MailChimp Is Helping Small Businesses Integrate Facebook Ads With Email Marketing

More platforms could be added later

MailChimp is evolving from being an email-marketing company to something that could soon resemble a more diverse marketing platform.

The quirky Atlanta-based company is launching its first product outside the world of email marketing to help clients integrate their Facebook advertising directly within MailChimp's dashboard. The service, announced today, will help advertisers target Facebook users based on brands' email lists while also using Facebook to grow the lists they already have. (Along with email lists, marketers will also be able to target based on Facebook's look-alike audience segments and brands' own audiences.)

According to CEO Ben Chestnut, the company will help not only with buying Facebook ads, but also designing them with a similar process already used by those running email campaigns. The service will let marketers run click-based ad campaigns with small and medium-sized budgets while also tracking ROI with a new revenue-reporting feature. 

Chestnut said it's a way to give marketers a chance to "sprinkle the MailChimp magic" across other platforms.

"A couple of years ago, I remember feeling liberated," he told Adweek. "I no longer have to stay inside of the email space. For me, it's always been about building a great brand, no matter what the channel. So I came back excited, I told the team, 'Hey, we're not stuck in email.' Our brand has come to represent something much larger."

While MailChimp is integrating first with Facebook, Chestnut said the company is also testing integration with other platforms including Instagram and Google AdWords. He said the company has also started alpha testing direct-mail campaigns.

The shift could soon place MailChimp, which has around 15 million customers, in a category with more broadly focused customer-relationship-management companies such as Salesforce and Adobe. (Last year, Wired reported MailChimp sent more than 1 billion emails a day on behalf of its customers.)

"Salesforce, Adobe would be decent comparisons" Chestnut said. "But those are for enterprise. Try to tell a small business that they need a marketing cloud. That might not make much sense for them."

The news comes just days after MailChimp launched a series of quirky videos created by Droga5 that will appear in movie theaters in several U.S. cities. The 60-second spots, produced by Riff Raff Films and directed by The Sacred Egg, are part of a broader national campaign Chestnut said will hopefully drive awareness for the upcoming year. 

"When you launch something new that your audience hasn't seen before, gosh, it's a really risky thing to do," he said. "It's kind of ballsy, and so what we really need to do is make a really good first impression."

The integration could potentially help MailChimp further expand its ecommerce business, which has grown over the past year by 46 percent and now accounts for about 16 percent of the company's total business.

Ecommerce also accounts for a substantial part of MailChimp's overall revenue. Around 46 percent of the $400 million in revenue Chestnut said it brings in comes from ecommerce companies.