September 29, 2022
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Evite Is Exiting the Advertising Business

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  • While companies jump on retail media, Evite is going in the other direction and winding down its ads business.
  • Ads drove most of the company’s revenue, but CEO David Yeom said they degraded the customer experience.
  • Ads now generate 20% of revenue and the company claims it’s never been as profitable.

At a time when companies of all stripes are getting into the advertising business, online party planner Evite is going in the opposite direction.

CEO David Yeom said he was shutting Evite’s ads business because ads were hurting the customer experience, leading to user declines. Evite’s e-card business had also plummeted in the pandemic because people stopped having events, and the company didn’t want to annoy its remaining customers. And it was hard to become a significant player in a space dominated by tech giants.

“Our users don’t like ads,” Yeom said. “When you’re putting thought into creating an awesome invitation for an event, the last thing you want is your guests to see William Sonoma or P&G ads. If you piss off your users, they’ll find a different alternative.”

Evite now gets 20% of its business from ads, down from 80% two years ago, and plans to entirely exit the business by the end of the year.

Evite was entirely ad-based when it was founded in 1998. Yeom, a former marketer at The Honest Company who cofounded online dollar store Hollar, bought Evite in 2020 from SiriusXM owner Liberty Media with a group of private investors that included


Twitch

cofounder Kevin Lin and Triller CEO Mike Lu. Along with the ads business, a 50-person ad sales team was eliminated.

“When you’re dealing with people, it’s always a difficult thing,” he said of the decision. “Then came getting everyone to buy into this new vision.”

Evite now makes most of its money from sales of new card designs and from commissions it gets when it recommends party vendors and gift suggestions to users. It’s been investing in its card designs, with animations and artist collaborations.

The company said revenue is up 73% since 2019 and it’s on track to have record growth in 2022. Without the constraint of its advertisers, which were US-focused, Evite plans to expand globally soon.

Evite’s move comes as scores of companies get into the ads business to shore up their profit margins and use their data to help advertisers target consumers amid privacy changes by Apple and Google.

Yeom said ads can be good when helpful and relevant to consumers, but shouldn’t come at the expense of the user experience.

“Keep your customers and users in mind,” he said.



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