INside Performance Marketing
UK CEO Talks US Expansion Plans & Online Video Growth

UK CEO Talks US Expansion Plans & Online Video Growth

Technology company Coull appears to be riding high on the performance marketing video wave at the moment, as its founder reveals plans to open a New York office.

After launching into the market in 2008, with the goal of making video an ‘interactive experience’, Bristol and London-based Coull appears to be going from strength-to strength -  as its founder and chief executive officer (CEO), Irfon Watkins explains.

Following Coull’s April 2012 US debut, after it acquired Santa Barbara online marketing agency RevUpNet; in a bid to expand operations into America, Watkins has now revealed that business has been doing so well across the pond that Coull is set to open a New York office in early 2014.

Watkins, who will be speaking at next week’s a4uexpo in Amsterdam on ‘New Media Traffic Acquisition Strategies’, said the US is its largest market at present and the team in Santa Barbara is ‘growing rapidly’.

He also said the amount of traffic coming through the network has increased 10,000% so far in 2013, and is coming from more than 200 countries.

We spoke to Watkins about Coull’s latest infographic, how Coull fits into the performance marketing mix, social video and the company’s future focus:

Q: How does Coull's offering fit into the performance marketing (PM) mix and what is the biggest UK PM industry shift you have noticed since your 2008 launch?

IW: The performance industry has always been at the forefront of putting advertisers where audiences are. Audiences are now watching online video, so we’ve brought the performance model to this format.

For advertisers, Coull integrates performance models into distributed social video content by integrating a trackable affiliate link as a call to action, giving engaged viewers a route to purchase. For publishers, Coull Vidlinkr automatically monetises embedded video content by adding calls to action to relevant products.

The two biggest shifts in the PM industry have been the growth of online video, as above, and the challenge posed by mobile. People are content-snackers and they’re snacking on the move. Bringing performance marketing to mobile in a seamless way is a challenge that’s throwing up some really creative solutions.

Q: What does the future hold for the online video performance marketing arena and how far can this concept evolve?

IW: The most important thing to realise is that there are 10 billion+ video views a day globally, that’s a huge opportunity for performance marketing and we’re right at the start of the journey.

The future is about ensuring we can deliver a seamless, contextual performance solution for the massive online video audience that’s out there. For us it’s about scaling globally while using the mass of data going through our network to optimise locally. Relevance is key to performance so being able to target by demographic, geography and device is all-important.

Q: More consumers are turning to social video. This is showing no sign of slowing down, especially with Facebook-owned Instagram's video support. Do you have any plans to monetise this growth medium?

IW: Our technology is scalable across a range of video platforms and we'll be rolling out support for a number of them later this year. Video on Instagram is certainly an interesting one, and I’m intrigued to see how it gets on against Vine, it should be an interesting battle.

Q: There was a slew of feature additions to Coull's video overlay, but we have not seen too many so far this year. What is your current focus? Are there more updates in the pipeline?

IW: Our main focus is on scaling and optimising our technology. To reiterate the phrase I used earlier, we want to scale globally but optimise locally. Performance marketing is about providing value. Value for the advertiser, the publisher and, crucially, the consumer. The goal is to get the right product in front of the right person via online video, on a global scale.

Q: In relation to the monetisation of video content, what are the main similarities and big differences between Coull's UK and US markets?

IW: We’re not really seeing any drastic difference between either market. In fact, while those are our biggest audiences, we have traffic across 200+ countries on the same performance model and we see comparable engagement rates. Video is a global platform.

Q: Why has Coull put together this infographic (below) and what key facts should people take away from this?

IW: Infographics help provide context for numbers and stats, so I'd prefer people to check out the infographic rather than isolate any particular one fact.

Advertisers have traditionally treated online video as a tool for hitting branding objectives, with performance measured in eyeballs. That’s fine, online video does deliver on branding, but we wanted to use this infographic to show that what’s missing is a performance element that connects engaged viewers to a purchase or action. That’s where we come in.

Pippa Chambers

Pippa Chambers

Freelance News Journalist at PerformanceIN - working to source the latest and breaking news in performance marketing. 

From newspapers to national B2B magazines and technology reporting, I have covered a variety of genres. NCTJ/NCE qualified.

Please email me at and follow me @PippaC1

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