In marketing, cost per acquisition (CPA) plays a major role. In fact, if we analyze carefully new leads, conversions, revenue, etc., are all led by this cost as it entails the amount of money spent to market products and get an individual customer. However, one of the biggest concerns especially if the product is good, is wasted CPA cost. Analyzing this issue, ChaChing came up with a solution to deliver both the company and its customers.

Established in the year 2021, ChaChing came up with a pioneering vision to transform the world of advertising. The company recognized the power of direct consumer incentives. In fact, it launched its app in 2023 to empower shoppers and facilitate seamless connections for advertisers. Their innovative model not only enhances the consumer experience but also reshapes economic interactions. 

Saying this, we got the opportunity to interview an esteemed member of the ChaChing team. So, let’s get ahead with this interview but before that let’s learn a little about our guest.

Who is Joel Williams?

Joel Williams is the global CCO (Chief Commercial Officer) at ChaChing. He has been spearheading the eCommerce revolution with CPO bidding by empowering advertisers to dictate their costs per sale. Formerly, he has played a pivotal role in launching TikTok’s ads product. Furthermore, Joel brings a wealth of experience from roles in companies like Repped, Yoke Network, and Zeotap.
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1) Recommendations on your LinkedIn showcase an extremely impressive career journey, how has it been for you?

Well, that's a big question for me personally. See, there have been many significant and impactful times in my career, particularly with the businesses I've worked at. 

Notably, my time at TikTok was fantastic and an incredible journey. I was fortunate to be one of the early hires for TikTok in Europe, where I launched several agency partnerships. These partnerships brought in millions of dollars in annual revenue for the business.

While at TikTok, I also had the opportunity to work closely with several venture capital firms and helped launch the Venture Capital team. This initiative delivered substantial growth for the business.

Aside from my corporate roles, I consider myself an entrepreneur. I love learning new things, educating myself, and sharing knowledge with my industry peers and colleagues, especially in digital marketing, technology, and growth strategies.

To summarize, my career has so far been very enjoyable and equally challenging.

2) Do you think that your current journey has been adventurous for you?

The team and technology we have at ChaChing definitely allow me the freedom to be more adventurous with our approach and strategy. For those who don't know, ChaChing is an out-and-out performance platform. 

Also, we're relatively new to the UK market, but we already work with 6,500 brands, about 250 agencies, and major corporations like Shopify, Magento (now Adobe Commerce), Salesforce Commerce Cloud, and various affiliate networks.

A large part of our strategy is to enable everyday consumers to afford items they otherwise couldn't, partly due to the high costs imposed by big tech companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and probably now my former employer, TikTok, as well.

3) Could you explain what programmatic advertising is and how it is different from typical advertising?

Programmatic advertising is about reaching the right person at the right moment. It differs slightly from traditional advertising, where you'd buy a fixed banner placement or a fixed area of a website or publication. 

Programmatic advertising, by default, is a hyper-targeted, data-driven strategy. This approach allows advertisers to reach the right consumer at the right time, and it enables consumers to see ads that are highly relevant to their interests.

4) Are there any big tech giants leading the programmatic advertising landscape? Also, what are the underlying problems amidst this cut-throat competition?

Yeah, I think that's quite a broad question. At ChaChing, we aim to solve two main problems. 

First, we want to enable everyday consumers to afford items they can't currently afford. It costs between 30 and 40% for any product to be sold across major tech platforms, notably Google, Amazon, and Facebook. 

Our goal is to help consumers live their day-to-day lives and afford basic necessities. In the UK and the US, for example, we aim to be the cheapest place to buy nappies (or diapers, as my friends in the US call them).

The average cashback, or "payback," that a consumer receives from ChaChing is around 20-21%, specifically 20.7%. We continue to onboard large advertisers like Debenhams and T.M. Lewin, who are committed to achieving these payback levels.

The second problem we're tackling is on the advertiser's side. Just as consumers are being essentially overcharged by these big tech giants, advertisers are too. It costs between 30 and 40% for an advertiser to acquire a new customer, meaning the only real winners are these large technology conglomerates. We want to level the playing field for both advertisers and consumers, which is reflected in our slogan, "It's payback time." We say it's payback time for consumers and payback time for advertisers.

5) Considering that the USP of ChaChing is ad spends of sellers as cashback for buyers, how much cost difference does it bring to compel action from buyers?

