Today, cloud-based ad service Flite released an updated platform that allows for real-time updates throughout an advertising campaign and for the integration of web applications directly into an ad unit. Flite Platform 3, the new version, incorporates the cloud-based development tool Flite Ad Studio, the app store Flite Hub and the real-time analytics tool Flite Metrics. It’s an advancement that allows brand marketers to customize the content and interactive features (swapping out a video or adding a social media channel, for example) of an online ad on the fly, and it allows brands to have a level of control over the content of their ads approaching the level of control they might have over their own websites.
In a recent phone conversation, Flite CEO Will Price explained that while, with Flite Platform 3, “you don’t impact the operation of an ad campaign” (that is to say, the audience targeting), the technology can help if “I’ve got content out in market, but I have to customize it.” The facility of tweaking an ad to reflect, say, the day’s news or fresh announcements from the brand can render a brand campaign comparable in agility to a political campaign, he said.
From the back end, Platform 3′s interface is almost comparable to that of a blog, with widgets that can be dragged in or out of the display unit. “We’re trying to bring Web 2.0 technology to an industry that’s all hand-coding,” Price explained. And little of this is surprising considering Flite’s roots as business-to-consumer widget provider Widgetbox. “These guys built this platform that said, ‘Let me take any [function] on the web into a widget,” Price explained. Widgetbox relaunched as the ad company Flite about a year ago. “I wish I could say we recognized a problem and had a great idea, but that’s not the case,” Price said, laughing. Instead, “LinkedIn came to us and said, ‘Hey, what if you stopped calling this a widget and started calling it a display ad?’” And in developing, then updating, the Flite platform, Price said that coming from outside the ad industry helped them “be dumb enough to just say, ‘Well, whycan’t it be this way?”
With the upgrade to Platform 3, Price said, “you’re making living, breathing applications. Think about Flite as having an app store where the applications a brand uses are pre-loaded in a brand’s site.” And from there, it’s possible to monitor the performance of a campaign and to measure which elements users are engaging with — and because of the platform’s hands-on nature, “you can start optimizing these campaigns in real time,” he explained.
Currently, Microsoft, Procter and Gamble, LinkedIn and VivaKi are running ad campaigns through Flite Platform 3, and the company boasts up to a “600 percent increase in advertising effectiveness” from those campaigns.
While display advertising has developed a reputation among many as being both less interesting and less engaging than some other aspects of the ad industry, there are some companies trying to pick up the thread where others dropped it a few years ago. (It’s worth pointing out the IAB announced a new standard rich media ad unit on Sunday.) “Modern startups say, ‘I wanna do the Facebook something something something, I wanna do the iPhone something something something,’” and he said of long-time display holdouts, “I don’t think they came of age in the modern web.” But whatever might be trending in the ad space, there’s an undeniably huge amount of display advertising out there, which Price said shouldn’t be forgotten. “This is a giant market that’s kind of a sleeper market,” he said.