David S. Kidder is co-founder and CEO of Clickable, a search networks and social advertising buying platform.
AdExchanger.com: What problem is Clickable solving today overall?
DSK: Our goal at Clickable is to help businesses survive and thrive by simplifying online advertising success. We began in 2007 with Clickable Pro, our flagship product. Clickable Pro removed the complexity that prevented many marketers from expanding into search networks besides Google AdWords by introducing a simple interface that marketers could you use to manage all of their search marketing campaigns. Today, we are introducing that same simplicity to new online channels, beginning with Facebook.
Why does it make sense to add social targeting through Facebook now?
Clickable already makes it simple to advertise across search networks, so the next step for us was to move into a new online channel. Because it is the largest social media network in the world, Facebook was the logical choice.
The numbers are very exciting: Facebook has over 400 million users, and last month its traffic exceeded Google’s for the first time ever. Most importantly, Facebook introduces a new way to advertise that complements search marketing. Using extensive demographic targeting criteria, advertisers on Facebook can get out ahead of their customers and create demand that they will later capture with their search campaigns. Marketers can also use Facebook to promote their brands and drive direct sales. However, ads on Facebook need to be created one-by-one, and there’s no tools within Facebook to allow marketers to track their social media performance alongside search. Clickable now solves both of those problems.
Advertisers need to move as quickly as their markets, and no market moves more quickly than the online market.
The great opportunity that online advertising presents is the ability to connect with the right customer, in the right place and at the right time. With search and social advertising, marketers can reach their potential customers at exactly the moment when they’re most receptive to an offer. But, the speed with which things change online means that “the right place and the right time” are moving targets. Clickable works in “real time” to assure that advertisers are always ahead of their customers, rather than lagging behind.
What might a typical use case look like for the marketer who uses Clickable to access Facebook? Is it any different than using Facebook’s own ad targeting platform?
Users with existing Facebook accounts can work with Clickable in two different ways. Those who want to self-manage can use the Facebook Bulk Upload tool in Clickable Pro. It’s a spreadsheet-based tool that allows users to create, modify and delete Facebook ads in bulk. (On Facebook’s platform, ads have to be created one-by-one, which has been a huge friction point for advertisers looking to make a significant investment in social media ads.) Once their ads are live, they can track performance alongside search with Clickable Conversion Tracking (Facebook does not have its own conversion tracking tool) and build reports that display social media results alongside search.
We also give marketers the option of letting us manage social marketing for them with Clickable Assist, our full-service solution. Our Account Managers already manage search for hundreds of clients; we’re excited to add social media to the mix.
Is Clickable a demand-side platform? What’s your view on DSPs?
Yes: Clickable is a demand-side platform because online marketing is a demand-side business. With traditional marketing channels, the scarcity of inventory meant that suppliers ― of television and radio commercial time, print advertising space or billboard real estate ― were the drivers of the advertising business. Online marketing produces billions of impressions every day. There is no scarcity of inventory―in fact, inventory is essentially unlimited. Therefore, the business is driven by marketers themselves. Our success depends on theirs.
Any plans for the Clickable platform to allow marketers to append data when they’re buying placements in Facebook? Will retargeting a marketer’s own users be possible, for example?
Yes, we have plans to allow advertisers to append data to existing social, as well as search, data.
Advertising on Facebook is relatively new. As the API evolves, we are looking to add data that will improve the effectiveness of pay-per-click Facebook ads. Moreover, we are taking a very active role as Facebook API partners. Retargeting is not possible today, but we are presenting a plan to Facebook regarding tools that will allow advertisers to append valuable data and improve their results across the network.
Is there an interaction that occurs between search and social marketing? Will Clickable be showing this to the marketer through some sort of attribution modeling and reporting?
Absolutely: search and social marketing are complimentary channels for communicating with customers online.
Search marketing most often targets customers who are looking for a solution to a very specific problem. Every time they conduct a search, they are asking a question. The job of the search marketer is to answer that question―and convert users to their answer.
With social media marketing, advertisers can create demand by targeting “personas.” Search provides some rudimentary demographic targeting tools (primarily location-based). Social, on the other hand, introduces a huge wealth of targeting data: everything from gender and age to occupation, hobbies and relationship status. Defining a persona with these tools is simply a way of defining a target market, albeit with extreme precision. Once that market is defined, and advertiser can use social media advertising to promote their brands and their products to hundreds of millions of potential customers.
Clickable has two tools that help advertisers track these two channels alongside one another. The first is Clickable Conversion Tracking, which allows advertisers to track performance across search networks and Facebook with single tag on their Web sites. And our reporting tools allow advertisers to analyze that performance with standard or customized and white-labeled reports. The entire funnel is transparent, and it’s all in one place.
After search and social, what’s the next low hanging fruit of targeting environments?
Our current plan is to continue our expansion into existing search and social networks, including Ask.com and MySpace. As we make it simpler and simpler to expand to new channels, marketers have fewer reasons not to advertise everywhere possible. Online, even a 2 percent market share represents millions of impressions.
Discuss the company’s funding to-date. Are you profitable today? And can you envision seeking another round?
In December 2007, Clickable completed its Series A round of investment, led by Union Square Ventures and First Mark Capital (some of Facebook and Twitter’s original backers). We raised $6 million in that round, and an additional $14.5 million in a Series B round completed in July 2008. (Our Series B round was led by individual investors, including Peter Thiel, Managing Partner of The Founders Fund and Co-founder of PayPal; and Jonathan F. Miller, Chief Digital Officer, Chairman of Digital Media Group and Chief Executive of Digital Media Group, News Corp.)
Our plan is to achieve profitability in Q3 of this year. Currently, we do not envision seeking an additional round of investment.
A year from now, what milestones would you like Clickable to have accomplished?
The gold standard for simplicity is set by Apple, and it is our goal to be the Apple of online advertising―both search and social.
We’re also going to use the next year to make significant strides with Clickable Platform, our white label partner solution. Clickable Platform empowers our partners to deploy online advertising to thousands of local clients. In the next twelve months, 5000 active and delighted customers will manage over $1 billion of ad spend on Clickable Platform. And to support them, our team will grow to 250 people worldwide.