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Personalized display ad vendor myThings gains momentum in the U.S.
The vendor, established in Europe, has already signed 60 U.S. clients.
Topics: AutoAnything, Build.com, Carphone Warehouse, display ads, Europe, europe400, Gareth Jones, international e-commerce, international marketing, Michael Swope, myThings, NutriSystem, personalized ads, retargeted advertising, Shop Direct Group, Vitacost.com, web advertising
Michael Swope, managing director of myThings, a personalized online display ad vendor that is popular in Europe, says his company has signed 60 U.S. merchants since it opened its first U.S. office in Scottsdale, AZ, nearly six months ago. “Ten of the companies myThings has signed agreements with are in the Internet Retailer Top 500,” says Swope, who adds that the company is on target to sign more than 100 U.S. merchants by the end of the year.
Among the Internet Retailer Top 500 companies that myThings has signed up are AutoAnything (157), Vitacost.com Inc. (86), Nutrisystem Inc. (93) and Build.com Inc. (81). Swope says the decision to establish operations in the U.S. allows myThings to communicate with clients more readily and effectively, unencumbered by time differences and geographical distances. “It makes a huge difference when you have a local office,” he says. The company now employs 10 U.S. staff, all of whom report to Swope.
Compared to its newly established operations in the U.S., Israel-based myThings is relatively well-established in Europe, where it manages campaigns for many retailers, including the Shop Direct Group, No. 7 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Europe and Toys ‘R’ Us, No. 114.
The company says it now serves nearly 3 billion targeted ads on behalf of its clients, three times more than a year earlier. MyThings says it’s been profitable since Q1 of 2011.
One of the company’s large European clients is Carphone Warehouse, a British retailer of mobile phones, tablets and accessories which has approximately 2,400 stores across Europe—including more than 800 stores in the U.K. Carphone Warehouse is listed on the London Stock Exchange and has a market capitalization of approximately 707 million pounds ($1.1 billion).
Gareth Jones, head of online marketing for Carphone Warehouse, No. 26 in the Top 400 Europe Guide, says myThings is an important part of the company’s plan to achieve more sales through its web site. “Online is becoming a much more critical component of everything Carphone Warehouse does,” says Jones, who explains that the company wants to become more aware of, and more connected to, its customers’ online behavior. “Some research suggests that 70% of smartphone purchases start with an online search, and that the period of time from that search to actual purchase is about 30 days.”
Jones says that journey—from initial research to eventual purchase—often ends at a bricks-and-mortar Carphone Warehouse store. However, Jones is hoping to drive more online sales and myThings, he says, is a key part of that process.
“MyThings enables us to use personalized display advertising to remind our web site visitors about the products they were viewing and perhaps considering buying,” Jones says. “They also enable us to put cross-sell and up-sell recommendations in display advertising.”
Jones says its conversions from personalized display ads increased 44% 14 days after using myThings.
MyThings has been offering this type of advertising, which it calls “dynamic display” advertising, and what many in the U.S. call retargeting, for the past three years. The company, which launched in 2005, got its start providing online retailers consumer data based on shoppers’ interaction with e-commerce sites.
It later decided to use the behavioral data it had amassed to develop personalized ads. The company now operates in 15 markets—including the U.S.—and has attracted venture capital financing of some $37 million.
Orange-Publicis, Accel Partners, Carmel Ventures, Deutsche Telekom and Viola Group have together invested more than $37 million in the company.