“We’re not trying to build a slightly better mousetrap. We’re trying to reinvent the way display advertising is thought about,” said Ari Lewine, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Triple Lift. Lewine was working at AppNexus with fellow Triple Lift co-founders Eric Berry and Shaun Zacharia when they became disillusioned with the incremental gains they were seeing from tweaking algorithms. Together, they saw an opportunity to go a new way. “What we’re doing is fundamentally different than anything that’s been done before,” Lewine said. “Display advertising started 15 years ago and they’re still running the same old banner ads.”

Triple Lift’s main function is analyzing a brand’s images across platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc., tracking them to see how they’re shared and how much. As the data are collected, Triple Lift dynamically creates ad units that use the most popular images that are integrated into their respective social networks in such a way that users can easily share them as they could any other form of content. They’re currently analyzing 24 million images a day from brands such as Martha Stewart, HP, and H&M.

ImageLewine sees this as something that couldn’t have been done before for a number of reasons, if only because “the visual web is a new thing. It’s happening quickly and before our very eyes.” He referenced companies like eBay, which recently redesigned their homepage to reflect the growing trend towards visually focused content. Triple Lift also comes at the right time when consumer dissatisfaction with obtrusive ads is only increasing; ad-blocking software installations are on the rise (by mid 2012, ClarityRay estimated 9.26% of all impressions to be blocked), yet new and maturing platforms draw more users away from traditional media.

This is where Triple Lift sees the most potential: creating ads that aren’t thought of as ads, and instead fit seamlessly into content.  Traditionally, Lewine said publishers had to choose between either hurting the consumer experience and making money, or forsaking ads to protect the consumer experience. But with Triple Lift, Lewine thinks, “You can make a better experience and more money.” 

And, as any brand knows, word of mouth marketing is by far the most effective form, but Lewine thinks it’s undervalued because it’s not as easy to track as a traditional banner click. He said, “A click from Pinterest is worth approximately 10 clicks from a banner in terms of likelihood to make a purchase.” Plus, if content gets shared by one brand advocate, it can generate 50-200 unique consumers and as many clicked impressions. Ultimately, he wants this form of earned media as a metric to measure brand advertising. “If content goes viral, that’s earned media. Brands need to be rewarded for that.”