October 3, 2013, 10:55 AM

Google turns to a mobile catalog specialist for new interactive ads

Catalog Spree will transform retailers' look-books into ads Google distributes.

Amy Dusto

Associate Editor

Lead Photo

A Catalog Spree look-book for HauteLook, which would serve as the content for a HauteLook Lightbox Ad.

Catalog Spree, which provides digital versions of retailers’ catalogs that consumers can browse and shop from iPad and iPhone apps, is now helping retailers to publish those catalogs as Lightbox Ads on the Google Display Network, a collection of more than 1 million web sites where Google is authorized to place ads.

Lightbox Ads are display ads that appear on desktop, not mobile, web sites that expand into a pop-up overlay on a consumer’s computer screen after she hovers above them for at least two seconds. Within the pop-up, advertisers can embed videos or interactive content. In the case of Catalog Spree, the pop-up contains a version of the retailer’s digital catalog that a shopper can click to turn pages, view product details and make purchases—without ever leaving the ad.

“The avid shoppers on Catalog Spree’s mobile app coupled with the hundreds of millions of American shoppers that Google Lightbox Ads can reach make up an incredible audience for any e-commerce retailer,” says Joaquin Ruiz, CEO of Catalog Spree.

Catalog Spree says it is the first publisher other than Google itself to generate Lightbox content for advertisers. Google says its Google Display Network serves hundreds of billions of ad impressions to more than 500 million consumers each month.

Advertisers bid for Lightbox Ads on the network, with prices starting around $10,000 per campaign and going up according to a retailer’s budget and how long it wants the ads to run, a Catalog Spree spokeswoman says. Any retailer that has a digital look-book or catalog from Catalog Spree can turn that content into a Lightbox Ad, she says.

Catalog Spree’s clients include: Bloomingdale’s, a unit of Macy's Inc., No. 12 in the 2013 Top 500 Guide; Fab.com, No. 150; Forever 21, No. 353; L.L. Bean Inc., No. 29; Nordstrom Inc., No. 28; One Kings Lane, No. 120; Sephora USA Inc., No. 144; Target Corp., No. 18; The Land of Nod, a unit of Crate and Barrel, No. 68; and Urban Outfitters Inc., No. 48.

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