Sam Barnett- Innovators in Marketing


Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed Sam Barnett.

About the interviewee

Sam Barnett, CEO of ad personalization company Struq. Sam obtained a college degree in Law but quickly decided this area wasn’t for him. He went on to work for internet advertising company AdJug, where he founded the Business Development team.

While at AdJug, he saw a niche in the market for a company that personalizes online ads to what users are really interested in. To fill that niche he founded Struq in 2008, with a $3,000 loan and a borrowed internet connection.

The company has experienced rapid growth since its inception and is now a global leader in online advertising. In 2012, Struq raised $8.5million in a Series A funding round from Reed Elsevier, Pentech Ventures and Allen & Company.

Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.). 

Struq employs 70 people in New York, London, Sao Paulo and Berlin. The company has recently expanded to the West Coast of the US, with offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Struq works with major ecommerce retailers, predominantly in the US and UK, that have a big online presence and are concerned with expanding their business by being at the forefront of the digital revolution.

Typical verticals that Struq works in are fashion, travel, consumer electronics and recruitment.

What type and size of companies do you have as clients?

We work predominantly with major ecommerce retailers that have large online presences. Typically, they either want to make users who have left the site without buying come back (through online ads) or expand their business.

A large proportion of our clients are in the fashion vertical, but we work with a broad range of companies that sell consumer goods.

Our major US clients are Chico’s, Dell, The Limited and Joss & Main.

Our major UK clients are Topshop, Tesco, Debenhams and Rakuten’s

What comes to mind when you see this topic?

In this age, innovation in marketing boils down to one thing: digital. A growing proportion of consumer purchasing is done online, on a range of internet devices.

The past few years have shown that companies that have been slow to adapt to the digital trend have either experienced significant reductions in profits, or folded completely.

But companies can’t just implement any old digital strategy and naively hope for the best. The way consumers are purchasing online is constantly changing, and companies need to adapt.

The current trend is that for many consumers, the path to purchase is split over a number of devices. Research shows that 67% of users start a purchase on one device and finish it off on another (source: comScore/PayPal “Reaching the Connected Consumer”, Oct 2013).

Companies therefore need to implement a holistic solution, which takes this trend into account.

What are the best practices when it comes to this issue?

In light of the above trend, companies need to implement online advertising strategies that think in terms of users, not devices.

If you treat each device as a new user, you provide a disjointed brand experience as you can’t show ads that are fully personalized for the user across all of their devices. You also risk bombarding the same user with too many ads, which can alienate them from your brand.

At Struq, we’ve been using a technology called Cross Device Retargeting to drive huge increases in sales for our clients. It involves linking together all of a user’s devices, and showing them fully personalized ads across all of them.

You browse for shoes on your laptop, and Struq will show you ads featuring those shoes on your smartphone and tablet, increasing the likelihood that you’ll buy.

‘For a major US retailer this technology increased daily conversions by 54.8%.’

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