspective, we often try to group together apps with mobile web, treating both as the same pool of mobile inventory. But in reality the two are so different that it’s difficult from an ad ops perspective to serve one ad to both and have it function the same way.

Talk about the SDK integration process required for mobile rich meda – how do you address in-app rich media creative executions, and to what extent if any have you found the SDK aspect of mobile to be a challenge?

We have found the in-app rich media integrations to be very difficult. We are currently in the process of integrating expandable rich media into one of our apps, but it seems that there is such a dependency upon how the app is built that it becomes unrealistic to integrate some ads. In some cases, ad integration would require an app rebuild, and aside from the obvious issues around resources for the rebuild there’s the problem of losing part of your inventory due to some people not updating their app. Certainly getting ahead of the app builds would help, so that integration took place at the same time as app development, but unfortunately we’re not there yet (it’s amazing how ads continue to be an afterthought!).

Even though it’s only been a few months since the IAB released the MRAID specs, have you seen any movement on that front for the vendors you work with to get compliant? Are you considering adding MRAID compliance as part of your mobile ad spec?

In integrating in-app expandables recently, we reached out to vendors about getting test ads that were MRAID compliant. We didn’t have a lot of luck – I believe only one vendor was able to accommodate that request. So at this time it doesn’t seem realistic. And for those vendors that weren’t MRAID compliant, we continued to try and integrate their products in their existing form – it isn’t a spec we could enforce at this time.

Compared to in-app advertising, what’s your perspective on mobile web? Do you consider that separately from in-app, or is it all mobile? Is your approach more to do with the technical aspects, or based on how you’re selling mobile ads right now?

We consider all mobile web and in-app to simply be mobile, and ideally they could be just one big pool of inventory, but as I mentioned earlier that presents some technical issues. Personally, I believe the two should be treated separately, with mobile web sold as rotational or sponsorship and in-app sold exclusively as sponsorships. The in-app experience and the way that the ads are served and function are so unique that it’s hard not to treat them separate from mobile web.

How much does your organization think about HTML5? Are you planning any update or release that will move your content into an HTML5 format? If not, why not – if so, what’s been the driving factor?

Disney recently hosted an HTML5 summit with some of the major industry players in attendance, so HTML5 is definitely something that is being taken into consideration. Based on what we see from the ad perspective, I don’t believe there is a formal push to HTML5 but it’s being used where Flash isn’t an option – such as one unified mobile web platform (for both Android and iOS devices).


OPS Mobile

Interested in learning more about mobile advertising? OPS Mobile will bring digital advertising leaders and ops professionals together to discuss and develop best practices for operational excellence in a world of connected devices. Register today for OPS Mobile, AdMonsters’ mobile advertising conference, which will be held April 19, 2012, in New York.