Citia – The Start of Web 2.Woah!



Despite all of the channels there are out there for brand marketers – the web, email, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook – let’s face it, information might be immediate, but the channels are still fairly static.  Web 2.0 may be the Social Web, but so far, content marketing has been pretty web 2 ho-hum.

Enter Citia, a New York-based startup that’s using an interactive card technology that not only work on any screen and across devices: it’s bringing 3D to the 2D online world and allowing marketers to deliver as much – or as little – information as they choose- on the fly, when necessary.

And proving that small may well be the next big thing.

It’s not the kind of ‘smart card’ that you use for the laundry. This interactive card is a lot smarter than that.

LindaHolliday Headshot

Linda Holliday

“We’re doing two things,” said founder and CEO Linda Holliday, former president of Digitas Health who has launched over 50 new products, many of them for global brands, and who continues to leverage her experience (and Wharton MBA) as a member and former director of the New York Angels, where she invests primarily in digital publishing startups. “We’re using HTML 5, not just for display, but also for modularizing content so that the pieces not only become social: they’re interchangeable and can be easily swapped out with other content to more accurately target a given audience.”

No programming is necessary, so campaigns can be built – or changed – on the fly.

Permissions and attributes can also be embedded for more focused targeting.  Although the cards may flow to any screen with any content the brand chooses to post, including images, text, audio and/or video, each card also delivers a doorway to a deeper experience – app or web – no matter what platform people are using, and the analytics flow back to the content owner, who is able to track where the card went, with whom it was shared and how the users/audience interacted with it.

It may not be the end of walled gardens, but it’s a disruption.

And between the Internet of Things and 3D printing, it’s about time online – the grand dame of interactive – became multi-dimensional as well.  Citia accomplishes this by combining elements that we’ve been familiar with all of our lives: moving through a multi-dimensional world. And cards.

“The card idea is so human,” said Holliday. And familiar! “We played with them as kids.”

You can thumb-swipe to navigate through the content, too, just as you can with, well, cards. But changed up a bit: Citia cards have ‘backs’ where content/card

owners can post anything from ads to a transactional interface, to a coupon – necessary information that you may not want front and center where it might detract from the more powerful content/message on the ‘front’ of the card.

The company started with books, deconstructing non-fiction then reconstructing the work into modular pieces that could be reordered to the users’ preferences and needs, so that they could easily navigate to the parts that they found to be  most relevant. A sort of interactive CliffNotes, on steroids, and a reinvention of the reading experience – just as Citia cards are now reinventing marketing.

In fact, the latest Citia-powered title to hit the screens is eMusic 2013 – The Year in Music. This marks the launch of their new mobile-optimized UI providing users with an immersive digital experience that’s both entertaining and delightful.

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Key UI features:

  1. Finger-friendly thumb swipe, like Tinder
  2. Easily share what’s important with friends
  3. Content optimized to be skimmable or dive deep into what interests the reader
  4. Content/Cards are accessed with 3 basic and intuitive motions: swipe, tap, scroll
  5. Using our people-first design approach, it’s built from the ground up in the most natural way users know how to navigate their devices.
  6. Available cross-platform: Android, PC and Mac; on smartphones and tablets.

You can experience it on the web or download it on the AppStore

Businesses and brands are using Citia to create excitement, build relationships, create a deeper user engagement and monetize in multiple ways. When the company launched their CMS platform at SXSW with Snoop Lion Reincarnated, 42% of downloaders clicked on merchandise and media, there was a 119% increase in Facebook reach (over text posts); and a 548% increase in combined engagement metrics.

And all of its literal moving parts and pieces are shareable across different mediums, from email to Twitter to Facebook – or whatever may be coming down the pike next.

Content may be king and distribution queen, but keep your eyes on Citia: they may be holding the keys to the kingdom.

About the author: Aanarav Sareen

Aanarav Sareen is the co-founder of PaLaCart and Poln, two of the world’s leading e-commerce platforms. Prior to that, he was the lead creative technologist at Wunderman, a WPP company and the world’s largest digital agency with revenues exceeding $1 billion. At Wunderman, he built, managed and provided leadership across creative, technology and strategic business units. He was responsible for managing all interactive projects for clients including The Coca Cola Company, Nokia, Levi’s, Dell and United Airlines.
Aanarav is an advanced media member of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the organization that bestows the coveted Emmy® Awards.

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