Adtech companies are better placed to execute around owned media strategies, an area that has traditionally been dominated by marketing technology providers. That’s the view of AdRoll co-founder Adam Berke.

Which-50 spoke with Berke, who is also the company’s CMO, during a recent visit to the San Francisco HQ .

“If we can optimise paid media, where brands have to pay money and make the ROI work, we can definitely make it work when we don’t have to pay.”

This gives AdRoll the opportunity to do some very interesting things from a competitive perspective.

“It means we have the option of only charging for performance in an email campaign because we know how to drive that. And it basically takes a solution that would have been a $20K a month email solution and makes it plug-and-play for any size of retailer.”

And it also makes it a risk-free proposition, he argued. 

According to Berke the mentality behind marketing technology is more about optimising around work flow than around the performance.

AdRoll co-founder and CMO Adam Berke
AdRoll co-founder and CMO Adam Berke

“Their approach is based on usage. Our DNA is more around how we make paid media perform. Taking that mentality to email, let’s be held accountable for the same thing and really focus on that.”

Earlier this year AdRoll hopped into marketing technology with an email solution called SendRoll.

Berke said marketers clearly want to act on their information in channels beyond paid advertising.

“That’s where SendRoll came from. It’s a behavioural email solution that includes dynamic content. It uses the same technology and IP that we’ve built to do product recommendations in paid media units. We are basically just putting that in an email.”

Road Map

While restricted in terms of specifics, Berke was able to talk across some of the bigger themes of the AdRoll product road map.

“We’re interested in helping our customers leverage their data across all marketing touch points. Some of those will be apps that we build, and some of those will be third-party apps.”

He also stressed AdRoll’s commitment to facilitating an open ecosystem pointing to integrations with companies like Marketo, MailChimp, Campaign Monitor and Shopify, and suggesting more to come.

This approach highlights a commitment to helping customers who use AdRoll effectively sync the data to other platforms, he said. “Then they can have all of their marketing apps working seamlessly together to create the marketing stack that makes the most sense for them.”

Berke described this bespoke approach as better than installing a single ready-made marketing cloud.

Cloud Schmoud

He said marketers don’t think of marketing systems the way an IT manager thinks of an ERP system. Instead he said, “A marketer wants to solve specific marketing problems with best-in-class solutions and they want those best-in-class solutions to work well together.”

He said the goal was to help marketers who already have all their customer data in AdRoll to use it as a hub to execute across a variety of channels.


Berke also hinted at developments in the attribution space.

“There is a massive opportunity,” he said.

There are myriad problems with attribution today, not least of which is the fact that the data is usually locked up in different systems and that marketers need to take account of privacy considerations.

“You’re just never going to have a 360 degree view of a user because Google is not going to play nice with Facebook and Facebook is not going to play nice with Google for example.”

So instead, companies will have to join the data points as much as possible, while acknowledging the limitations.

“That said, there is automation you can apply. And ideally, you should go with a neutral party. We have seen Google and AOL make big acquisitions in the attribution space because they see this coming.”

Berke told Which-50, “There’s a big green field opportunity – talking about roadmaps – somewhere between Google Analytics and a $50,000 a month enterprise solution.”

“That opportunity involves helping 80 per cent of marketers make better decisions by providing easy-to-implement technology that gives them a better picture of how things are performing. That’s certainly something that we want to help with, and it’s why we’re constantly improving our attribution model.”

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