Breaking News: A New Format for Mobile App Users


The alert for a Breakiing News ad on a user's Home Screen.

The alert for a Breakiing News ad on a user’s Home Screen.

One of the most difficult challenges for mobile advertisers is to decide what is potentially engaging and what constitutes a violation of privacy or trust. After all, the smart phone is a wearable device almost constantly in our possession. This presents a big responsibility for an advertiser.

The number of ads anyone can tolerate in a day without respite is limited. And yet consumers are moving faster and faster toward mobile.  Because we are consumers ourselves, and saw the potential problems involved with mobile advertising, including blowback from customers who don’t want to be bombarded with advertising,  we took it as a company challenge to develop technology that can reach mobile consumers at scale without angering them.

We had a brainstorming session that began with the question “What kind of ad would a consumer tolerate on a mobile device? We came up with the idea that a typical phone user would be okay with being interrupted by breaking news.

That is how we came up with one of our first specifically mobile products,  the “Breaking News” format, which is used with mobile apps and games. In order to prevent “Breaking News”  from being interruptive, we designed this ad format so that it launches only when a consumer quits an app or finishes playing a game. No interruption.  Only when the  game is over or the app closes, a bubble with the name of a publication appears on the user’s home screen. Tapping the bubble reveals a news story accompanied by a video ad; the video ad remains as the user scrolls down through the breaking news story.

Some of the key features of the Breaking News format include its ability to engage the mobile user with video, the existence of an alert for user interaction, and the ability to keep the ad in view even on a scroll. To make doubly sure these ad formats aren’t too interruptive, the ads are frequency capped and run only on our premium sites.

The Breaking News format can use your existing video creative. It expands to the width of the device, shows in either 16:9 or 4:3, and can take mp4, .3gp, .mkv and .webm video files. There is a file size limitation, however, of 20MB.Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 1.58.34 PM