This bootstrapped Chicago startup helps advertisers A/B test hundreds of campaigns at once

February 2, 2016

Are younger Facebook users more likely to click brightly colored ads than their older peers? Should you change the wording for an ad campaign that’s going to be displayed on BuzzFeed and the Wall Street Journal?

You probably have some guesses as to the answers to those questions. But why guess when you can know?

For companies looking to make the most of their advertising dollars, questions like these are answered by A/B testing. A science-inspired approach to what makes online consumers tick (or click), A/B tests are performed by presenting different versions of online ad campaigns to different users and capturing data on how tweaking the copy and changing design elements affects how users engage with it.

But designing and executing comprehensive A/B tests can be incredibly time consuming. Say you’re running an ad across 50 states, and you’re looking to test three or four ad elements. If you’re testing three different colors, four versions of the ad copy and male and female models, that’s already 600 different versions of your ad. And at that point, you haven’t even gotten into matching models by age group or other demographics.

, a Chicago-based SaaS company, is looking to automate the process for its customers by letting them drop Photoshop projects into its proprietary platform. After deciding what audience they want to reach and which elements of the ad they’re looking to vary, advertisers can sit back while the platform automatically generates and deploys ad campaigns tailored for a number of formats including social, mobile, search, and remarketing (targeting potential customers who have already been on their sites).

As the data starts to tick in, advertisers will then be able to analyze which changes made the biggest difference, and start adapting the campaign to get the best market fit possible.

Founder Jason Puckett (pictured left, above), who previously worked at Social Katy — an ad agency acquired by

— said the idea for this company came from speaking with a Social Katy client that had offices in 475 cities and wanted to engage local audiences with A/B-tested marketing directed specifically at them.

“He said ‘How would I do that?’ and I didn’t really have an answer for him,” said Puckett. “The answer at the time was to create 475 individualized A/B tests manually within each of these ad networks, crunch all the numbers in Excel and hope for the best.”

Today, the company’s clients include household brands like Angie’s List, FICO (the credit ratings agency) and Safeway.

AdBasis’ Photoshop integration is possible through a partnership with Adobe. According to Puckett, the biggest challenge faced by the dev team was building a platform that could operate on the scale required by clients whose monthly advertising budgets run into the tens of thousands.

Puckett and his co-founder and CTO Joseph DiVita (right in the picture), formerly of Belly, have deep roots in the growing Chicago tech community. This, along with the city’s vibrant advertising community, made Chicago a natural home for their upstart marketing platform.

Since their product launch in 2015, the bootstrapped company has built up a base of about 150 customers, split between agencies and brands that do their own marketing directly through the service. Puckett credits the rapid growth in part to landing early partnerships with technically sophisticated ad agencies who have helped shape the product from day one. With a current full time staff of four, the company is soon looking to hire more Facebook ad experts to accommodate the growth they’re expecting to see moving into 2016.

Image via AdBasis.

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