Meet Adimo! An interview with Adimo co-founder and CTO Colin Brown

Stuart Elmes


The quest to convert advertising impressions into sales revenue has spanned many generations. 

Print advertising can be traced back to China's Song Dynasty, which began in 960 AD. Bronze printing press tablets from the era have been uncovered which advertised the "Liu Family Needle Shop", and which are the earliest evidence of commercial advertising ever found. 

Did the Liu Family Needle Shop expect some return on investment when they had those tablets produced? It is a safe bet that they did. Although they may not have understood the finer points of brand impressions, marketing revenue, or the cultural context of consumption, they did presumably understand the basic principle that advertising a brand will eventually produce increased sales revenue, they probably just didn't know exactly why. 

In the ensuing thousand years (give or take a few decades), not much has changed.

The direct link between an individual advertising item (a poster, a TV ad, or an internet banner ad) and the revenue that advertising item produces has remained steeped in mystery, unmeasurable, unquantifiable, yet universally understood to exist in the abstract.

But to hear Adimo co-founder and CTO Colin Brown tell it, that may all finally be about to change.


Colin Brown Fact Sheet

Name:Colin Brown
Title: CTO
Favourite colour: Green
Sunday lunch preference: Tofurky Roast
Last song listened to: Bad Religion – 21st Century
Favourite tech Gadget: RetroPie – A Raspberry Pi that emulates classic games
Pet peeve:Laziness
Top holiday destination:San Francisco
Last film watched in the cinema: The Accountant
Rating of said film: 7.5/10


First off, for those who might not know, what is Adimo?

Adimo makes online supermarket shopping easier by letting users add products to their favourite online retailers shopping basket from almost any marketing material on the web, be it a Facebook page, branded website, a news site or video, etc. Products or full recipes can be added in just a couple of clicks without leaving the page or having to visit the retailers website. The products added will be waiting for them in their basket until they’re ready to checkout. Brands love it as it helps generate sales, when previously there were none, and it allows them to determine which marketing is most effective. Consumers love it as it makes their lives easier!


Can you tell us a little bit about who you are, what your role is at Adimo, and how you got involved with this project?

I’m Colin Brown CTO and co-founder of Adimo. I’m a 31 year old former software engineer based in Glasgow. Previous to founding Adimo I had my own consultancy business called Eager Owl which I formed after building up my skills and contacts working in a number of digital agencies. I graduated from the University of Glasgow in 2003 after studying Computing Science.

I co-founded Adimo (back then we were known as Recipop) with Richard Kelly when we worked together at the digital marketing agency, Dog Digital. We sat next to each other at work and often enjoyed a few beers at the pub after work, talking about everything and anything, but the latest tech and ideas we had were the common themes. Richie had a idea around making online supermarket shopping easier, and after a lot of chat I created a prototype and Adimo was formed.


What was the impetus for the creation of Adimo and it’s concept? What was the question you hoped it would answer or the problem you thought needed solving?

Richard, our CEO, experienced the problem Adimo solves first-hand whilst us both working at the digital marketing agency that had FMCG brands as clients. The briefs for these brands were simply to drive traffic to websites, unlike other clients whose briefs were to drive sales with eCommerce websites. Richie didn’t see the point and this, if  you can bookmark a product using a plugin on a website with Delicious or Digg, why can’t you add a product to a Tesco basket in a similar way? Adimo was created to solve this problem for both users and brands. For brands, it allows them to generate sales where previously there were none, as well as allowing them to measure and determine which marketing is the most effective. For users, it makes their lives easier by adding products and recipes to their shopping basket in a few clicks, for later purchase at the retailer of their choice.


Why isn’t it enough to drive traffic to websites? isn’t that the goal of online marketing? What should the goal be instead?

For me, the key purpose of online marketing is to drive not just traffic, but sales – and in turn, measurability. Users see ads that create desire for products. Adimo lets consumers act on those desires by discovering more about products, comparing different prices and finally adding them to their shopping basket. The goal should be to engage with the user in new and exciting ways, making their path to purchase as easy as possible, at a time and place that’s right for them.


Is Adimo’s product currently in operation online? How has the response been?

Adimo had it’s first live campaign on a Sainsbury’s website back in 2012 and has been growing its online presence ever since. The response has been fantastic, as the years have gone users are becoming more familiar with the simple ‘Add to Basket’ process and the benefits it has for them. We continually monitor the performance of every campaign we push live and even have a completely bespoke, built in multi-variant testing platform which can be enabled on any campaign. This allows us to test and optimise performance when a campaign is live to make sure every brand gets the most out of their campaigns, whilst improving the user experience for consumers.


How will Adimo make life easier for consumers?

Adimo makes life easier for consumers by allowing them to purchase the products they desire without disrupting their web browsing experience. So if they’re on a Facebook page or branded website, there’s no need for them to leave that site in order to purchase, which makes it both easier and more efficient. Even better still, full recipes can be added to shopping baskets at a preferred retailer in just a couple of clicks.


How will Adimo make life easier for companies?

It makes brand’s lives easier by allowing them to more effectively measure which marketing is working best for them and then optimising that spend accordingly. It allows them to use their online marketing to drive sales, where previously there were none.


In what context (like which areas of online/offline advertising/marketing) can we expect to see Adimo’s product appearing over the next year?

Ha, that’s a good question. I think you’ll see a lot more of our brand online next year, we’re appearing more and more frequently on social channels, as well as both Display Ads and our newly launched Shoppable Video touchpoint, which we’re really excited about. You’ll also get to see our technology on more big brands online, both in the UK and abroad. I can’t name names yet, but watch this space…


You mentioned “Shoppable Video touchpoint”, can you tell us a little bit about what that is?

Sure thing! Video is becoming more and more popular these days, particularly with news websites and other publishers shifting to having more video content. These on-demand videos commonly have ads in them, showcasing the latest products, typically to drive awareness. Our technology overlays a “Shop” button on these videos, allowing users to click and add the products there and then, without leaving the video. As well as the ability to purchase, it’s great for finding out more information on the products, and the prices at various retailers. We think it’s great as it makes the ads far more interesting and interactive – brands and users love it for this reason too!


One thing is clear: The advertising world, and the way consumers are buying, are both changing at a breakneck pace.

While branding and brand impressions are still, and probably always will be, vital to the long term success of any commercial enterprise,  the antiquated model of driving online sales via digital advertising campaigns strictly via generating increased website traffic appears to be dying a slow death.

At the same time, the companies which use these marketing channels are beginning to ask some tough questions about exactly what they are getting for their advertising dollar. In a commercial world where increased efficiency through data analysis is currently king, finding a way to quantify the revenue generated through each individual marketing campaign and through each individual marketing channel becomes a more urgent task with every passing day.

Products like Adimo, which offer shortcuts to the traditional digital marketing sales funnel by allowing items to be purchased instantly when consumer buying impulses arise and without disrupting that consumer’s online experience to a meaningful degree, represent a sea change in the way products can be marketed through digital channels, and in the way marketing ROI can be measured.

As for exactly how and where such products can be applied in the digital marketplace, and exactly how they will change the way consumers interact with online marketing channels, at this stage, we have only barely begun to scratch the surface.