IndieClick: “No Ads Are Better Than Bad Ads”

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badboy2.jpgADOTAS – IndieClick invokes a “My Way” (think Sid Vicious not Frank Sinatra’s buttery version) battle cry and vision for its business model that its audience of 13 to 35 year old entertainment/culture/social networking fiends can surely relate to. Which is probably why it’s managed to successfully monetize the social arena.

IndieClick describes itself as a publisher network that represents 200 vertical network sites that serve 50 million unique users and reel in 4 billion impressions a month. The agency reps a who’s who of hipster destinations, including Last.fm, PureVolume, deviantArt, Tokyo Pop and What Would Tyler Durden Do?

“We’re really focused on media planning; our audience is primarily the tail end of Generation X and all of Generation Y and they don’t like being marketed to,” Heather Luttrell, IndieClick’s president, told ADOTAS. “We’re product specific. We work with 2,000 advertisers to make sure the ad message we’re sending gets to the right audience at the right time. And every publisher approves every campaign to avoid the absolute nightmare – for publishers and advertisers – of having an audience publicly rail against a campaign on their site.”

So far, IndieClick’s psychographic ad-targeting model has worked out. Luttrell said that IndieClick sells ads on Facebook for $6 to $10 CPM – way above the alleged high-water mark of roughly $1.32 on social sites. But that’s just the way IndieClick rolls: in 2002, the company had just unfurled its welcome mat, (as an extension of the 3jane Interactive Agency), and it was already selling ads on MySpace for $4 CPM – when most people were charging $0.02.

“Our premise is, no ads are better than bad ads,” Luttrell said.

This month, Pandora and Flixster joined IndieClick’s network, primarily for its music and film expertise.

“We selected IndieClick as our music label representative due to the company’s expertise and passion in the industry,” said Cheryl Lucanegro, VP of advertising sales at Pandora, in a written statement. “They know the music scene inside and out, from independents to big labels, making them the ideal fit for us. We’re confident their dedicated team of experts will help increase our presence in front of the country’s most influential music and record labels.”

What’s next? A new level of behavioral targeting. Within 90 days, Luttrell said that IndieClick would be unveiling a tech prototype — a juiced-up cross-channel targeting method that could hit, say, only 18-year-old men who love gaming on only a handful of IndieClick’s sites.

The company is also rolling out three new ad products with video, viral and music components for shows like “Idol Tonight” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” In addition, IndieClick will be improving its client reporting. While the company has always gathered data on engagement, demographics, geographics and psychographic profiles, the information will be made available to all clients by the end of the year.

“We’re really excited about our new technological offerings,” Luttrell said. “But you know, nothing really replaces knowing the sites and knowing the audiences – which is how we got started and what we’ll always focus on.”

IndieClick is owned by 3jane Digital Holdings, an interactive development and marketing company.

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