(Screen) Size Matters: Is Responsive Web Design the Solution for Changing Screen Size Use?

People are increasingly using larger screens at home and work, and more and more people are replacing laptops with tablets. These changes illustrate how important it is for publishers to embrace Responsive Web Design and Responsive Advertising solutions.

According to a report from research firm IDC, sales of desktop and laptop PC computers dropped a dramatic 14 percent in the first quarter of 2013 compared to a year ago, following the release of Windows 8. It was only expecting a 7.7 percent drop. We think this study shows that it is key for publishers to implement cross-screen monetization strategies.

“Instead of buying new laptops or desktops, people are buying tablets and smartphones, which serve as good-enough alternatives,” says a report from Business Insider.

Gartner also released its own report focusing on PC sales. It says that overall PC sales dipped 11.2 percent, and the trend of consuming content on smartphones and tablets is increasing.

While consumers are increasingly turning to smartphones and mobile devices, businesses have been utilizing them too, but they have mixed reactions.

According to a report in The Financial Times, “Tablets can cause corporate headaches,” businesses like the idea behind tablets because they’re cheaper than desktops or laptops, but often times they’re too complicated.

A portion of the article reads: “Adapting legacy workforce applications to be accessible from tablets can be very expensive. These need to be much simpler to use and robust – for example, not prone to cutting out if the user is on a train that enters a tunnel or enters a lift.”

Publishers, too, are increasingly switching screen sizes for newsroom and sales force uses.

Randy Parker, managing editor of the York Daily Record in Pennsylvania, recently spoke at America East 2013, a conference of newspaper tech and operations executives. He explained that 14 of his newsroom staffers now have iPads, and most editors and reporters have smartphones. In addition, his photographers are now using Nexus 7-inch tablets.

Kim Wilson, president and publisher of South Bend Tribune, said her sales team takes their iPads on the road with them, it saves them a lot of time, and allows them to pull up information on the road for advertisers.

Mel Taylor, founder of Mel Taylor Media, talked about how he launched BrigantineNow.com after Hurricane Sandy to provide aggregated information to the area. He used WordPress to create the site, and he chose a template that uses Responsive Web Design.

“Although the reduction in shipments was not a surprise, the magnitude of the contraction is both surprising and worrisome,” said David Daoud, IDC research director, Personal Computing, in a news release. “The industry is going through a critical crossroads, and strategic choices will have to be made as to how to compete with the proliferation of alternative devices and remain relevant to the consumer. Vendors will have to revisit their organizational structures and go to market strategies, as well as their supply chain, distribution, and product portfolios in the face of shrinking demand and looming consolidation.”

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Senator Rockefeller’s ‘Do Not Track’ Campaign

“Online companies are collecting massive amounts of information, often without consumers’ knowledge or consent…My bill gives consumers the opportunity to simply say ‘no thank you’ to anyone and everyone collecting their online information. Period.”

— Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va.

ResponsiveAds’ insight:

Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia is re-introducing the Do Not Track Act, which would mandate online companies to ask consumers if they want to opt-out of tracking of online activities, according to a report on Adweek.com. We couldn’t agree more with the senator.

“Online companies are collecting massive amounts of information, often without consumers’ knowledge or consent … My bill gives consumers the opportunity to simply say ‘no thank you’ to anyone and everyone collecting their online information. Period,” Rockefeller said in a statement.

The Adweek article says that since Rockefeller originally introduced the bill in 2011, most of the advertising industry has decided itself to provide the option for consumers to opt-out of receiving advertisements. However, Rockefeller said that companies can’t be trusted.

Even though 90 percent of the advertising industry is already following these rules, we think Rockefeller’s bill is a necessity in order to crack down on the remaining 10 percent.

It is our belief that website visitors should have complete control over which online advertisements they want to receive.

When we look into our crystal ball, we see a future where free digital subscriptions will let visitors receive responsive ads with coupons, if they wish. However, it is critical that they are given the choice to opt-out. Even if online companies did send information to website visitors they didn’t want, the consumers wouldn’t likely read it anyway.

Our team has extensive experience with maps and location-based services, and one of the many things we have learned is that the user needs to always be in control.


See on www.adweek.com

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4 Ways Publishers Can Convince Advertisers That HTML5 Responsive Ads are a Better Value

HTML5 Advertising and Responsive Web Design as the perfect match for publishing ad revenue
HTML5 Advertising and Responsive Web Design as the perfect match for publishing ad revenue


Recently, in some of our customer implementations we were able to see several clear ways for publishers to communicate the value proposition to their advertisers.

