Friday, May 13, 2011

Start-Up Watch COD: Longboard Media reaches shoppers when – wait for it – they’re shopping online

As the demands for ROI and accountability from digital marketing continue to grow more acute, more than a few companies are innovating to find ways to connect with active shoppers. After all, this model is the key to why search sucks up such a high proportion of online dollars. And now we have in-store mobile apps, and search retargeting, and and and.

The people at Longboard Media have become successful by recognizing that some of the most ingenious ideas are dead simple. In their case, they’ve built a business with one profound concept:

To reach and persuade shoppers, why not connect with them when they’re shopping?

Dammit I hate it when I see a start-up idea that was right there in front of me, but so obvious that I couldn’t see it. Another set of people (though truth be told, a group of people I like very much) have the opportunity to get rich, while I get the opportunity to write 504 words about their genius.

But no matter. My sour(ish) grapes aside, the concept behind Longboard should be under the slang dictionary under “sure thing.” They’re an ad network that focuses exclusively on a shopping vertical – that is, they aggregate inventory exclusively on shopping and comparison sites. Actually, given that they sell just 16 sites, with perfect transparency, they really fit under the rep firm moniker as well. Here’s a list of some of the properties they represent:

This Next

When you look at that list, it’s pretty easy to conclude that the people they are packaging up for advertisers are definitely in the buying mode.

Reaching more than 55 million people monthly, Longboard offers the opportunity for both focus and scale. Demographically, they represent a fairly broad cross section of demos, and a nearly even split of men and women. That surprised me a little given that women buy around 85% of total stuff, but I suspect it reflect men’s greater interest in online information seeking.

Targeting options are numerous, from demo and geo to retargeting, product and category level segmentation, and complementary product matching. In total, they offer solutions for 54 product categories. In addition to IABs, they offer page sponsorships, badge/buttons, text links, video, and custom programs based upon specific advertiser specs. All rich media formats supported.

While the concept is magically kerplunk, their technology platform is quite intricate and sophisticated, making it possible for them to deliver rather imaginative and customized programs suited to very specific business objectives.

It’s tough to know what else to say about these folks. It’s all there in the dead simple concept, and a set of business practices that offer what brands seek when they’re looking to cost effectively reach shoppers. Since so many purchases are either being made online or are being informed by online searches for information and advice, the concept is an absolute natural. Especially when brands in their 54 categories want to sell stuff ASAP.

Thanks to ad:tech for publishing this first.

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