MyBuys Using Kinetic Ads To Engage The Consumer Says CEO Cell

mybuysBob Cell is CEO of MyBuys, a provider of personalization for multi-channel retailers. How was the June 2010 Internet Retailer conference for you and MyBuys? Any overall trends that you sensed?

BC: Internet Retailer was a great event for MyBuys .  We had the opportunity to meet with many people, including  potential customers, clients and partners, and discussed a wide range of opportunities and challenges that MyBuys can help to address.  Overall, there seems to be renewed focus with retailers to find more efficient and effective ways to increase shopper loyalty, to remarket to shoppers, and to activate new channels, such as mobile and social media. Retailers are looking for ways to stimulate new  revenue streams through these new consumer channels while maintaining the integrity and consistency of the shopping experience.

What problem is MyBuys solving in e-commerce?

In today’s retail environment, merchants have to work hard to gain the trust and loyalty of shoppers.  MyBuys creates personalized shopping experiences through relevant product recommendations  making the shopping experience better for each consumer.  . MyBuy’s partners with multi-channel retailers to help them engage their shoppers and deliver compelling recommendations across each consumer touchpoint – the website, in email, on mobile devices and beyond.  Retailers rely on MyBuys to increase customer loyalty, increase conversion rates and drive higher revenues.

How will you differentiate from other retargeters in the space such as Criteo, TellApart, Dotomi, Permuto, Fetchback and others?

Traditional remarketing is pretty simple minded.  It only operates for a short period of time (typically a week to a month) and it doesn’t understand much about the consumer.  Essentially it says, consumer A was on site X.  Let’s show a generic ad for site X to try to get them to return.  MyBuys  delivers a much more compelling experience.  First, our ads are kinetic – they move and engage the consumer. Second, they’re fully dynamic and personalized – they talk to the consumer about the products, categories and brands that they like instead of being simple, static and generic.  Finally, since MyBuys builds a deep consumer profile, we understand how those consumer preferences can drive behavior over time, not just in the first few days after a visit.  Bought a Halloween costume last year?  We’ll remember for next year.  Bought a Nikon camera?  We’ll remember to show you the right kind of lenses later.

What types of e-commerce clients are the best fit for your platform? Any verticals make sense in particular?

MyBuys is 100% focused on retail.  We’ve seen broad applicability across all sectors of retail and up and dlown the size spectrum.  We have clients in Fashion & Apparel, Footwear, Sporting Goods, Home Furnishings, Crafts, Hobbies, Electronics, and more.  If you have shoppers coming to your site and a product catalog, then we can work with you.

Please explain what “kinetic advertising units” are and why they’re important to MyBuys system.

A Kinetic Advertising Unit is a format that enables our display ads to incorporate movement, that let users interact with them and see a dynamic set of products that fit their profile.  The Kinetic Advertising Unit enables MyBuys to populate a custom set of products and offers based off a shoppers interactions with a brand that are specifically tailored to that individual.  The format enables MyBuys to bring our dynamic approach to personalization to display advertising, making the remarketing strategy much more effective than with static ads.

Where does brand advertising fit in the e-Commerce world? Does it fit with MyBuys products and services?

Since MyBuys builds a deep understanding of the merchant’s assortment, we can help brand owners target appropriate consumers too.  Unlike other retargeters who just know that a consumer went to site X, we know which products the consumer looked at.  Which brands were represented.  Which price points resonated.  And much, much more.  All of that information is critical for brand owners who want to do a good job of targeting consumers that will be receptive to their brands.

Do you use demand-side platforms (DSP)s or have you built your own DSP?  Do you use all of the exchanges – are there direct-to-publisher relationships?

Our infrastructure has many elements of a DSP.  We have our own dynamic ad server and an API for ad agencies and publishers who want to access & manage a personalized ad engine of their own.

Will MyBuys seek another round of funding any time soon?

As a privately held company, we do not provide financial information.

Do you consider Google a threat? They’ve opened up self-service retargeting – they may open up search retargeting soon. How would MyBuys compete?

