BloomReach launches to get content found via search

After stealth mode for three years, start-up emerges to help companies with SEO, SEM and social

Technology trends and news by Bambi Francisco Roizen
February 22, 2012
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(Correction: To reflect Joelle Kaufman as head of marketing)

If you own a website - large or small - you know that one of the toughest things to do is to organize your content enough and in such a way that pages or products can be found when people are searching for them. On the Internet, despite all the social discovery happening via social media sites, searching happens mainly on, well - search engines. 

A number of companies, like Hubspot, Marin Software (which just raised $30 million this month) and Clickable, have been around for years and have raised mega bucks to help companies get their products found amidst the billions of other products available for the same consumer. But one company, which has remained relatively quiet, has been working on being better than others. In stealth mode for three years, BloomReach officially launched Wednesday and rolled out two new products to boot: BloomLift and BloomSocial. 

"In a nutshell, BloomReach is about getting great websites and great content on the Web found on search engines," said Raj De Datta, co-founder and CEO, in an interview with me. "The way it works is our system algorithmically analyzes every page on a client website and every user interaction [on the site]." The result is BloomReach can inform clients on the content they should have to ensure they're showcasing their products and services to users seeking them.

At the moment, the company has 70 large websites as clients. They mainly include large retailers, like Pottery Barn, Guess and Neiman Marcus. But BloomReach also services Orbitz as well as large listing sites, such as Oodle

BloomReach was founded in 2009 and has raised $16 million in venture funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Bain Capital. The team decided to stay stealth for the first three years in order to perfect their service and achieve the kind of results they're seeing for their customers today. 

Customers are seeing "80% to 90% uplift in natural search," said Joelle Kaufman, head of marketing at BloomReach. In other words, customers are getting almost double the traffic from natural search from what they were getting last year before working with BloomReach, she explained. Essentially, BloomReach can understand what customers are demanding an help companies organize their products so they can be found.

For example, if Guess labels jeans "flair jeans" but a user is searching on Google for "cotton flair jeans," BloomReach can assemble a Web page for Guess so it appears on either organic or paid search so a shopper can be led to the flair jeans on the Guess website.

The service to help companies optimize their pages to be found on organic search is called BloomSearch, which has been out for two years.  But two new products rolling out Wednesday are BloomLift and BloomSocial.

BloomLift helps companies found through paid-search advertisments. By dynamically creating landing pages for companies, BloomLift can help drive more conversions for their customers, according to De Datta. The problem for companies is that they may have thousands of items but very few landing pages. After all, it's hard to create a landing page for every random keyword string people use to search for items. And, it's also a pain to create a landing page for every single item. That's how BloomReach's technology helps. It can automatically create a landing page for a client, based on the keywords that are being used. "[Typically] you go and click on an [paid-search] ad and the quality of the landing page isn't that great," De Datta explained. "The technology we developed makes the landing pages relevant." 

Companies have seen 55% bounce rates from their landing pages, said De Datta.

"Our analytics show that before these websites get to BloomReach, only 25% of their pages get any traffic at all from natural saearch. Even fewer get traffic from paid or social," said Kaufman. "That number goes up to 75% [when using BloomReach]," Kaufman added.

BloomSocial is another new product released Wednesday. This one is still in beta tests with wedding favors retailer With BloomSocial, Beau-coup customers can create a page of favorite items. Think Pinterest, except you're only sharing items on Beau-coup and from Beau-coup. Others can follow that page or maybe even add to it or create their own page. "It becomes a social experience," said De Datta.

All products are sold on a pay-for-performance basis. For BloomReach's search product, they get paid on the incremental search traffic a customer ends up receiving by using the BloomReach service. For BloomLift, the company gets paid on actual sales. In tests, BloomLift has increased conversion rates by 15% and profitability by 50%, said Kaufman.    

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