Trada’s crowd-sourced SEM offer is a challenge to big agency digital media departments

Crowd-sourcing is all the rage these days (as is digital of course) and newish US-based SEM specialist Trada is using it to provide advertisers with ad packages devised by ‘crowd-sourced specialists, ie freelances.

It’s a clever idea and Trada claims that its freelances can earn up to $14,500 per month putting the packages together, up from $4,500 this time last year. The company has just raised a further $9m in funding from existing investors Foundry Group and Google Ventures. Trada currently offers packages on Bing and Yahoo as well as Google.

Agencies and advertisers specify a budget and also decide which platforms they want to use and how much they want to pay for pay per click or per acquisition.

Trada’s feelance experts then choose keywords to target and even write the ad copy as well as managing the campaign. Trada manages payments and takes its cut.

In November, Trada launched a Facebook marketplace which aims to generate low-cost clicks, conversions and social results including Facebook ‘likes’. the company is planning to use the new money to add to its Facebook offer and move into other areas like mobile. Its biggest advertisers spend $500,000 a month it says.

This is potentially quite a challenge for the marcom companies’ own digital offerings which have profited mightily by the appliance of science but which also remain confusing and, in some cases, mutually exclusive for many clients and also smaller agencies who don’t own the likes of Razorfish and 24/7 Real Media (owned by Publicis Groupe and WPP respectively).

One of them may come knocking on Trada’s door before too long of course, but the presence of Google on the shareholder register may mean that the company might not welcome their interest.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.