Fresh off their recent fundraising round, Malaysian Adtech startup AdEasy is set on taking their advertising-made-easy platform to the rest of Southeast Asia. Started by industry veterans Melissa Sim and Therine Goh to help simplify the offline advertising process and help companies with limited budgets, the platform has continued to grow.

The latest funding brings their total to over US$455,000, adding onto the money raised from Cradle and the crowdfunding platform pitchIN.

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We spoke to both Co-Founders CEO, Melissa and COO, Therine about their journey and how they plan to help grow the offline advertising industry through AdEasy. Find out more below.

Congratulations on the recent funding. Could you introduce our readers to AdEasy and how it all began?

Thank you. In a nutshell, AdEasy is an online marketplace for offline advertising. It is a one-stop-platform for advertisers to browse and book offline advertising spaces such as radio, cinema, billboard, magazine, newspaper, television, car, etc. The platform offers transparent information and rates for advertisers to book the right advertising space for their business/marketing objectives.

Snapshot of the platform. Image courtesy of AdEasy

Our journey began at the end of 2013. Founders Melissa (CEO of AdEasy) and Therine (COO of AdEasy) were discussing about how manual and tedious offline advertising still was. There was no easy way to compare and book offline advertising space directly from media owners. Just to get information and rates, as well as check availability, could take weeks. At that time, digital advertising had plenty of automated, tech-driven solutions. We decided it was time for offline advertising to have a digital solution as well. That was when AdEasy was conceptualised. 

How was the reception from the traditional advertisers? Has there been any resistance in getting them to come onboard your platform?

This depends on the nature of the advertisers. AdEasy is most suitable for startups and SMEs who are above two years in business. For those who are new to offline advertising, and are ready to explore; and they find AdEasy helpful (and less intimidating) in getting them started. For advertisers who are already advertising in traditional media, most of them found our platform helpful in saving them time for planning and booking their ad spaces—they like the efficiency and convenience. 

Do you think startups and SMEs in Malaysia and the rest of the region are willing to focus more budget on the offline or traditional advertising space?

From our data, we found that startups at the stage of series-A and above, and medium-sized SMEs in their second or third year of business are willing to allocate budget to offline advertising. They have been relying on digital advertising since they started, and are at the phase where they are looking for more options, beyond digital, to grow their brands, create further awareness and build credibility. Contrary to popular belief, advertising is not a zero-sum game where one medium trumps another. It is not advisable for advertisers to place all their eggs in one basket. Integration is key. Digital and offline advertising work best when they work together. Hence, advertisers should consider a balance between digital and offline when allocating their budgets.

How do you resolve the age-old issue of lack of accountability or measurement when it comes to a successful offline campaign?

We do acknowledge that being able to track the performance of offline ad campaigns is crucial. In fact, we have a lot of demand for this. Unfortunately, the industry has yet to resolve this issue. Having said that, we are taking into account our advertisers’ feedback regarding this matter, and we are now in the midst of working on a solution by harnessing technologies such as big data. We will definitely make an announcement once our solution is ready.

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Is this a competitive landscape for AdEasy? Are there other companies offering similar services or who do you consider to be competitors?

If we are looking solely at the space AdEasy exists in—a marketplace that has any offline advertising space (broadcast, print, OOH, transit, residential, etc), and the way we simplify and automate the process—we wouldn’t say the landscape is competitive. However, there are indirect competitors. There are companies who focus on one specific media type e.g. billboards; and there are those who have a few media types but do not automate the process the way we do.

Looking for ad space on the AdEasy platform. Image courtesy of AdEasy

Which markets are you planning on entering next? 

We are planning to enter Singapore and Thailand next year. We do have interest from Vietnam and the Philippines. We might consider these markets as well, if our feasibility studies show positive insights.

What advice would you give a young potential entrepreneur looking to begin their journey?

Patience, experience and perseverance. Be patient, and take the time to know the industry you want to venture in. Build up your experience, contacts and skills. These will help you go far. You have to truly believe in your business. When you have that, you would be able to persevere against naysayers and tough times, because there will be a lot of both.