Why Investor App Quartr Ran a TV Campaign less than One Year After Launch

Tim Cross 22 March, 2022 

The classic marketing roadmap for a modern startup tends to lean heavily on search and social ads, utilising the social platforms’ broad audiences and detailed datasets to find their audience.

Some of these digital native brands do eventually turn to traditional media, but commonly that’s only once they’ve maxed out available reach on social channels and are looking for new customers elsewhere. Broadcast ads are often perceived as less efficient for driving early growth. And regardless, the high costs associated with a TV campaign often make it a non-starter for a new startup.

But not all new brands share this train of thought. Earlier this year Quartr, an app which helps retail investors research public companies, ran a campaign which included TV and print – less than a year after the app formally launched.

In February, Quartr ran ads TV ads during CNBC’s ‘Closing Bell’ segment, where analysts discuss the day’s earnings reports, for several weeks during earnings season. In print, the company took out full-page ads in The Economist, and half-page slots in The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal during the same period.

Oliver Hamrin, co-founder and marketing lead at Quartr, said part of the appeal of TV and print was down to the fact that both these mediums are still very relevant in the finance world. “The finance community is still very interested in larger news-based media outlets like CNBC, especially since the pandemic when new data points, or current affairs, could noticeably move markets on a daily basis,” said Hamrin.

But the nature of Quartr’s product meant that TV offered a highly targeted audience – without the need for any sophisticated targeting technology.

Quartr’s app is designed to make it simpler for retailers to digest quarterly earnings reports. So advertising alongside a broadcast segment which specifically covers earning reports offered an easy way to reach exactly the kind of consumers the company was trying to find. Hamrin said Quartr used insights from social interactions with investors around the world to understand exactly which financial channels and publications its target audience would be most likely to engage with.

Taking a DIY approach

Knowing where to find its audience simplified the equation for Quartr somewhat, but advertising on TV is still by-and-large an expensive process.

The company did find a number of ways to keep costs down – in part by carrying out work in-house where possible.

The creative for the ad was conceptualised in house, with Swedish production agency Omanovic Production brought in to put the ad together.  Hamrin said Omanovic’s experience working across large brands and local startups was key for getting the most out of the company’s budget.

Quartr also booked the campaign itself in-house – not through a shiny new self-serve platform, but via a good old-fashioned phone call.

“We got hold of someone at CNBC through one of our investors, Michael Batnick (Ritholtz Wealth Management),” said Hamrin, “and it was organised and negotiated by our CEO, Sami Osman, who took the first video call and even sent them the formatted file.”

While these savings helped keep the campaign affordable, inventory on a major network is never going to be cheap. But Hamrin said the company figured the investment would be worth the cost: “Seeing as the earnings season is a key time for us, we thought it was worthwhile to go hard during those 6-to-7 weeks in January and February,” he said.

Quartr didn’t have any expectations of an immediate return on ad spend, seeing the TV and print elements of the campaign as primarily a brand-building exercise. As such, Quartr’s focus has turned back towards digital marketing, through its social channels and short digital video campaigns.

But Hamrin said based on the app’s first experience with TV, he would be very open to returning to linear television in the future.

“It was a great opportunity to see what we can achieve and test the water with an international print and broadcast campaign,” he said. “I’m pretty sure we’ll do something like this again, but we haven’t planned anything just yet. Watch this space!”

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About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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