Widgetbox rebrands, refocuses on rich media ads
Technology developer Widgetbox has changed its name to Flite, a move that reflects the company’s focus on providing rich media display advertising solutions to publishers and brand marketers. The company offers a cloud-based advertising platform that enables publishers to offer more immersive rich media ads that can integrate advertiser, publisher and social content.
In addition to its rebranding, Flite also announced on Wednesday that it has received $12 million in Series C financing.
The rebranding reflects publishers’ transition from selling media to selling marketing services and the shift of display advertising from compiled, locked-down files to the equivalent of a miniaturized Web page, featuring a variety of content that can be refreshed in real time. In an interview, CEO Will Price called the concept “connected ads.”
“Every time the ads load they can incorporate the full functionality of the Web,” said Price. “It allows brands to start telling a broader narrative through the ad.”
Flite’s technology is designed to work within standard ad units, though publishers are also exploring custom treatments. “Publishers are experimenting with different layouts, thinking about where they can do more custom execution and also what content they can add to improve the experience,” Price said.
Price believes the Flite platform provides a better alternative than sponsored microsites, which often take visitors to a new site or a separately branded portion of the publisher’s site. He compared the concept to setting up a Polo shop inside Bloomingdale’s. “It’s your brand embedded in my site – a fully merchandised experience without leaving the site,” he explained.
Flite’s initial work has been with larger publishers, but Price maintains the technology is suitable for small and midsized publishers as well. To that end, the company is working on a self-service solution that should be available later this year. Current publishing partners include publishing include Forbes, Yahoo and CBS Interactive. In the B2B sector, Flite’s partners include IDG, which in December announced a new “nanosite” ad unit using the technology.
Flite’s ad platform also supports iOS and Android mobile devices. For smartphones, the treatment is a bit different: Flite’s ads provide a call to action, which users can click to receive additional content delivered through an app.
Price said Flite will continue to support the mobile app and widget products it launched under the Widgetbox brand. “These will remain as separate product offerings, but our focus going forward is advertising,” he said.
Why “Flite”? “We wanted a new name not tied to a product category,” Price said. “Flite is evocative and relevant to our industry. And it fits in well with our focus on cloud-based advertising.”