Silicon Valley Startup, AdStage, has launched a self-service platform designed to help small and medium sized businesses manage and analyze digital ad campaigns across search, social, mobile and display. The product is geared to companies with budgets of between $1,000 and $100,000 a month, a group that generally cannot afford to have an agency manage their campaigns and has been neglected by the market, according to the company.
"There are a bunch of products out there for the top 1 percent of spends, but the mass market has been left behind," Sahil Jain, chief executive and co-founder of AdStage, told ClickZ in an interview during AdWeek 2013. Those with smaller budgets have been forced to manage all these campaigns separately using native tools, which can be both mystifying and time consuming. "Everything after Google is a black box," says Jain.
The new platform is available, with the first five apps included free, as a beta for $99 per month with a free trial. It builds on AdStage's first product, AdStage Express, designed to help novice companies build, manage and optimize online ad campaigns across Google, Bing, Facebook and LinkedIn over one interface. Since AdStage Express' launch in March, it that has garnered 2,600 signups, which includes customers such as Retargeter and Arizona State University, Jain says.
AdStage Express will be included as an app within in the larger platform. New features, provided via partner apps, will include Facebook retargeting, landing page optimization, competitive intelligence, banner ad creation and stock image libraries. Among the partners that announced they would integrate their offerings into the platform today were Unbounce, Bigstock, Retargeter and Getty Images.
Some 380 businesses have already signed on to beta test the new, expanded platform.
"The biggest pain point for companies is time management," says Jain. As the number of ad formats and networks continues to grow, managing multiple campaigns has become increasingly complex, requiring marketers to juggle between network dashboards, spreadsheets and desktop editors, the company notes.
Beyond that Jain says he want to help companies become better at advertising. AdStage provides self-service customers with a resource center where they can get answers to their questions, for example.
"We focus on the user experience and design. Our tools are contextual, and talk to you in layman's terms, with no jargon."
Jain, a serial entrepreneur who dropped out of high school to join Yahoo, says the inspiration for AdStage came as he was attempting to manage ad campaigns for his first startup, Trigger.io, which he founded at age 20.
"We had a $3000 to $5000 monthly ad budget for running ad campaigns over Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Stack Overflow and Reddit. We were running them all separately and couldn't afford an agency to help us. It was frustrating, and I wanted to build this (AdStage) to solve my problem."
Trigger.io is a mobile startup that was built with the idea of building one framework upon which all mobile apps could be created, and AdStage takes that same idea to the realm of digital advertising, according to Jain.
The startup has garnered $1.53 million in funding from 1.53M from Freestyle Capital, Quest VP, Dave McClure/500S, Digital Garage, LAUNCH Fund, XG Ventures, Mark Mullen, and Stewart Alsop.
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Mary Lisbeth D'Amico is a freelance writer based in Jersey City who frequently covers digital marketing, social media, tech startups, and venture capital. She has contributed to a wide range of publications including The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Red Herring, and Real Deals. Find her on Twitter at @mldamico.
March 19, 2014