Google Ventures And Foundry Group Put $9M In Crowdsourced Search Advertising Marketplace Trada

Next Story

NumberFire Pockets $750K To Help You Rule Your Fantasy Sports Leagues

Crowdsourced SEM management startup Trada has raised $9 million in Series D financing from existing investors Foundry Group and Google Ventures. This brings Trada’s total funding to $17 million.

Here’s how Trada works. Agencies and advertisers can specify a budget they are willing to spend on ads, decide which advertising platforms they want their ads to appear on (the site currently supports Bing, Yahoo, and Google), and enter how much they willing to pay-per-click or per acquisition.

The site then sources the heavy lifting, like choosing thousands of keywords to target and writing ad copy, to its community of SEM experts to build and manage and advertiser or business’ paid search campaign across search engines. Trada coordinates the payments and takes a small cut of each transaction between advertisers and SEO experts.

In November, Trada launched a marketplace that let advertisers and agencies leverage Facebook ad experts to create campaigns on the social network. With the Facebook integration, marketers can enter their parameters and Trada’s Facebook optimizers and creatives will build hundreds or thousands of hyper-targeted profiles and ad creative combinations. Trada says optimizers and creatives earn money on a performance basis by generating low-cost clicks, conversions and social interactions such as “likes” for advertisers.

The company says the new funding will support the expansion of Trada’s paid search and Facebook ad marketplace. Founder and CEO Niel Robertson, who is hoping to get the company profitable by the end of 2012, tells me that Trada is also looking to expand to other advertising formats, including retargeting, display and mobile ads.

He adds that Trada is seeing particularly strong growth in the Facebook marketplace, and anticipates that the social network advertising marketplace spend will soon rival that of paid search. Considering the massive growth in advertising on Facebook, it’s not surprising that the startup is seeing major traction in this area.

Since Trada’s launch nearly two years ago, the startup has helped more than 500 advertisers successfully run paid search and Facebook campaigns, and created a source of income for thousands of paid search and Facebook advertising experts and designers.

In January 2011, the highest earning Optimizer (paid search or Facebook expert) in the Trada marketplace earned $4,500 for the month. Last month, the top earner made $14,500, or $175,000 annualized earnings. And at the beginning of 2011, the startup’s largest advertiser had a monthly budget of about $35,000 per month. Today, Trada’s largest advertiser budget is $500,000.