Display advertising had almost been written off when native advertising made its mark against a backdrop of controversy.
While commentators wrangled over how wide a church-state gap was necessary between advertiser and editorial to skirt ethical issues, both advertisers and publishers assiduously collaborated on native campaigns for one simple reason: They work. By creating advertising that suits the consumption patterns, functionality, topical focus and format of its context, advertisers gave users substantial reason to engage.
Native advertising has grown by leaps and bounds, but why hasn’t it knocked out the lowly banner? It has not reached scale, whereas banner advertising, whether direct or via RTB, enjoys almost limitless application and scope. Programmatic has only reduced friction and enhanced targeting. Native ads might be worth caring about, but the lack of scalability has rendered them a niche player.
Not much has been said about Atlas since Facebook purchased the advertising suite from Microsoft last year. However, a new partnership with cloud-based cross-platform advertising company Flite could help Facebook advertisers deliver better results off the site.
Flite announced Wednesday that the company has partnered with Atlas to offer customers an innovative new solution for display advertising. The Flite Design Studio, which specializes in real-time content advertising, will be integrated into Atlas’ ad-server solution.
Ad server and measurement platform Atlas Solutions, which Facebook acquired from Microsoft last February, announced an integration with cloud-based multiscreen advertising company Flite’s Flite Design Studio, as well as its selection of Innovid as its technology platform to deliver video advertising.
Flite became one of the first companies to integrate with Atlas via a direct application-programming interface, and Atlas advertisers will now have access to Flite Design Studio and its Web-based design tools for building HTML5 and Flash ads for desktop and mobile.
Rich media platform Flite is partnering with Atlas to allow advertisers using the ad-serving and measurement service to more easily create ads that run across multiple screens.
Under the agreement, Flite is integrating its browser-based Design Studio platform for building HTML5 ads that work across desktop and mobile screens into the ad-server using the Atlas API (application programming interface). Besides providing more ad creative options, the aim is to simplify the workflow from ad development to analytics.
Facebook hasn't said much about Atlas in the year since buying it, but it has been making incremental tweaks to the product. Today it took a bigger step, launching a creative partner program with rich media vendors Innovid and Flite. The deal will let Atlas's agency customers more easily integrate rich media into their campaigns, both from a trafficking and reporting standpoint.
According to Erik Johnson, the Facebook executive in charge of Atlas, the deal "signals to the marketplace our partner friendly approach to the broader ecosystem." Future partner integrations are likely to be announced around search and analytics, Johnson said, but he declined to go into details.
I am a huge fan of Flite and its CEO, Will Price, due to the company’s ability to add what is really needed for premium programmatic to take “Flite,” which is content and context.
In the past, publishers created economic value by aggregating audiences around a certain demographic or context. Price says that RTB is changing all of this. “RTB is allowing marketers to shift from audiences that are aggregated by context, i.e. publisher domain, to synthetically stitching together an audience across thousands of publishers,” explains Price.
This scenario has put a lot of pressure on publishers. “It's clearly created a huge opportunity for marketers, who can buy audiences very efficiently, to be much more confident of the quality of the audience they're building in terms of being intentionally an audience they care about,” explains Price. Rather than just targeting someone who's on a page and inferring from that page presence, now brands can use mechanisms to make sure that the customer has the intention to do business or exhibits an expected behavior. “This allows marketers to effectively build audience, to do it at a much lower price point, and to be able to flex their buy a little bit,” remarks Price.
Real-time Marketings Gets Real
Social media continues to speed the pace of our everyday conversations, whether about breaking news, fitness or our plans for the upcoming weekend. And now a next-generation platform from Starcom MediaVest Group called CONTENT@SCALE will enable marketers to access and publish relevant content in digital media—as quickly as these conversations are taking place.
During the launch of CONTENT@SCALE at CES, Flite CEO Will Price sat down with Beet.tv founder Andy Plesser and explained why marketers need to shift from a planning mindset to one of reacting to the immediate contexts of customers' lives, and how CONTENT@SCALE makes an agile approach to distributing brand content through paid channels possible.
Flite's new Design Studio HTML5 is an online tool for creating web ads and appears to be a direct competitor to Google's Web Designer. I've reviewed Google Web Designer, so I wanted to give Design Studio HTML5 a go as well.
Here's how to use the tool, along with my thoughts on whether I recommend it. All screen captures in this review are from Chrome v. 31.0.1650.57 m unless otherwise noted.
