Behind Acadia’s Tech-Pushed Strategy To The Altering Nature of Digital Advertising

Behind Acadia's Tech-Driven Approach To The Changing Nature of Digital Marketing

The puzzle of digital marketing is one that every scaling company must solve. But this puzzle has only become more complex for medium-sized brands in the course of the pandemic, says Jared Belsky.

“I think we’ll happily look back and refer to the 2010s as the decade of cheap clicks,” he told Hypepotamus. “The average marketer could show up and be able to make Google, Facebook, or Instagram work for them with a great ROAS (Return on Ad Spend). But what we’ve seen in the last six months of the pandemic is massive cost inflation … and due to the amount of private equity and VC support in the midsize direct-to-consumer space, we’ve seen massive inflation in spending too. ” The new acquisition of Acadia aims to fight this inflation with this added analytical capability.

As giant brands become more sophisticated in new marketing channels, Belsky saw a gap for companies and startups that can be scaled up. “Growth marketers in companies that have set up a series A or B have great ambitions and enormous pressure to grow. But their options weren’t that great when it came to agencies to turn to. “

Belsky and co-founder Sean Belnick launched Acadia this summer to address this mid-market problem.

As an agency and platform for digital growth, Acadia has scaled rapidly by acquiring other well-known Atlanta-based digital marketing firms including Imagine Media, Nicely Built, and Techwood Digital. For Belsky, these acquisitions bring bid optimization, creative, testing, website and reporting experts under one roof.

Acadia has already built an impressive list of local VC-backed customers including Sharecare, Bark, and Grubbly Farms, along with popular local brands like King of Pops and Arden’s Gardens.

The next big growth opportunity for Acadia: a robust, technology-based approach to analytics. And they’re bringing in more talent from Atlanta to make that growth possible.

Today, the Acadia team announced the acquisition of Atlanta-based Lift 361, an analytics and marketing database management agency, and ShopFluency, an audience segmentation and expansion platform that helps customers understand who’s online customers really are.

ShopFluency helped clients like Alchemy Bikes realize that their largest customer base was empty nests – not the hardcore mountain bikers they targeted with online ads.

Through these acquisitions, the Acadia team will grow to over 100 people who will work in a hybrid model from a new office in West Midtown.

“With the takeover of Lift 361 and ShopFluency, we believe that we can democratize customer segmentation and target group analysis and make it affordable. These things don’t have to cost a million dollars when run on a SAS-like deployment model. We can really help our customers find vital information about their customer base that will help them invest their hard-earned money much smarter, ”added Belsky.

Belnick is the only Acadia investor the team sees as key to keeping Acadia a sustainable, people-centric agency geared towards long-term growth.

Belsky and Belnick bring decades of experience in both digital marketing and e-commerce. Belsky was most recently CEO of 360i, an integrated creative and media agency founded in Atlanta. Belnick started his first online dropship furniture company at the age of 14 and grew it to $ 300,000,000 in sales before launching Acadia.

The two are now focused on building Acadia as an agency where Atlanta’s top digital marketing talents can develop their careers while helping clients put their digital marketing puzzles together. Seth Hirsch, one of the directors of Lift361 and Shopfluency, added: “A lot of trust has already been built between the two companies and we have recognized that by joining Acadia we can do even more for our customers and employees.”

The team believes that their different approach to building an agency will help their clients stay competitive in the ever-changing digital marketing landscape in the future.

“To win in 2022 and be competitive, you need advanced analytics. You need first-hand knowledge of data and the ability to build a marketing database. You can’t just show up and just think about keywords and bids, ”Belsky said.

Featured image by Acadia:

From left to right:

Sean Belnick, Jared Belsky, Seth Hirsch, Carol Davis, Sally Kazin