Performance marketing, the process by which an advertiser only pays for ads that bring results, is all the rage right now. Performance Horizon Group’s ExactView, a Web-based platform for managing marketing and advertising campaigns, is a performance marketing solution that gives companies a white labeled platform to advance their brand, track success and pay publishers.
ExactView helps agencies and brands track and report data and make partner payments. One of the highlights of the platform is that it tracks and reports on campaigns in real time. Another is that it acts as a global advertising marketplace that can be run directly by brands for their content publishers, paying out in local currency, and without all the rules and commissions typically involved with affiliate networks.
The idea came about as a result of running an affiliate network and receiving a lot of requests for in-house customized solutions. The Performance Horizon Group team then sold that affiliate network and began to develop ExactView, a process that took a little over a year.
Each client (or brand) gets a custom developed site through which to manage campaigns, even down to a custom toolkit and custom reports. This might be views, clicks or sales depending on what you want to see. Every client gets a custom dashboard to show the information they want in the way they want it.
The platform is truly global. It is currently being served in 20-plus languages, with client training and support available in many of these languages. The goal is that ads can be bought, sold and paid for in every country. And ExactView is built to scale. One client does over 8 million transactions per day and has over 100,000 publishers signed up.
A Closer Look at ExactView
ExactView’s main dashboard is fully customizable; in fact, no client gets the same dashboard as any other because the colors, types and numbers of charts, and the metrics reported, are customized by Performance Horizon Group as part of every implementation. The sales-oriented dashboard that I viewed tracked clicks, conversions, commission amounts, order value and earnings/clicks over days, weeks, months or years. A lead generation dashboard might include clicks, leads, commission, conversion rate and rejection rate.
Five boxes across the top of the dashboard immediately call out the five top metrics monitored and, again, these are fully customizable. For example, you could list top publishers by conversions or top publishers by clicks, or top daily order value. You could see specific items in each shopping cart as it passes through checkout. Between the main chart and the top five boxes, you can determine the health of your campaign within seconds.
Reporting and Real-time
Speaking of within seconds, ExactView is the only marketplace of its kind that I’ve seen that actually tracks everything in real time. Most ad networks take 15 minutes or an hour to update metrics. ExactView automatically refreshes the screen every few seconds with new data.
This provides instant feedback to marketers. Roll out a new campaign and you’ll have a good idea how it will fare within seconds. Notice that far fewer shopping cart checkouts are taking place today vs. yesterday (or vs. last week, or last year) and go online to determine if the cart is working right or if there’s some other problem with your site (or the ads that should be driving customers to your site).
Reporting takes the dashboard to another level. Performance Horizon Group set out to design a reporting engine that would alleviate the need to export to Excel for sophisticated analysis. It’s easy to build custom pivot tables, for example publisher by item, and show them once or save them to a dedicated Web page so you can come back and look at them again or share them. All the reports are basically API calls (there are over 300 different API calls open to the public) that can be published to XML or JSON and consumed however you want to consume them.
Reports can be filtered by any parameter and then filtered again. I enjoyed looking at a heat map of the world showing clicks and conversions per country. One interesting feature is that the same report can be generated in multiple languages on the fly, so multi-national companies can be sure that employees around the world are viewing the same metrics.
Performance Horizon Group’s ExactView does a good job of bringing together publishers and advertisers on a customizable platform. Multi-language support and payouts in local currency make ExactView a great choice for companies with a global presence looking for a performance marketing solution.
Matthew David Sarrel is executive director of Sarrel Group, an editorial services, product test lab and information technology consulting company. He is a contributing editor for PC Magazine, a contributing analyst for GigaOM and a frequent contributor to the Internet.com family of sites. Previously, he was a technical director for PC Magazine Labs, where he led all testing conducted by the Applications, Enterprise and Development Software, OS and Utilities, Network Infrastructure and Wireless LAN teams. His career also includes stints as an executive at two Internet startups and as director of IT for the New Jersey Medical School National Tuberculosis Center.