They were probably on the last website you visited, and they’ll probably be on the next link you click on. Banner advertisements are plastered in nearly every corner of the Internet—but do you actually engage with them?
Not enough, says Will Price.
Price is the CEO of online advertising management firm Flite, which today launched a marketplace called FliteHub that’s intended to help companies design and manage more engaging advertisements. In an interview with Portfolio.com, Price likened the marketplace to an app store for ad components, giving marketers the tools to easily inject and update videos, coupons, maps, and social-media feeds within their online advertisements.
“Ad components are like apps for your ads,” Price said. “FliteHub gives brands the components to make display ads living, breathing things.”
Flite—a name and domain for which Price says he paid in the ballpark of $50,000 when the company (originally named Widgetbox) pivoted from website widgets to banner advertisements earlier this year—has raised $26 million in venture funding, including, most recently, a $12 million round led by General Catalyst Partners and participation from longtime backer Sequoia Capital.
The San Francisco-based company has also seen total revenues shoot past $10 million and plans to continue driving that number higher by splitting gains from ad components roughly fifty-fifty with their third-party developers. Flite has partnered with the likes of ePrize, MovieConnect, Aditive, and TechTarget.
“With FliteHub, users can quickly incorporate Aditive’s social coupons and buy-with-friends promotions into their display ads,” Aditive CEO Tom Parsons said in a statement. “This simplifies an otherwise time-intensive process so that brands can easily monetize social promotions.”
Price, a Harvard graduate and former venture capitalist, showed us how his clients can pick and choose from a variety of those ad components, which are essentially building blocks that users can plant into their banner templates. Those components can then be adjusted and switched out at any time to let companies put fresh, relevant content in their banners.
The results, for example, are advertisements for new movies that allow people to watch trailers, find nearby theaters, select times, and tweet about the latest releases—all from within the advertisement. The same goes for renting cars, activating coupons, and searching for flights without leaving the current webpage.
Essentially, Price explained, companies can plaster miniature yet highly functional versions of their own websites into ad spaces on other websites.
“Instead of banner ads being like exits on the highway, they become these highly functional applications right there in the banners,” he said.