Advertising is the fastest growing industry online today, and the holy grail of that industry is rich media. One of the largest gems on that grail is EyeWonder. This rich media provider is at the head of its class and is only accelerating in its position. For its part, EyeWonder is in a position to innovate the rich media world in ways that are truly evolutionary.
John Vincent, CEO and co-founder of EyeWonder, took some time to speak with Adotas about the company and how it has gotten to where it is and what are some things we should expect to see from the rich media industry going forward.
When we spoke with Vincent, he was in the middle of an international tour promoting the growth of the company which currently has seven offices in the U.S. and is expanding to four offices in Europe.
Founded in 1999, EyeWonder saw immense growth from the very beginning. In July of 2000, it launched the Instant Play Video Ad, a revolutionary new online ad format that let audiences experience in-banner video without having to worry about a player. By 2001 CNN Interactive had become the first online news organization to offer EyeWonder’s video banner ads; and by the end of 2002, AOL, ValueClick, Yahoo! and over 300 other top publishing sites offered EyeWonder’s ad products. (Today that number has quintupled to over 1,500 sites).
What really seems to make EyeWonder successful, according to Vincent, is that they manage to stay at the center in the migration of ad dollars by serving major agencies as strategic partners, as well as to avoid some classic pitfalls, which we’ll get to in a minute.
EyeWonder provides more compelling and more effective rich media campaigns for their clients by helping big companies maximize their potential for success while minimizing the chance for strategic mistakes. This is also the key to what makes this provider different from its competitors. They work as seasoned consultants to creative and media buying clients and offer their insights and assistance throughout the process of bringing ad campaigns online. Vincent claims that his firm supplies “all the services a client wants and none that it doesn’t.”
EyeWonder offers clients the option of having either a self-service solutions set or a full-service solutions set with self service options that best fit one’s needs. EyeWonder’s AdWonder™ Flash Component is an authoring tool that enables creatives to develop, design and preview, test and approve rich media ad units without ever leaving their preferred authoring environment: Flash. These new tools enhance creativity while simultaneously meeting today’s tighter deadlines because it removes the traditional back and forth between the agency and the rich media provider. The company also offers an account management team, campaign manager, design consultants and designers for a full service option on every campaign, and can work with any agency in either mode (or a combination) based on that agency’s discretion.
The bottom-line success of each campaign boils down to its performance. EyeWonder has the rare ability to optimize consumer data and provide real-time rich media metrics. Data can be put into an optimizer which produces real-time rich media optimization. This is in addition to the company’s depth and breadth of metrics reported, which they claim is among the most comprehensive in the industry. Plus, Vincent adds, “it’s extremely easy to use. What’s the point in having great results if no one can figure out how to get to them?”
Back to avoiding the classic pitfalls, Vincent emphasized the fact that EyeWonder does this by sticking to four primary principles: integrity, morale, commitment, and customer service. At EyeWonder he says, there is “a sports culture. It takes a team to win the game.” It is Vincent’s policy to “over-hire and over-train employees before putting them in the trenches.” He maintains that “clients should be treated the same as co-workers. This creates a strong trust and family atmosphere when dealing with clients.” The same consideration is taken with employees. “We build fun into the job. Dedication comes from ownership, and you have to have fun at what you do in order to be dedicated to it.”
These components are all contributing factors to the company’s triple digit growth rate; now serving 2-3 billion impressions a month. The company constantly listens to its customers and fine tunes its products and services to best meet their expanding needs. It refines its technology offerings to ensure that its clients receive a unique and complete solution set tailored to their business needs and skill sets.
At the end of the day, what makes EyeWonder win at the rich media game is really listening to the direct needs of the customers. “We ask customers, ‘What is going to make you and your specific client the happiest, and the most money?’” To this end, EyeWonder grows relationships from the ground up so that large international agencies can achieve economies of scale while not sacrificing the necessary service and technical requirements at the local and account level. This same approach works its way even into the contracts and enhances the trust between EyeWonder and the client due to the level of transparency in the operations.
The recent industry acquisition frenzy has not fazed the firm very much either. If anything, Vincent believes that it will drive EyeWonder’s business further. “We’ve actually seen our business increase when our competitors get acquired and morphed into some larger, less-focused company. We gain customers who are suddenly dealing with confusing new hierarchies and processes and with promises that ‘things will get better once we get through these teething issues’. Fortunately for us, many of them don’t have the time or the willingness to wait around there for things to improve, and we are able to quickly convert these displaced customers into EyeWonder customers for life.”
EyeWonder has built a large, loyal following on a business that thrives on innovative products and service methodologies which deliver quantifiable results on every video or rich media ad campaign. They treat their clients and their employees like family. They set an example for the industry and continue pioneering new ways to make rich media richer and more effective for the growing ad budgets that are being shifted to online. It is no wonder that John Vincent loves every minute of his job.