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Content marketing campaigns, in which a company or brand produces legitimately interesting content to help gain new customers, can be wildly effective and extremely difficult to track. That’s the basis for ad-tech startup OneSpot‘s latest feature, which helps ad clients determine an automated strategy for pulling in more business.

OneSpot works much like a programmatic ad network, but aims to transform real content (actual articles that are interesting) into display ads that can run on all the leading ad networks (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, etc.). And as VentureBeat previously reported, those OneSpot ads also feature social badges with the number of Facebook likes or retweets that particular post has to further prove that its a legitimate piece of content and not just marketing spam. It’s a nice change of pace because the majority of display ads don’t really provide much incentive for people to click.

Today the startup is going a step further in its efforts to use real content in place of advertising with the launch of its new Content Sequencing Engine technology, which uses an initial OneSpot ad as the first step in a multi-step process to drive more business to their clients. Basically, clients will track certain pages that they deem as “goals” — whether that be determined as getting them to a product’s checkout page or simply having them learn more about a product. OneSpot then uses information about who’s clicking those ads and how many steps it takes for them to complete a goal to determine which ads you see. That means the process gets more efficient over time, and you can track progress just like you would a regular programmatic ad campaign.

OneSpot founder Matt Cohen described the new technology to me as content marketers going from having only a compass for navigating to their goals to getting a basic road map that allows you to see the most efficient route to hit your destination. The point is to remove the gray area when determining how to effectively run a content marketing campaign.

The startup also decided to flesh out two other distinct forms of content marketing: testimonials or white papers that give a detailed overview of someone’s product or service, and a product overview-like pieces of content (like product comparisons grids) that people use when they’re intending to purchase something.

The new OneSpot feature is definitely something that helps evolve advertising into something people actually care about, likening it perhaps to the old days when magazine advertisements were almost as important as the content produced by an editorial team.

Founded in 2012, the Austin, Texas-based startup has raised $1.5 million in funding from RSL Venture Partners, 500 Startups, Ralph Mack, Mike Maples, Sr., Josh Baer, and others.

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