New digital advertising conventional wisdom: Banner ads are dead!*
But native ads, which use “content” that’s supposed to look like “real” content — those are cool and new!**
One big problem in turning this conventional wisdom into reality: It’s hard to scale “native” ads, because someone has to go create the “content” for them. And if you did that every time you wanted to run a native ad, then that process would be just as cumbersome as actually … creating content!
There are a bunch of folks trying to tackle this, of course, because solving it seems like a lucrative thing to do. Here’s one version: A new program from Starcom MediaVest Group, which lets advertisers create ads using stuff that real publishers — like Forbes, Martha Stewart Omnimedia and Time Inc. — have already published.
The offering, built using software from ad tech startup Flite, gives advertisers a library of stuff to choose from that has already been published, identified by different categories — perhaps you’re pushing shampoo, and want a piece about the benefits of essential oils — and lets them plunk an excerpt from the articles directly into a display ad.
Flite CEO was interviewed, along with 18 other experts in the advertising industry, about native advertising. The in-depth article on CPC Strategy Blog explores question such as: Who will benefit the most from native ad campaigns? How native ads are best implemented? What the future of native advertising will look like?
Will Price: As both audience buying becomes a fungible commodity and standard display ad performance suffers, publishers and platforms are looking to native ads to both differentiate their ad formats, which increase CPMs, while providing users in-line ad experiences that are contextually and graphically consistent with the publishers UI and UX.
It would be difficult to miss the skyward drift of storage and software over the last few years. “The cloud” is where you store your music and other files, and back up your computer.
But a wide range of web-based applications — from Salesforce to Google Docs — are taking advantage of widespread broadband and increasingly cheaper storage to put desktop clients on notice. Users like the flexibility of accessing their apps and data anywhere, and collaborating without having to send file versions back and forth.
Not every class of software has kept pace.
Online ad creativity – or the perceived lack thereof – is one area that brands, agencies and publishers frequently complain about. But the fixes tend to involve vague plans about working with Adobe or Google to develop cross-screen creative.
Flite, the Condé Nast-backed ad platform developer, has released a free, browser-based software called Design Studio, which allows users to create ads that work across platforms using HTML5. Read the release.
Will Price, Flite's CEO, compared his company's Design Studio to existing tools in the marketplace, like Google Web Designer. The software is browser-based and supports Adobe Photoshop imports.
Hey, remember when people were still arguing about HTML5 versus Flash?
The battle seems long over at this point, with the rise of the iPhone essentially killing Adobe’s Flash platform, but Will Price, CEO of ad tech company Flite, said the transition has taken longer than you might think — it won’t be until 2014, he said, that advertisers and publishers “get off Flash completely.” (As one indicator of how mobile and tablet have exploded this year, Price said Flite saw 80 percent growth in mobile traffic in October compared to the same period last year.)
Limitations in technology have traditionally caused display ads to be essentially fixed assets. Because campaign approval often takes weeks or months, marketers are bound by stale messaging and therefore miss opportunities to connect with customers about what they care about right now.
With recent advances in ad technology, however, brands can now publish their content marketing through paid media channels for the first time at scale. This trend fundamentally shifts the way brands, both large and small, reach customers.
Users love content. As a result, brands love content marketing.
However, there is one problem: How do brands find the scale and ability to reach millions of people with the content that they produce?
“Content plus reach” is the answer to the perennial problem of how to amplify content marketing programs that work. Brands must move beyond their websites’ domains to reach the full Web, both mobile and display.
Kraft Foods's Corn Nuts yielded an engagement rate of 12.4% and an interaction rate of 22.9% by offering interactive, frequently updated content in display ads across scalable media, reports Roxanna Tirado, VP media director of Starcom MediaVest Group's (SMG) multicultural Tapestry unit.
The brand used the Flite Platform, which lets advertisers and agencies incorporate text, images, video and all kinds of apps in display ads in paid digital media platforms, and update the content in real time.
In June, after working with SMG for about two years, Flite secured $9 million in funding from Iris Capital, a joint venture of SMG parent Publicis Groupe, and Orange Telecom. As part of that funding, Publicis's VivaKi digital unit has partnered with Flite to roll the platform out to Publicis's global network of agencies.
Shell may bear the label “Big Oil,” but the global brand is not neglecting paid campaigns on the local level. Like many, the company is carefully testing performance of its owned vs. paid media channels.
An interesting example can be seen in its use of dynamic video creative to drive people to regional events.
“To some, Shell is a great company, but to others – it’s ‘What’s their intention here?’” commented Ignacio Gonzalez, GM of Shell Eco-marathon, Americas. “We have to look at, ‘Do people trust media?’ ‘Do they trust us in our channel?’ and ‘Do they pay attention to paid advertising?’ I think those three are always evolving.”