Executive Q&A with AdStage CEO Sahil Jain: Digital Advertising with No Handholding Required
ADOTAS – If you are a brand looking to purchase online advertising, how do you even get started? With all the noise about programmatic automation, DSPs and ad exchanges, what are ways to understand the process and get your campaigns up and running quickly?
Adotas recently sat down with Sahil Jain, CEO of AdStage, to talk about the industry and where it is headed.
Q: What does AdStage do?
A: AdStage is an all-in-one online advertising platform designed to build, manage and improve ad campaigns across the many ad networks from a single place. This includes Facebook Ads, Google AdWords, BingAds/Yahoo! and LinkedIn Ads.
Q: Who are you competitors in this space?
A: Initially, Marin, Kenshoo and Adobe Marketing Cloud come to mind because these tools also bring multiple ad campaigns into a single dashboard. However, these tools are incredibly expensive, require massive minimum ad spend requirements, and are heavy enterprise software requiring training/account managers/sales folks to handhold their users through the products.
But we’re making our product accessible in terms of pricing and ease of use, we’re investing heavily in our technology rather than our sales and account management team, and we’re focusing on design and the user experience. We’ll integrated education directly into the platform so that we provide not just tools to build campaigns, but tools and knowledge to build *good* campaigns – an incredibly important nuance.
Our integrated app system will really set us apart for our customers as well; they’ll finally be able to integrate other services into a marketing platform and expand our platforms features to meet their needs as they grow their online advertising efforts.
Q: You have some news. Talk about it and what inspired this move?
A: We started out by building AdStage Express, a cross-network campaign builder. With this app, businesses could create a single ad campaign that simultaneously launched across Google, Facebook, Bing and LinkedIn within minutes, even if they had no prior experience with online advertising. We also provided conversion tracking, pre- and post-flight recommendations and analytics to help advertisers manage these campaigns. We offered this product as a free private beta and collected feedback from the over 2,300 businesses that signed up.
Our new product includes a number of major features that were inspired by our customer feedback. You can now:
- Import all of your existing campaigns into our platform for full management and analytics;
- Build new campaigns that utilize advanced, network specific features (like custom audiences in Facebook) with support for over 30 ad types;
- Access integrated apps to expand the platform across a wide range of marketing functions related to your ads and deliver a true one-stop-shop.
Q: Talk about the SMB market and how you guys are poised to help this group of advertisers?
A: SMBs are desperately looking for ways to grow their business and reach new customers and online advertising has proven to be an extremely powerful channel.
But there are many ad networks across search, social, mobile and display, and managing campaigns across these networks are different without the proper tools. Unlike the existing enterprise tools on the market, which require high budgets and training that make them inaccessible to advertisers spending less than $100,000 per month, AdStage has developed an easy-to-use and easily accessible platform to build, manage and optimize ad campaigns across these networks.
We’ve also announced the launch of an integrated app system that allows us to build apps for different user segments. We’ll have apps for beginners, for intermediate and expert users.
Beyond all of that, our goal is to infuse education directly into the product. Our job is not just to provide the masses with tools, but instead to provide them with a platform that makes them self-sufficient and better advertisers themselves without the need of handholding via sales people or account managers.
Q: Who are your clients?
A: ReTargeter, Arizona State University, Solve Media, Scalr, and others on our new website testimonial reel. We’ve had over 2,600 signups for our first product, AdStage Express, and already have over 400 for our new platform product, which we’ll be rolling out to users in the coming weeks.
Q: What is the future of advertising?
A: There is no surprise that the future of advertising is moving to digital. Beyond that, advertising is becoming incredibly targeted as the targeting parameters continue to become more and more specific to individuals. In addition, we’ll see the emergence of new networks and new ad types. In particular, the question of “what is an ad?” is coming into question more and more. As ad types morph and become more and more like content pieces that just so happen to be promoted, users are beginning to engage with such ads in ways the industry has not seen before.
Though the common consumer has often been displeased with online ads, as we get closer to a world where promoted content and ad units begin showing to users that actually want to see such content/products, ads may finally become a primary discovery engine for consumers.
Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are continually unlocking powerful and more specific ways for advertisers to target their intended audiences. As mobile consumption continues to grow dramatically and mobile-optimized solutions become more prevalent, digital spend will continue to grow as the cross-device frequency continues to increase.
In the coming years we will see advertising becoming more custom and in-tune with each specific consumer. Ad units will become far more dynamic and engaging. Attribution tracking for marketers will finally tell a more coherent LTV/ROI story, thus allowing for more effective spend.
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