Here’s the story of Swedish startup BannerFlow – they’ve been major players in a new online marketing solution that has changed the rules of the ad creation game. Their success is the proof that the online ad industry is unquestioned and old fashioned and that it needs a complete makeover.
And BannerFlow has taken a head start that will be hard to beat.
A few years back, Daniel Jacobsson, co-founder of BannerFlow, worked as a designer in a Maltese online casino company: Betsson. When tasked with international ad campaigns, he got more than frustrated with the inefficiency surrounding the job.
The problem was that 90% of all companies use a tried and true but slow method in creating online ad campaigns – your designers time is spent copy pasting the original advertisement into different formats, banner sizes, and languages. This is done manually, one by one. It’s not hard to guess how outrageously time consuming it is, and how this directly reflects on the price of the campaigns themselves.
So, instead of dealing with hundreds of individual files separately, Jacobsson started working on a tool that would interactively control multiple ad creation actions simultaneously, since he couldn’t find any solutions anywhere else. The tool more than significantly reduced the time spent manipulating files. Sensing he was onto something, he quit his job and founded BannerFlow, the company we see today.
The results of using BannerFlow were clear. An ad campaign that would’ve normally taken several weeks was now done in 5 hours of work, and better yet, there didn’t seem to be any other similar service out there. This was more than enough to convince previous co-workers to join the group, as well as companies from the online gaming industry as customers.
At first, they weren’t sure of the size of the market. Everywhere they looked it seemed the inefficient ad production was a norm, so a product that would do the same job with 5% of the time spent seemed to have quite enormous potential. Soon enough the Swedish company started growing and expanding their idea overseas.
Currently their service is targeted for enterprises, with customized prices depending on the customers needs. The banner editor quickly creates Flash and HTML 5 banners and contains an elaborate graphic profile with buttons, logotypes and effects, all accessible online from the media library panel. Publishing, unpublishing and generally timetabling your entire campaign is made easy to control.
Today, with a company built completely from personal wallets, with no external capital invested (with a suggestive “yet” from company CEO Daniel Fahlén) and a turnover of SEK10 million (roughly €1.1m), BannerFlow’s good profit margin is only showing towards one direction; up.
“We have quite big plans and visions. One vision is to be the standard to ad production online (and) we believe we can reach it. In 2014 we will see a growth of at least 100% but the potential is bigger”, Fahlén tells ArcticStartup.
He emphasizes the importance of the HTML 5 and translation capacities of the tool, of which the latter is solved by sending a link of the ad into a public page where translators can work on it, while keeping the preview of the banner accessible whenever.
“The market is changed, Flash techniques are being blocked, more and more ads are produced in HTML 5. This is a good timing for BannerFlow. It opens a bit more competition but no one has solved the problem [such as translation] like BannerFlow ”
Last year they opened their office in New York, where US market invasion has begun promisingly.
Latest big news for BannerFlow include a new chairman of the board, the much praised Nicholas Högberg, CEO of telecom company 3. His expertise in building companies will do great good for the growth hungry BannerFlow, as well as being a rather popular entrepreneur figure in Sweden, he’s sure to bring in some interesting attention and visibility. The 1st of April will also be a big day at BannerFlow as their new platform will be released for individual and online subscriptions, which will start at $29.