AdRoll says it broke $100 million in annual revenue as of last month, generating an average tenfold return in sales for every dollar spent by its customers.
The retargeting platform claims more than 10,000 customers in 100 countries now and expects to have more than 300 employees by the end of the year. Still, it maintains profitability, as competitors in the red-hot ad tech space seek windfalls on the public markets.
“We’ve been on an incredible run. We launched our retargeting product in 2009 and we’ve just had consistent growth since then,” chief executive Aaron Bell tells ClickZ. “We’re growing at a rate about 400 percent per year and we’ve been able to maintain that as a smaller company and as a bigger company now.”
Retargeting has gone completely mainstream since AdRoll began experimenting with the technology four years ago, to the point where now anybody with a product or service sold online is interested in retargeting, Bell adds.
Retargeting and digital advertising have generally been sold as a service using old models, but programmatic technologies are effectively changing the game, he says. “The first playground for real-time bidding was really web display advertising. That was the cutting edge, that’s what we first experimented with. Now we’re seeing those real-time bidding concepts or programmatic concepts being applied to Facebook in the news feed,” says Bell.
“We’re starting to see it applied to places like video and to mobile, and before you know it, it’s going to be applied to things like TV and radio,” he continues. “All the traditional outlets for advertising are going to be programmatic, which means advertising is going to be personalized. Those are all areas that we are seeing some growth in, and in the coming years I think it’s going to be a massive opportunity.”
AdRoll’s compelling and well-noted story of growth is due in part to its early investment in products for Facebook Exchange. When Facebook reported a total of about 1,300 advertisers on the platform earlier this year, AdRoll represented as many as 800 of those customers at the time, according to Bell. The introduction of real-time bidding in Facebook’s Newsfeed has been a significant engine for growth as well, he says.
“The people we show posts to are 40 times more likely to engage with a post than with traditional display advertising,” Bell adds. “For every dollar our customer spends, they get $10 in return in sales.”
As it seeks to build an aggressive digital advertising platform that can scale to millions of customers, AdRoll is expanding its headquarters in San Francisco and offices in New York, with plans to open new offices abroad. Thousands of international customers from every major vertical joined the platform this year, according to the company, and it says it is maintaining a 97 percent customer retention rate.
“The way we see it, anybody who sells a product or service online has this gold mine of data basically sitting untapped underneath their website,” says Bell. “Very few marketers know how to really leverage that data–act on that data. So retargeting is a killer way to be able to take all of that data and usage analytics, and be able to act on it and drive new customers.”