AdRoll welcomes $15M Series B to boost online ad tech

After experiencing 400%+ growth in revenue, AdRoll looks at new customers, tech for online ads

Technology trends and news by Krystal Peak
July 11, 2012
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Online ad retargeting company AdRoll announced Wednesday that it raised $15 million in its Series B round of funding. This round of funding was led by Foundation Capital and with support of previous investors Merus Capital and Accel Partners. 

Previously, the San Francisco company raised $8 million from Mercus Capital, Accel, Peter Thiel, Max Levchin and others.  

AdRoll states that this round will go towards further developing their data-driven advertising technology and to scale the business to meet overwhelming demand from enterprise, mid-size and small organizations for effective and easy-to-use retargeting solutions.

I had a chance to catch up with AdRoll's CEO, Aaron Bell, in April and learn about its advertising strategy, which is strongly based in the troves of data that individuals are tagged with as they shop and search online. AdRoll, like some of its competitors, pick individuals that have been to one of their clients' websites, but for one reason or another, have not purchased items on there, to target them to traffic back to the site for a purchase.

One of the strategies for this is using liquid ads (an ad that has the ability to change based on the individual's likes and interest) that cater to a particular item that they looked at or abandoned in a shopping cart.

Since every page of the Internet is filled with specific tags that give marketing and ad people key information of who is looking at given items, AdRoll uses these points to create anonymous profiles offer up ads to the profiles that are most likely to bite at an offer or reminder. 

"Our clients understand that the people that are most likely to buy their products and services aren't new people that have never heard of them," Bell explained. "They are those that have seen their site but didn't go as far as completing a transaction."

Customers of AdRoll include BMW, Toms Shoes, Saks Fifth Avenue, Microsoft, One King's Lane and Tivo.  

AdRoll has seen significant growth in the online advertising industry and in its own business lately. Last year, AdRoll experienced a 400%+ increase in overall revenue; 400% increase in impressions served; and a 334% increase in customer base. And with the display advertising industry on its was to $200 billion business, AdRoll is poised for further expansion. 

Last year AdRoll's revenue was roughly $13 million, a significant growth from 2009 when they brought in less than $1, and in just a three months their staff has swelled from 60 people to 85 -- with plans to get a larger San Francisco office and add more offices outside of outside the Bay Area soon.

Just yesterday, I reported the numbers out of Nielsen showing that, while online advertising may not result in the biggest returns for the amount paid, this segment of advertising saw 12.1% more spending in Q1 than the same time one year ago.

Earlier this year, Nielsen projected that Internet advertising would be worth $98.2 billion worldwide, representing 16% of all advertising spend, especially now that advertising is more personalized, targeted and precise to personal traffic, needs and interests.

Founded in 2007, AdRoll's innovative platform approach already been able to maintain north of a 95% retention rate with its clients and now supports more than 5,000 customers worldwide and is adding almost 500 new customers per month. 

After this round of funding, the company also has plans to experiment with new kinds of mobile ads, since many mobile devices don’t work with browser-based cookies.

Also, in recent news, AdRoll was selected as one of the first companies that will run ads on the recently announced Facebook Exchange, where advertisers will be able to display more targeted ads using the browsing history of individual Facebook users.


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