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Disruption in Advertising: Avail for Campaigns

January 22, 2013

Advertising big dogs may be in for a surprise.

Advertising big dogs may be in for a surprise.


Avail Intelligence is poised to accelerate a looming disruption in advertising. Its new advertising service, Avail for Campaigns, shifts power – and margin – to its clients, and away from advertising exchanges and agencies.

Avail Intelligence, a veteran among the providers of recommendation services, has expanded their portfolio – and their underlying technology platform – into the advertising arena. The platform already supports email retargeting, mobile recommendations, and web site recommendations. Now, the same technology that boosts orders now also delivers the ads and emails that lure customers.

Recommendation service providers initially focused their efforts where the value was clear and the concepts familiar: product recommendations on retail sites. But the core services of a recommendation platform – big data collection, big data analysis, prediction – support many other scenarios.

Advertising is the next wave. The value is clear, and the concepts are familiar: create an ad, place it, track what happens, collect revenue.

Avail is not unique in using their recommendation platform to serve personalized advertising, but giving merchants the tools to buy media and place ads is unique.

Traditionally, agencies buy inventory (ad placement) at a commodity cost, and charge clients for valuable clicks. The agency reaps a significant margin on each click. This is a market inefficiency that Avail predicts won’t survive much longer: that margin will erode as soon as merchants figure out how to take over the task. So Avail has rolled out the tools for merchants to do so, and reap substantial cost savings.

Avail for Campaigns lets you buy your own inventory and control where ads are placed. Using the same tools that control personalized recommendations, you specify the algorithms and rules that control how ads and emails are personalized. Banners and retargeting emails can be created and managed within the same console. It’s a single interface, a single integration covering ads and recommendations across touchpoints. Merchants who aren’t ready to own these tasks can use Avail’s management services.

Merchants can leverage customer data across the customer life cycle to make more successful offers. They can use their knowledge of their products and customers to influence how the offers are selected. For example, a visitor looks at an Xbox on the site. He doesn’t buy. A month goes by. He has probably bought the Xbox elsewhere: forget urging him to buy the Xbox. Or suggesting he buy a PlayStation. An email, an ad, or product recommendations when he’s next on the site can encourage him to buy games. But if you’re selling carpets, it’s a fair bet that the decision will take longer than 30 days. So you might set up a campaign to follow your shopper with ads and emails reminding her about that beautiful rug she was looking at, and perhaps recommend a few other rugs to consider.

A significant volume of traffic is required to collect enough data to feed the algorithms that personalize the ads. So, the solution seems best suited to companies with revenues north of $100M.

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