At the heart of our ambition for Flashtalking is to build the industry's best platform for managing digital advertising. For us, that means that our platform can sit at the center of our clients' digital campaign management, regardless of which digital channel their ads are to appear on. So while Flashtalking has traditionally focused mostly on the open web, in February we are launching the beta of our social integration platform to enable the trafficking and management of personalized advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. We're also investing in all manner of video delivery, including Connected TV and OTT. And we intend to get to audio as soon a possible.
When I say the best platform for managing digital advertising, I know, of course, that "best" is always a subjective term. Ultimately we take our direction from our clients, because we exist to meet the needs of big sophisticated advertisers. So in that context, I'd like to break it down a little bit and talk about the six ways in which we believe we can deliver "the best" platform for advertisers.
Independent of Media
First and most importantly, our platform is independent of media. Now, what do we mean by that? It means, as the virtual delivery agent of the ads, we have no vested interest in or obligation to the owner of the media, i.e., the publishers or the platform, nor do we have any conflict of interest with the buying platform that is driving the purchase. In fact, we are free to work with all the buying platforms, giving clients the freedom to combine or move between buying platforms and publishers while maintaining the integrity of campaigns and data.
Often people take this independence of media to be related to being able to trust the numbers that we deliver because we are not beholden to the publisher or the ad platform, and this is true. However, our independence of media means more than just accurate reporting of the numbers.
At Flashtalking, being independent of the media means we also do not build user audiences. We're not in the business of monetizing data from interactions within our client campaigns. We don't monetize media, and therefore we are not in conflict with the platforms on which we operate. There are no inherent platform conflicts for us with retailers, either. There is no inherent conflict with any publisher nor with any DSP or other ad tech provider, and that means that Flashtalking can go where others can't. Our business model enables us to stay outside the conflicts of interests that prevent data from flowing from one platform to the next. Simply, Flashtalking can integrate where others are not welcome.
The second reason our platform is the best platform for managing ads is that it transverses channels. We are not just a platform for display on the open web. We are a platform that can manage ads in display, native, video and with our new release, social. And as we move forward, we intend to form partnerships with retail media as well so that we can deliver ads in environments that are owned by retailers. We will be the trusted party to convey the data back and forth between advertisers and their retail partners in a way that protects both user privacy, as well as the proprietary ownership of the first-party data of both the advertiser and the retailer.
Personalization is Built-In
Third, we're the best platform because we have built-in personalization. Personalization is inherent in the foundational design of Flashtalking. While personalized online creative is still the purview of only a relative handful of sophisticated advertisers, it is quickly becoming a best practice in our industry. Why is that? Because every objective piece of research that we've seen major clients run reinforces the core promise of personalization. Namely, that if you can increase the relevance of the message to an individual consumer, there is an opportunity to engage their attention more significantly, and the opportunity to deliver an offer or a message that is welcomed by that consumer similarly improves. After all, what is the point of doing data-driven advertising and carefully differentiating what audiences you buy, if you continue to say the same thing to everyone? At Flashtalking, we make personalization easy and accessible to all clients who want to deploy it.
Better, Granular, Portable Data
Number four, Flashtalking delivers better, more granular and more integrated data to clients so that they can make better decisions. While Google has begun to restrict access to the Google User ID, other platforms similarly continue to restrict the granularity of the data available back to advertisers. As platforms limit the portability of data, advertisers find themselves increasingly challenged to assemble the datasets and the insights they need to make optimal decisions. Flashtalking's platform includes cookieless technology and a data integration platform called IDconnect that allows advertisers to stitch together disparate data to form a coherent, more useful data set. Flashtalking is in a unique position to provide this solution because display advertising offers the most significant footprint on which to match data that most clients have available to them.
Faster and Easier UI and Tools
The Flashtalking platform is simply faster and easier to use than the alternatives. We are in the process of rolling out programmatic integrations with buying platforms, DSPs, data providers and verification partners to take the manual work out of launching ad campaigns. But beyond these integrations, Flashtalking's platform provides a more advanced spreadsheet solution for handling large, complex campaigns than competitors. And the redesigned UI is faster and more responsive than other products as well.
It's Well Supported
Our clients and agency partners want support. Typically, they choose Flashtalking because they are executing sophisticated data-driven strategies, and no matter how good the tech is, they will often need some guidance. They may need strategic support, to more quickly identify the opportunities for the tech to create value, or to take advantage of best practices. They may need operational support to co-manage parts of the process. Or they may be in total self-serve mode, but need the rapid response of a live, dedicated account team when they have questions. Flashtalking has always been a service-first organization, with the awards to prove it. But in the last two years, we have also invested significantly in building a global tracking system, to help us respond even more quickly to requests. We have developed a searchable knowledge base of product documentation, best practices, strategies for industry verticals, operational how-to guides and FAQs. And finally, we have launched Flashtalking Campus, our full training and certification program.
Now, I would be the first one to admit that we are not all the way there on all six of these points. But we are making rapid progress, and we have the resources and the client commitments to continue to push the envelope forward. We understand that for clients and agencies, switching their ad management platform seems like a challenging endeavor. And so, we are committed to making that process easier with industry-leading support, training and a knowledge base that puts best practices at our partner's fingertips.
Perhaps some people will not agree with our definition of what makes the best platform—and that's okay—but most everyone can agree that our industry needs a viable alternative to Google. Most of us can agree that being hostage to only one platform is not in anyone's interest. Because of that, we've made our platform modular.
You can use Flashtalking as primary ad server, or you can choose to use Google and use us for our dynamic personalization; or you can use our advanced tracking and analytics in combination with other products. At the end of the day, we don't assume to know what's best for any individual client. But the client does, and so it's our job to work with those clients, to be part of that solution, to be creative and find ways to solve problems. Ultimately our goal is to earn the position of a trusted partner, not just for the delivery of a piece of technology, but as a partner in solving client challenges and helping them build competitive advantage with better capabilities and more productive use of their advertising budgets.
By John Nardone, CEO