Why NEXD is Focusing On Touch-Based Interaction

We’ve always been mobile-first when designing and building our products.

Which is why, when we first set out to build interactive rich media ads, motion-based interaction – using the gyro to allow the audience to interact with the creative – seemed like the obvious choice.

And, well, it was.

Motion-based interaction is intuitive, elegant, and at the time it was novel (and still is). There had been plenty of other solutions that used touch-based interaction on mobile, but very few offered the kind of elegant, intuitive performance NEXD delivered.


Changing landscapes

As I am sure you are aware, thanks to GDPR and other privacy initiatives, more focus has been drawn to this area of the consumer experience, and rightly so. Consumers are more concerned about their privacy and it isn’t just advocacy groups that are picking up on that.

Not that long ago, both Apple and Google started making changes to how certain services were able to access the sensors on a user’s mobile device. In the case of Apple, their recent iOS update introduced new limitations for ads that use gyroscopes and Apple’s approach to privacy in general means that these challenges aren’t likely to go away soon.

While Android is less broadly impacted by Google’s approach, in-app gyro ads now need to have an SSL connection with the DSP.

So, what’s the specific reason for Apple and Google making it more of a challenge to use the gyro and accelerometer?

Well, ultimately it boils down to a couple of things.

Firstly, there is an argument that, in some instances, a bad actor could monitor a user’s gyro or accelerometer and track user input. Hypothetically, this means that said bad actor could potentially get access to passcodes and other potentially sensitive information – an argument which has been rendered somewhat moot, since updates last year.

The other aspect is somewhat more benign, but still raises an important question: should a site (or another party) be able to monitor whether a user is sitting down or standing? It’s pretty easy to determine either, based on a fairly cursory analysis of data provided by most mobile motion sensors.


Looking forward

The other thing that motivated us to double-down on touch-based interaction is:


Over the last 24 months, we’ve seen the popularity and performance of touch-based formats outstrip those of their gyro-based cousins.

So, while we’re not sunsetting gyro-based formats, at least not in the short-term, all of our upcoming layouts will use touch-based layouts, as this is where our focus will lie going forward.

It’s also a question of quality. We are determined to provide a quality, robust product that works flawlessly on virtually any device. There are many devices out there that will have zero problems with gyro ads because these changes from Apple and Google don’t apply to every single handset.

The issue though is that the number that will have problems is more than we would like and will likely grow because users will start updating their devices.

Ultimately we want to ensure that we are able to give our you and your audience the best experience when using our product, and it’s important for us to look at how you are using our product and evolve with you.


What’s happening with gyro-based NEXD ads?

All of the formats that use sensor activity will “fallback” to touch in cases where we are not able to receive motion sensor input or the device does not have any.

The gestures will be changed accordingly.

This actually brings us also to a few new interaction styles that we have been testing for the last year or so; specifically, creatives that respond to scroll.

Is it interscroller or just scroll-interactivity? Either way, we’ll be rolling out formats that offer this kind of interaction in the coming weeks.

Stay in touch!