Bid4Ad is an online marketplace for traditional media inventory which seeks to help SMEs find, compare and book targeted ad spaces in a few clicks.
It currently claims a network of more than 300 advertising SMEs (such as schools, spas and restaurants) and more than 5,000 ad spaces from publishers such as MediaCorp and SPH, across seven countries in Europe and Asia, including Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.
“Our mission is to simplify the life of traditional media,” CEO and co-founder Gregory Marchand told Campaign Asia-Pacific. “We will only be happy once traditional media is as easy and snazzy to buy as digital advertising.”
A self-funded enterprise since its launch in January 2015, the company will use its new injection of capital to develop its next-generation platform, to automate traditional media buying.
“After developing Bid4Ad Marketplace, our aim is to take it further and develop a programmatic solution offering a seamless and scalable process between media and advertisers,” he said.
The team is now working on a major product launch for agencies, putting together an inventory management system intended to enable seamless buying of traditional and digital media. The new platform is intended to simplify advertisers’ work and connect them directly to programmatic exchanges. The company expects to deliver the offering within the year.
According to Marchand, it will be cloud-based and will allow traditional media to log in from anywhere and manage their inventory profiles. “A snazzy tool to connect with your clients and exchanges from wherever you are,” he added.
He noted that agencies are craving a programmatic solution “to render digital and traditional media seamless”, but to date, there appear to be very few competitors in Bid4Ad’s space.
“There are a lot of marketplaces and exchanges for the digital advertising, but we have found few competitors servicing traditional media,” he added.
Marchand said that Bid4Ad currently generates revenue via a commission-based model from its SME customers, and that upcoming products will be membership-based.
The idea of a central marketplace where traditional and digital media are bought seamlessly in a few clicks came from Marchand’s father, Jean-Claude Marchand.
The older Marchand observed major flaws in traditional media advertising during his time as global CEO of Reuters Information and Edipresse.
His son was inspired to turn vision to reality when it became pretty clear that today’s technology could help do so, after leaving the banking industry and undergoing an entrepreneurship programme—Draper University—founded by venture capitalist Tim Draper.
“Marketplaces are the answer, and they are not only reserved for digital advertising,” said Marchand.
The venture quickly became a family affair, as Marchand’s siblings joined the team as co-founders: Celine de Rosiere, who worked at the London Stock Exchange, and Christelle Ogier, who previously worked at Procter & Gamble in Switzerland.
The company also recently welcomed Christopher Yeo, ex-CTO of SPH, as its senior advisor. Yeo said that in the last few years, digital media ad technology has “advanced relentlessly”, bringing higher efficiencies as well as cost savings to brands, ad agencies and media publishers.
But despite the growth of digital media, print media has not gone away, especially in Asia, where many niche print media titles, outdoor and transport media owners are still seeing demand for their products.
“Bid4Ad is now poised to deliver that same level of innovation, efficiencies and cost savings to the print media world through state-of-the-art, cloud-based big data and analytics software,” he added.
Marchand admits that marketplaces are never easy to launch, because buyers and sellers need to trust that they will grow to be successful.
“However once momentum is there, then the growth becomes exponential,” he added.