Undertone Research Reveals Awareness Levels, Buying Intentions and Key Barriers to Entry for IAB Rising Stars

  • Significant gap in awareness between agencies and marketers underscores the need for broader market education
  • Widespread buy and sell-side optimism for the six units, quantified by Undertone sales data
  • Cost, production difficulties and distribution limitations key barriers to entry, highlighting the need for deeper support and leadership from the ecosystem

NEW YORK--()--Undertone, which creates digital advertising solutions for brands, today released the findings of a Rising Stars research study that reveals awareness levels and buying intentions of agencies, marketers and publishers. The six Rising Stars ad units – Billboard, Portrait, Pushdown, Filmstrip, Sidekick and Slider – were released by the IAB in 2011. Undertone’s study is the first to gather perceptions of the units from both the buy and sell-side.

“When selling the Rising Stars, we have seen gaps in awareness as well as consistent pain points raised by marketers, agencies and publishers,” commented Eric Franchi, Co-Founder of Undertone. “This study is designed to shine a light on these issues and help educate the market about these units so that we can further unlock their value as tools for building key brand metrics.”

Undertone’s research reveals a significant gap in awareness of the Rising Stars between agencies and marketers. Under a third (31%) of marketers have heard of the Rising Stars, compared to over two thirds (69%) of agencies. Despite the limited awareness amongst marketers, there is widespread optimism surrounding adoption of the Rising Stars in 2013 amongst both agencies and publishers.

Almost three quarters (73%) of agency respondents familiar with the Rising Stars stated they were either very or somewhat likely to buy Rising Stars in 2013. This positive sentiment was echoed on the sell-side, with 79% of publisher respondents stating that they expected demand for the Rising Stars to increase in 2013. The research goes on to reveal that just 2% of agency respondents who ran Rising Stars campaigns in 2012 plan to decrease their spending on the units in 2013, highlighting the efficacy of the units.

On the buy-side, cost, production difficulties and production limitations are seen as the key reasons for not deploying Rising Stars. Over half (52%) of agencies controlling media budgets over $10 million cited distribution limitations as their key barrier to entry. For agencies controlling smaller media budgets, pricing emerged as a more significant issue, with 49% citing cost as their main barrier to entry.

“There is no doubt that there is a real appetite for the Rising Stars amongst agencies and publishers, something that has been borne out through the growing demand that we have seen for the units over the last year,” said Franchi. “To help meet this demand, however, vendors need to do a better job of understanding and addressing the barriers to entry that exist amongst both small and large buyers.”

“Defying the convention of smaller, more direct response-oriented traditional display units, the Rising Stars provide marketers a viable alternative, with large and interactive canvases from which to tell brand stories,” said Wade Rifkin, VP / Media Director at Digitas. “High impact units like these represent the industry shift towards the next generation of digital display, which, by design, has brand advertisers at the forefront.”

Other key findings from Undertone’s research include:

  • Networks / aggregators and publishers were cited as the distribution partners of choice for the Rising Stars, over portals and DSPs / trading desks.
  • Ad performance, the quality of the media environments and targeting capabilities are seen as the key selection criteria for agencies when selecting Risings Stars distribution partners.
  • 59% of agency respondents use the Rising Stars to achieve branding goals, 8% to achieve direct response goals, and 33% to achieve both.
  • The ability to run video and dynamic creative capabilities were revealed as the most appealing features of the Rising Stars amongst agency respondents.
  • Limited real estate and website design constraints are the biggest issues holding back publishers from adopting Rising Stars.

For a complete look at the research findings and methodology, download Undertone’s white paper at: www.undertone.com/risingstars.

Undertone added all six of the Rising Stars to its high impact product suite in the first quarter of 2012 and ran more than 100 Rising Stars campaigns at scale across its Preferred Publisher Portfolio™ over the course of the year.

About Undertone

Undertone is a digital advertising company that sits at the intersection of media, creative and technology. We develop immersive video, high impact and display ad units that enable brands to engage consumers beyond the confines of traditional banner ads. Through our technology platform, we deliver these ads across screens and devices on a handpicked portfolio of the world’s best media properties. Find out more at www.undertone.com.


Alex Vlasto, 212-685-8000 Ext. 441

Release Summary

Undertone, an online ad company, today released the findings of a Rising Stars research study that reveals awareness levels and buying intentions of agencies, marketers and publishers.


Alex Vlasto, 212-685-8000 Ext. 441