Automated, multichannel display advertising for small businesses finally coming to fruition
Roughly a decade ago, a variety of companies were trying to simplify and make (self-service) display advertising accessible to small businesses (SMB): AdReady, PaperG, AdMission and iPromote. Today, only iPromote is still carrying that torch; the others have been acquired or exited the SMB market.
While they weren’t all the same and used different tools, it’s safe to say that these companies were well ahead of their time in one way or another. And most weren’t able to make good on their promises of simplicity and performance. Now, the market and technology have caught up and started to make automated cross-channel display advertising for SMBs a reality.
iPromote says its mission is “to make display advertising accessible and affordable to every business, regardless of budget, through technology designed from the ground up.” The company’s technology automates the ad-creation process by pulling creative assets from existing SMB websites and social media.
It automatically builds multiple creatives and ad units for PC display, mobile, social, video (slideshows) and native. Those can be customized or edited with relatively little effort. It’s also starting to integrate search marketing into its portfolio, which was a missing piece of the “all-in-one” approach.
The company reports that it has 30,000 SMB advertisers, mostly served via a network of third-party media company resellers, though self-service is available. iPromote argues that it provides “full funnel coverage” through brand/awareness placements, search, social and retargeting.
iPromote also says it uses machine learning and its trove of historical campaign performance data to optimize for smaller budgets. It uses Google, Facebook and the programmatic exchanges for placements and audience reach.
I haven’t seen any campaign performance data, but the ad-creation process is impressively simple.
Automation and machine learning promise greater sophistication, efficiency and simplification for the entire ecosystem, from the largest brands to sole proprietors. And while a version of this promise for the SMB market has been circulating for years, only now are comprehensive advertising solutions (that work) starting to become a reality.