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Hearst Digital Media taps Sprout to bolster mobile ads

Hearst Digital Media, a unit of Hearst Magazines, has tapped mobile brand-advertising platform Sprout, Laura Schooling, Hearst Digital Media’s executive director of marketing services, confirmed. Hearst will use the Sprout platform to enhance its mobile and tablet ad units for the digital properties of brands including Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan and Seventeen.

The partnership is designed to allow Hearst to enhance display ads for its brand advertisers on Hearst’s mobile-optimized websites. As Hearst has moved aggressively into the mobile space, Schooling sees Sprout as a means for the company to offer advertisers ad units that can engage viewers as readily as Hearst’s own branded content.

“Consumers are having a great experience regardless of the device they are consuming the content on, so we want to make sure from a marketing services perspective that all of our capabilities have that same flexibility,” Schooling said. She gave an example of an interactive ad that leveraged the built-in accelerometer of a mobile device.

To achieve this mobile flexibility, Hearst had to convert its websites to HTML5, a process the company began in Sept. 2011.

“With HTML5, we wanted to make sure that we were really aligning with a partner who could enable our ideas to be as easily transportable across devices as our content is,” Schooling said. “We didn’t want to rely on a back-up image and a flat experience, we wanted to make sure as we were conceiving ad creative, that we could use the technology on mobile and tablet so that users will really stop and engage with the advertising.”

Because the industry around mobile advertising platforms is still a nascent space, Schooling said there were few vendor partners from which to choose. However, she added Sprout distinguished itself partly because its technology had similarities to Adobe’s platform, offering a familiar functionality to the ad designers.

Schooling also pointed to Sprout’s lengthy experience in the mobile space, and recent purchase by InMobi, as reflective of the company’s position as an industry leader in mobile.

Hearst has yet to launch a campaign using the Sprout platform, but they are currently pitching executions in market to advertisers.

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