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Lyle Underkoffler, Chief Marketing Officer at Smartly.io talks about video advertising trends and content creation in the world of ad tech.
The changes to measurement and attribution have given advertisers the chance to be playful again; advertisers should test new strategies, such as new creative elements, storylines, and moods.
1. Please enlighten us about your role and responsibilities at Smartly.io. How do you pivot on enriching customer experiences?
I serve as the Chief Marketing Officer at Smartly.io. We are a platform focused on solving some of advertising’s most complex problems generating better results. I came to Smartly.io to make the shift from brand to a SaaS platform as I saw an opportunity to be on the ground floor of helping advertisers resolve so many of the challenges and constraints I faced in my previous roles. Building off this, my work with Smartly.io is focused heavily on the creation of exceptional user experiences through a balance of creative, media and intelligence. I work with the Smartly.io team to drive innovative go-to-market strategies and further accelerate our business growth through happy customers.
With massive shifts in the advertising industry and consumer behavior continuing to pose challenges — from inefficient internal processes to fragmented messaging externally – we are zeroed in on addressing customer and industry needs while helping advertisers reach audiences with more engaging experiences along their digital journey.
Our customers choose Smartly.io because of our relentless focus on them and their business. We partner with them to deliver the best business results and offer a configurable and scalable platform. Smartly.io is keenly focused on how solve problems for our customers – especially in this fast-paced environment of social media platforms where technology, consumer behavior and regulation shift constantly. Having the customer at the core of everything at Smartly.io has been a key building block in our company and will continue to be the cornerstone of our strategy in the future.
2. “Powering beautifully creative ads” is Smartly.io’s tagline. How does Smartly.io strike a balance between creativity and scalability of available data?
As brands continue to churn out ads at strategic moments, standing out among billions of pieces of content across many social platforms has become a challenge. Most creative teams lack the bandwidth to manually produce creative variations across markets, products, or business lines. Additionally, silos across teams and tools cause communication breakdowns and slow time-to-market. Data has always been available to power creative decisions. The difference is that there is SO much more now at a much higher volume. Different kinds of data, huge amounts of it, and oftentimes it is disparate. Smartly.io is committed to helping brands harness that data, organize insights and act on them. The data is there to unleash creativity even further – more than was ever possible before. Data is an accelerant for creativity that powers performance and Smartly.io is here to spark the fire.
The changes to measurement and attribution have given advertisers the chance to be playful again; advertisers should test new strategies, such as new creative elements, storylines, and moods.
Then, advertisers should learn from those tests, put those insights into action, and quickly pivot to find the “one” that will resonate with their intended audience. Linking creative with media and intelligence is the future.
3. Google ad-tracking tools are about to change dramatically with Google’s efforts to phase out the third-party cookie on Chrome browsers by 2022. Please comment on the future of advertising and how Smartly.io approaches this situation?
Privacy has been a growing topic and for good reason – the AdTech industry has not been successful in communicating about how consumer data is used and how it can build better experiences. With changes coming from companies like Google and Apple it will be important for marketers to figure out other ways to build meaningful connections with consumers to create a value exchange (in this case data for a better experience). There is also an opportunity to improve via creative testing.
Smartly.io is building what we call the Modern Advertising Cloud – a single place for modern advertisers to break down silos across teams, across audiences, and across channels with an end-to-end solution covering creative, media and intelligence. We partner with 700+ brands — including FanDuel, Uber, StubHub and Under Armour — to scale their results on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Google and TikTok. As a premium social media advertising solution, Smartly.io empowers teams to create smarter ads designed to scale across channels. The result is improved customer experiences to grow audience engagement and ongoing loyalty. With the shifts in privacy, we believe that the future centers on contextual advertising, creative testing, and data interoperability. A lot of what we have been pioneering and seeing success with involves robust testing with creative and audiences, which respects users’ privacy. Infusing compelling storytelling attracts and retains consumers on their terms and this creates a win-win.
4. What do you think of a multi-platform approach to social advertising? Why should brands consider it?
As more customer touchpoints become available, the more fragmented the customer journey becomes. In turn, the more difficult predicting that customer journey becomes. This fragmented journey is especially true for social platforms, as today’s consumers use different social platforms for various reasons. Ultimately, a consumer now determines their own journey. They may discover a product on Pinterest, turn to TikTok or Instagram for a more authentic product experience, and ultimately purchase a product through Facebook. Therefore, advertisers need to ensure they have an active presence on all social platforms to deliver memorable experiences that are orchestrated across every step of the journey.
We’re also seeing advertisers struggle with predicting the customer journey caused a loss in intent signals. One platform dominating performance is a thing of the past. Instead, advertisers must diversify their platform investments to mitigate risk and reach consumers across the purchase journey, no matter the platform.
Leveraging a multi-platform strategy also allows you to reach incremental audiences. Leveraging influencers and video content on Meta allows you to bring your brand story to a new audience.On Pinterest we are now seeing an increase in male users across the auto, travel, and gaming industries. There is a time and a place for each platform and brands need to reach consumers where they are.
5. Could you update us on any new products/services Smartly.io is working on? Which social media platform is trending now and how is Smartly.io capturing the audience?
While I can’t give away any of our trade secrets, I can say this: we are focused on building solutions that help advertisers gain unparalleled reach and relevance across platforms as we continue to navigate the constantly changing social and digital advertising landscape.
To continue our organic growth, we have taken further steps toward leading the rapidly changing advertising market through acquisitions of companies at the forefront of digital marketing, multi-platform launch, new product features and our annual Sofa Summit. While new relationships are beginning, old friendships are still as strong as ever. Nearly a year ago, Smartly.io announced that our platform for Snapchat is in General Availability, allowing all brands to utilize Smartly.io tools and services in record time. Our partnership with Snap Inc. first began in 2020, and we could not be more thrilled to continue to work with Snapchat.
