Savage Beta Corner: A Talk with Ivar Krustok and Ben Billson of Adcanvas
- by Radu Cotarcea
For the third piece in our Savage Beta Corner series leading up to the Savage Marketing 2017 conference, we spoke to Ivar Krustok, Head of Digital, and Ben Billson, Full Stack Marketer, of Adcanvas to learn more about the advertising platform the two are excited about showcasing at this year’s gathering in Amsterdam in June.
S: To start, tell us a bit about Adcanvas and what its aim is?
IK: Our goal is to make mobile ads engaging and playful. So when the user sees our advertisements it wouldn’t be something that is changing by itself. We would rather have the user interact with the advertisement rather than just scroll on by.
BB: We don’t want it to go the route of desktop advertisements, where the promise was great, but it ended out being flashy advertisements that filled the entire screen (think “popads" etc)
IK: Adcanvas offers two core product types. We have a template based self-service tool with 20+ templates. All of these advertisements are ready in a few minutes and support every website and DSP. The other side of the business are bespoke advertisements that offer even more unique features, that cannot be done with any other platform. Here the only real limitation is imagination.
S: In your capabilities you boast "campaigns outperforming the industry average engagement results by up to 30 times." What’s the main driver for that increase?
IK: We believe there are two drivers for these results. One is that our advertisements are much lighter than anything else on the mobile landscape. That means they load really fast and we have a higher loaded viewability. We track the loaded advertisements to always improve these numbers. It’s one of our top priorities.
As mentioned before we believe that a user should be able to interact with the advertisement. So we are tracking the movement of the phone and using different sensors inside the phone to give the user control over the way ad behaves. For example, gyro-based effects.
BB: The combination of these two elements is super important, we also know that we can never go overboard with the animations. Everything has to be done with a combination of simplicity and interaction.
S: Out of your over 100 campaigns to date, which ones did you and your team enjoy working on the most and why?
IK: A few spring to mind actually:
Firstly, one of our earliest campaigns that we did with American Express. The platform had been developed internally for quite a while already and we were not sure how it would perform live when we scaled it to hundreds of thousands of impressions per day. When we pushed the button, I remember everyone refreshing their phones to see if everything would be OK. Luckily enough everything behaved pretty well. There were a few hiccups, but we learned so much from this campaign. It was a real eye-opener.
The other one that comes to mind was our first campaign we did outside of our native Estonia. We had a Mini Countryman launch campaign with Initiative Austria. As with a lot of campaigns, it had to go live ASAP. Better yet we had to create a 3D room that was akin to a virtual reality experience. Our team managed to do this in less than a day. Initiative was happy, the client was happy and it ended up becoming the best Austrian Mobile Ad of 2016 according to the IAB.
S: What’s the next step in the Adcanvas story that readers can expect?
IK: Just last week we had a big announcement that we added support for video ads to the Adcanvas self-service platform. Mobile rich media will play a huge role in the coming years. Our platform is the easiest to use: pick a template, drag and drop a video file in, done. Adcanvas will optimize the video to be super lightweight, so it would be displayed to all users.
BB: We currently offer 8 different video formats, that are all auto-play both in-app and on the web. The templates include panorama video, scratch video, vertical full-screen video, and many more.
We’d be delighted to provide a free account for the self-service platform for anyone that is interested in experimenting with Adcanvas for themselves.
Beyond that we plan to give our customers greater insights and creative choice, by adding more granularity to our analytics data and provide an even wider template portfolio.
S: As an upcoming Savage Beta participant at the Savage Marketing 2017 conference, what are you most looking forward to?
IK: We hope to meet new partners who would strengthen our foothold in the region. We’re looking forward to meeting forward-thinking, open-minded people that are passionate about making their mobile advertisements better.
BB: Whether it’s bespoke campaigns or a managed self-service account, we’re confident we have the tools and services to come up with a model of cooperation with many event attendees