10 Startups to Watch: Tapad

Ads That Follow You Everywhere? By Using Device Signatures Instead of Cookie Tracking, It's Now Possible to Retarget Across Mobile

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Ad retargeting is no longer a new practice in online display advertising, though it is getting more and more popular. But retargeting across mobile browsers and mobile apps is much less common and much more difficult. Tapad, founded in New York City last year by former Thumbplay CEO Are Traasdahl, says it has figured out a way to do it and is making a bid to become a mobile-retargeting force.

The company supplements cookie-tracking with other user information, such as device signatures, to track users as they travel from mobile browsers to apps and vice versa. Tapad also works with partnering publishers (2,500 to date) to acquire more information that can help track a single user. Tapad launched its first campaigns with advertising clients about seven months ago, and the results have been encouraging.

"We originally thought advertisers would test into this with 15, 20, $25,000 monthly budgets and then we'd go back to building on the technology from what we learned," said company founder and CEO Mr. Traasdahl. "But it's been very different; we're seeing campaigns that are $100,000, $200,000, $300,000."

Mr. Traasdahl said he expects Tapad to bring in more than $20 million in revenue in its first year of campaigns.

Most advertisers buy in on a CPM basis, though cost-per-action campaigns are possible. "We're able to deliver great results for advertisers," Mr. Traasdahl claimed, "but we're also able to bring the CPM up for publishers."

The next platform Tapad hopes to tackle? TV.

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