Over the past year, we’ve received a phenomenal number of positive responses on the increased speed and power of our Creative Editor experience and Ad Ranking capabilities to scale creative production and provide performance feedback. The upgraded Creative Editor experiences unify workflows and design across several creative formats.
We’ve also recently introduced three unique enhancements for retailers including a platform-agnostic feature that provides an overall visual representation of campaign budget pacing progress and Dynamic Local Inventory Ads that leverage a local inventory feed to provide insight into a product’s store-level price and availability.
Together, these advances help our customers navigate the privacy-first landscape and create the optimal ads for growth through a focus on top performing creative and efficiently managing ad dollars.
6. Smartly.io joined TikTok Marketing Partner Program recently. What was the goal behind this partnership?
It’s no longer a question of whether TikTok should be part of a brand’s strategy today. With 1.5B monthly active users and a goal to triple its revenue this year, TikTok has solidified its place as one of the most important platforms for reaching highly engaged audiences. As advertisers expand to new social platforms, producing on-brand and engaging creative requires the right knowledge and creative bandwidth to succeed. Through this partnership with TikTok, that’s exactly what we will be delivering. As a badged partner, our creative and managed services team at Smartly.io is now a go-to partner for developing and scaling highly visual and engaging creative on the TikTok platform. This is in addition to helping advertisers ramp up their campaign efforts and tap into best practices for how to advertise on TikTok.
7. What are the top three video advertising trends that every advertiser in 2022 must know of?
In this new marketing landscape, brands rely on digital and social media advertising to keep their business thriving. For consumers, more time at home means more time glued to their screens, resulting in increased video consumption.
Posting and commenting across social media platforms facilitates the desire to be heard, but video acts as the most powerful medium to connect. Video allows consumers to see, hear, and feel the content on a deeper emotional level than written content. Recording is a form of entertainment consumers can’t get enough of, driving more views and engagement. As new platforms push audience fragmentation, video is the most effective content at building brands. Video’s ability to cultivate brand awareness while reinforcing an emotional connection is one of the most promising formats to drive long-term brand loyalty, engagement, and repeat purchases.
In-stream video placement play ads that are 15 seconds or less. You have seven seconds to capture the attention of your viewer.
A good formula to follow for successful conversions is to captivate (gain attention), relate (empathize with their needs), and associate (seeing your brand as a solution.) To hook your audience, think about it like a first date: you can’t be too aggressive, or you won’t get through the first course, but you can’t be too boring, or you won’t get a callback. Creating intrigue drives a desire to learn more about yourself (aka your product or brand.)
Today’s consumers want a greater sense of belonging and an authentic connection with brands. Engaging with consumers across their end-to-end journey with a consistent voice, look, and feel while delivering a captivating brand story through compelling creative, is key.
8. What is your hack to create content that converts? What does advertising mean to you in today’s day and age?
There are few tools that capture the full experience of a customer – we are working with a great set of tools at Smartly.io, but the industry is still seeing a delay in time to insight and connectivity to react to customer needs/concerns. Systems can only do so much; However, the interoperability of systems that allow for the surfacing of significant and meaningful insight, as well as reactions across different types of decision makers both inside and outside of applications, is important.
I would say that for an industry that has data scientists taking ad information to the next level in delivering personalized ads with an outcome for brands, we are grossly underutilizing those skill sets to optimize and automate tasks that can lead to a better customer and employee experience. We are well on our way at Smartly.io, but I believe broadly that this is a challenge within the industry sector that must be solved , because of the complexity and lack of connected tool sets that move at the speed of our customer base.
9. What work-related hack do you use to enjoy maximum productivity?
I’m not sure if it is a hack, but getting up early is a recipe to maximizing productivity for me. The routine of rising, setting intentions for the day and then exercising helps me to focus. It also gives me the energy that I need to and gets my day going with a success. By that I mean, if I can finish a workout, I start the day with an accomplishment that I am proud of. It’s a way to build success into a routine and I find that the happiness and positivity cascade through the remainder of the day.
10. What are your favorite recommendations for books, movies, series, or podcasts?
One of my favorite podcasts is by Adam Grant called Work Life. He’s an organizational psychologist who has an amazing perspective and guest list. His premise is simple, how do we make work more enjoyable (in his words ‘not suck’). I find inspiration in his topics and believe that a focus on people and work culture is critical for success.
A book that I read recently that made an impact is ‘Dare to Lead’ by Brene Brown. I’d highly suggest it. Her focus on being humble and being brave resonates with me (and is also central to the culture at Smartly.io). I also think that her themes of being vulnerable and empathetic as a leader is something that we can all learn from.
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Lyle Underkoffler is a digital leader with significant experience building large global teams and brands. With deep knowledge of product management and innovative go-to-market strategies, he demonstrates expertise in developing breakthrough user experiences by balancing creative excellence with insights and data resulting in high-growth businesses.
He also is passionate about mentoring start-ups and advising transformative businesses and has brilliant expertise in business development and investment/acquisitions.

Powering beautifully effective ads. Smartly.io automates every step of social advertising to unlock greater performance and creativity.
We are a global team of over 800+ Smartlies, building a platform that automates creative production and ad buying at scale. We manage 4 billion euros in ad spend and serve more than 650 brands worldwide, including eBay, Uber and TechStyle. Our team has footholds in 17 cities around the world and represents 68 different nationalities.
We are growing fast and hiring for many interesting positions globally. Learn more at smartly.io/careers and smartly.io/culturehandbook.
https://www.smartly.io/


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