As advertisers begin to run ads across an increasing number of social networks and sites, startup firm Adapt.ly has developed technology to help manage those campaigns from a single platform, and to help digest and evaluate the resulting performance data more easily.
As Adapt.ly co-founder Nikhil Sethi points out, most social networks offer self-service ad platforms, which exist in complete isolation of their competitors’. As a result, advertisers are forced to manually construct individual campaigns on each, despite the fact they’re attempting to reach essentially the same audience. “Managing all these campaigns by hand is a pain in the ass, and analyzing the data from all the different platforms becomes a nightmare,” Sethi said.
It’s that heavy lifting that Adapt.ly is attempting to relieve, providing a service that will handle campaign creation, targeting, and optimization automatically, and from a single point of entry. “We’ve built a system that allows us to take creative and to normalize it across a range of networks. We ask advertisers two simple questions: What are you advertising, and who are you trying to reach? The system will then optimize targeting across the networks,” said Sethi, adding that users are given the option to specify creative for individual platforms if they wish, or to simply let Adapt.ly take care of it.
Adapt.ly will deploy ads on a number of social networks and ad platforms, including Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and StumbleUpon, as well as third-party Twitter ad services such as Ad.ly and 140proof.
As well as determining which targeting variables to employ within the individual social networks, the platform will also optimize ads based on which networks perform best for certain products or verticals, according to Sethi. For example, ads for a golf club may perform more successfully among users of a certain social site, which would be favored over others as a result. “Over time we’ll start building a huge database of which product types work well on specific networks,” Sethi said.
The company also claims to monitor the resulting campaign performance data in real-time, using it to inform campaign optimization as well as to provide the advertiser with simple, aggregated insights into the performance of their campaigns.
Numerous agencies currently offer similar services, employing staff to manage accounts across different networks and then compiling and analyzing performance data manually. According to Sethi, however, Adapt.ly handles the entire process automatically, potentially saving the advertiser on agency fees.
The platform is currently in private beta with around 50 advertisers including ecommerce, gaming, and even agency clients, but currently there are no plans for an official launch. According to Sethi, however, the “grand vision” is to take the product cross-platform, applying similar technology and functionality to channels such as video and mobile advertising further down the line.