Byravee Iyer
Oct 11, 2016

InSkin Media plans to double APAC's share of revenue: CEO

Indonesia and Philippines are high on CEO Hugo Drayton's agenda.

Hugo Drayton
Hugo Drayton

SINGAPORE - InSkin Media, the London-based advertising technology business, is looking to expand its rich-media business into Indonesia and Philippines following its launch in Singapore and Australia last year.

“In many ways what we do is quite new here,” said Hugo Drayton, CEO of the ad tech company. “Our formats are designed to encourage better brand advertising and bring more value to publishers and brands.”

InSkin Media launched in 2009, originally offering formats that wrapped around video players designed as an alternative to pre-roll advertising. Today, the business offers PageSkin formats that wrap around publishers pages, providing a bespoke alternative for brands looking to break with standard display formats.

The firm’s ad products allow publishers to wrap interactive ads around publishers pages.The company works directly with brands, agencies and publishers to create and distribute bespoke, high-quality, creative digital branding formats.

According to Drayton, the company hasn’t gone the programmatic route because it still wants to provide brands with something “special and bespoke”. “We start with creativity and use non-standard formats,” he said.  “There are tools we can use to trade programmatically, but we like the creative independence. Having said that, programmatic advertising is evolving, and agencies are driving that efficiency and scale.”

The UK-based company first launched in Asia three years ago when it opened an office in Hong Kong. InSkin Media opened offices in Singapore and Australia last year and has started running campaigns in Malaysia. At present, about 15 to 20 percent of the firm’s revenue comes from the region, but with these new business opportunities, Drayton is positive the number could go up to almost 40 percent.

Key to success in the region is the firm’s new mobile ad format PageSkin Edge, which promises near perfect viewability. The new format wraps around the top and right-hand sides of mobile web content, with an animated feature at the right-hand-side of the page.

The company’s clients include P&G, Nike, Fitbit, Samsung and Disney. In Asia-Pacific, Drayton is particularly proud of designing a bespoke creative for Haagen-Dazs. The campaign included a background that ripples and chocolate ice-cream cases that crack.

“It is important for users to be engaged and excited. We see that in this market animation is critical so we will continue to develop interesting animation to tap into this highly active and engaged audience.”

Drayton, the former MD of and the Telegraph Media Group, is actively working with the IAB on viewability. It is his view that standards are evolving, but that it needs to be treated as any other metric, while also considering visual engagement, brand impact, awareness, propensity to buy and building memory structures. “CTR is an interesting measure but not relevant to brand advertising," he said. "We also need to look into the impact on people who don’t click on the ad.”

Drayton is concerned that the industry is now optimising to viewability. “If you put more ads above the fold or use smaller formats to meet the criteria, that can be really detrimental to brand effectiveness. There’s a fine line between being viewed and being effective.”

Ad-blocking, he said, is a wake-up call to the industry, especially for publishers who have cluttered pages. Citing in-house research, he noted that such clutter is not beneficial to advertisers. “There is a win for brands and consumers in having fewer, better ads,” he said.

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