Amex’s Latest SMB Initiative: Display (Self-Serve & Simple)
Over the past year, American Express has embarked on a series of initiatives centered on digital advertising intelligence for SMBs. These include SearchManager (via Clickable) for SEM and multiple social media experiments with Facebook and Foursquare. Now, its small business-focused OPEN division is rounding out the suite with AdManager, which utilizes AdReady’s dynamic display capability to enable merchants to more effectively leverage the format.
Amex OPEN VP Rob Ciccone told BIA/Kelsey that the platform aims to solve the two chief problems that prevent SMBs from actively and effectively incorporating display: It’s “too complex and too expensive.”
AdReady has simplicity in mind with the dashboard it is furnishing to address these problems. Businesses can choose from hundreds of ready-made templates that can be quickly customized. Once the creative is in place, they can then pick from multiple forms of targeting and select media sources for placement across established networks (Yahoo Network, Google Network, DoubleClick Exchange and more). Facebook campaigns will also be included. Banners ads with video and animation are available as well.
The goal is a self-serve vehicle that any SMB can feel comfortable using. And, as Ciccone emphasized, the basic AdManager tool is available to all SMBs, not just OPEN cardholders. Premium tiers, with dedicated advisers for more complex campaigns, are also available.
The jury on the future of display is still in deliberation, with some retailers decrying its static and hard-to-track characteristics, while others, such as Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, extol it as a booming opportunity (Schmidt’s market forecast: $200 billion).
We see display in the throes of an evolution that ultimately could prove revolutionary to its long-term relevance. This can occur as creative, formatting and targeting all push forward by incorporating more dynamic rich media forms and leveraging the social graph for deeper consumer insights.