Art directors, copywriters and account managers alike are united in one overarching quest: to create great ads for their online advertising agencies. But one up-and-coming ad shop from Kansas City believes that many are getting it seriously wrong, creating bad online ads that put people off and make them feel just a little creeped out.
So says Kyle Johnson, CEO and co-founder of Missouri-based newbie Bixy, which launched in 2010 and has just gone public at CES. The good news is that Johnson also believes that online ads are here to stay. There would be no free content without ad revenue, so websites, media services and consumers all still need them.
But if most online ads are “useless”, in Kyle’s terminology, what’s the way forward? He believes that personalized rewards are the answer, like product discounts or other consumer incentives. This approach translates into fewer but more effective ads, giving businesses better results and preventing money being wasted on ineffective alternatives.
Bixy targets its ads on Gen‑Y consumers predominantly, especially women who tend to be more concerned about web privacy than men. But it also aims to appeal to both small and large businesses, providing “laser-focused” alternatives to indiscriminate banner ads for the latter and a free service for the former.
The company’s philosophy is one of the key differentiators from other ad networks, who resort to cookie tracking and other opaque methods to target web consumers. Johnson explains, “We believe that advertising should be transparent and that consumers should control their advertising experience. We also want consumers to mostly get personalized rewards instead of traditional banner ads. Today advertisers rely on sneaky tracking technologies to attempt to profile and target consumers. Not only does this raise a whole bunch of privacy concerns, but also it turns ad serving into guesswork.”
A direct and transparent approach
Instead, Bixy puts a direct question straight to the customer: “What do you want?” Then it gives it to him or her. Consumers never lose control over their own web data.
The startup aims to generate revenue from ad agencies and businesses which opt to advertise through it, and it’s already working on partnerships with several shops and digital publishers.
The goal? Johnson puts it succinctly, “We want to be a widely-known alternative to bad ads by 2014.”