Jason Lehmbeck is CEO at DataPop, a search marketing technology company.
AdExchanger.com: Obviously, lots of former Yahoo!s at DataPop including yourself. What did you all learn at Yahoo! that is inspiring the DataPop business model?
The core team at DataPop was lucky enough to spend a 5+ years working together with all kinds of search marketing customer’s day in and day out at Yahoo and Overture. We sat in their offices and explored ways that they could get the most out of their paid search programs. In doing so we learned a ton about how marketers do what they do, and saw how painful it is to develop and organize keywords, build great ads and choose the right landing pages at scale -- something absolutely critical for maximizing ROI. We have been working to solve this at DataPop ever since and have built a platform that both eases marketer pain while significantly increasing their ROI.
What problem is DataPop solving?
Search is the poster child of relevant advertising because consumers are literally expressing what they want at the moment they want it. But, if you really pay attention to the ads currently running across most searches on Google, Yahoo and Bing the ads are generic at best and many times irrelevant. The reason for this is the problem that I just highlighted - the toolset for mid- to large-sized advertisers is severely limited. We have seen lots of great innovation over the years in bid management, analytics and other technologies, but it is still very hard to develop keywords that are relevant to the business, match them to great ads and land people on the right landing pages. The result is the generic and irrelevant ads we see all too often.
How is DataPop's solution relevant to today's audience buying environment?
Search is the most powerful audience buying environment in the world. Each hour over 150 million people perform a search on Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. That's the equivalent of a super bowl sized audience every hour. The difference is that each member of that audience is telling the marketer exactly what they want. DataPop helps marketers effectively segment consumers into interest-based audiences. We then enable the marketer to effectively engage those audiences with the right combination of targeted ads and landing pages to drive deeper engagement and higher conversions.
Rather than just targeting the demo, geo and behavioral characteristics of audiences, our platform determines the semantic meaning of each and every query an advertiser sees and maps it to the actual intent of the searcher. This makes it much easier for an advertiser to build an ad message that resonates with each consumer.
Are their unique datasets to offer-driven marketing? If so, what are some of those data points?
First, I think it’s worth spending a minute talking about what offer-driven marketing represents. We believe that keywords, targets, and audiences, while critically important, should not be the primary orientation of ad campaigns. What really matters and should be the starting point is what the advertiser is selling or promoting... their offers. So we take each of our clients full set of offers like products, services or promotions represented on their website, then map each of them to all the ways people can express the intent to find those offers, wherever the user might be in the purchase funnel. We lift the marketer up a level and let them stop thinking so much about media buying tactics, and focus more on what is unique and compelling about their offers, and how they can showcase that in great, well placed ad creative.
So to answer your question, when we build offer-driven campaigns there are some basics we know about most offers that are already stored in our databases based on how consumers are searching for that offer. For instance the core features of a particular Sony LCD TV are the same no matter who is selling it. However, the marketer may want to emphasize different product features like the screen resolution, screen size or refresh rate depending on how consumers are searching for Sony LCD TVs. In addition to these core features there are things specific to the marketer’s offer like price, promotion, shipping times, customer reviews, editorial content and inventory availability that are really important for building great campaigns. Some of this data updates in real time, so it can be tricky to deal with at the scale of search. We’ve created a platform that allows a marketer to test and learn which offer features resonate most with consumers.
Who is in DataPop's competitive set? Efficient Frontier, Searchandise, Kenshoo, etc.? How will you differentiate?
Surprisingly enough, building the actual content of paid search ad campaigns to take full advantage of marketer’s offers is very much a cottage industry. Many advertisers and agencies have pulled together some very basic tools, but the vast majority of ads are created in a purely manual way.
Data Pop is a complementary solution to current SEM services providers. In fact we have campaigns live on many of the leading SEM platforms/services.
Can you see extending your paid search platform into PC-based graphical display, video and mobile marketing tactics?
We are heads down focused on Search given the big gap in the marketplace and the significant opportunity to help marketers better engage consumers through Search. That said, we believe that our offer driven approach has broad applications and can help make marketers lives easier and increase ROI in many different ad channels. As we make progress in search we will start to work closely with our customers on where to go next.
Who do you see as the key client market for DataPop's products and services?
We are focused on working with customers who have a rich set of offers, products and services. We work with customers who have anywhere from 100s offers to hundreds of thousands. The total number of products and services is less important than how rich the information can be about the product or service. We work with a number of customers that only have a handful of products but the information about those products can be really dynamic including pricing updates based on inventory availability and unique offers by geography. Our platform really thrives for marketers as the offers get more complex. Our current customer base includes leading marketers and agencies including a number of top marketers in retail, travel, auto, local and the education space.
Tell us about your recent funding. And, what is the funding environment like today for ad tech?
We are thrilled to have brought together such a great group of investors to help us scale our core platform to meet customer demand. Based on early customer feedback we realized we had a unique set of data assets & IP in core technology that we want to accelerate development on and found great partners in Rincon, IA and the rest of the funding team to accomplish that.
It's no news that the funding market for ad tech is positive. That said, our first priority was to align with partners that had our same approach/philosophy to building a business. Furthermore, we wanted to align with partners who brought a deep expertise in the data and advertising spaces. Rincon, IA Ventures and the rest of the team stood out to us on all fronts.
A year from now, what milestones would you like the company to have achieved?
We have confirmed with many leading search marketers that our offer driven approach can drive significant ROI improvements and lot of pain reduction for the marketer. Over the next 12 months we plan to scale the platform in such a way that 100s of marketers will get to leverage our offer driven approach to search marketing. Our end goal is to remove the pain that comes with search marketing and let marketers get back to what they do best … delivering relevant, timely ads that consumers love to click on.