Flipboard Wants You to Swipe Right (or Left) on Its New Ad Product

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Flipboard's new Storyboard ad unit lets brands assemble different media formats. Credit: Flipboard

Flipboard will announce a new ad product Friday that should have marketers swiping right with approval.

Dubbed Storyboard, the new offering will allow brands to share an in-depth narrative by stitching together formats such as video, articles, images, gifs and sound.

Flipboard, an app that provides a magazine-like experience for readers by sharing stories they can flip through by swiping up or down, will also introduce a new gesture to its global user base of 90-million, as swiping left or right will now engage them with Storyboard ads.

If someone swipes right (or left) on an Audi ad, for example, she'll be taken to a browsable carousel featuring video of the vehicle in action, interactive images of its interior and the ability to customize an actual Audi to their liking.

United Polaris and Sephora are among the first brand partners to roll out Storyboard campaigns. The former will use it to promote its international premium travel experience while Sephora will use Storyboard as part of its holiday campaign.

"Storyboard will enable brands to tell a story on a mobile device with their best assets," said Mike McCue, cofounder and CEO of Flipboard. "A lot of times on mobile, if you want to do something immersive, you either have to do a popup or click something that will open another experience. And when you do that people fall off and it is not a great user experience."

"Marketers are realizing that it's not just about putting pieces of content together," he added. "It's also about putting a story together. And we're doing it in a way that feels natural to our users."

Mr. McCue said the new ad format is ideal for brands that have a large cache of media. The company can use its algorithms to pull branded content from multiple URLs and present them together for its Storyboard ad format. Marketers can also use its Interest Graph to better target readers based on their reading habits and interests.

"Brands are challenged to build authenticity with consumers," said Cecily Mak, chief revenue officer at Flipboard. "In part, this is because brands do not capture consumer attention long enough to tell their stories from start to finish. Flipboard Storyboard helps brands to tell their story in a highly relevant and contextual way."

"Our readers not only want bite-sized, snack-able content," she added. "Rather, we've seen a 47% increase over the past year in the time people spend reading articles and watching video content. So it's a natural next step to give brands the chance to take better advantage of these moments."

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