Ever since Meebo launched its Community IM feature — which lets any site integrate a chat feature that’s similar to Facebook Chat — the service has seen strong growth. But the bump the site has seen with each successive partnership over the last year pales in comparison to the growth it’s been seeing in the last few months: between August and October, Meebo has jumped from around 50 million users to over 90 million. Granted, this doesn’t mean that Meebo has 90 million people actually using the chat functionality, as every visitor to one of Meebo’s partner sites gets counted as a hit. But Meebo’s interactive ads are still being shown to each of these 90 million users regardless of if they’re signed in, and the ads have been drawing an impressive 1%+ click rate.
So what caused the recent spike? Meebo’s Director of Business Development Daniel Bernstein says that this can largely be attributed to Community IM rolling out to a slew of content sites (in other words, news publications and blogs) and the introduction of the service’s drag-and-drop sharing feature. Before now Community IM has been primarily deployed on social networks, which means that users usually had to log in before they’d see them. On these other sites, there’s no such barrier.
The syndicated bar has had a major effect on Meebo’s revenues. Before 2008 Meebo’s income was a big zero, and that finally changed when it finally began running ads on its portal at Meebo.com last year. Meebo declined to specify its exact revenues, but says that it expects revenue to jump 10x in 2009, in large part thanks to the uptake of its Community IM bar.
COO Martin Green says that Meebo’s roster of clients has been very satisfied with the results, and that many of them have switched from running small test campaigns (the average insertion order size in late 2008 was 50k) to full fledged campaigns, with an average order size in 2009 at around 100k with some as high as 500k. Green says that the expected 10x revenue growth this year isn’t all attributed to the Community IM bar though, explaining that building relationships with brands who are now repeat buyers and a longer time existing in the market have also been factors.