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Revjet takes off

Creating, optimizing and delivering ads may not be the final frontier for marketing technology, but RevJet sees it as an unconquered one–until now.

Today, the San Carlos, California-based start-up, revealed its Creative Side Platform (CSP) which has been in development for a year, and live for selected customers for six to eight weeks. “It’s the first and only comprehensive creative platform,” founder and CEO Mitchell Weisman told me.

I met Weisman and VP of Marketing Darrell Waddell last week for a preview of the tool. The core technology itself has been around, Weisman said, for ten years, powering in-app advertising for LifeStreet Media, then run by Weisman. A year ago, LifeStreet investors Nautic Partners funded the spin-off of RevJet to market the technology as a platform available to advertisers and agencies. The technology, said Weisman, was “trapped inside a media company. We wanted to put it in the hands of all the world’s advertisers.” In the intervening months, he said, the team has been “upleveling it to enterprise grade,” for example by building out new UIs.

A huge pot of value

RevJet is driven by the money traditional advertising is leaving on the table. “Despite the huge spend on advertising,” said Weisman–estimated at $500 billion annually, “response is still terrible.” Ads fail almost all the time: the estimated conversion rate is 0.05 percent. If  modest changes can reduce failure from, say, 99.95 percent to 99.90 percent, the industry doubles in value. Early adopter Microsoft has reported 100 percent plus performance gains in the weeks it has spent on the platform. Grad Conn, CMO lead for Microsoft’s Centralized Marketing Organization, said: “For years, I’ve preached to my team that we must always be experimenting with ad creatives, but we’ve never had anything like the RevJet CSP to make it happen.”

This is the next place marketing tech giants like Adobe and Saleforce will be, Weisman predicted, “because this is a huge pot of value.”

Never stop testing

Legendary as man David Ogilvy said “never stop testing and your advertising will never stop improving.” An informal demonstration showed me what experimenting with the creatives means in practice. 

People are obsessed with the ad space–with purchasing ad inventory, delivering the ad, and ensuring premium placement, said Weisman, but “at the end of the day, it’s an empty box.”  Citing sources which say creative is four times more important than effective media planning, and–relevant to marketing tech’s current focus–five times more important than targeting, RevJet focuses on what goes in the box. 

Users drag and drop ad elements, drawing on their own approved asset library, to create a series of competing creatives. Multiple variant testing against comparable audiences is automated. When RevJet is confident that one creative is outperforming the others, the test pauses (the confidence interval is customizable). The winning creative can be matched against new alternatives, and testing resumes. The experiment is “always on,” but demands minimal attention from users. The built-in creative tools, which include optimization across devices, make it faster and less expensive to develop samples for testing.

In test data from one month, RevJet shows over 700 new tests launched, over 700 existing tests completed–with a 34 percent lift in conversions–by a team comprising two designers and three account managers. 

Making the final connection between creative and performance, the RevJet platform also generates real time data on the effectiveness of media buys, permitted rapid optimization decisions.

Relentlessly focused on the top 500

The UIs shown to me in the demonstration certainly looked intuitive and easy to use. But does this mean putting every aspect of advertising, starting with creative, in the hands of one user? And who would that user be? Weisman said this wasn’t the case. Creative agencies needed to produce the basic assets, and there were still roles to be played by marketers and media buyers. RevJet is a collaborative platform, with workflows which draw all stakeholders into the process.

It can also serve your ads. “The lowest ad serving fee ever,” Weisman said, gleefully. “We’re breaking the penny barrier on CPM.” The approach reflects RevJet’s conviction that value lies elsewhere.

In its first phase, said Weisman, “RevJet will be relentlessly focused on the 500 largest digital advertisers.” Phase two will encompass the midmarket. The platform, as explained to me, would certainly seem ideal for smaller teams and tighter budgets.

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