Founder & CEO
Flite was originally founded in 2006, and rebranded from Widgetbox in 2011. Can you tell us a little more about the evolution of the company over the years and how you made the foray into creative management for marketers?
We started the company focused on connecting content producers with consumers across the web. Large publishers started to use our platform to produce ads with a better user experience and that led us to our current business. Today you’ll see the technology has improved and our customer base now spans from publishers to advertisers but the core concepts remain the same. We’re still focused on powering creativity by building an innovative platform for people to distribute content online.
Who are some of your archetypal core users and what are some use cases for each?
Our primary partners tend to be brand direct, premium publishers, and ad agencies. We’re starting to partner with demand and supply partners in the digital advertising arena where it makes sense. In the case of both publishers and agencies, we keep the operating models fairly straight-forward – publishers tend to have in-house teams and utilize our self-serve platform to craft what we call ‘intelligent creative’ either using existing Flite ad products or we’ll work with them to customize ad units to fit their content needs; agencies tend to utilize our managed service option, helping them deliver dynamic, optimized creative, to give them a leg up with their clients.
Your Ad Gallery shows some very interesting formats like ‘Explore & Shop’, ‘Tilt’, ‘Cinema Scroll’, ‘Points of Interest’, ‘Video Mosaic’, and others. How do you typically integrate with publishers or advertising platforms to ensure that a marketers’ creative can be served this way?
On the publisher side, the teams are fairly savvy and in some cases the units you see in our Gallery were actually created for a specific publisher and later became part of our general offering. Despite publishers using our self-serve model, we work closely with them to make sure the units integrate well. On the agency side, our Customer Success team works hand-in-hand with the agency’s chosen platforms to ensure campaigns are executed correctly.
On desktop, our Billboard and Pushdown units perform very well, primarily due to the unit’s placement and attention-grabbing, immersive experience. Filmstrip is another high-performing unit for desktop. On mobile, Sidekick has been one of the best performing units we’ve seen so far. It’s not a huge surprise because compared to smaller banner strips (which often get overlooked), Sidekick gives advertisers needed real estate to convey their message. Overall, what determines performance isn’t necessarily the format alone, but the creative content itself and the creative use of those formats to convey stories and messages in a compelling way.
How does content-driven creative work? How are you able to make this type of format ‘In-the-moment’?
Whether it’s a brand, a publisher, or an agency’s client, we will integrate their content and data sources, which could range from imagery to video to illustrations, animations, editorial, GIFs, as well as location data, Twitter and Instagram feeds, maps, and the list goes on. Then, we scale the creative itself into numerous variations. Lastly, all of this is then optimized, in real-time, through what we refer to as ‘agile creative.’
Are there any benchmarks you can share as to the number of creative variations a marketer should have for a campaign? Is more necessarily better in this case?
The law of diminishing returns definitely applies here and while there is no set number that applies to all campaigns, we generally find that roughly between three and five creative variations per intended audience, tends to perform the best. Three versions offer enough variety for people to react to, whereas limiting it to five versions makes the data much more meaningful and manageable for marketers to learn from and take action on. Of course, it certainly depends on the size and complexity of campaigns.
Google recently announced that all of its display ads will be transitioned into HTML5 by January 1st, 2017. How do you think this will affect the industry at large, and do you see many others doing the same in the coming months?
Without question, when Google makes a bold decision, it tends to impact the entire market. In this case, much of the market has already been moving in the direction of HTML5, so I believe if there’s any real friction it will be seen in the long tail. Transition to HTML5 has been on the radar of many agencies, brands, and premium publishers as well, for some time now.
What are some of the pros/cons when it comes to HTML5 ads? Do you think this will help at all with latency issues or security vulnerabilities on websites?
From our perspective, we don’t see any significant downside. This is a rare occasion in which there isn’t any opposing argument. Screens and devices have become more personal than ever, and people expect to get information and be entertained on any given device at any given moment. HTML5 has made it possible for advertisers to deliver great digital content and experiences to consumers quickly, without a hitch. Latency issues – no, help with security – yes.
In terms of creative management, what are some brands that are doing it right?
The New York Times, VICE, and Kraft are great examples. NYT and VICE have really embraced the CMP to innovate the way their digital content is experienced. Constant innovation in the digital ad space has helped them build and retain a significant following of engaged readers and the respect of large advertisers who are willing to pay a premium to advertise with them. Kraft is a great example of a global consumer brand leveraging creative technology to reach a wide audience base, yet stay relevant and on point with every single person they reach. Other examples that come to mind are brands that leverage rich customer data and understand the importance of applying that data to creative, such as American Express and Marriott. Both of these brands are in extremely competitive verticals and their businesses are dependent on personalization – whether it’s a credit card helping launch a small business or finding a hotel room in a particular city for a family vacation. Both brands need to communicate with individual customers at scale in order to convert sales and the creative management platform certainly solves that.
Lastly, what is your take on the future of creative management for marketers?
I’m certainly biased on this topic, as I firmly believe in the premise of Flite, our creative management platform and the value it brings to digital advertising. Many in the industry already agree that one-to-one marketing is quite simply, the Holy Grail. We believe CMPs and what we call ‘personalized mass marketing’ can actually get us there.
Flite makes digital advertising more effective for brands, more profitable for publishers, and better ad experiences for consumers. Flite is a professional grade, self-serve Creative Management Platform (CMP) with patented technology that delivers live interactive canvases, driven by a combination of design, content, and data. Many of the world’s largest publishers, brands and agencies use Flite’s CMP to better connect and communicate with their digital audiences. For more information visit www.flite.com or follow Flite here www.twitter.com/Flite.