We sat down for an interview with Klickly CEO Cooper Harris; on how her ad platform is disrupting an industry dominated by Adwords and Facebook Ads.
“The audiences part confuses me. “
“I spent a little bit of money and got pretty much nothing in return, which killed any motivation from exploring it further”
“I don’t know how much money I should bid for an ad!”
“I thought our creatives would be responsive. I was wrong… It was a disaster on AMP!”
These were just a few of the complaints I heard when I asked a number of colleagues and professional contacts about the adversities they faced when they first tried their hands at Adwords and Facebook ads.
You see, quality control and accountability are not a concern when you have the power of reaching billions of internet users across the globe. Facebook and Google have, until now, been the ones making the rules… Accusations of inaccurate reporting, redundant clicks and faulty functionality be damned.
You could say, that GOOG and FB were the rude taxi drivers circa-2010 of the ad industry. As is the case with any industry where the customers are either underserved or served poorly, there is a huge vacuum for disruption. As was the case with ride-hailing service startups easily beating out the aforementioned mean taxi drivers in most countries, thereby making the world a better place.
Klickly is one such company that’s trying to create an epic disruption. Since this is a lot to take in, I’ll have to elaborate on what they do in the most direct manner possible:
- They show your ads to visitors across millions of websites for free
- Their ads don’t rely on creatives for CTR because…
- The users can purchase your products from WITHIN the ads
- You don’t pay a dime unless you get a sale, from which you pay a commission that YOU choose.
Klickly has just launched their integration for Shopify and are looking for people to give the service a good stress test. There are limited testing slots available and for now they’re US-only, but you can apply for yours via our official Facebook Group here and mention “Klickly Beta” in the “How did you find this group?” field.
The promises this ad platform is making
So here’s what an ad would look and function like on a website:
I had the pleasure of having an extended chat with Klickly’s CEO Cooper Harris about their platform. A superbly multi-talented person who has transitioned from being a Hollywood actress to a hackathon winner who is now running an undeniably interesting company.
Here’s the interview in full:
Harris: Thanks for joining me, Cooper. For those of us who don’t know about your company… Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
Cooper: Harris, great to chat – nice name! I’m Cooper Harris, the founder & CEO of Klickly. Klickly is a new advertising platform that guarantees ROI for brands! (Yes really; see below.)
I’ve always had the entrepreneurial bug. After being a TV and film actor in Hollywood, I fell in love with technology! I was one of the 1st females to win LA’s AT&T Hackathon, founded Hackathons at SXSW, Sundance, and even one for the British Government (a crazy story!), and then started 2 companies. When the inspiration for Klickly hit me, I knew we were on to something big.
Klickly offers the 1st-ever “commission-only advertising platform” – brands can launch quick ad campaigns (in 5 min!) with zero upfront spend. Brands only pay when Klickly drives real sales.
Klickly is proud to work with hundreds of the fastest-growing brands in eCommerce to enable risk-free advertising where brands and tech are truly aligned (after all, we only make money when you do).
“We priced our ads on a “commission-only-basis” because I saw so many of my friends spend thousands of dollars on Facebook and other ad platforms, with mixed results.”
Harris: What prompted you to build this ad platform?
Cooper: The idea of buying directly within ads was born out of pure frustration! A few years ago, I tried to buy a pair of shoes from an – I saw the ad, clicked it, and was forced through a bunch of steps (I ultimately got annoyed and gave up). I thought “Why would they make it so hard for me to give them money?” That was the moment we decided to create ads that could enable “impulse-purchases.”
Next, we got crazy with how we charged brands!
We priced our ads on a “commission-only-basis” because I saw so many of my friends spend thousands of dollars on Facebook and other ad platforms, with mixed results.
We think it’s only fair to charge for ads that directly lead to performance, so that’s our business model.
The app promises ads that require “no upfront spend”, instead relying on performance based sales commissions
Harris: What kind of publishers and content websites are you partnering with for displaying your ads? What kind of control will store owners have over what kind of websites their products are shown on?
Cooper: Klickly brands will be featured on the premium websites we have partnerships with (e.g. Cosmo, Men’s Fitness, Yahoo! and more). We can also hit your customers on over 200 million sites, so it’s wide enough to accommodate every niche, no matter how specific!
Klickly’s goal is to be a huge time-saver – we streamline every step, so you can focus on your store.
Just “Launch” Klickly and sit back and relax! Our algorithm will auto-adjust to find your customers.
You don’t have to worry about the day-to-day adjustments OR how much you’re spending … because you aren’t spending anything 😉 Brands seems to love that we retarget and find look-alikes of customers who are most likely to buy, and we only charge when we drive sales.
“The key here is to hit the right people with the right product. And THEN let them purchase easily”
Harris: Since you guys are disrupting the concept of CTRs, how do you think optimizing ads for sales is going to change the game for you guys as well as the store owners?
