How would you define a good ad? Do you think about the tension between user experiences that audiences seek and the experiences that advertisers put in front of them? And what role does design and adtech play in enhancing these experiences? Last night, Flite and The New York Times joined forces to have an intimate knowledge-sharing session on these types of questions.

Hosted in the lovely New York Times space in Manhattan, the two companies brought together a seasoned panel, and over 75 brand marketers, creatives, and media folks to discuss creating compelling digital brand experiences on the most important screen – mobile.

The panel included representatives from Flite, The New York Times, IAB, and Mindshare and gave much-needed insight around building better digital ads, and how to strike the balance between driving engagement and monetization while making consumers happy. This topic is one that has yet to be universally solved, even within the walls of one brand or publisher, but there are steps being made to improve the current state of mobile.

Here were three key themes that came up during the discussion:

The Good & Bad of Video

Everyone under the sun is trying to leverage digital video in some way, shape, or form. And while many are seeking alternatives to pre-roll, it is more about the actual creative quality than anything. The panel discussed great examples of pre-roll and then horrendous executions of more advanced video ads. It ultimately comes down to telling a simple story, in a beautiful way, and then applying data to make a 1:1 connection.

Component-Based Advertising

Advertisers are constantly seeking more accurate and efficient manners to use data to target and engage with consumers. Most of the work has been on the media side but is shifting towards applying that same data to influence creative. Component-based advertising allows for marketers and publishers to leverage a myriad of variables to influence various components of the ad (from the image, CTA, and language to weather and time of day etc.), in a scalable manner. Flite has been offering this type of ad building and serving to advertisers for years and is seeing an increase in demand and usage.

Compelling Mobile Experiences

Whether it be video, component-based advertising, or something else, all of these efforts are irrelevant if consumers and advertisers do not enjoy their mobile experiences. One answer to this is The New York Times’ Flex Frames work, a product from their T Brand Studio arm, which have been built and scaled through Flite. Putting the improved metrics aside, the aesthetics, flexibility, and scalability of this ad product makes Flex Frames a best-in-class example of how advertisers can leverage data to build captivating and personal ads.

Events like this are tough to successfully pull off. Much like advertising, it is key to not only bring out the crowd but to provide them relevant and valuable content. And we were able to achieve that. The panel cared about the topic and engaged in a meaningful and useful manner for attendees. Flite is excited to have this event under our belt and are ready for partnering on future events in 2016 and beyond.

Our focus has been and will remain on improving the digital experience. The present and future of digital advertising is data driven, so why shouldn’t ads be just as smart as the product experiences in which they live?