In today’s online marketing world, we have become increasingly skeptical about jumping onto that next Ad platform that offers new and improved “bells & whistles” but in reality its just another “me-too” type startup looking to get a piece of market share. However, there is one company that has emerged onto the scene that doesn’t promote shiny bells and whistles, but rather harnesses one of the oldest and trusted forms of social media – email marketing. That new Ad platform is called the Jewish Ad Network.
I had the privilege of interviewing Barry Schwartz, a legend in Search Engine Marketing and CEO of Rustybrick – the parent company behind the Jewish Ad Network (JAN). Barry was kind enough to answer a few questions to help better explain the benefits and the motivations behind his new venture.
Tell us a little about the Jewish Ad Network and why advertisers should consider it as part of their strategy?
The Jewish Ad Network is unique in that it lets advertisers use specific Jewish data in an anonymized manner to do targeting like no other network. By leveraging our ShulCloud database, we have the ability to let advertisers target a larger population of Jewish users based on their denomination, i.e. reform, conservative, orthodox, etc, or many other criteria. Advertisers can target based on location, gender, ages, yahrzeit dates or birth dates.
The best part, these ads go directly within the synagogues email communications to their membership. So the emails are highly engaged with and going to an active, receptive and engaged audience. If you are looking to drive business from the Jewish market, this is an excellent way to do that. There is no such targeting available in any other network, even Facebook or Google.
What motivated you to create this network and what kind of impact do you it will have in the online marketing industry?
Two things motivated us in creating this ad network. The first is how poor the Jewish advertising world is. You go to some popular Jewish web sites and you are embarrassed by the bombardment of ads you see everyone, it is virtually impossible to find the content on the site beneath all the ads being thrown at you. We want to make ads on these Jewish web sites better and while we are not at that point now, that is our long term goal.
Second, synagogues are looking for ways to drive more revenues to pay their bills. Many synagogues these days are barely able to pay their operating costs. We saw that they were not monetizing key elements of their web sites and emails, so we decided to do it for them and help them earn more money. It is a win-win situation all around.
How is the JAN different from other Ad Networks and what are the key benefits for advertisers?
As I described before, there is no such targeting available in any other network. Second fold, the place your ads show up, have never been monetized before by these synagogues. So they have high engagement and view rates, as opposed to other ad placements that have higher ad blindness.
From a technical perspective, can you explain how the JAN contextually targets customers Ads across the Shul newsletters.
Since we have user data from ShulCloud, and since we power those emails and web sites, we are able to contextually target the data. We know that user A has a birthday tomorrow and we are able to let the advertiser target people based on birthdays, without revealing to the advertiser who the user is. This works a lot like Facebook but we have this information from our membership management database.
Does JAN offer its own Reporting and Analysis? Is it compatible with other Analytics platforms such as Google Analytics?
We do provide both an advertising and publisher dashboard. The advertiser dashboard shows advertisers their clicks, impressions, CTR and cost by day, by campaign by platform. It is similar to what you’d see in other advertising portals. The publisher dashboard shows the synagogues how much they are earning by day and their payout reports, similar to Google AdSense.
We do recommend to users to use tracking URLs, either through Google Analytics or their preference analytics software. This way they can set their destination URLs as they see fit and thus track it down to the conversion.
We are living in a Social Media world that is saturated with too many “Me too!” Startups. Does the JAN represent a natural shift back to our earliest form of social media (aka email marketing)?
Well, I believe most marketing agencies would agree that email marketing still does work. But pairing that based on highly targeted knowledge about who you are sending the ad to can help make the ad, in the email, much more targeted. So we think pairing social like data and email marketing works very well.