Flipboard today introduced its Storyboard offering, a new ad and content unit that enables brands to curate articles, images, GIFs, videos, and audio in one place to paint a more complete picture for the customer. It will appear as a browsable carousel that shows up in a user’s feed.
Brands interested in implementing this option will work directly with Flipboard, submitting all their creative assets beforehand. The final product will be stitched together in a grid-like format to present what the company believes will be a “powerful and complete narrative that blends in with how we present content to our readers.” The first brand to implement this offering is Sephora.
Within each storyboard, you can tap a piece of content to have it displayed full-screen. The idea is similar to Twitter Moments or Adobe’s Livefyre product Storify, but instead of individual users doing the curation, it’s done by Flipboard’s team of human editors.
Organizations interested in taking advantage of this won’t need to create new assets for their Storyboard. Flipboard said that its algorithm will extract and stitch together branded content from multiple sites and will include articles, images, animated GIFs, videos, and audio files.
What does this mean for the product’s 90 million monthly readers? When they’re confronted with an example of this offering, they can swipe from right to left to follow a full story. This swiping feature is a new gesture introduced just for Storyboard.
While it can certainly be considered as an ad unit, Flipboard thinks of the feature more in relation to content, which it plans to focus around special events. In a way, it brings together various types of content in a more pleasing manner — right now, if you have images, GIFs, or videos, you have to flip through them using Flipboard’s de facto method. But in cases such as the U.S. presidential election, the World Cup, New Year’s, or major events worldwide, this can provide a good dashboard summary of the visual pieces.
Storyboards will leverage Flipboard’s interest graph technology so the appropriate readers are targeted. This is the latest advertising tool that the company has offered, following the release of vertical video ads, cinema loop ads, promoted items, and more. Its addition seems to be in sync with what chief executive Mike McCue once shared with VentureBeat:
It’s about reaching a person when they’re in an aspirational state…One of the challenges in products is with mobile; when are people using them? When are they checking out products? Flipboard is diving into your interests and passions. Do you want to be a better parent? Where do you want to travel on summer vacation? People do a deep dive, and they do it when in an aspirational state or personal prime time. They’re thinking about their future, shopping, open to inspiration and ideas.
Flipboard has been working hard to monetize its product, but it’s not interested in sacrificing the quality of the ads, meaning there’s probably no version of Google AdWords that will be released in the short-term. The company wants to offer premium-quality ads, but in ways that meet the needs of a mobile audience. While it would normally display full-screen static ads, Storyboards provide a more immersive experience, one that could be appealing to travel, luxury, interior design, and fashion brands.
The release also heralds the unveiling of new features that are said to be coming to Flipboard soon, such as autoplay videos, which will add motion to images, à la Ken Burns.