Interview: Greg Rogers (Co-Founder, CEO Pictela) Explains the IAB Pushdown Ad Format

[re-post from Ad Tech Daily]

It’s been nearly half a year since the winners of the IAB Rising Star competition have been announced, and Pictela’s pushdown ad format was one of them. It looks like the format is a real success and not just an ephemeral wonder, which is why we wanted to find out some more insights right from the source. Below is a Q&A with Greg Rogers (Co-founder and CEO of Pictela), discussing the IAB pushdown format and how it fits into the larger picture.

Otilia Otlacan: First of all, congratulations for Pictela’s pushdown ad becoming one of IAB’s rising star formats earlier this year. Could you walk us through the specifics of this ad format and tell us why would advertisers and publishers adopt it?

Greg Rogers: Thank you. The IAB Pushdown is a 970×90 ad unit positioned at the top of the page.  When a consumer rolls over it, the creative expands. The ad is made up of various applications, many of which offer social media sharing capabilities. Publishers and advertisers may appreciate this ad unit because it’s less intrusive than standard rich media, allows the same brand building capabilities as the IAB Portrait with the various applications, and places great brand content next to great publisher content.

Otilia Otlacan: We witness a phenomenon of display advertising getting hot and trendy again. Do you think it’s the resurgence of display advertising driving the creation of new ad formats, or the other way around?

Greg Rogers: I do think the creation of new ad formats is helping to cause a resurgence in display advertising. New formats like the 300×1050 IAB Portrait, which is a larger canvas for advertisers (along with the other IAB Rising Stars), is setting the stage for a revitalization of display.  The innovation in formats, unit functionality and the impact on the consumer experience, is changing online advertising.

Otilia Otlacan: I understand that one of IAB’s main criteria is evaluating new ad formats was branding power, namely how much brand creativity is supported by the ad format. How about direct response and the new display advertising, is it utopic to think they may go hand in hand?

Greg Rogers: Online has long been seen as the answer to direct response for advertising, but this has been somewhat limiting to the growth of digital advertising. Online advertising needs to be seen as a medium for storytelling and brand building as well.  It’s not utopic to believe they may go hand in hand because it is very possible to keep brand integrity – even build a brand – and drive a response. For example, AOL’s research with IPG Media Labs proves the IAB Portrait ad can impact the entire purchase funnel by attracting attention 35% faster than competing units, resulting in 7x more interaction than standard banner ads, and a 263% increase in purchase intent.

Otilia Otlacan: For the techies among our readers, can you tell us how do complex ads like the Pictela pushdown unit work with traditional ad servers? Are there any challenges in implementing these ads on the publisher side?

Greg Rogers: Pictela ads have to be served through our platform because of the large amounts of brand content and assets flowing through them.  We can easily implement 3rd party impression and click trackers to integrate with client reporting systems as needed.

Otilia Otlacan: Pictela is young, clearly innovative, and has AOL’s backup. What are your plans for the future, anything exciting on the horizon that you can share with us?

Greg Rogers: Right now we support 10 standard applications (video gallery, photo gallery, product showcase, etc) within our ad units that serve and display rich branded content to the consumer.  We are constantly thinking about and planning for the next 10 applications specific to vertical industries – encouraging additional brand dollars to flow online.

About Greg Rogers, Co-founder and CEO Pictela
Greg drives strategy for Pictela ( His goal is to revolutionize display advertising for brand marketers by delivering high-definition brand content across the web.
Previously, Greg was Vice President, Sales Strategy for TACODA, a behavioral targeting online ad network acquired by AOL in 2007. His inspiration for start-ups came from working with Professor Clay Christensen on theories of disruptive technologies following Greg’s undergraduate years at Harvard.

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