Impact Radius is a new performance-based platform for both online and offline advertising, which launches today.

I’ve been asking Impact Radius co-founder Todd Crawford about why he thinks the startup will catapult the performance advertising industry forward…

Can you explain Impact Radius for our readers?

Impact Radius is a new, performance advertising platform enabling direct, online negotiations between advertisers and media partners which for the first time also unites performance advertising activity across all media channels, be it online, TV, radio, outdoor or print.

The new Impact Radius Platform catapults the industry forward once more, putting advertisers running performance campaigns directly in touch with media partners across TV, radio, print, outdoor and online, while providing them with the tools and technology needed to efficiently manage creative, track campaigns, maintain campaign budgets, reconcile payments and strategise for improved results.

Impact Radius is aimed at advertisers wishing to maximise and manage their own performance advertising strategy, and media partners wanting to source and then directly control performance advertising campaigns across their entire media inventory.

Agencies may also utilise the Impact Radius Platform. From a single login, they have the ability to easily navigate between clients to manage multiple accounts, view client and agency performance through macro-level reporting functionality as well as promote their services to potential advertiser and media partner clients by uploading information listings about their services on the Impact Radius Directory.

Why is this needed?

The performance advertising industry is poised for growth, and with marketers seeking ever-improving returns from their budgets, performance advertising is the optimal channel to develop profitable results. However, aspects of the model have not been as efficient or transparent as necessary to prompt exponential growth.

Currently, performance advertising relies far too heavily on third-party policies and intervention. Alongside the industry’s move towards greater transparency, advertisers and media partners are equally looking at ways they can manage their own activity more closely. Impact Radius delivers on all of these fronts, with an open, centralised directory plus advanced tools and technology built with advertisers and media partners in mind. No longer limited by third-party policies and non-disclosures, partnerships can therefore now be defined and negotiated directly from a single login, and only between the parties involved.

In addition, as the industry has matured, advertisers and media partners no longer require the same kind of support from intermediaries that was needed when the model first launched. Now, direct relationships are what advertisers and media partners want and these direct relationships are driving industry growth today. Impact Radius launched to provide the ‘new’ generation of performance advertising the opportunity to flourish with the tools and technology it needs to be successful.

How big a market / opportunity is this?

Research shows that performance campaigns currently running via traditional marketing channels, TV, radio and print, represent a fraction of total offline advertising spend.

For example, in the US, it represents less than 5% of total offline advertising spend. This closely parallels with where the online channel was ten years ago, and we believe if the technology landscape for running performance campaigns on TV, radio and print were more closely aligned with the technology at the foundation of online performance campaigns, the overall move to incorporate more performance deals offline will create significant opportunity for the industry as a whole.

It’s that opportunity for growth that is core to why we built Impact Radius. In the next five years, we believe the offline performance advertising market has the potential to be five to seven times bigger than the current online performance advertising market is today. In total, this could be a £1bn – £3bn opportunity just in the UK.

What has the feedback from media owners been like so far?

So far, all have expressed interest in participating in the public beta. Media Partners have been very enthusiastic about the opportunity to list themselves in the Impact Radius directory and to take advantage of the many innovative features like the ability to negotiate insertion order terms and have direct access to advertiser relationships.

Are there any barriers to adoption? Objections to get over?

For the online performance advertising industry there are no barriers to adoption or objections to our business model. Impact Radius represents a dramatic improvement over the current model they are using. Offline media may need a little more time for broad adoption because it is a paradigm shift over their existing business processes.

However, based on initial feedback, many offline advertisers and media partners are very eager to begin testing with Impact Radius.

How does Impact Radius work?

Advertiser, media partners, and agencies simply sign up and create company profiles to get listed in our directory. Advertisers can utilize our technology platform to create campaigns, track their results, upload creatives, and manage insertion order terms with their media partners. 

Media Partners can promote advertisers’ campaigns across television, radio, print, out of home, web and email. Agencies can use our tools to manage their clients campaigns through a single login.

How are you tracking ad performance across the various channels? Why do you think this beats existing tracking methods?

We improved existing online tracking methods by providing advertisers more flexible options for tracking and reporting data. We expanded these tracking methods to offline by enabling telephone referral tracking, unique voucher code tracking and unique url tracking.

Impact Radius can track referred calls to advertisers’ call centers based on the length of the call or actual sales and leads generated. We can also track the results of offline promotions that drive sales or leads to online websites via voucher codes and unique urls.

Can you tell us about your dynamic pricing structure?

Impact Radius uniquely aligns value and cost for each individual relationship and this is scaled according to volume of activity within each relationship – the larger the relationships, the lower the rates.

Is this model a threat to traditional affiliate marketing networks?

It will not replace the ‘service’ provided by networks as Impact Radius provides an open, centralised directory and negotiation and management platform offering the tools and technology for advertisers and media partners to discover, define and connect profitably and directly online.

What social networking-type features are you planning to enable users to market themselves and their companies?

Every user that signs up for Impact Radius will have a member profile. This profile include their bios, work history, links to blogs and other social networks, as well as their preferred contact methods, like email, IM, telephone, etc. This information is valuable when using the directory to discover, define and connect profitable relationships.

Can you give us some examples of the types of advertising campaigns which could be run?

Any performance-based advertising campaign can be run on Impact Radius.  Retail, Travel, Financial, Health & Beauty, Entertainment, Direct Response, etc. can be run as campaigns across various media channels like television, radio, print, web or email.

How do you measure leads and sales when they occur offline?

Impact Radius issues unique free phone numbers, promo codes or urls to media partners which they can then promote on TV, radio or in print for each specific campaign. These unique tracking values are tracked by Impact Radius and reported back to both advertisers and media partners in near real-time through our reporting tools.