Source: shebsi.wordpress.com

A lot has changed in the advertising industry since the mid-1990’s.

Back then, I ran the retail channel for Netscape and we sold software to retailers like Fry’s, Comp USA, Walmart, and Costco.

Most of our marketing spend went into newspaper ads such as major Sunday circulars or the daily, smaller circular. We supplied our content – product descriptions and pictures – to the retailers, who would assemble assets from dozens of vendors and manually tape them together, making sure that the various pictures and logos fit in the required ad dimensions.

Then they would hand everything off to the newspapers. That’s when the real magic would happen.

The newspapers would lay out the assets to precisely fit into an ad, and also make sure that the ad was appropriate for the surrounding content on the page.

Today, it's not too different with digital. While print is giving way to digital media, the needs of newspapers are the same. Editors still need advertisers to provide assets in order to assemble and integrate ads for the paper. So the role and general processes remain surprisingly consistent -- it’s the technology that has changed.

Publishers, including newspapers that are now online, still need to build compelling ad units –  and a new crop of technology companies makes the process easier and more robust than ever. Using a platform allows editors to rapidly assemble ads from static assets, giving marketers another reason, beyond reach and audience, to advertise on the LA Times, the Orlando Sentinel, or the Houston Chronicle.

Platforms also enable the inclusion of dynamic assets. Marketers, in concert with designers, can design their own digital ads, and include Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube videos as easily as they update content in these social media channels.

Social and video content in ads improves visitor engagement with brands, and delivers both better ROI to marketers and higher return on publisher real estate. It presents an opportunity for newspapers to regain an edge in advertising currency and relevance, something it had ceded to online media as readers' medium preferences changed.

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Tim Krozek is the SVP, Sales and Business Development at Flite.