Having just passed its seven-year anniversary, Seattle-based AdReady and its founder and CEO, Aaron Finn, have seen their share of changes.
For a time the company, which offers a self-serve ad platform with dynamic creative optimization capabilities, dove hard at the real-time bidding and demand-side platform trend, led by former CEO Karl Siebrecht, who took over in 2009. Finn, the entrepreneur, moved over but remained the board chairman.
With AdReady standing at just 23 people today, Aaron Finn transitioned back into the CEO role earlier this year and said he’s pleased with his company’s progress. “I feel like where it is today is where I wanted to be seven years ago," he said. "We set out to try and bring display to more advertisers and that was right at the start of the Right Media Exchange and before DoubleClick was purchased by Google. We realized we could create a platform that could plug into this emerging display inventory.”
Finn explained that his company’s platform allows advertisers to come in and create ads from a templated library, as well as create media plans. “It was really a demand-side platform before there were demand-side platforms (DSPs).”
AdReady still has a partnership with Yahoo, which began in 2006. According to Finn, his company offers a Yahoo-branded version of AdReady for Yahoo’s smaller display-ad clients.
When the Yahoo deal started, things took off for Finn's company, he said. “We came out hot out of the gate. We raised $17 million in funding over the next two to three years. We created three lines of business: one for advertisers, one for agencies and one for publishers so that each them could have a version of our platform for their advertisers,” Finn said.
“We were scaling this platform for display," he said. "All the while, DSPs were coming out engaging in the high end of the market. We were probably focused more midmarket and below at the time. We were thinking -- probably wrongly, from an entrepreneur’s perspective -- that the high end of the market was already taken care of in display.”
Finn said his company is profitable and includes clients such as Alaska Airlines and the Anaheim Ducks professional hockey team, which he said have very specific campaign needs, “Alaska Airlines, when you aggregate their budget, it's very large," he said. "But when you look at it from an individual campaign perspective, it's very small in terms of route fares like Spokane-to-Boise. They need a platform like ours which allows an advertiser, agency or publisher to remove the cost of creative development out of the equation.”
From a features perspective, Finn still sees his company’s dynamic creative capabilities as the differentiator and leveraging it with popular tactics like retargeting.
He adds, “I think display has a long way to go – and, yes, there are a lot of the companies that are there. But they all do pieces of display and none of them really include creative the way we do, which plays as much role in performance as anything else.”