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Navigating the Digital Ad Maze: A Q&A with Adbot’s Visionary Founder

By Solomon Elekwa

Think of Adbot as the fresh-faced, eager member of your marketing team whose sole focus is to ensure your business isn’t just participating in the online conversation but leading it. From setting up your Google Business Profile to managing both Google and Bing search ads, Adbot is your behind-the-scenes whiz.” Michelle Geere, Founder & CEO, Adbot

Adbot is a South African Adtech startup that uses artificial intelligence to enable small businesses to efficiently run their online advertising campaigns. The startup offers an AI-powered automated ad campaign management tool that enables SMEs to get their Google and Bing ads online at the click of a button. 

To learn more about Adbot’s disruptive innovation in the digital marketing space, The FutureList had a conversation with Michelle Geere, the founder and CEO of Adbot. 

Q: Can you provide an overview of Adbot’s primary innovation and what inspired its development?

Michelle: Throughout my career in digital marketing, I’ve seen firsthand the struggles small business owners face when trying to navigate the online advertising space. It’s like learning a new language overnight—challenging to say the least. Small business owners are short on time, and the learning curve is steep, which often means online marketing gets put on the back burner.

That’s exactly why I developed Adbot. Think of Adbot as the fresh-faced, eager member of your marketing team whose sole focus is to ensure your business isn’t just participating in the online conversation but leading it. From setting up your Google Business Profile to managing both Google and Bing search ads, Adbot is your behind-the-scenes whiz.

Here’s the real kicker, though — you don’t need to learn any marketing jargon, spend hours planning campaigns, or lose sleep over keyword research. Adbot’s genius lies in its simplicity and efficiency; it’s built to make expert online marketers out of anyone at the click of a button. For larger companies working with SMEs, Adbot is the plug-and-play solution to offer your clients, helping to extend your suite of services and further cement your value to them.

Our mission is to democratize online advertising, to make it accessible, understandable, and doable—for every single business owner out there, no matter the size.

Q: Can you elaborate on the key features that set Adbot apart from others in the market and how the design of your platform enhances its functionality and user experience?

Michelle: Unlike other platforms, we’re not just replacing one task-doer with another; we’re bringing in an AI-powered colleague that transforms the entire workflow.

Our main ‘rivals’ are traditional – good old human effort. And while there’s a certain charm to the human touch, when it comes to repetitive tasks like adjusting bids or sorting through keywords, we’re all prone to errors. That’s where Adbot shines. By tapping into advanced machine learning and AI, we handle the nitty-gritty, day-to-day tasks, liberating humans to do what they do best – strategizing and engaging with clients.

Small business owners don’t need all the bells and whistles; they need a sharp, focused tool that aligns with their budget and their actual real-world needs. We prioritize efficiency and simplicity.

And speaking of simplicity, here’s where Adbot really stands out. Our interface is straight-talking and free of complex marketing jargon. In about the time it takes to have a cup of coffee, you can set up your accounts, launch campaigns across Google and Bing, and get your ads and keywords up and running. It’s that easy. So, while others may boast about their tech, we boast about accessibility and relevance. Adbot is tech for humans, designed with a principle that I believe is revolutionary: marketing should be a piece of cake, even for the smallest of businesses.

Q: That sounds amazing. I’m curious to know what technical benchmarks you’re using to measure the effectiveness of your platform.

Michelle: Talking tech can sometimes make eyes glaze over, right? But let’s break it down to what really matters — results. At Adbot, our benchmarks are all about the success they spell out for our clients. It’s not just about the gears in the machine; it’s what the machine delivers. We focus on three key metrics: Click-through rates (CTR), cost per click (CPC), and conversion rates.

Take CTR, for instance. It’s a simple concept: out of everyone who sees an ad, how many actually click on it? Traditional campaigns might skim a 3% CTR with a $100 budget, and let me tell you, there’s always that nudge to spend more to bump up those numbers. But Adbot flips the script. We’ve honed our platform so finely that with just $100, our clients often see CTR soaring at 9% across various categories and industries. 

Now, for the tech-savvy, this means our system’s responsiveness, data processing, and scalability are all tuned to perfection. But in everyday language, it means we’re quick, we’re smart, and we grow with your business. Our user interface is about smooth sailing rather than steep learning. And as for interoperability? We play nice with all your existing tools and digital assets.

Ultimately, it’s about being cost-effective and efficient. If our platform can achieve the highest CTR, while keeping CPC at rock bottom, then we’re not just hitting technical benchmarks; we’re making our clients’ performance the star of the show. And that’s the kind of performance we stand by at Adbot. 

Q: How does Adbot perceive the impact of its platform in the market, and what indicators or feedback do you use to gauge this impact?

Michelle: Africa’s known for leapfrogging straight to the latest tech, and that’s precisely what Adbot is poised to do with digital marketing. Our birthplace gives us a unique insight, but trust me, the story’s the same worldwide. Too many small businesses shy away from online advertising because it seems too complex, too time-consuming, and too costly.

