Q&A with Shane Smith from ShaneDesignUK
Lately we have formed a little tradition of interviewing some of the creative people behind various Rich Media solutions running through Adform. This time is no exception – we are talking to a talented Digital Art Director and Designer from London, UK – Shane Smith. He is the man responsible for all the digital creative material production for CMC Markets.
In this interview we discuss Shane’s experience with digital advertisement, the work he has done for his clients, Adform tools he has used and we explore the future of display ads.
Shane, tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
London-based Digital Art Director/Designer and owner of ShaneDesignUK (www.shanedesign.co.uk) specializing in Flash- and Rich Media display advertising.
I have recently been given a fantastic opportunity to join the marketing team at CMC Markets as Senior Flash-Marketing Designer where I am responsible for designing and developing digital/online assets that support the campaigns of the global marketing teams.
Previously I worked as Digital Art Director for A&N Media (DMGT), operating the digital assets of Associated Newspapers Ltd (MailOnline, Metro.co.uk, EveningStandard.co.uk) where I was responsible for the direction, design and execution of innovative marketing assets for integrated, cross-channel campaigns including microsites and bespoke Rich-Media.
How long have you been working with digital?
I have 18 years commercial experience designing and managing a variety of work from traditional Graphic Design to Online Branding and Web Production. The last ten years has seen me specializing in online display advertising with a huge focus on developing content-rich and bespoke Flash-based creative solutions for some of the world’s biggest and best-known brands.
Our main co-client is CMC Markets, can you tell us about them?
CMC Markets started out as a foreign exchange broker in 1989 when entrepreneur Peter Cruddas started the company with a £10,000 investment. Peter called his firm the "Currency Management Corporation" and set up a small office with just a desk and a phone. In 1996 Peter launched the world's first online forex trading platform. Since then CMC Markets has pioneered the development of online trading to become one of the world’s leading online CFD and financial spread betting providers, with over 26 million trades executed annually across Europe, Asia Pacific and North America.
What is your input into digital communication of CMC Markets?
My experience of ad-serving platforms and creative tools means that I am able to enhance the good work already started by the marketing teams who are making great use of the latest web technologies to aid the communication of their marketing messages.
It’s my task to make the digital display advertising work harder by increasing the relevancy of the company’s marketing propositions whilst optimizing the delivery of the messaging. To achieve this, I will not only be combining some well-crafted marketing messages with my own technical Flash skills and Rich-Media knowledge, but also using CMC Markets’ own valuable data in conjunction with the ad-serving technology and tools offered by Adform.
What is your experience working with Adform tools?
I have only been with CMC Markets for a couple of months, but I was extremely eager from the start to get my hands dirty with what Adform had to offer, and began by drawing up a list of ideas for campaigns that would allow me to experiment with pretty much every creative format that was on offer.
I jumped straight in and found the Adform system easy to use and was subsequently able to create and test our creative against a few different Rich-Media formats. Using previews of these test formats meant I was better equipped to successfully sell these initial ideas and formats through to the marketing managers who began to plan messaging and strategies around the technology.
How did you put the Adform Creative Toolkit into use? Was it helpful?
With the exploration and development of new and innovative display formats available through the Adform Creative Toolkit, it’s my aim to not only increase the relevancy of the digital formats, but also to improve the interaction, engagement and performance of all our digital display advertising.
This job is made so much easier within the Flash authoring environment thanks to the simple drag-and-drop features of the Creative Toolkit component. The scripts are also easy and flexible to customize and with the click of a few buttons my test campaign creative was transposed into a fully working Rich-Media format that I could instantly test and QA.
Have you tried our content management feature for material you developed? What’s your experience with it?
For CMC Markets, reacting to news and alerts from the financial markets is critical and definitely an opportunity not to be missed when communicating and engaging with our customers. Having a Rich Media solution that enables published live banner ads to be updated on the fly by marketing managers is therefore an absolutely crucial tool to deliver significant messages at a given moment.
Using the content management feature has enabled me to produce banner ad templates that remain visually impactful and 100 per cent on-brand whilst delivering hyper-relevant messaging direct from the marketing team. This provides the campaign owners with full control of their assets and thus eliminates the need for them to keep asking me to update copy, images or animations on banner ads and re-submitting them for ad-serving, which is definitely a win-win situation for all concerned.
Can you tell us what are the specifics of online display advertisement in the UK? How do you think it differs from mainland Europe?
Spending on internet display advertising in the UK has been widely reported for many years as being far greater than on the continent. But thanks to innovations in design, technology and targeting we have seen a rise in mainstream European brands using online display for branding campaigns. I think the recent European growth in adoption of online display advertising is mainly due to the accessibility to technology-based companies such as Adform who are now offering the latest in what the web has to offer the display advertising industry.
What do you think will be the next big thing in digital advertisement?
Many brands and advertisers will continue to try especially hard to make friends with their audience. Google “+1s” and Facebook “Likes” are just the beginning. Advertisers will continue to turn to more engaging content such as video and social feeds to maintain relevant and meaningful dialogue with their customers. But it’s the social interaction element of a new breed of display advertising that will see consumers communicating with each other and sharing with their friends direct from the ads themselves – this will be something smart brands will be keen to facilitate.
Consumers will also benefit from the social sharing and appreciation of marketing messages, as ads for the more popular products and brands will be presented more often. Suppliers of television or print media, on the other hand, will find themselves getting the short end of the stick as brand budgets are increasingly moved online.
Thanks for your time Shane and best of luck and creativity!