Adriel is a South Korean startup that offers automated advertising tools for small businesses. In recent months, it has expanded to the United States and the United Kingdom.
Now may seem like exactly the wrong time to develop an ad buying platform, as we are at the start of what is likely to be a huge setback in ad spend due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, co-founder and CEO Sophie Eom told me via email that ad spend on Adriel increased 7% in February and then 6% in March, and she estimated that spend would increase by 8%. in April.
“We all know businesses are grappling with the uncertainty of the economic situation with COVID-19,” Eom said. “And most are hesitant to hire agencies for their marketing and advertising efforts because of the high costs – in addition to the fact that many companies don’t have enough knowledge about the right marketing processes.”
So why does Adriel continue to grow? She said, “We see that even in the midst of tough times, many startups and entrepreneurs don’t give up on their businesses. In fact, they are shifting their focus and investments towards more digital to reach their customers. »
As part of its response to COVID-19, the company is also donating advertisements to support small business customers in the San Francisco area.
Adriel’s technology automatically generates creative material and suggests keywords for ads, as well as targeting management. But there’s also a human team that reviews campaigns and suggests ways to improve. The company does not require down payments or contracts, but charges a 19% fee on ad spend.
I first spoke to Eom in late 2019 when she started expanding Adriel in the US. In some ways it sounded like familiar talk – I’ve written about companies like AdEspresso (acquired by HootSuite) and Smartly.io (which sold a majority stake to Providence Equity Partners last year), which also said it optimizes or automate small business advertising. Additionally, Facebook itself has launched an automated ad generator.
Eom suggested that while there are tools that look superficially similar, there’s no such thing as Adriel (which used to be part of Facebook Accelerator Seoul), with its cross-platform support for managing ad campaigns Facebook, Google and Instagram in one place, and with her focus on the true “long tail” of advertisers – she said the average Adriel customer spends a relatively modest $1,000 per month on digital advertising.
“We’re also not just a self-service tool,” she said. “We support and help our clients place their ad, which makes their campaign more successful. We’re using technology to make all of these processes more affordable for more business owners. »
She added that Adriel launched 7,200 campaigns for nearly 20,000 business accounts.