But imagine if we could strip all that away. If Adbot can simplify the digital ad space to a point where it’s no longer about being a tech wizard, we’re talking about unlocking a massive potential for small businesses, not just in Africa, but globally. 

Let’s look at the big picture: there are about 90 million SMEs in Africa, and our research tells us only 5% can afford to hire marketing help. That’s a staggering 95% that are left to their own devices—until now. Adbot is here to be the champion for the underdog, the ally for the overworked entrepreneur.

And we’re seeing the ripple effect already. When a small business advertises online, its chance of survival over five years jumps by a whopping 50%, according to research by Google. That’s a lifeline we’re giving them. We’re not just an advertising platform; we’re a survival tool.

We measure our impact by the stories of growth and success that reach us from these businesses. Every time a small business owner tells us how they’ve increased their visibility, or when new customers walk through their door because they found them online, that’s our impact. That’s Adbot making a difference. And we’re only just getting started.

Q: Understanding the challenges of entering a new market, could you share how the community has responded to Adbot, and what strategies you employ to engage with your customers?

Michelle: Entering a new market is always a journey, and we’ve learned that the first step is to put boots on the ground. It’s about experiencing firsthand the challenges and unique behaviors of each community. In Africa, where we’ve set our sights, we’ve taken time to immerse ourselves, adjusting Adbot to make it resonate with the pulse of each country.

Here’s the kicker: we don’t just adapt on a product level, we innovate at the core to serve the needs of the people. Take Nigeria, for instance. We didn’t just assume that our standard payment methods would work seamlessly. Instead, we joined hands with MTN Nigeria, devising a pioneering way for customers to pay for our service using their airtime. It’s these unique, customer-first adjustments that make Adbot the real deal, and the community has shown us that it appreciates this level of care and practical thinking.

Once we’ve set up shop in a country, we make community engagement our north star. The feedback we receive is constant and comes through channels that each community prefers. It’s that open conversation that shapes our moves, our innovations, and our dedication to delivering what our users really want. 

But it doesn’t stop there. We understand that the community isn’t just about end-users; it’s also about the ecosystem that serves them. That’s why we see big corporates as part of our community-building strategy. By extending Adbot to their SME clients, they’re not just providing value; they’re giving back to the community by fostering best practices and education.

Q: Could you provide insights into how Adbot creates value for its customers and stakeholders through its unique operational and revenue model?

Michelle: In the world of small business, time is the hottest commodity, and it’s often in short supply. So, when I think of the value Adbot brings to the table for our customers, ‘time’ is the first word that springs to mind. 

With our Search ad product, we’re not just boosting their visibility with 3 times better results; we’re actually handing back time to small business owners—up to 25 hours a week, to be exact. Think about the endless possibilities that open up for a startup owner with all that time back in their hands. It’s a chance to focus on what really matters, to passionately build their business and engage with their community, without constantly juggling the complexities of online advertising.

Our revenue model is straightforward: we charge a management fee and a setup fee, typically ranging from 12% to 20% of the ad spend. Compared to the fees associated with hiring a freelancer, our rates are approximately 50% less, making our service an attractive and cost-effective option. In addition, we offer our partners a revenue share, incentivizing them to not only add value but also generate revenue for their businesses.

Q: Can you discuss a significant collaboration or partnership that has contributed to Adbot’s growth or product development? 

Michelle: One collaboration that truly stands out for us is our partnership with MTN Nigeria. Together, we’re unlocking new possibilities for more than 40 million SMEs, who are taking their first steps into the digital realm. It’s about giving them the tools to truly flourish online, and we’re thrilled to be a part of this transformative change.

One such client is Pocket Food, a gem of a company right in the heart of Nigeria. They bring market-fresh meal prep boxes straight to people’s tables. When they took Adbot for a spin with a modest $10 budget, magic happened. Signups shot up by a whopping 80%. It’s a dream come true for us to be able to drive real results for businesses like Pocket Food, especially in a way that’s so accessible and practical—like paying for the service with airtime.

These partnerships aren’t just about growth and product development for us; they’re about building a community of thriving businesses. Each one of these success stories fuels our hunger to keep innovating, to keep reaching more businesses, and to keep making that impact.

Q: Considering Adbot’s future growth and development, what are the key milestones or goals you aim to achieve in the next few years, and what strategies do you have in place to accomplish them?

Michelle: In the next few years, our primary goal is to continue addressing the crucial needs of SMEs, particularly in Africa where we have already established our presence in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and Zambia. Our immediate plans involve expanding our reach to all African countries, which we aim to achieve through strategic partnerships currently in progress. Following our efforts in Africa, we are looking to explore opportunities in markets beyond the continent, including the EAU, Europe, and the USA. Our strategy for growth emphasizes the formation of partnerships in each country as the key driver of our expansion.

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