LiveIntent Bringing Email And Display To The Trading Desk Says CEO Keiser

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LiveIntentMatt Keiser is CEO of LiveIntent, a trading desk and exchange solution for email and display.

AdExchanger.com: First, can you share a little bit about your background and how you got to forming LiveIntent?

Prior to founding LiveIntent, I co-founded and served as the President of Datran Media. I architected Datran System, the underlying technology for Datran Media’s suite of performance marketing and audience measurement solutions. From an initial capital investment of $30,000 we built the company to 200 employees and over $100 million in revenue in seven years.  After handing the reins to a new CEO in 2008, I started to work on LiveIntent.

As a longtime open exchange evangelist and investor in Invite Media and AppNexus, I began to see firsthand how a transformative exchange and real-time advertising would be to the efficiency and success of the email and social media channel.  Our original focus at LiveIntent was helping site visitors discover the best personas and feeds in social media, but we quickly realized that the same predictive technology that we used to help drive follower and fan acquisition would actually work even better for our current cross-platform mission in the email channel.

From both the advertiser and publisher viewpoint, what is unique about the email opportunity?

Today, email marketing is a $4 billion dollar business - we believe that if the capabilities available to display – including Exchange, Trading Desks and Real­-Time bidding - can be brought to email that there is no reason why this can't be a $10 billion market.

  • From the advertiser’s view point we introduce brand-safe advertising in email with the features advertisers have come to expect in display such as: Global Frequency Control, Real-Time Optimization and Geo targeting, Tamper Proof Creative and Transparency. Ask any advertiser if they would consider running display without these features and you’ll immediately understand the size of the opportunity in front of LiveIntent.
  • These features and the ability to take bids in Real-time mean publisher remain in control of their inventory but have the tools necessary to increase ROI while improving user experience. We are not reinventing advertising, like others are doing with mobile and video we are simply applying  a combination of proven and innovative techniques from Display to the email channel.

What problem is LiveIntent solving?

We know that brands that aren't advertising in email are missing out on a great opportunity to acquire customers and drive better results.  Groupon, Living Social, Gilt Group and hundreds of fast followers are reminding marketers of the power of email. LiveIntent is solving the problems that have stopped brands from utilizing the email channel with a simple ad tag technology that delivers display-like benefits like frequency control, geo targeting, buying efficiencies, audience targeting, compliance, and brand safety - to the world of email without requiring publisher to change who sends their email.

Do you see your company as demand-side platform for display and email? Is there a DSP fit here somewhere? If so, how?

Because we have the ability to both bid on Real-Time advertising via our Trading Desk and take Real-Time bids on our email inventory as an exchange we will seamlessly fit into the ecosystem by integrating with DSPs as a new channel, just like mobile and video are being integrated.

We want our technology to be the BASF of email:  "we don't send the email, we make the email better"

Are impressions important as a success metric for your solution? Or is it about clicks? Why?

We owe DSPs and Trading desks a lot for making it possible to compare campaigns across networks, portals and individual sites.  Now that advertisers and agencies have the tools to measure and compare campaigns they are setting universal success metrics across their buys which is great for us as our underlying strength is optimization. In short we don’t care if we are optimizing for Views, CTR or Conversion.

What's your view on the agency trading desk space? Is Live Intent a good fit now or in the future? What is your target market?

We believe in the agency trading desk model as the majority of dollars spent on advertising are still being spent through an RFP process and trading desks allow advertisers to access both guaranteed (RFP) and biddable inventory.

With that model in mind, LiveIntent was designed to be the first trading desk technology solution for email designed to service advertisers and agencies at scale. We are accomplishing this by providing comprehensive access to both guaranteed and biddable email inventory with the advanced controls offered in the display marketplace.

Let's discuss your email inventory or lists. How do you collect them?

We don’t send any email, we work with premium publishers in two ways. We either provide them with tags that they use to optimize all of their inventory against their business rules, just like a display exchange or SSP or we contract for guaranteed campaigns.  What makes us different is we don't send the email, we make the email sent better.

Do you cookie email users in order to retarget them? How do you address privacy concerns?

We are working with several organizations and consider ourselves to be conservative in our use of cookies.  Today we are not in the business of collecting cookies for any purpose other than optimization and helping our marketing clients retarget in display as part of their campaign strategy.

Have you taken any funding?

We raised a round at the end of 2009 from Battery Ventures, First Round Capital, Grape Arbor VC, Lerer Ventures and several prominent angels.

Does email provide technical challenges? How do you deal with various email clients and which work best for your technology?

There are always technological challenges when you are creating something new, however, decades of experience in the email channel has helped us solve or engineer around the difference that have kept others from entering the email space. Today LiveIntent's technology is easily implemented no matter what ESP or mailing approach you take.  If you can send email, you can use LiveIntent.

A year from now, what milestones would you like LiveIntent to have achieved?

A year from now we will be pervasive. Our email inventory will span premium publishers, newspapers and blogs and will be available through our own Trading desk as well as top DSPs and Trading desks.  Additionally, we will have helped continue the renaissance of email as an effective customer-centric marketing medium.  And our publishing partners will have the revenue and engaged customers they need.

Follow Matt Keiser (@mrkeiser), LiveIntent (@liveintent) and AdExchanger.com (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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2 Responses to “LiveIntent Bringing Email And Display To The Trading Desk Says CEO Keiser”


  1. Matt- Thank you for the great article about Live Intent. Would you mind clarifying something for me? Can you provide some examples of the types of publishers who would send out emails with display space for advertisers? You'd mentioned Gilt and Groupon, but I assume they are not selling IAB spots on their emails nor are they letting 3rd parties email to their lists. I'm just trying to get a better understanding of the where the display advertising opportunities are in email.

    • Hi Jeremy - there are tons of publishers who send out newsletters every day. Like Adexchanger. Think about every 'news' publisher you know. They all have newsletters, and they use them to drive traffic to their site and to promote their advertisers. Many of the ad slots are not filled, as publisher sales forces do not get 100% sell-thru. The market is inefficient.

      As a result, many of the slots in these newsletters are filled with house ads.

      What LiveIntent'sm offering does is not only fill that remnant space in the newsletter, but more importantly provide a mechanism for filling all the ad space within newsletters, as well as alerts and full-page standalone ads.

      There is a tremendous amount of inventory that is there to be filled -premium and remnant - if you believe, as LiveIntent does, that newsletters and email is a key communication and marketing medium that isn't going away - ever.

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