That's a really good question. We've seen about a 4.6% increase in purchases due to the incentives we're offering to consumers. 

Some of our early-adopting brands, like Debenhams, T.M. Lewin, and The Essence Vault, have experienced strong success. Additionally, we offer roughly 50% off at Gym Plus Coffee, another one of our large brands, which significantly boosts their business.

Fundamentally, we're giving 90% of the CPA (cost per acquisition) back to the consumer in real-time.

6) How do you bring buyers to product offerings or do you have advertising techniques to attract the audience?

Yeah, this is a very good question. From our side, we have substantial partnerships in place with the likes of Mumsnet, the NHS, and various banks in the UK and the US. 

We're largely going to be deploying a B2B2C approach, allowing consumers to join us on this journey. Additionally, we'll be working extensively with publishers through some of our affiliate network relationships and executing go-to-market strategies with the brands themselves.

For example, I recently sat down with a large sunglasses brand that's very popular in the summer. They expressed that one of the things they really like about ChaChing is our willingness to go on this journey with them. They appreciate our commitment to investing in their marketing strategies to grow and calendars, understanding their business model, and identifying key time frames for when consumers are likely to make purchases.

For us, it's important to be an extension of an advertiser's marketing strategy. We don't want to simply list brands on ChaChing and expect sales and cashback; we want to actively collaborate and put both feet forward, creating a compelling story together with the advertiser.

7) Can you share a few numbers that showcase your platform benefits to sellers over other programmatic advertising platforms?

At ChaChing, we give 100% of the cost per acquisition back to the advertiser if the product is returned. 

On average, about 29% of apparel products in the UK are returned, while for beauty products, it's around 9%. The lowest return rate is for pet products, at 7%. This means that 29% of apparel ads are fundamentally wasted.

If you look at the numbers, Alphabet, Apple, Google, and Amazon take 71% of the total marketing budget globally. 

If you do a quick calculation, you can see that 29% of a large number is still a large number. That's the amount of money being wasted on ads. 

At ChaChing, we make the advertiser or merchant whole in the event of a return. It is a very strong and compelling argument for both the advertiser and the consumer. And, that's really what we aim to achieve here.

8) Do you plan to provide additional benefits like fast deliveries or assurance of authenticity for external partnerships or other avenues?

Influencers are definitely an avenue we're looking to explore to support advertisers from a consumer perspective. 

We're currently in the process of building various gamification strategies that we'll be deploying soon. However, to avoid giving away too much information, we can revisit this conversation in six months.

9) How do advertisers optimize their ad spending on your platform?

You know, it's no surprise that every tech platform has a learning phase. This essentially means that you have to spend a certain amount of money in the first seven to ten days to get past this phase and start driving conversions. 

You'd think that with all the resources these tech companies have, they would have found a way to improve or eliminate the learning phase. However, they probably don't because they make a significant amount of revenue from advertisers who can't get past the learning phase and subsequently drop off.

The main reason these companies enforce the learning phase is to build up enough clicks, impressions, and views on their platform for the advertiser. At ChaChing, we don't charge for clicks, impressions, or views; we give them away for free. Therefore, we offer a free learning phase to the advertiser before they even start. This means there is a completely free awareness strategy for the advertiser when working with ChaChing, and we only charge for completed orders.

We're now entering a second phase of our technology and integrations. 

One of the key components is analyzing the average cost per acquisition (CPA) per vertical. We've noticed particularly low CPAs for consumer electronics and home and garden products, mainly due to the margins associated with these items. 

However, we are starting to see businesses, particularly in apparel, footwear, and beauty, compete against each other to win bids, auctions, and ultimately customers.

In a nutshell, we are very much a fixed CPA platform. We give away the learning phase for free, but there is still the ability to optimize, of course.

10) Are you planning to utilize AI or are you using it to improve your end user experience and top line of business?

Well, I've participated in several interviews and panels over the last three weeks, and AI is obviously a topic of conversation.

Realistically, everything is AI now; it's integrated into our daily lives. ChatGPT, for instance, has put a more consumer-oriented spin on AI, though businesses and advertisers have been utilizing similar technologies for decades. It's only recently become a consumer phenomenon, sparking widespread discussion.

