Mar 18 2010

Join the search revolution! Introducing: Trada

image While search marketing is already a huge business, more and more companies each day are discovering the advantages of advertising directly to customers through search engines. Companies like that they can directly measure the impact of their spending – from the clicks they are generating all the way through the products they are selling as a result of those site visits and that they can quickly and easily scale up their spending on what’s working in their search campaigns. With different ad groups, ad copy and landing pages, search marketers can customize their campaigns to fit their business needs.

If there’s a downside to search, however, it’s that effectively managing search campaigns is extremely difficult. Even if you confine your efforts solely to Google the complexities of creating ad groups, generating keywords, pricing each keyword, creating deep links into your product catalogue, managing spend variants by day, figuring out broad match vs. phrase match vs exact match vs negative match, etc are daunting.

One of the ironies of search is that while technology of search itself is in many ways disaggregating the relationship between marketers and consumers (and bringing them directly together), the business of search itself isn’t something that can easily be disaggregated by technology in the same way.  Search is simply not something that lends itself well to machine automation. And while there are a few software platforms available for managing search campaigns (mostly focused on the high end of the market spending > $100k/month on search) these packages are primarily designed for people who are already search experts. It’s almost impossible to take search knowledge and put it into an algorithm. As a result, companies that lack this expertise are at a huge disadvantage in the search game (this is true of many agencies as well who use search marketing as a lead-in to offer other more lucrative services).

Today we’re launching Trada. And fundamentally changing the game in search marketing.

Trada has been working in stealth mode for the last 18 months to build a system that harnesses the power of a “crowd” of search experts to work on behalf of advertisers. The Trada system easily allows advertisers to upload campaign information and connect with hundreds of search experts. It’s not a referral site – the Trada experts work together, through the Trada platform, to create the broadest possible campaign for each advertiser. These experts get paid only for generating clicks and/or conversions for Trada advertisers (depending on whether a campaign is in pay per click or pay per action mode). We work in the middle to enable these campaigns and make our margin based on our search experts’ ability to beat your pre-determined CPC or CPA rates.

The company opened its system to a small group of advertisers in January 2009 as it worked out the specifics of the platform. Trada has served over 70 customers in that time period. The average campaign in the Trada system has over 100 ads (most proposed by Trada optimizers), 6,200 keywords and an average of more than 20 optimizers working on behalf of each advertiser. If you’re working in search marketing, these numbers blow you away. Advertisers can currently run campaigns – through a single Trada interface – on Google, Yahoo and Bing.

This company is near and dear to my heart, as I’ve been with CEO Niel Robertson and the rest of the Trada team from the very start of the business (and together with them am a co-founder of the company; read Niel’s post launching the company on the Trada blog). I’ve known Niel for almost 10 years now and one of our goals with Trada has been to step away from the traditional VC/CEO relationship. We’ve done that over the last 18 months of the business and developed an unusually close partnership – the initial result of which you see today. There’s a ton more to come with Trada. Stay tuned!

Learn more about the search revolution at