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See functional countdown clock-enabled ad below.

Given their ability to scale across digital media, display ads are excellent vehicles for propagating important announcements to online audiences. Ads can alert consumers to upcoming sales, events, and important deadlines. And one of the most effective ways to get a user's attention and convey the urgency of an upcoming date and time is through the use of a countdown clock.

Naturally, as dynamic elements, countdown clocks can't be configured to run in static files. However, using a platform like Flite, in which ads can be configured to run new functionality or content on the fly, it's a simple matter of inserting the countdown clock component into an ad unit.

Using the Flite Ad Studio, there are a few simple steps involved:

  • specifying the event date and time
  • choosing exactly which time units will be displayed - I chose to show days, hours, minutes, and seconds
  • setting the time zone - in my example's case, I set it for Central Time, since Talk Like Shakespeare Day takes place in Chicago
  • formatting the countdown clock - choosing a font size, style, and color
  • adding ancillary copy - explaining what the clock is counting down to, and encouraging users to check out the videos in the accompanying tabs

The resulting ad, created by yours truly, is below (in the hands of a capable designer, naturally, it would look quite a bit nicer):

(function(){     var r = top===self ? top.location.href : document.referrer || top.location.href, m = r.match(new RegExp("[A-Za-z]+:[/][/][A-Za-z0-9.-]+")), c = '', e = encodeURIComponent;     var src = ['//r.flite.com/syndication/adframe/i/50cd9c62-25e7-44c6-8e74-8ac23965c2b7?v=3&dep=FIF&p=',e(c),'&cb=',Math.random(),'&d=',e((m && m[0]) || r)].join('');     document.write('

               

There are innumerable possibilities that an advertiser could explore using this functionality, but here are a few:

  • a live streamed-video event
  • the start (or end) of a special offer or sale
  • a contest or giveaway
  • a reveal for special time-sensitive content hosted within the ad unit
  • a milestone or commemoration