After a year of testing and development, Legolas has formally launched its new display ad platform and Horizon Media has signed as its first major agency partner.
The name Legolas is a reference to system’s professed accuracy in pinpointing client target audiences. It is derived from the so-named Tolkien character in "Lord of the Rings" who has deadly accuracy with a bow and arrow.
But according to Jason Smith, media director at Horizon, the new platform has a second strong suit -- the cost of reaching those targeted audiences. While the average online network platform CPM for a specific target audience probably averages $8 to $10, Smith said the price to reach those same audiences via Legolas “is a fraction of that.”
The flip side is that the agency does more work in-house to manage and acquire the data required to identify the precise target audiences desired by clients.
Networks charge fees for that work, as well as profit markups, in addition to fees for the placement of the ads on various sites. “We don’t need a network to do all that,” said Smith. “In effect, they’ve eliminated the middleman," he said of Legolas.
Smith said the Legolas platform also has a dashboard that displays in real-time the percentage of the audience being reached that fits within the specified target of the buy. For clients like Capital One, the ante is upped when it comes to defining small and narrowly defined targets, he said, adding that the dashboard helps the agency to do that.
“So far they’ve nailed it,” he said, referring to the platform’s targeting capability.
Smith said Horizon plans to use Legolas “for the lion’s share” of its online display buys. Those buys will be complemented with a small proportion of deals done with individual brand networks that Horizon has worked with in the past, said Smith.
Last month, Legolas -- which is backed by several venture capital firms, including Greylock Partners and Blumberg Capital -- did a deal with consumer research firm SymphonyIRI Group to enable marketers to buy ads, based on user-level in-store purchase behavior. It has secured other technology from PointRoll, TARGUSinfo and Datalogix.
“We developed this simple yet powerful platform so brands can combine the effectiveness of audience buying with their need for scale, safety and quality environment,” stated Yoav Arnstein, founder and CEO of Legolas Media. “Our clients are quickly and easily translating digital strategy to a measurable media plan that gets the most out of their budgets.”
Legolas said that other media shops and
marketers have signed on, but only Horizon had agreed to be disclosed publicly for now. Horizon will use Legolas for buys across its client roster, which ncludes GEICO, Ace Hardware, Weight Watchers
and Dish TV.