In what it's regarding as its first move into transforming from an email-only service to full-fledged marketing platform, MailChimp on Thursday debuted Facebook Ads to its 15 million-plus customers.
That means users can reach recent customers or active subscribers and quickly create a lookalike audience in Facebook, taking the guesswork out for those unfamiliar with the social media platform's advertising setup.
Meanwhile, MailChimp is also rethinking how its customer base uses its platform. In the near future, it may integrate the option for users to advertise through Google search, and in the distant future, it may include advanced targeting options that leverage first-party data, said Ben Chestnut, co-founder and CEO at MailChimp.
"We'd be crazy not to do that," Mr. Chestnut said in regards to adding Google AdWords integration. "We're really excited about what's next. It's not about the channel so much for us, but more about how everything is going to interact altogether."
Although the big five agency holding companies don't use MailChimp, many of their employees do. "Branding and design has always been our forte," Mr. Chestnut said. "We've lured a lot of the creative agencies because they end up being a force multiplier for us; one agency recommends us to 10 of their smaller clients."
MailChimp kicked off a new campaign earlier this week with Droga5 in which the company rebrands itself with wacky names like "MailShrimp," "KaleLimp" or "JailBlimp" in three diffent 60-second spots. The agency worked with Riff Raff Films and The Sacred Egg on the spots.
Mr. Chestnut said the new Facebook Ads offering is free, and that the company won't be skimming a cut off the top, either. "The magic to our brand is the democratization," Mr. Chestnut said. "When we launched our freemium list it sent us from 100,000 customers to 1 million in a year."
The company saw an explosion of users after it began offering a freemium service -- anyone can use the company's product to email up to 2,000 people -- in 2009. It also gained global attention following the debut of NPR's "Serial" in 2014.