Version 1.1 improves on the original release, which hit the market in September 2000, by supporting multiple types of ad servers. Features include improved results reporting, encompassing registrations, downloads, and product sales, which occur less frequently than click-throughs. Such a wealth of detail is all but required in today’s competitive market. “The Internet should be a direct marketer’s dream, but often it’s not,” notes Hitendra Wadhwa, Paramark CEO.
AdPilot 1.1 is ASP-based (application service provider), can be installed in five minutes, and is built on proprietary PILOT (Paramark Interactive Learning and Optimization Technology) technology. Jim Meskauskas, chief Internet strategist at Mediasmith, is satisfied with the AdPilot’s performance. “It works very well,” he says, “but the real promise is twofold: save agency time by automating a manual process and gain reporting of results not only against response rates but against conversion rates, which are more important.” CPM is 50-80 cents, which Meskauskas feels is “fair but not sustainable. It should be subscription based.” As to potential downside, users have to rely on the proprietary mathematical algorithm that supports the AdPilot’s calculations.
Mike Tuchen, Paramark COO and marketing vice president, points out that the AdPilot mechanism can be adjusted to measure all or part of an ongoing campaign. “The tool will automatically weight the campaign toward the things that are working,” he says. “How are you manually going to monitor a couple hundred sites or a couple hundred banners?”
Joe Giannantonio, analysis director at online agency Exile on Seventh, has been working with the device since its inception. “The latest version (1.1) better reflects current business realities,” he says, “and it’s one of the better-functioning web-based tools that I’ve seen.” Through cost/benefit analysis, he has determined that the device should pay for itself “over a four to six week timeframe, although it probably would not work well if your campaign were not running through ad servers.”
Wadhwa adds that the system alerts the user to “which programs are working and which are not, so that contracts can be re-negotiated” to reflect fair cost maintenance over the run of a campaign. Wadhwa is working on yet another version of the AdPilot, which will track more variables, making online targeting of messages much more specific. “You’ll be able to exploit time and geography preferences,” he concludes.