I am delighted to announce that AdRoll has made its second acquisition – userfox.
AdRoll is an internet retargeting company based in San Francisco. It seems odd, perhaps, that AdRoll would acquire an email marketing firm – over the next year we are going to be working on incorporating other marketing channels – email, for example – into their existing product.
If you look at how AdRoll works and how userfox works, you will see countless parallels.
Segmentation? AdRoll says segments, we say filters. (their terminology is better)
And it isn't just in the explicit product where there are parallels, both companies are obsessive about support, about bringing functionality typically only given to Fortune 100 businesses to the masses, about relentlessly raising the bar for simple, powerful, effective products.
There are differences too. AdRoll relentlessly uses puns, whereas userfox is sassy with deft wit crafted by modest handsome writers. The only importance more importance than humour? AdRoll has incredible scale, scale that will allow userfox to build, scale and then sell our product vision faster than ever.
One other difference, AdRoll uses Python and userfox uses Ruby. We played many Street Fighter tournaments but I was unable to convince AdRoll to switch to Ruby, and as part of this we'll be stopping signups and feature development for userfox as we work towards migrating our functionality into AdRoll. Assuming there are no fundamental issues, service will continue for existing customers.
Everyone has seen the quote from Salesforce about how Chief Marketing Officers will spend more money on IT than Chief Information Officers – we all know Salesforce made that up, right? – but there is an element of truth – marketing departments are becoming more technically sophisticated than ever before, and with this sophistication the bar internet marketing companies must reach continually raises.
I doubt vertical marketing companies will exist within a few years:
The consumerization of enterprise software has shone a light on how crappy it is to manage different marketing channels across different marketing applications. Not just from the user experience, but from results being harmed from silo'd data.
Big data is allowing computer scientists to treat every individual customer that uses your application as a different customer – having all the data is critical – Why are you retargeting a user that has AdBlock? Why are you emailing a customer that has your push message enabled mobile application?
These painpoints will become more and more intense as the internet matures.
We've already switched from Internet Advertising being only Google, to being Google and Facebook – soon Twitter will be on that list too, and lets not forget Quora or Flipboard, or whomever else. The same can be described for delivery infrastructure – from email to push messages, who knows what next!
AdRoll has tens of thousands of customers, it has managed to reach a $100M revenue run rate with less than 2 dozen engineers – I believe it is the company that will be capable of executing upon this vision.
I am hiring visual designers, front end developers, product managers and back end computer scientists to help work on this vision.
I am sorry that userfox has been quiet for the last month or two, and I am even more sorry if this announcement is disruptive for your business. I believe that a year from now the marketing world will be fundamentally superior than it is today because of this announcement. My email address is email@example.com.
– Peter Clark, userfox CEO