Inspired by the energy and the beats of the famous Brazilian rhythm that brings people together, the samba, Matt Voigt found the perfect name for his new venture: a social platform to connect local events to local people. In 2010, Saambaa was born. He enlisted the help of Miles Healey, who became one of his first investors and co-founder.
Voigt and Healey quickly realized they needed to create a mobile application to propel the social platform towards success. Right after the launch, Apple featured the new app on the front page of the App Store under the section “Best Free Apps”. In the spotlight of gazillions of users, they received tons of downloads and newspaper publishers began knocking at their door asking them to create apps.
Despite the app’s notoriety, their business model wasn’t a promissing revenue stream yet. After all, monetizing free apps for a profit requires millions of users. They now had 70 mobile apps in their white label platform, but needed to rethink the model to boost revenue.
It was then that Saambaa evolved into an online content network that mixes and delivers advertising and engaging local entertainment content to the right people at the right time. They are partnered with renowned publishers across the United States, such as Tronc, Cox Media Group, Nexstar, US Cellular, Accuweather and many more.
Their current numbers are pretty impressive, with 200 million monthly recommendations served to more than 35 million unique individuals. That’s 11% of the US population! These recommendations are generating 1.2 billion page views per year within their 90 DMAs (designated market areas). Saambaa’s growth has been exponential, and they are adding new publishers and ad partners every month.
Shaking Up the Marketplace
We spoke with co-founder, Miles Healey, to learn a little more about how they came up with an innovative model that is beefing up growth.
“[After launching the app] we quickly realized that to monetize a mobile app you need millions of users unless you have a paid user base. When we got on the radar of big publishers that were downloading our mobile app and really liking the experience that we delivered the conversations went to us creating a white label platform for their newspapers to publish their local events calendars…
We were putting together a highly curated database of local events and local business around the country and were building solid partnerships with local media publishers that were on the ground delivering great local entertainment content to their readers. We wanted to really take advantage of that opportunity and monetize it in a different way,” Healey explained.
Engaging readers in a reliable and valuable way is the best currency publishers have in the exchange with advertisers. Saambaa was able to find a niche and address a concern of clickbait advertising that a lot of publishers were facing. “Publishers realized that the content that was being delivered through major clickbait platforms was lowering the quality of their editorial,” Healey stated.
So they came up with a new plan: display highly engaging and valuable local content for people, while driving a brand-safe and quality advertisement environment for publishers.
The goal was to rethink how the classic Cost Per Click (CPC) model was done in order to help publishers monetize better while keeping the quality of their product. Their website even states that by joining Saambaa, publishers will see “comparable revenue to other content recommendation services without sacrificing [their] brand integrity.”
As Saambaa started to escalate and connect with more advertisers, demand side platforms (DSPs), and sell side platforms (SSPs), reporting inevitably became more complex.
“Our publishers were expecting daily reporting from us so they can see how we perform on their page and track their profitability,” Healey told us. With so much data coming in, they were starting to face the very time consuming task of collecting and generating reports manually. Then they found Libring.
“Before using Libring, we were pulling data manually from 3 or 4 demand partners, putting it into Excel spreadsheets and creating documents that were just not easy to read nor easy to interact with,” Healey said.
Since using Libring, Saambaa has been able to expand their business. They now pull data from 15 partners. Libring gives them the ability to consolidate data for analysis daily. And with a great deal of transparency, their clients are able to see the true benefit of their product.
When Saambaa started looking for a solution to help them automate their daily reporting, price was a big issue. “We are still a start up and we want to be very efficient on how we run the technology spend in our business,” Healey began, “Libring gave us the ability to expand our business without paying upfront.”
Having the ease of a flexible solution that supports the company as they scale is also a big deal, as Hyales pointed out: “We can add more demand sources without worrying about the reporting piece and bring on bigger and bigger partners that expect consistent reports from us.”
“One of the things that really helped us grow is that [the] Libring [team] is always ready to solve our problems,” Healey continued. But it’s not only about accessibility and the ability to solve problems, it’s about delivering a great service. “We rely on our partners to have the same level of service that we offer to our partners,” he added.
Libring is able to give Saambaa everything they need. From flexibility to transparent data and a customer service team that is always there to lend a hand when they need it.