Actually, we think it’s great.  Google’s presence in the space is educating merchants on the value of retargeting in general.  And our approach enables them to do a more effective job of reaching their consumers.

What milestones would you like the company to have accomplished a year from now?

I’d like to see MyBuys continue to lead the industry in providing retailers with innovative, profile-driven solutions that create relevant shopping experiences that consumers have come to expect. Also, with consumer demand for relevance across all channels, we will be looking to extend our expertise to the rapidly growing social and mobile commerce.

Follow MyBuys (@mybuys) and (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

Enjoying this content?

Sign up to be an AdExchanger Member today and get unlimited access to articles like this, plus proprietary data and research, conference discounts, on-demand access to event content, and more!

Join Today!


  1. At Google, we experimented with many ad formats that would allow the user to tab/expand to see more information before clicking through. Universally, these performed less well for retailers because they reduced CTR and constrained the user experience. So while personalized ads (users being shown products they’ve been interested in) make sense, “kinetic” ads may not — the click-based ROI should tell.

    Retailers really want *clicks* back to their site and *conversions* from those clicks. Anything less — view-throughs, post-ad engagement conversions, etc — mis-aligns incentives and results in the retailer largely overpaying for sales that would have happened anyway.

  2. While I am a big believer in retargeting, the vast majority of the sales from retargeitng efforts would have happened anyway and the ROI that retargeters quote is skewed (even when it is a click that drives the sale). I equate it to bidding on your own brand name on search – the ROI is fantastic because it includes customers that are already predisposed to purchase from your company.

    While ads need to be dynamic and relevant, they don’t need to be “kinetic”. Automated ads based on things like last product visited can be the wrong message as often as they are the right message.

  3. You’re right, Alan. The way to measure the additive worth of any marketing channel is to run an A:B test whereby the ads are completely suppressed for a percentage of users. Then measure the difference in conversion rates.

    At Google, I helped Amazon do this test on their own brand terms and on those keywords for which their product links already ranked #1 in natural search. And the added traffic and conversion lift of those ad clicks more than compensated for any cannibalization of the free clicks.

    Be it retargeting, search or general brand messaging — every channel should be tested for its ability to drive truly incremental visits or conversions.

  4. Relevance Police

    “Retailers really want *clicks* back to their site and *conversions* from those clicks. Anything less — view-throughs, post-ad engagement conversions, etc — mis-aligns incentives and results in the retailer largely overpaying for sales that would have happened anyway.”


    What were you guys measuring at Google? There is a non-trivial impact of view through, engagement through as well as click-throughs on actual conversions. In-session conversions don’t happen except for the $10 books or CDs. So, by definition, even for click based conversions you are looking at multi-day click based consideration period. And what of the impact of other channel exposures (let’s limit ourselves to online for now. Offline is too hard.) that determine conversion? It is too naive to posit that click through conversions are the only ones that matter. Retailers “want” this because they are going by their SEM experiences perhaps, and I’m afraid the world is quite a bit more complicated than what AdWords would have you believe. And AdSense is not really much of a contender for true branded experiences. Data does show other results, and given the right testing methodology one can prove it effectively.

    The methodology that has proven interesting results:

    – Split the users strictly across all publishers in the campaign into N number of buckets
    – Treat about 10% if the user buckets as placebo/control users to be served a PSA and only a PSA
    – The rest of the users get either dynamic ads or static rich media ads
    – Now do what-if analysis on the following metrics based on conversions:
    * Vary the click through, view through and engagement through conversion windows for control vs non-control

    If done right, with the right kind of ad server (i.e., not DFA or Atlas) one sees significant differences in these numbers, and View throughs and Engagement Throughs matter and it requires real attribution model to discover it.

    In true user controls being served a PSA vs. a real ad, the impact on conversions from engagements is of the order of 25-30%. One has an order or in many cases 2 orders of magnitude greater amount of data from engagement data to optimize the creative and understand the user behavior.