Cooper: The key here is to hit the right people with the right product. And THEN let them purchase easily, in our buyable ads (this is what we call an “impulse purchase”).
We can do this because we see millions of consumers over hundreds of brands, so it’s easier for us to predict who’ll purchase than it would be for any one individual brand.
“…our algorithm will still learn who to target, over time. The longer you have Klicky installed, the more accurate your targeting will be!”
Harris: You’re also turning the bidding process for ads on its head, can you tell how the sales commission angle works and why e-commerce would want to go with that instead of traditional ad budgets?
Cooper: Store owners already love our “commission” model! Flagship Klickly brands with great data – like Combat Flip Flops and Spongellé – have already made $1,000’s in additional revenue
As a brand on Klickly, you actually get to choose your commission! That’s pretty unique. As such, we can pretty much guarantee a positive ROI. On average, we can target ROI of 120% – 350%+ for our brands that have established stores.
We can do this because we’re buying ads across hundreds of brands, and our targeting can learn which customers like to buy what.
Even if you’re a new store and don’t have a ton of traffic like bigger brands – our algorithm will still learn who to target, over time. The longer you have Klicky installed, the more accurate your targeting will be! Even if you’re not making money or sales, there’s no downside: you’re still getting free ads/exposure. It’s win-win.
What it comes down to is this: do you want to pay upfront for non-guaranteed results? Or would you rather advertise completely risk-free?
Harris: What’s the Shopify integration process like? Is there any design or code work involved?
Cooper: Signing up and launching a Klickly campaign takes ~5 mins! No design or code necessary. Sign up in 3 – 4 steps and don’t worry about creative; we auto-generate ads for your campaign by pulling your info and pictures straight from your Shopify store into seamless “PLA” ads (higher-converting Product Listing Ads).
Harris: On Facebook there are a lot of restrictions on the kind of ad you can put out. For example, they don’t allow more than 20% of your banners to contain text. What’s the ad (or product, even) approval process like on Klickly?
Cooper: We don’t impose the text restriction that FB does. In fact, as mentioned, we auto-generate PLA ads for you, so you can get up and running quickly.
The only restrictions we have our product-based. We won’t advertise any products related to weapons, drugs, adult content, etc. This is a company decision as well as a restriction imposed on us from the content websites.
Harris: Google’s ad platform gets a lot of criticism for its sometimes shady reporting (incorrect stats, ads being displayed to irrelevant audiences, etc.) – How does Klickly compete on this front in terms of transparent reporting?
Cooper: The bottomline is: we don’t benefit from showing you shady reporting, because ultimately, we only get paid if we’re getting you real sales!
We’re still in an early-access Beta (we haven’t rolled out all the bells and whistles yet). BUT you’ll have your own Klickly Dashboard that will show your metrics: impressions, sales, ROI etc. You’ll be able to track each campaign’s performance over time, giving you the data you need to optimize each campaign. We’re working on adding more fun reporting tools as we speak.
In terms of serving your ads to irrelevant audiences or other bad-practices, again … it only hurts us to show ads to non-relevant audiences! Showing ads to irrelevant consumers would be extremely expensive for us, because we only get paid when customers buy.
Harris: How do you think consumers are going to react to putting their payment info inside what looks like an ad widget?
Cooper: With any new form of technology, there’s always going to be a learning curve for less-digitally-savvy folks. (For a while there, buying on the World Wide Web was a scary thing ?).
We make our ads look and feel like the inside of a store, creating a familiar and comfortable setting. We also always have the option for the consumer to go to your site and buy there.
Harris: What’s the future roadmap for Klickly? When are you guys planning on going international?
Cooper: There’s so much we’re planning to do!
We plan to keep adding Perks for our brands. This includes free PR features for our brands (we’ve rolled out HuffPost and Buzzfeed articles showcasing our brands), a partnership with BluePay giving our brands better processing rates, influencer opportunities and so much more.
Going international is something we’d really like to do, since there are so many great international brands. Unfortunately, that’s something we can’t work on for at least another 6 months, but we’re excited about the opportunity. Stay tuned!
“better to be the go-to store for people who like pugs rather than an just-okay store for random stuff.”
Harris: What would be your advice to struggling entrepreneurs? (I already have a full quote noted on this one, but edited it for clarity. You can either OK this or have your content people look it over and make changes as needed:
Cooper: We’ve seen big results from brands who focus on little niches. If you don’t have a ton of budget, don’t try to boil the ocean! Focus on finding your niche – go narrow and deep rather than wide and shallow. For example: better to be the go-to store for people who like pugs rather than an just-okay store for random stuff.
Harris: Thanks for your time! This was a very enlightening chat.
Visit Klickly.com for more info about the app. As mentioned above, you can secure limited slots to use the app along with a chance to win $400 in Boost credit for free by visiting our official Facebook group.