In the world of online commerce, optimising performance on search engines and platforms has become one of the most important strategic differentiators. Mark van Werven has been active in the field since the early days – Consultancy.org sat down with the CEO of Adchieve to discuss his career and how his company helps clients become sales leaders via Google and Amazon platforms.
In a world of constant innovation and fast-paced competition, strong online marketing has become more important than ever before. Even as digital marketing has given rise to new opportunities for companies to distinguish themselves from rivals in their segment, however, its mechanisms have quickly become oversaturated across every possible market.
Adchieve is a software and services firm which helps results-oriented advertisers drown out that noise to increase their visibility, performance – and returns on investment.
The company is the creation of Founder and CEO Mark van Werven, an entrepreneur based in the Netherlands. According to him, the concept at the heart of the company has been evolving in sync with the world’s largest internet company.
“More than 20 years ago, I worked in Rabobank’s finance department; but at the same time, I had a hobby that got out of hand. I was intrigued by how Google worked – even before you could advertise – and I saw the search engine evolve from the very beginning. Having observed how search engine advertising matured, I gained interest in the optimisation of search engine results.”
Initially running a SEO company alongside his day-job, Van Werven’s company went on to develop an automated keywords-based methodology for online advertising (which would become the cornerstone of a nascent Adchieve).
His work caught the eye of a well-known Dutch retailer and of industry peers, and not much later, his company merged to become Tribal Internet Marketing. Van Werven led Tribal for roughly a decade, growing the firm into an established player in the segment. But not long after he co-sold the business early 2017 (to TWC Holding) – the entrepreneur was already determined to build something new.
Adchieve was born. “We started as a provider of an automation platform, focused on automating large-scale Google campaigns. This is still a major part of our current business,” Van Werven explained.
An example from the firm’s roster of clients. Hornback, a German DIY store, asked Adchieve to help optimise its strategy for local inventory ads in Google Shopping (such ads show physical store inventory to potential customers).
Working together with Adchieve for the webshops in among others the Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden, “impressive results” have been achieved, confirmed Hornbach’s project lead. “Per Euro that we invest, the conversion value is three times higher than with our “normal” shopping ads.”
In one of Adchieve’s key industry verticals, hotels and accommodation rentals, the company has helped several players with leveraging Google hotel ads to bring in bookings. “Using Google hotel ads leads to more direct bookings at less cost (because commissions to platforms such as Booking.com are by-passed) and enhances the user experience (as offerings and availability are shown directly when searching on Google),” said Van Werven.
Many of Adchieve’s 40-strong team members work for clients internationally. For one large Asian sneaker shop, Adchieve helped optimise its Google smart shopping and search ads placements, combining customer insights with Google’s smart bidding to design campaigns that fit perfectly with sneakers buyers’ searches. The result speaks for itself: Within 90 days, sales grew by more than 200%.
“We work with companies with dozens of products, but also those with a million or so products. And as we hyper-tailor visibility across region, client preferences, availability, proximity and more, we’re talking about millions of data points. We help companies effectively setup such campaigns and our tooling automates most of the process.”
Over the past two years, Adchieve diversified its offering to also focus on other platforms. “From a historic point, we started with Google, but we want to be more than Google alone,” Van Werven noted. “We have services across other platforms, including Amazon and Facebook. My belief is that clients on whatever platform are looking for a tool where they can connect all data. There are a lot of tools out there, but not one that does that, so our long-term ambition is to be that tool.”
On the back of its platform’s success, Adchieve has grown from a PPC software provider (PPC = pay-per-click) into a broader services firm which also helps with advisory and operations. “Our team consist of developers, data scientists and consultants.”
The firm’s multidisciplinary line-up means that Adchieve can support the full online advertising process, from the strategy and design through to the platform and delivery. A data-driven approach is at the heart of what the does. “We use data en masse to help customers implement a cycle of continuous improvement.”
This approach includes sourcing in external data, to power agility and rapid turnaround when needed. “Just how rapid things can change in the online advertising industry is unconceivable in many other sectors. If a new development pops up (like a viral campaign), being able to tap into that within hours can be a major differentiator. Our approach brings in such external data into the equation, to enrich the overall decision-making process.”
“We add a layer of data and forward-looking advisory to our platform to ensure that our clients not only achieve more financial success, but also stay ahead of the curve in a rapidly evolving landscape.”
Pointing to one example, Adchieve is currently helping a fashion company better predict demand – and related advertising spend – across four seasons. “We’re helping them better predict the market, by connecting data and using that for forecasts. This will help them use future-oriented data to advertise their next season’s products, which is more effective than using last month’s sales related to a different season.”
Soon entering his 20th year in the online advertising space, there are no signs that Van Werven is getting ‘bored’ of the industry. “To the contrary, the challenge and opportunities have only become more interesting,” he said with a smile, with one report finding that search engines and marketplaces are set for a massive boom in the years to come.
With a bold growth ambition, Adchieve aims to ride this wave. “We’re growing across Europe, and want to expand internationally. We want to advance our tool and become a benchmark for excellence in the industry. And, most importantly, we want to continue enjoying what we do,” he concluded.