AI will certainly be part of our strategy. We'll collaborate with various advertising AI platforms, integrating ChaChing as an advertising channel. This allows businesses to reallocate their media budgets and strategies towards ChaChing. A prime example is our involvement in programmatic advertising, where we'll partner with five to ten platforms in that space.

Regarding end-user tools and functionalities, I'll need to consult with my tech team. We're likely using a variety of tools and will continue to develop in this space.

11) How do you see ChaChing evolving into the next five years?

Yeah, that's a really good question. From our perspective, our primary focus is retail, D2C, and e-commerce. 

We have a strong emphasis on apparel, footwear, consumer electronics, personal care, beauty, parenting-related products, sports and outdoors, and pets. These are the core verticals that we're actively working with.

Interestingly, I had a productive discussion with a large travel booking site about potentially entering the travel space, though details are probably under NDA. It will be intriguing to see how our company evolves in the coming years.

Our main focus remains on D2C and e-commerce brands that offer physical products consumers can hold. 

As for our development and roadmap, I don't want to reveal too much, but we're planning to expand more into the influencer space and collaborate increasingly with our agency partners and early-adopting consumers to gamify our strategy. 

However, I'm mindful that various businesses may be watching, so I won't disclose too many details.

12) Could you share one lesson that empowers the consumer awareness of MobileAppDaily’s audience?

Yeah, I think for us and personally, average consumers or everyday consumers should be aware that if something is free, it's usually too good to be true. 

The exploitation of certain platforms definitely exists, as we mentioned with programmatic advertising. The four tech giants account for 71% of the total global advertising spend, largely because if something is free, it often comes with hidden costs.

I might have used a double negative there, considering ChaChing is free to use. However, our goal is to redirect the money and revenue back to the everyday consumer who struggles to afford essential items for daily life. Therefore, from our perspective, while I'm obviously biased in advocating for ChaChing, I believe it's important for consumers in general to be more aware and mindful.

For example, on platforms like TikTok, where the average user spends 90 minutes a day, there's a significant engagement, and where there's engagement, there's often someone making money from it. 

ChaChing operates differently by redistributing that income to consumers so they can afford their everyday necessities.

13) Do you believe that the intent to solve a problem should come from within?

Yeah, I mean, we'd love to think that we're addressing that problem. Our core mission is to solve those issues for both advertisers and consumers. 

As of now, we're positioning ourselves as a two-sided marketplace that offers substantial growth opportunities for advertisers. Also, something that provides funds and cashback for consumers.

14) What would you advise young heads who are brainstorming on an idea to build a product or a brand?

In any business that I've worked in (and you mentioned a few at the start), I really enjoy learning. I believe everyone I hire or who works at ChaChing loves their work and enjoys understanding the challenges businesses face.

For me, it boils down to three things: performance, innovation, and fundamentally, inspiring a market and your teams. These three habits are crucial, and that would be my advice to anyone looking to start a business.

15) At last, we would like you to share a few things to keep in mind while shopping online.

So, one principle is that if it's free, it's likely too good to be true. There are several comparison shopping businesses out there. One of the main advantages of ChaChing is our robust search functionality. For instance, if you're looking for a white pair of trainers, you'll find products from brands like Nike, Adidas, and PUMA. Using our comparison shopping feature, if a product appears more expensive on a particular search engine, we simply won't list it.

I would advise consumers to browse the internet before making a purchase and be aware that discounts of 20-21% are available in the ecosystem. 

As for more general habits, if you're consuming a product or information, it's good practice to read up on the business or brand you're planning to engage with.

Key Takeaway

  • ChaChing aims to offer substantial cashback or purchases to help users get a lower cost for everyday essentials.
  • Programmatic advertising leverages data-driven strategies to target specific audiences at the right time, thereby, optimizing their ad spend effectively.
  • ChaChing stands out by returning 100% of the cost per acquisition to advertisers.
  • The platform plans to expand to new verticals while enhancing partnerships with influencers and agencies.
  • William advises consumers to be more cautious of “free” offerings online as their are often hidden costs associated.

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Unveiling the pulse of mobile tech, our expert author at MobileAppDaily is your guide to the latest trends and insights in the app development sphere. With a passion for innovation, they bring you succinct analyses and a keen perspective on the evolving world of mobile technology. Stay tuned for concise updates that decode the future of mobile apps.

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