The rise of cryptocurrencies has had a strong effect on the financial services industry. This in turn has led to different demands for marketing in this space, which many companies have had varied levels of success in executing.
Finance Magnates spoke with Omer Shvili, the co-founder of Whitenoise, for his take on the dynamic nature of the marketing space in the new era of cryptos. Consumer interest in these instruments is only expected to rise in 2018, leading to a premium for these types of services.
Since its inception, how has Whitenoise adapted to the shifting market environment in terms of the rise of cryptos?
Whitenoise drives traffic to its clients via our proprietary paid search bidding engine, and so by default we are able to adapt to changes in the market. Our algorithmic-based engine is always aware of where there is high intent search traffic, and bids on such traffic, and so when there is a new trend in the market we are able to identify it and capitalize on it very quickly.
This has also been true with the rise of crypto – we noticed the spike in consumer interest in crypto currencies back in April of 2017, and ever since then have been driving significant amounts of high intent traffic to our many partners.
Whitenoise’s ability to adapt to changes in the market, and to quickly find new opportunities is true outside of crypto as well – our marketing engine can identify interest in new IPO’s or other events that attract interest from retail investors and traders (such as Brexit, elections etc.).
Can you tell me more about yourself and the company leadership?
Well, I’m a veteran of the FX/CFD industry. I was previously the founder of Markets.com, which was acquired by Playtech back in 2015, so I have a very good understanding of the CFD industry – this is very helpful because I understand what our clients are looking for when they acquire online traffic. My co-founders bring tremendous value from their own experience outside of the FX industry.
Eran Hagag was previously a co-founder and CEO of a company called Pegasus Smart Trading, which was a successful algo trading shop – they used advanced algorithms to trade options and derivatives all over the world.
Eran brought his knowledge in statistical arbitrages to the online marketing world, and has been instrumental in helping us develop our unique Google bidding engine. My other co-founder is Elad Cohen, who is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Israel in the past 20 years – he was the co-founder of Playtech, and the driving force of the company in its early years, he was also the co-founder of the company that later evolved into Safecharge.
And finally, there is Ori Perl, who besides being a co-founder is also the CEO of the company. Ori brings years of experience doing high volume PPC at the highest levels – our “secret sauce” is based on Ori’s experience, and Ori’s close work with Eran and our tech team has allowed us to build a bidding machine that emulates what Ori used to do manually for many years.
How has the demand for marketing of FX and cryptocurrencies changed over the past year? Will this demand hold or continue to grow?
Anyone living on planet earth has noticed the craze around crypto currencies that developed during the second half of 2017 – I think it has been very difficult to miss this unique phenomenon.
As a result of the unprecedented interest from retail clients in crypto currencies, we’ve had tremendous growth in crypto traffic during 2017. I personally don’t think it can remain at such elevated levels, and we’re already seeing interest drop to more normal levels.
My bet is that crypto currencies are here to stay, at least the major ones are, and they will probably remain an interesting asset class going forward, but I doubt it will remain at current levels of interest. I guess you can call me a skeptic.
I think that the FX and non-crypto CFD industry is more stable. It’s an industry that’s been around for more than 20 years, and after the industry adjusts to tighter regulation, I see it flourishing for many more years to come.
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To what do you attribute Whitenoise’s rise in the CFD space? Can you tell me about the group’s business growth and what 2018 holds for you?
That’s a very good question, because the CFD space is not new and there have been others who have done PPC affiliation before us, but we came around in January 2017 out of nowhere, and within a few months became one of the largest affiliates in the industry.
I think that above everything else, our unique AI based technology, which we refined while operating comparison sites in the e-commerce space, has given us an edge – we simply buy Google Adwords more efficiently than pretty much everyone else in the space, and we have an ability to run large, long tail campaigns without the need for a large team.
In addition, this technology allows us to both identify new trends that interest traders, as well as continually optimize our bidding strategy. In addition, our extensive knowledge in operating and optimizing comparison sites, coupled with our long and intimate knowledge of the CFD industry also gave us an edge.
At the end of the day, I really understand our clients, as only two years ago I was in their shoes (as Founder of Markets.com) – I understand what sort of traders our clients are looking for, their LTV models and so I really aim to provide them the value they require from paid search traffic. We’ve proved to practically all of our CFD clients that we can deliver value – we’re able to get them high intent, high value clients from paid search campaigns at a CPA that is lower than what they were able to achieve without us.
That is the bottom line – brokers want to make money, and to do that they need to acquire clients at good CPA’s and generate strong LTV from such clients. We help brokers achieve just that, and we can do it in scale, so it supported our very fast growth in the space.
Regarding our journey, as I just mentioned, when we launched Whitenoise, we initially focused on the highly competitive US e-commerce market. We operated, and we still operate, several comparison shopping sites, which drive traffic to Amazon, eBay and Walmart. The competitive e-commerce space was a great testing ground for our technology – the complexity is very high because we compare tens of thousands of different products, and the products keep changing (new SKU’s come online while others are withdrawn).
Thus you need to always be on top of things, and the number of relevant keywords is practically endless, so typical campaigns stretch across many millions of keywords. You can’t operate in the e-commerce space without some sort of automation technology for paid search.
We’ve become very good and efficient in the e-commerce space, and from there expanded to video streaming, where we introduce clients mostly to Amazon Prime, which competes with Netflix.
After fine tuning our technology in the trenches of the e-commerce and video streaming battlefield, we entered additional vertical. Obviously, CFD is a major business for us, but we’re also active in a few more verticals, including online gaming in the UK, which we recently launched.
Our plans for 2018 are to continue growing by expanding geographically, as well as launch more verticals. As a result of our success with online trading, we plan to expand into additional Finance related verticals, such as loans, insurance and other investing related services. We also keep on developing and fine tuning our technology, in order to maintain our edge over competitors.
How does Whitenoise help online brokers acquire more clients? How does your company distinguish itself from the competition?
First and foremost, we help our brokers by sending them high intent paid search traffic. Our bidding machine focuses on very high intent keywords, and our comparison funnel further qualifies the traffic, and as a result our traffic has an extremely high conversion rate.
In addition, since we focus on high intent traffic, most of the clients converting through our traffic are self-depositing clients, meaning they did not need the assistance of a sales rep of the broker. This is great for brokers for two reasons: 1. They require less staff to support clients coming from our traffic, and 2. The regulators are not fans of call centers, to say the least, and our traffic allows brokers to move towards a model where the call center is not as key to the business as it once was.
In addition, since we operate on a performance-based model (mostly CPA & CPL), our interests are aligned with the broker, and in many cases, we assist brokers in designing their LP’s and funnels, as we have a very good understanding of how search traffic converts.
Where does the future hold for Whitenoise? What developments/projects do you have in the pipeline?
While 2017 was a great year for us both in the CFD & crypto business, as well as in our other verticals, we are really looking forward to further growth in 2018. We’re looking to expand our CFD offering into more geographies, specifically in Asia, and as I explained we’re planning to enter several more verticals, both in the Personal Finance category, investment industry and other niches where we see potential.