When publishers with direct sales switch their websites to responsive design, they need to create – or have created — HTML5 responsive ads for businesses and media buyers. Those advertisers are going to need to be convinced that HTML5 responsive ads are worth the value. Since it’s still early days for responsive advertising, clients may be skeptical at first.

Here are four ways publishers can convince advertisers HTML5 responsive ads make sense for them in this multi-screen world:

1. Show Advertisers Examples

Nothing makes for a better presentation than showing ad examples specifically for the business the publisher is meeting with. When publishers visit a potential client, they should bring as many devices with different screen sizes as possible. This way the business can view exactly how their HTML5 responsive ads would appear on a variety of screen sizes.

We are working with a publisher that has had a long tradition of selling  print media ads to their local advertisers. Even though the ad sales team has migrated to selling digital, selling mobile has not been as straightforward.  

Reasons include:

  • Mobile was less then 20 percent of the overall inventory;
  • Mobile traditionally required a separate mobile strategy such as a mobile landing page or new creative as well as specialized ad-serving;
  • Figuring out how to best price mobile versus other channels;
  • Determining the value of the mobile ROI to that brand; and
  • Complicated mobile web, mobile app, SMS, QR codes, and other things that can be done with mobile.

However, when the publisher mentioned above showed the advertiser an example of a responsive ad STRETCHing, they said to us, “Wow, it was magical. The advertiser could immediately see how they could have that same ad work across the entire site.”

2. Present the Facts

Reveal your website analytics to potential clients. These will provide proof that your audience consumes the news on computers and devices with different size screens. Explain to them that HTML5 responsive ads work hand in hand with responsive design and provide the optimal user experience, resizing to screens with different resolutions.

What is really clear is that mobile traffic is exploding. We have found sites that are hitting a higher-age demographic get up to 20-25 percent of their traffic on mobile. Sites that cater to younger demographics are seeing traffic up to 30-40 percent and growing. It is fair to say that we are starting to see a 50/50 in mobile versus desktop now (when tablet is included), and it is only going to go higher.

3. Works with Mobile First and Mobile too

Tell potential advertisers that HTML5 responsive ads are future-friendly. The reality is that more and more people are reading the news on mobile, but at the same time, those same people are reading it on multiple devices. As news consumption is going down on desktop computers, mobile is rising, and responsive embraces both mobile-first and mobile-too strategies.

One of the key aspects that makes mobile special is that the mobile device is with consumers all the time. That contextual relevancy of having ads that can be responsive as well when users are on the go, or in a relevant location, becomes more and more important.

4. Emphasize Bundles

Bundles allow publishers to provide potential advertisers with packages of HTML5 responsive ads, instead of just a single slot. American businessman Mark Cuban once said, “People like bundles. People don’t like to work for their entertainment. They’ll pay a premium if it saves them time.” We think this idea translates into the advertising world.

“Bundles”  just makes the entire process easier for you (the publisher) and the advertiser when they are responsive ads.

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Facebook ‘Flipped the Switch’ to Bundle Mobile Ad Sales


A recent MediaPost article by Catharine P. Taylor, “Facebook Jumps Over the Candlestick,” emphasizes how bundling enabled the growth of mobile advertising for the social network.

During a fourth-quarter earnings call last week, Facebook reported that total ad sales skyrocketed 41 percent from one year ago. In addition, the social network saw revenue from mobile make up 23 percent of total ad sales, and there were more mobile daily average users than Web users for the first time in the company’s history.

“Trust me. Most companies confronted with a massive, rapid shift in how consumers are using their products couldn’t pull that off, especially not so quickly,” the article reads.

Taylor pointed to a report by Pivotal Research that reveals Facebook “flipped the switch” predominantly by bundling mobile and desktop ad sales.

“Facebook and Google are uniquely able to blur the lines of marketers’ budget-setting efforts which normally consider mobile and non-mobile to be distinct aspects of a digital budget by creating effective bundles of advertising inventory which cuts across devices … We note that such bundling (some would call it “silo-busting”) is beginning to occur for other digital media,” the report reads.

The report also says that in the past obstacles prevented Facebook from implementing a PC-mobile continuum. However, “if indeed much of the growth we saw in mobile advertising at Facebook was effectively because of bundled spending, our new view is that the PC-mobile continuum may have already emerged because of Facebook’s actions last quarter.”

In response, Pivotal changed Facebook’s rating last week from “hold” to “buy” and boosted its price target from $30 to $36.

Bundle has been a big thesis for us. Selling mobile in a siloed channel does not give the full value and velocity of having mobile as part of your overall publishing strategy. We believe that by “bundling” the sales process publishers will sell media across all screens in the most efficient manner.

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