Friday, September 23, 2011

Start-Up Watch COD: Vurve puts advertising for ecommerce sites on autopilot

Different ecommerce sites have different levels of management resources available to them. Some sites have entire teams focused on driving traffic and sales, while others have small staffs charged with many duties to juggle.
Vurve is a web-based service that helps such sites drive stronger results from online marketing efforts by automating the process of planning, trafficking, and optimizing efforts. Clearly designed for small and medium sized businesses, the service promises strong results for budgets as small as $10 a day and with less than 15 minutes per week of hands-on campaign management.
Core to the service is an optimization and management software tool they call Sophie. They promise that Sophie identifies the best channels and locations for online marketing efforts, based upon target, products offered, past experience, and more.
The tool focuses on companies spending between $10 a day and $10,000 per month. An engagement begins by giving Sophie access to your store platform for analysis. As of this writing, Yahoo and Shopify are the supported platforms, making the tool relevant to millions of small business sites. Based upon this examination, the service identifies places to market and develops its first set of ads on your behalf.
Vurve focuses on five ad channels that are known to produce good results for small businesses:
  • Social media ads appear on Facebook and Twitter, targeting people with known interest in products like yours. The platform tracks efforts down to the sale, optimizing ads and strategies over time to optimize results.
  • Sponsored search results are placed and optimized on Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
  • Shopping comparison sites are also leveraged, with your messages and inventory appearing in results for searches in relevant categories.
  • Retargeting ads appear on the largest online sites like Google and Yahoo.
  • Display ads appear in sponsorable shopping environments like Amazon.
Vurve charges a straight 15% of total budget for its services.
To make trying the service low risk, they offer a guarantee that if you try Vurve for three months and subsequently identify another vendor that can derive better results at the same budget, they will refund their fees. There are a few restrictions, but it is a genuine offer.
While some business people may be reluctant to outsource advertising because of its critical importance to their businesses, I think that’s a decision that warrants further consideration. The extent to which the service provides better results than you are already getting really depends upon your prowess in online marketing. Organizations like Vurve have spent a great deal of time developing strategies and approaches that reflect strong insights into what works online. While online marketing isn’t rocket science, it may be that an outsourced service can deliver better results by dint of their focus on making these dollars work harder.
Only you know for sure how good you are at going it alone.

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