Schenectady entrepreneur creates online resource for advertisers
SCHENECTADY A Schenectady man is at the local forefront of a new advertising trend — online and mobile aggregation — attracting the attention of local news outlets and national marketers.
Ryan Hickman, 26, said he created Adneedle.com in November after enduring the time-consuming process of putting together a local marketing campaign.
“I had to call up Times-Union, Daily Gazette, AllOverAlbany.com, and five other publications. In the time it took to call them all, find out the price, and put together a campaign, I was three weeks behind my launch goal,” Hickman said. “It was another task for me when I wanted results.”
After he completed the campaign, he began coding away, working with a small team to engineer an online application that would consolidate local advertising efforts and put all the traffic, creation of ads, and reporting in one place.
He also met with local publishers and news outlets to research and see what their needs were for the site.
The marketing entrepreneur also established Cre8tiveLabs LLC to run Adneedle.
“It’s become a tool to really enhance online performance,” he said.
So far only 10 percent of his response is local. The rest is from marketers outside the region and national advertisers.
From Clifton Park’s SoSara.com site and local television stations like WNYT-NBC and WRBG-CBS to major national networks like A&E and magazines like Essence, Cosmopolitan and Maxim, the site provides a long list of hundreds of available sites to advertise with, and the minimum required ad purchase and cost for each.
Being listed is free. When one of the sites sells an ad, Adneedle gets a finder’s fee.
Jim Grandy, assistant general manager of The Gazette Newspapers, said the site acts as another way for publishers to find additional streams of revenue.
“I have been working with Adneedle to set up some online ad zones on their site; [we] have not sold anything yet. [It’s] another tool to sell some of our online ad inventory,” he said.
More marketers have turned to online ads as an alternative to traditional television and print advertising, but the downturn in the economy curtailed some of the gains made in previous years.
Internet advertising revenue in the U.S. fell 3.4 percent in 2009 to $22.7 billion for the year, according to a report published earlier this month by the PricewaterhouseCoopers firm and the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
The report, which reported data for online advertising revenues from Web sites, commercial online services, free e-mail providers, and all other companies selling online advertising, said there were signs of improvement in the industry.
Fourth quarter of 2009 hit a record quarterly high of $6.3 billion, an increase of 2.6 percent compared with a year earlier. Last year, Internet advertising trailed behind newspapers and TV distribution in market share, which earned $24.6 billion and $26.2 billion respectively.
Sanjay Putrevu, chairman of the marketing department at the University at Albany, said the information needed to form local campaigns can be too fragmented, wasting time and energy.
“There is a service that sites like this can provide to both local and national advertisers. They can be a clearinghouse of knowledge in terms of what it costs at particular times of day and for certain locations,” Putrevu said.
Previously, aggregated information for advertisers was found in booklets and magazines. “But now, it’s getting more and more Internet-oriented. That’s why you’re seeing these sites,” Putrevu said.
Putrevu called Hickman an “early pioneer” for this area because it’s a relatively new field. The fact that the site targets budget-conscious small businesses with a “no minimum time or dollar commitment” for campaigns may prove lucrative as well.
National advertisers normally go with the outlets they have built longstanding relationships with, but sites like Adneedle make it easier to expand the possibilities, he said.
“Sites like this may be useful because they give you one-stop information,” Putrevu said.
Overall, the world of advertising is becoming more specialized. Putrevu said to look no further than the grocery store for this trend.
There are more targeted sales promotions generated based on purchase patterns as retailers use loyalty cards to track shopping habits, he explained.
“Usually a redemption rate for a coupon is 3 to 5 percent. If you can produce online coupons, it reduces the cost to the manufacturer. If you target things well, more people are more likely to pay attention,” he said.