Billboards aren’t just for highways anymore.
In the next couple of weeks, San Francisco-based startup Bread is rolling out the beta version of Bread Pro, an expanded version of its link shortening and ad service. The paid version of the tool lets brands build fully-customizable billboards to occupy visitors while their content is loading and comes with a host of personalization and analytics options. The Bread team is confident that with this added flexibility in timing, content type and frequency the tool will steadily drive social return on investment and click through rates.
Thankfully, I was able to get a sneak peak at the product. Spoiler alert: It’s pretty cool. I sat down, turned on my Bluetooth wireless earbuds, and got to work playing with the new platform.
The new product is still in testing, but lonelybrand got a sneak peak, as well as the chance to chat with Alan Chan, founder and CEO at Bread. Here’s a look at what he had to say about the new product and what it means for brands.
How Bread PRO Works
According to Chan, “Bread is simply technology that lets you insert a one-page billboard in front of the content you share.” That process looks something like this:
The New York Knicks are using a Bread billboard to share upcoming game schedules before video content. Check out what it looks like here: http://bre.ad/173kkm.
I equated the billboards to a friendlier, less obnoxious version of a pop-up ad, but Chan disagrees. “Bread is nothing close to a pop-up,” he said, “because the billboard is very relevant to the content itself. Plus, the user has already opted in by engaging with that brand on social media.”
Bread billboards are intended to be media-rich and can include pretty much anything you want, from social links to email capture campaigns to videos.
The tool is a means for merging what users want on social media (the fun stuff) with what brands need to deliver (the marketing stuff). Studies show that the leading reason why fans unlike a Facebook brand page is because they feel bombarded by marketing posts. Billboards allow community managers to stick actionable messaging (email signups, social icons, etc.) in on the road to the main content; to focus on the fun stuff and let the billboards do the marketing talk.
“Bread offers brands a double click,” says Chan. When users click a bre.ad link, they’re directed to not one but two pieces of content: first the billboard, then the content itself. And that’s good news for social ROI — in fact, Bread’s clickthrough rate blows other popular ad platforms out of the water.
The real value of Bread PRO lies in the customization options. Brands can choose how long the ad will display and how often it will appear to returning visitors. You can also put up to five ads in a rotation for the sake of variety.
When it comes to building the ads themselves, everything can be done within the Bread PRO interface, from plugging in content to adjusting frequency.
To try things out for yourself, request an invite for Bread Pro here.