Nov 9 2011

Trada… bringing crowdsourced marketing to Facebook

I’ve written a few times about Trada – a business that vastly simplifies search marketing for advertisers through a platform upon which Trada’s crowd of SEM experts build and manage campaigns on behalf of advertisers. The results to far have been impressive. The company has been helping advertisers increase the effectiveness of their search marketing and lower the amount of time required to manage search campaigns. And they’ve done this for companies spending as little as a few thousand dollars a month on search to as much as $500,000 per month. The result has been a rapidly growing company that is increasingly looking to expand the reach of its platform.

Today Trada announced that it has expanded its marketplace to Facebook, allowing advertisers to leverage the Trada crowd of expert optimizers to manage Facebook campaigns. To do this they’ve also launched a creative marketplace that will allow designers to contribute to campaigns on a performance basis. More on that a bit later.

The Facebook opportunity is massive (Facebook generates somewhere around 25%-30% of all display advertising impressions on the internet), but relatively nascent – supported by a limited toolset, requiring very different strategies than search or traditional display marketing, and as a result to date much more difficult for advertisers to take advantage of. The beauty of the Trada model is that it uses humans to perform tasks that are uniquely human in nature. We’ve found this to be effective in search, and expect that the same will hold true for leveraging the unique, but often very disparate data that Facebook enables marketers to make use of. And while entire companies are being built to try to help marketers better take advantage of advertising on Facebook, Trada is using all of their learning in search to extend their marketing capabilities into Facebook – a distinct advantage.

A quick note on the creative marketplace. Trada CEO Niel Robertson and I have been talking about this idea for the better part of 2 years. We knew that we’d need something like this to extend the Trada platform to Facebook (and beyond). “Creative” in search involves the relatively straightforward creation of text ads. Creative on Facebook involves the greater complexity of images and additionally needs to be constantly refreshed (the decay curve of Facebook ads is extremely rapid). I’ve wondered if a business could have been built around this kind of creative marketplace – using performance incentives to reward the creation of various display ad types. Ultimately for Trada, they built their own system (the fact that it is closed loop within the Trada platform solves a number of key issues vs having built this as a stand-alone business). We’ve actually had a version of it up and running for our tests with Facebook for several months now and it works beautifully.

There was great coverage today of the Trada announcement, including mention in The New York Times, Techcrunch and MarketWatch.

I’d encourage you to check out Trada if you’re interested in extending your advertising to Facebook or looking for better performance out of your search campaigns.