Advertising used to be a fairly simple affair for many smaller businesses. Simple because the choices that had to be made were generally limited, occurred infrequently and were not based on a lot of data. For instance, a business owner would decide once a year how big a listing to have in the yellow pages (most likely the same listing as last year and the year before that) with essentially no data to go on other than the price of the listing itself.
Online advertising changed all of that dramatically, at least in theory. Suddenly, there was a myriad of decisions to be made from choosing ad networks to keywords to bid prices. The decisions could be adjusted frequently (in fact in realtime). On top of that there now was a lot of data available to be analyzed in making these decisions.
So far, however, the reality of online advertising for most small businesses has been much closer to the old yellow pages. After an initial effort to get going (e.g., picking keywords) most campaigns wind up running on autopilot with at best a monthly attempt at tweaking, which generally ignores most of the available data.
Why is that? For one, it turns out that just pulling all the data together in one place is not so easy. Many start out with the best of intentions, for instance building spreadsheets, only to abandon them as they are too much effort to keep up to date. But even those who succeed at pulling the data together find that it's difficult to go from data to information and even harder to go from information to actions. There are just too many permutations, too many degrees of freedom, too many choices.
This is where Clickable comes in. Clickable provides an online service that not only automates the unthankful data collation task but analyzes all the data to produce easy-to-understand recommendations. Better yet, it is possible to act on these recommendations (e.g., pause an ineffective keyword) with a single click. Clickable does all of that with a "log in and go" set up, that allows customers to be active within minutes. The user experience is more iTunes than Excel, with Wizards that are consistent across different ad networks.
The possibilities for Clickable are very exciting. Everyone who spends on search engine marketing (and doesn't want to outsource to an agency) is a potential direct customer. Agencies, in turn, can be Clickable customers, as the service lets them manage a segment of their own customers more efficiently. Clickable is launching the service with support for PPC campaigns, but it will soon expand to include banners, rich media ads and online video. As ever more forms of advertising move to an online purchasing and feedback intensive model (e.g., radio ads), Clickable can eventually become a complete solution for managing all advertising spending.
David Kidder and Munish Gandhi, the company founders, are both startup veterans and bring extensive advertising and data warehousing experience to Clickable. They did an amazing job self-funding through the start of the closed beta and the current round lets them launch the service broadly in the fall. We are thrilled to have invested in the company's first round of financing and to be working with David, Munish and the team they are putting together.