TWiST: InfluAds, One Ad At A Time

Anibal Damião, Founder and CEO of InfluAds (TWiST #39, Shark Tank) reached out to us to highlight some of the success they have been having since their call.  If you don’t remember, InfluAds is a premium ad network that focuses on specific verticals and places only one ad on a member site.  Focusing on not taking away from the content and offering the user an ad that will provide them value.  I’m sure you will recognize some of the member site (OnStartups, A Smart Bear, Venture Hacks).

They started actually placing ads on sites 3 weeks after their call-in and I thought this was a good time to dive a bit deeper into their idea.  The idea is pretty interesting in my opinion, it boils down to two things.  Matching up a premium community of sites and advertisers that offer a product that matches that communities interests.  That was one of the compelling reasons why Venture Hacks and Jason Cohen were on board, they wanted a minimum set revenue but more importantly they liked the concept.

All this is well and great in theory but it leads to a balancing act.  They recognize the fact that many sites have never wanted ads in the first place and the wrong ad can do more harm than good.  They also recognize the advertisers needs, in that they need a click through rate better than Google Adsense and and have a goal of 2 – 3%.  To accomplish this they work with both parties to improve under performing ads and websites and if a site doesn’t perform it maybe asked to leave the community.  Along those same lines Jason was very critical of the size of the ads being offered (understanding click through and ad size are related) and they are currently exploring different options.  At the moment, they have two sizes but utimately it will come down to the website and what size they will use.  They even have a dashboard for the website that if in their opinion an ad doesn’t represent their readers interests they can block that ad.

When asked how revenue was shared between the sites Anibal pointed out that they take a 19.2% commission fee up front and then the community divides up the rest based on a formula that weighs click through in a number of ways.  For the advertiser the model is pretty simple, a flat fee is paid for a campaign the only decision you have is the duration.

Here are a few highlights Anibal pointed out showing their progress:

4 Site Communities

-Design & UX

-Web Development

-Startup & Entrepreneurs

-Work & Productivity

-New work & productivity community will focus on a freemium/ad-sponsored model for apps, similar to the evernote case with rescuetime, networkhippo and others onboard.

+60 publishers

-A pipeline of >30 new publishers with membership pending (approval process includes ~100)

-Currently expanding team to have dedicated sales in the US

-Still bootstrapped

-Strong product development for a influads v2 that will see this concept in am more automated/”adsense” way

I asked Anibal how we could help and he mentioned if you are a startup or have a recommendation for the “Work and Online Productivity” vertical to contact them.  They are working full time on building out this community of sites.

From the user perspective I wish InfluAds all the best, in my opinion nothing is worse than going to an awesome site to find flashing ads all over the place.  I’m curious to hear what advice you’d offer Anibal.

Sample Advertisement

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