Startup RevJet wants digital ads to engage in a survival of the fittest.
Today, the San Carlos, California-based company is launching a new creative platform that automatically tests ad variations. By winnowing out the winners, the company says it can dramatically boost response rates.
Called the Creative Side Platform or CSP (yes, more ad tech initials!), the new product is the “first platform to enable continuous [ad] testing at scale,” the company said.
Other types of ad creation platforms offer creative control and testing of alternatives. RevJet founder and CEO Mitchell Weisman told me that those platforms enable a marketer to quickly generate and deploy a shoe ad, for example, if a user visits a page showing shoes on a web site.
But optimizing ads on those platforms via testing is a “painful and episodic” process, he said.
By contrast, he said, RevJet’s CSP makes all ads automatically and regularly run through a more extensive kind of Darwinian gauntlet. A given ad creative, along with several creative variations, will be served to similar ad inventory and under similar conditions, such as time of day.
The campaign-specific conversions — such as a user filling out a form or making a purchase — are tracked for each variation, and the platform automatically removes the ads that fall below a given threshold. The best-performing winners then represent the active generation of ads.
The key problem to be solved, Weisman said, is that only a tiny sliver of digital ads receive any response, so emphasizing the few that do perform could multiply returns.
The word that Weisman often used to describe this process to me is “effortlessly,” in that optimizing the best ads through experiments on the CSP is not some side event, but an intrinsic part of the workflow.
Microsoft is one of the companies that has been testing the CSP through its beta period.
Diana Choksey, Media Technology and Ad Operations Lead at Microsoft, told me that her company is “getting two to three times better conversions for the same amount of ad spend through RevJet.”
The testing was conducted over three months to promote a Microsoft product — she preferred not to name which one — to students.
Choksey pointed out that Microsoft’s implementation of RevJet’s ad optimization works in conjunction with two demand-side platforms, RadiumOne and Rocket Fuel, that optimize the media — that is, they find the best ad space and the best time for the targeted audience. But, she acknowledged, the ad inventory and delivery times for each ad variation during the beta campaigns were essentially the same, so that the variable was the ad creative provided through RevJet.
In one campaign Microsoft conducted, the initial thesis was that ads with photos of students using the Microsoft product would work best. But, over several optimizing iterations on RevJet, it turned out that what Choksey described as “the antithesis” was true — ads using a solid block of color with text and no photo worked best for standing out from the clutter.
She also complimented the “very smart ad production” section in the RevJet platform, in that ad creation is straightforward and bulk changes can readily be made across ads.
The CSP also allows marketers to see heat maps showing what part of the ad creative received the most clicks, so subsequent designs can emphasize those elements. The platform currently handles display ads, but the company says it can also manage other ad formats, including video and native, for desktop or mobile websites and for mobile apps.
RevJet is a spinoff of a previous company that Weisman headed, LifeStreet Media, which provides in-app advertising.
via Marketing Land