When Smartly.io was founded in 2013, our founders never imagined an estimated one in ten Facebook ads in Europe would be made by the Smartly.io platform. What started as a small team of eight with a handful of customers has recently grown into a global company with 800+ Smartlies in multiple locations around the world. Last year alone, Smartly.io channeled an ad spend of $4 billion, helping advertisers make every day of advertising easy, effective and enjoyable.
To continue our organic growth, we have taken further steps toward leading the rapidly changing advertising market through acquisitions of companies at the forefront of digital marketing, multi-platform launch, new product features, our annual Sofa Summit, as well as becoming a flexible hybrid workplace. In addition, our global team has only grown since the pandemic with the addition of 300 team members. Here, we explore these major milestones from last year.
Last summer, Smartly.io acquired Viralspace.ai, an ad tech company based in Silicon Valley. Viralspace.ai is at the forefront of using artificial intelligence to research and optimize social media ads with a past and current customer base that includes UberEats, DoorDash, and Gobi. Joining forces with the fast-growing, AI-driven startup allowed us at Smartly.io to provide an unmatched level of individualized custom creative insights. By tagging custom creative elements, we can build a brand-specific model to understand the factors that drive conversions and predict ad performance before, during, and after the ad is launched.
Building on this success, we also acquired UK-based Ad-Lib.io, a company at the forefront of providing a next-generation Creative Management Platform for marketers at the world’s largest companies, at the beginning of 2022 in a deal worth $100 million. Ad-Lib.io builds user-friendly advertising tools for the Google ecosystem and is a Google Certified Creative partner. In 2021, Ad-lib.io's customer engagements more than doubled, working with major brands like Estée Lauder, TUI, PizzaHut, Shell and Johnson & Johnson.
This acquisition is a pivotal step in expanding into the entire Google ecosystem, with the goal to provide one tool that can be used to create content for all advertising channels. With brand marketers and agencies increasingly uniting their social and programmatic teams into integrated digital creative and media investment teams, this is a natural next step.
Smartly.io currently partners closely with all major social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and TikTok. One of the things that sparked our interest in Ad-Lib is its partnership with Google. Not only is Ad-Lib.io a Google Certified Creative partner, but their ads are 60% more cost-efficient to produce according to Ad-Lib.io’s customers which include 10 of the top 30 global brands.
While new relationships are beginning, old friendships are still as strong as ever. Nearly a year ago, Smartly.io announced that our platform for Snapchat is in General Availability, allowing all brands to utilize Smartly.io tools and services in record time. Our partnership with Snap Inc. first began in 2020, and we could not be more thrilled to continue to work with Snapchat.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Smartly.io has been privileged to host our annual Sofa Summit. The 2021 Sofa Summit included more than 15,000 global attendees and 50 of the industry’s most inspiring CMO’s, digital marketing gurus, award-winning creative directors and leading social-platforms. A few of last year’s speakers included leaders from LEGO, Facebook, Uber, HelloFresh, TikTok, Deliveroo, Paypal, KLM Royal Dutch Airline, and Pinterest. Other speakers included CEO of VaynerMedia Gary Vaynerchuk and best-selling author Seth Godin. We are overjoyed to build off of this success at the April 2022 Sofa Summit.
In 2021, Smartly.io became a flexible, hybrid workplace, enabling Smartlies to choose where they work, regardless of their location. This initiative allowed our employees to choose between an at home, in office, or hybrid work model. We are pleased to report this model has been well-received among Smartlies, who welcome the flexibility, and given our team members the freedom they need to work in a space that fits their needs and lifestyle.
Over the past year, we’ve received phenomenal feedback on the increased speed and power of our Creative Editor experience and Ad Ranking capabilities to scale creative production and provide performance feedback. The upgraded Creative Editor experiences unify workflows and design across several creative formats.
We’ve also recently introduced three unique enhancements for retailers including a platform-agnostic feature that provides an overall visual representation of campaigns’ budget pacing progress and Dynamic Local Inventory Ads that leverage a local inventory feed to provide insight into a product’s store-level price and availability.
Together, these advances help our users navigate the privacy-first landscape and create the optimal ads for growth through a focus on top performing creative and efficiently managing ad dollars.
In 2021, Smartly.io partnered with Compensate, a non-profit climate operator, to calculate our carbon footprint. This partnership ultimately led us to purchase and retire nearly 10,000 carbon credits – enabling the removal of over 6,000 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. Of those credits, 9,042 were used for traditional carbon capture, including forest conservation projects in Cambodia, Zambia and Peru, and reforestation projects in Timor-Leste and Myanmar.
In the future, Smartly.io plans to continue monitoring all emissions to calculate our carbon footprint and reduce that footprint by optimizing business travel and utilizing virtual meetings.
To top off all our successes, in 2021, Smartly.io was recognized by the Digiday Technology Awards as the Best Social Marketing Program for its streamlined dynamic ads after assisting FanDuel, a sports betting and fantasy sports company, in fully automating the way it showcased weekly matchups ads on Snapchat. We are honored to be recognized by Digiday and look forward to continuing our first and foremost mission—automating and scaling social advertising across platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Snapchat to capitalize on creativity and ensure best performance.