Update: AdForce Makes a Play at E-Mail Marketing

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AdForce's partnership with e-mail marketing services provider ClickAction will allow AdForce to offer its advertiser clients the ability to place banner ads in ClickAction's e-mail newsletters.

The alliance, which was announced last week, will eventually allow ClickAction, Palo Alto, CA, to market its e-mail marketing services to AdForce's publishing clients. The co-branded service is expected to be available in roughly two months, said Mark Bonham, vice president of product marketing at AdForce. Consumers visiting a site that AdForce serves ads on will be allowed to register for ClickAction's service by answering questions regarding interests, gender, age and e-mail address on a questionnaire provided by ClickAction. Later this year, AdForce is expected to serve banners on ClickAction's e-mail newsletters.

"The ability to serve banner ads via e-mail will give our publisher clients the opportunity to monetize their e-mails," said Joe Cortale, executive vice president of worldwide sales at ClickAction.

"The decision to serve banner ads via e-mail will be completely up to the publisher," Bonham said.

Bonham said AdForce pursued the relationship in order to offer its clients a more highly targeted way to reach their audience.

"We are beginning to see a trend in which online advertisers are turning to e-mail as an inexpensive customer acquisition strategy," he said. The new relationship will allow ClickAction to continue its customer retention efforts through e-mail newsletters and add customer acquisition capabilities through e-mail banner ads, he said.

Reggie Brady, vice president of strategic development and partnerships at e-mail services provider FloNetwork, Toronto, said AdForce's decision to partner with ClickAction validates the importance of e-mail marketing.

"Online banner click-throughs are a problem, but when aligned with highly targeted e-mail, they can prove effective," she said.

The partnership will give ClickAction access to AdForce's extensive list of clients, enabling it to expand its revenue stream, Cortale said. ClickAction has more than 200 clients. Cortale said that AdForce was interested in a partnership based on a strong desire from their clients for e-mail marketing.

"While response rates on banner ads are under 1 percent, opt-in e-mail response rates are about 18 percent," he said.

Publishers using the ClickAction service will be charged a one-time setup fee of $10,000 and varying fees per e-mail sent, Cortale said. Once the banner ads are integrated into ClickAction e-mails, advertisers will be charged per e-mail sent, Bonham said.

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