Brittany Fleit

Much like LL Cool J’s 1990 hit “Mama Said Knock You Out,” email is not making a comeback at ad:tech. It’s been here for years, waiting to jump out of the shadows.

This year at ad:tech, social media is dominating. But Evan Reiser, founder and CEO of AdStack, a real-time email optimization startup, is out to prove why email is a far more effective method of acquiring users and increasing revenue than Facebook or Twitter.

AdStack was founded in January 2011 by Reiser and colleague Thanos Baskous. They currently partner with large publishers, e-commerce sites, and advertisers such as Bloomspot, Rap Leaf, and Martini Media, and are demoing their product to over a dozen other interested companies.

Today, AdStack is presenting its LiveOptimizer, a real-time email marketing platform that allows companies to change images or content within emails after the email has been sent. Essentially, this allows businesses to A/B test which content users are more likely to engage with. For instance, if Bloomspot, a daily deal website, sends out four groups of emails for the same deal, each group containing a different image, AdStack can acquire statistics about click-through and purchase rates within minutes and confirm which image resonates better with users. They can then automatically change all subsequent emails to the highest performing image. All of this happens behind the scenes with AdStack’s algorithm so companies simply receive better results without having to lift a finger.

Currently in the email marketing space, it’s much more common for companies like MailChimp to perform A/B testing in a way that sends an initial test group of emails to 10% of subscribers, followed by the full mailing list after statistics have been recorded. Instead, AdStack has found a way to send to the entire mailing list at once and automatically set up modifications to the email based on positive or negative data. This delivers the email to users faster and effectively implements changes without causing the company more work. Hands down, this is one of AdStack’s biggest perks—allowing companies to maintain control of creating and sending emails internally, yet reaping all the benefits of improved content that only an outside source can bring.

In an interview with AllVoices, Reiser stated, “One of the challenges we face is that people don’t understand the value of testing different combinations of content. Because of this technology, we’re able to get 50 percent more conversions and revenue. We want to get people to understand the power and ease of using real-time email optimization.”

AdStack has sent more than 100 million emails using the LiveOptimizer technology and since the product’s launch they’ve learned to optimize emails not only by click-through and purchase rates, but also by demographics and devices. They can now alter image size based on whether someone is opening the email on a computer, iPad or phone and tailor images to men versus women to up the revenue for retailers.

“At ad:tech, we really want to change the face of email marketing in the advertising space. Right now, the email marketing industry isn’t seen as ‘sexy’ or ‘cool.’ If you look at the hot startups, they’re the Facebook and Twitter advertisers and they get a lot more attention. But according to the revenue generated by different marketing channels, email is the most engaging. Email media is one of the largest revenue drivers. At Bloomspot, we saw that their marketing department had to pay $8 for every user acquired via Facebook but only $3 for users acquired via email. The latter group ended up bringing in most of their revenue in the long haul. We’ve seen time and time again that email keeps proving to be a much more commendable force in terms of user acquisition and revenue. It’s not static—it’s dynamic and evolving. It’s sexy.”

Reiser continues, “It’s also good for us, because while there are 20 plus competitors for Facebook advertising, email is seen as old school and so there’s less standing in our way. There’s not a ton of innovation in this space so we’re excited to add value at a point when there’s lots of room for improvement.”

So far, AdStack seems to be a popular contender in the email realm. Confirms Reiser, “Out of the dozens of new businesses trying the product, we have some of the top e-commerce companies and the major players in the flash sales and daily deals space. Those companies measure the revenue they earn per email, so we can directly affect that number, which presents a very straightforward proposition.”

This article is part of Allvoices’ series on ad:tech, the largest digital marketing and technology conferences and expositions. Check out for more of Allvoices’ ad:tech San Francisco event coverage. This series is supported by ad:tech.