Thursday, March 18, 2010

Trada Throws Crowdsourcing into Paid Search Mix

Trada is the latest company to use crowd sourcing to craft an online marketing campaign - in this case paid search. The company has launched with a business model that connects small and medium sized companies to hundreds of paid search experts - specifically, people who have Adwords or a similar certification - to build their campaigns.

The firm entered into private beta last January and has since built a stable of 280 experts and landed 70 advertisers. It currently supports Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing.

The smallest budget an advertiser can request for Trada is $500 a month, founder Niel Robertson tells MarketingVOX. The largest will range in the tens of thousands a month. “The way we work is that an advertiser specifies what it wants - the budget, and how they would like to pay, whether by click or by the sale.” The paid search experts opt to work on the campaigns they want and whose conversion price seems fair to them, he adds.

Trada just received $2.2 million from the Foundry Group and angel investors Alan Warms, Carlos Cashman, Dan Murray, James Crouthamel, Stuart Larkins and Robert Wolfe. The company will be using the proceeds to invest in sales and marketing, Robertson says.
Industry Trend

Trada is hardly alone in turning to crowdsourcing - it is expected to be one of the top trends for marketers this year, according to the digital experts at Last Exit. The downside of the concept, however, is that companies can find themselves with a deluge of offers that may become more work than first realized, according to Jez Frampton, CEO of Interbrand (via Forbes).

"It is the ability to select and profitably execute an idea that delivers greatest value to the organization. This supports the old adage that success is 5% inspiration, and 95% perspiration."

Dark Side

Frampton tells of a creative director who tried crowdsourcing for a specific campaign and within 48 hours had received hundreds of ideas. The irony, Frampton said, was that the director and his team spent more time sorting through the input than they would have spent simply developing a good idea themselves.

These are still early days, though, and as this model takes off supporters say such problems will be resolved. More industry resources are being devoted to crowdsourcing, which should also help. Last October, for instance, a new advertising agency, Victors & Spoils, was launched by former executives from Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, billing itself the first creative ad agency built on crowdsourcing principles.

Also companies are getting smarter about crowdsourcing in general, according to Matthew Greeley, CEO and founder, (via DM News).

"Marketers need to be brought in to ensure that open innovation sites serve as an extension of the overall brand. A simple way to do this is through white-label innovation platforms, which easily enable marketers to influence the look and feel of a crowdsourcing initiative so that there is a stronger tie between the brand and innovation."
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