Google’s AdWords may be one of the most successful products in internet history, but it’s fair to say that most small and medium business owners aren’t exactly experts when it comes to it involves writing their advertising copy or choosing keywords. a whole industry of consultants and companies specializing in this field. Enter Trade, a startup launched in March that seeks to help turn the tide through the power of crowdsourcing. The company just closed a $ 5.75 million Series C funding round led by Google Ventures, with the participation of former investor Foundry Group. Google Ventures Partner Rich miner will join the board of directors. And yes, that means the VC branch of Google is moving into paid search marketing, which is sure to raise some eyebrows.
The basic principle of Trada is to make managing an online advertising campaign as easy as possible: specify a budget that you are willing to spend on ads, decide on which advertising platforms you want your ads to appear (the site takes currently support Bing, Yahoo, and Google) and enter the amount you’re willing to pay per click or per acquisition. Complete these steps and you’re done – the site does the heavy lifting, like choosing thousands of keywords to target and writing an ad copy, for its community of experts.
At first glance, merging crowdsourcing with online ad campaigns seems like a terrible idea – it’s easy to waste money when someone with no clue is managing your account. But the CEO of Trada Niel robertson says the company goes to great lengths to ensure that their “crowd” consists of a group of approved and seasoned advertising experts. Each expert must be AdWords certified and must also pass the 45-minute Trada exam. And users who access the platform can see each expert’s track record, so it should be pretty easy to tell if someone isn’t up to it.
Each ad campaign actually has multiple experts working on it, which Robertson says can help diversify the number of good keywords your campaign is targeting (an average campaign on the site has over 6,500 keywords and 110 ads). . Every expert is incentivized to create successful ads because they are rewarded for every click / acquisition their ad receives in the wild (Trada takes a 25% reduction of this reward). Trada is also experimenting with incentives that will encourage experts to work together. For example, experts might receive a larger share of the proceeds if a customer’s overall campaign click-through rate hits a certain threshold.
Since this directly involves Google’s AdWords bread and butter, the Google Ventures connection is obviously going to attract some scrutiny. Robertson says Trada fully expects this; to be as honest as possible, he went through his policies and practices with the google account managers to make sure everything was in order. It won’t silence the critics, but it’s a start.
Trada plans to use the money in part to expand internationally and also to work on launching support for display ads. When the time comes to launch the display, Robertson says Trada will likely help solve another piece of the puzzle – you can outsource both your ad placement and have another group of professionals working on the creation.
Including this round, Trada has raised a total of $ 7.95 million since its inception two years ago.