ari-levineAri Lewine is the co-founder and chief strategy officer of TripleLift, which provides brands and advertisers with technology to automatically and more efficiently create and serve visual native ads.

Tell us a little about yourself. Describe your job, how long you’ve been doing it, and how you got into this field.

As chief strategy officer, my job is to ensure TripleLift continues to challenge the digital marketing industry's status quo and bring innovative products and solutions to brand's and their agencies. In particular, I'm personally focused on how to leverage beautiful images and visual content as a means for brand's to tell their story and more closely connect with consumers. In the last year, we've been working on native ecommerce, bringing native ads to companies like Kmart, Overstock.com, and OfficeMax, among others. We've also introduced native video advertising, which is a more friendly type of video ad that matches the unique look and feel of each site and allow the user to opt-in to watch branded content. This is in contrast to many video ads online which make the user watch the ad in order to access content.

I got into the field in 2009 when I saw a massive shift happening from humans making advertising decisions to computers and algorithms making those decisions in real time. Being a big believer in the ability of technology to bring efficiency, I was attracted to the space.

What is TripleLift?

TripleLift is a native advertising technology company. Currently, the primary form of advertising online is the banner ad which is now over 20 years old. Banner ads today are often tuned out due to banner blindness, are less effective on mobile devices, and are generally not well-liked among people. TripleLift was built to solve these problems. Our technology takes beautiful visual content from brands — things like recipes, fashion looks, beautiful travel locales — and formats that content to look and feel like the other editorial content on the page. The result is an ad that is genuinely helpful and beautiful. Imagine an "ad" that people actually like!

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In terms of effectiveness, TripleLift's native ads outperform banner ads by 300% in terms of click through rates, ad engagement, and brand lift.

With TripleLift, advertisers can:

  • Take the brand's content and format it exactly like the unique look and feel of every single website (We do this across hundreds of websites.).
  • Enable social sharing functionality within the ad unit.
  • Use video as part of the native ad.

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What changes in your industry made you realize that your product/service would fill a void?

The major changes that created an opportunity for TripleLift are the increased use of smartphones and tablets to consume content and the increase in image-centric sites designs.

The increase in mobile has created a major challenge for brands as traditional banners are far less effective on mobile. Mobile has now surpassed desktop in terms of time spent consuming content — so its a high priority for the industry to fill that void of a scalable and effective mobile ad format.

Also, there has been a 'Pinterestification' of the internet. Many publishers are launching new site designs that feature large images. This new design doesn't often allow for banner ad placements.

How do you see your industry evolving in the next few years?

I see more media moving programmatic, and increasingly, there will be more formats that will be a challenge for brands and agencies. Already, many of the new high-growth platforms, such as BuzzFeed, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, StumbleUpon, Upworthy, etc., are creating their own native formats and exchanges, which makes it hard for advertisers to achieve real scale since they cannot do the same thing on any of these sites.

Originally published Jul 24, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated December 02 2014