Rubicon Project supports publisher innovation at ‘Hack the Ad’ event in London

Last week in London, the UK Association of Online Publishers and Mozilla Open News Project ran a hack day focussed on creating new ad formats and solutions to assist the growth of digital publishers’ businesses in the UK.

40 developers, designers, journalists and commercial execs were locked in a room together for 2 caffeine-fuelled days, rapidly pitching then prototyping new digital products.

Rubicon Project jumped at the chance of sponsoring this event – the first Open News Project event to focus on advertising, and a rare case of (sometimes competing) publishers coming together to innovate and create practical solutions to the business problems they all face.

The hack day projects were judged on commercial viability and business insight – here are details on all seven of the projects, with links to their code and demos where available:

Project 1 – Mevan-ator

Project Mevan-ator looked to improve site performance and loading times, specifically with third-party Javascript. It optimises time-outs and builds in the functionality to prioritise scripts by the revenue associated with them.

Demo 1 / Demo 2 / code on GitHub

Project 2 – Sequence

Sequence is a new ‘persistent and non-intrusive mobile ad format’ – The ad appears at top of the page, disappears as you scroll, then reappears at the bottom of the screen. It can expand down at top, as well as up at the bottom of the screen. Also includes a user email capture feature.

UX Storyboard / Demo (view on mobile) / code on GitHub

Project 3 – Blink

Tagline: ‘it’s not subliminal, it’s intelligent advertising’ – Blink’s concept is to integrate ads swiftly in and out of articles, creating interest through brief disruption, yet allowing advertiser presence on the site at all times.

Project 4 – Responsive

An ad format that responds to varying screen sizes and different environments. Working with a traditional 300×250 MPU cross-platform – placement, creative engagement and interaction can adapt the ad to different environments.

Demo (try resizing the screen) / code on GitHub

Rubicon Project announces 'Hack the Ad' event

 Project 5 – Ad Putty

‘The responsive, adaptive, all-in-one ad’ – Ad Putty ensures advertisers messages aren’t lost whatever device users are browsing with. Ads are served within one responsive layout.

Demo (resize the screen to see the ad adapt) / code on GitHub / Etherpad

Project 6 – Easy Ad Generator

This project focussed on a real world problem faced by commercial teams – creating a low barrier to entry ad creation tool, taking advertisers from concept to booking as quickly as possible. The team’s demo included a backend, as well as maps and social media included in the MPU. Further development is planned to include analytics, as well as plugs-ins for stock media and video.


Project 7 – First Impressions

This project adapted formats and ad slots to focus on attaining ‘viewable impressions’ – but still adhering to agency metrics and remaining as non-intrusive as possible. This tool allows a site to track if an ad has been viewed long enough to be considered a viewable impression from an advertiser. If so, then a new ad loads. If not, then the ad becomes sticky and follows user down the page.

The Ad Putty Team wins 'Hack the Ad'