Facebook’s Reach Generator Gets Competition From Adaptly

Social ad firm secures $10.5 million in new funding

Facebook dropped jaws in February when the company announced during its first marketing conference that the average news feed post is only seen by 16 percent of the eligible users. Then Facebook announced its Reach Generator product as a way for brands to make sure their Facebook messages can reach up to 75 percent of their fans within a month, but that product has only been available to a small number of marketers.

Now social advertising company Adaptly says it has an alternative product available to all brands right away: Evergreen.

Adaptly is one of a handful of companies to have emerged in recent years promising brands a more efficient way to advertise on social media sites without buying from the Facebooks and Twitters of the world directly. With Evergreen, the company is taking a different approach from Facebook's Reach Generator. Rather than repromote content within the Facebook News Feed, it takes content posted to a brand’s page and spins it into a paid ad on Facebook.

But not any brand post can be recycled as an ad; instead it will have to have generated a certain level of earned engagement. “If a piece of content is below the threshold of organic reach, we won’t let the advertiser put money behind it,” explained Nikhil Sethi, CEO and co-founder of Adaptly.

A study released by online ad management platform Marin Software earlier this week showed that advertisers’ Facebook budgets are shifting toward social ads (units that use the social graph to incorporate interactions such as likes and comments) over old-school display ads. Within the last 12 months, the share of Facebook ad budgets spent on social ads has grown from 5 percent to 23 percent, per Marin, and the company expects that share to hit almost 50 percent by the end of this year. As social ads such as Facebook’s Sponsored Stories and now Adaptly’s Evergreen grow in popularity, expect brands to put even more resources toward the way they use their Facebook pages.

“Social ads are for amplifying the organic engagement that you have with your page today,” said Matt Lawson, vp of marketing at Marin Software. “To get there you really need to drive engagement on your own page, so that means investing in more than advertising.”

Rather than pricing the unit on a CPM basis, Adaptly is tiering the price of Evergreen ads based on a brand’s fan count and the percentage of those fans reached. Sethi said the pricing structure is part of a migration away from “cost-per-something” and borrows from TV’s gross ratings points model.

Adaptly is rolling out Evergreen at first for Facebook with Kraft Foods signed on as the exclusive launch partner. But the company plans to extend the product to Twitter where organic reach for a tweet is less than 1 percent, Sethi said.

Coupled with the Evergreen launch, Adaptly also announced on Wednesday it’s secured $10.5 million in funding from Valhalla Partners, Time Warner Investments and Vivi Nevo as well as existing investors such as First Round Capital. Adaptly employs 50 people but only one salesperson, so Sethi said the new dollars will be put toward growing the sales team and expanding the firm’s footprint beyond its New York, San Francisco and London offices into Latin America and Asia-Pacific.

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