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.
"Brands are wasting resources building different versions of ads to run across multiple screens," Price said. "This tool enables marketers to build one ad, and have it render across different screens without any extra work."
In pitching the Design Studio to agencies, marketers and publishers, Flite isn't just emphasizing the potential for better looking digital ads. Deep down, this is about solving a major workflow issue, he said. For instance, as the Association of National Advertisers and Nielsen have estimated, more than half of all requests for proposals related to online advertising next year will call for some sort of multi-screen function.
Audience by design: Secondly, the shift to audience buying versus direct placements has made managing creative work on the fly more critical for Flite's clients. Yet for all the talk of burning silos to get to those audiences, mobile, tablet and PC ads are still bought according to the particular channel, as opposed to "holistically."
This is where creative design can solve some outstanding issues that hamper advertisers' attempts to reach audience targets more seamlessly, Price said.
"Marketers have to deal with several execution challenges," Price said. "They have to manage separate creative details, separate ad servers for desktop and mobile. Clients have asked us to create ads with a single tag that can be generated for the ad server. The tag can include a lot of intelligence, such as being able to determine the right formats."
About 40% of Flite's current clients use that single tag for cross device ad creation, with ad traffic for touchscreens – mobile and tablet combined – up 80% from last year, Price said, though the company didn't provide actual figures. That's important for Flite, since it makes Design Studio free with the ultimate plan to charge for ad serving.
Competition: Considering that Adobe's multimedia program, Flash, doesn't work on mobile and tablet, Price expects Flite to win clients that don't want to use both Flash and Adobe's Creative Cloud offering. The company has also taken aim at Google Web Designer, which would appear to be the natural alternative to Adobe, considering its dominant cross screen presence and tools.
"Neither of those mega-companies' products are cloud-based or web-based, ironically," Price said. "Both are desktop-based. In both cases, you're left with files that need to be emailed multiple times, as opposed to accessed directly by partners when they want and need it. In a world that is increasingly collaborative and web-based, the desktop approach is very old-school. With us, you're not trafficking a file, you're just using a script tag in the cloud."