Yandex's ADFOX Acquisition Signals Movement For RTB In Russia

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Yandex AdFoxEarly in September, Russian search engine Yandex acquired ad tech company ADFOX, generating a bit of buzz around the relatively early stage programmatic buying market in Russia.

Yandex only entered the RTB market in 2012 and ADFOX, a Moscow-based sell-side platform, was originally founded in 2005 but also introduced its RTB offerings in 2012.

"We expect the deal with ADFOX will let us extend our ad network coverage and the number of clicks and impressions for our advertisers," Vladimir Isaev, head of international communications for Yandex, told AdExchanger in an email. "We now have the service and technology to work with premium publishers, or those who have their own ad sales teams. We didn't have that kind of solution in our commercial services line before that.

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A New Point Of Integration: Oracle Officiates Marriage Between BlueKai And Eloqua

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john stetic oracleWhile marketing clouds push the promise of technological integration, the fact that every major cloud was built through acquisition means it’s fair to question the extent to which the components are truly unified.

Getting applications within a cloud to communicate is ultimately an iterative process and Oracle, on Tuesday, unveiled its latest development within its Marketing Cloud suite: linking its data-management platform (DMP), which it inherited from its BlueKai acquisition in February, with the B2B marketing automation solution it acquired from Eloqua in 2012.

Certainly, Oracle’s ambitions for the BlueKai DMP and data exchange extend beyond marketing. BlueKai’s former CEO, Omar Tawakol, is now GM of Oracle Data Cloud, an initiative to provide data-driven services across Oracle’s other enterprise offerings.

For Oracle’s marketing software specifically, however, integrating the DMP with Eloqua essentially eases the data flow between the two, improving the Marketing Cloud’s out-of-the-box functionality. In the words of Oracle Marketing Cloud group VP John Stetic, the company removed “friction areas.”

“Previously, if you had data in Eloqua, you could export it out and ingest it into BlueKai, but it was much more cumbersome,” he said. Clients would have to put BlueKai tags into the Eloqua system for instance or embed JavaScript code.
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Who Can Challenge Facebook In The Deterministic New World Order?

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faacebookatlasNo one’s going to say that walled gardens don’t have their perks. Just look at Facebook and the new and improved Atlas.

Facebook’s long-awaited announcement of a cross-device user ID solution, made Monday as part of Advertising Week in New York City, invites advertisers into a putative Eden that gives them access to what could be 800 million cross-device logged in users. The solution comes with a new reporting tool, released in August, that tracks ad performance across devices.

But what advertisers don’t get is true data portability.

“Yes, companies like Facebook and Google have logged-in authenticated users and a lot of PII [personally identifiable information] which makes it easy for them to connect the dots across multiple devices and platforms, but that data still exists somewhat in a silo and there’s a limited reach,” Forrester research analyst Jennifer Wise told AdExchanger.

The latter point is particularly noteworthy, Wise observed, as scale “is going to be a problem for Facebook and the others, at least in the short term” – and that’s because there’s no standard cross-platform device ID.

“Google and Facebook obviously have a leg up on everybody because they’re bigger and they have IDs and everybody gets that,” said Lotame CEO Andy Monfried. “But what would be really good is if Facebook would give the IDs back to the marketers that spend with them.”

As Merkle CEO David Williams recently pointed out in a chat with AdExchanger, Facebook is in a strong position to close the cross-device loop, “but the underlying problem with addressable audience platforms like Facebook is that it might solve the issue on Facebook, but what happens outside the walled garden?”

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AOL’s Programmatic Upfront: Converting Convertro Into A DMP, Unveiling TV Targeting Tools

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ProgUpfrontIf AOL hadn’t already made it clear it would double down on digital video and end-to-end marketing tech at its Digital Newfront in May, Monday’s Programmatic Upfront at Advertising Week in New York left no doubt.

AOL’s latest development? The company has layered in and built a data-management platform (DMP) out of attribution vendor Convertro, which it purchased in May.

The DMP will complement ONE by AOL, an early-stage unified platform combining video from AOL’s Adap.tv acquisition, the AdLearn Open Platform and AOL Marketplace, which the company unveiled in March.

AOL will roll out the DMP first to existing programmatic customers and it is designed to provide a single view across a marketer’s entire inventory – both on AOL and off. If 2014 was the year of the rebrand from AOL Networks to AOL Platforms, 2015 will be about the DMP or the “marketing investment platform.”

“Customers are changing the way [media] decision processes are happening,” said AOL CEO Tim Armstrong to a small group of press and analysts before he presented to an intimate gathering of 150 agency employees and marketers at Spring Studios in SoHo. The crowd was substantially smaller than last year's inaugural programmatic upfront, which drew 700.

Marc Fonzetti, director of media strategy and investment for Verizon Wireless, revealed during the Programmatic Upfront that AOL’s ability to blend CRM, media and second-party data led to a new partnership. Verizon Wireless could also augment data in AOL’s ONE platform by hooking it up to Oracle-owned DMP BlueKai, an openness which spurred Verizon's selection.

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Yahoo Profited Handsomely From Alibaba. Now What?

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benkartzmanddt"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Ben Kartzman, CEO at Spongecell.

Yahoo’s share of Alibaba has been something of a life preserver for the company. With Alibaba’s recent IPO, Yahoo now has a giant piggy bank on its hands. Even after selling about $9.5 billion worth of Alibaba shares in the IPO, Yahoo’s remaining stake in the Chinese company, along with its stake in Yahoo Japan, is worth an estimated $45 billion – more than Yahoo’s entire market capitalization.

To put that into perspective, a company could buy Yahoo, sell its Asian assets and essentially walk away with the company’s core business for free. Clearly, investors don’t think Yahoo’s core business is working, so what’s next? How can it use its stock holdings to become an advertising powerhouse?

Key In On Video

Video is what brand advertisers want. While display remains a potent tool for mid- and lower-funnel campaigns, video is unparalleled for upper-funnel initiatives. Yahoo’s competitors have taken notice. Witness AOL’s purchase of video ad server Adap.tv for $405 million. That company has been a revenue boon, allowing AOL to capitalize on the shift of budgets from display, and increasingly from television, to online video advertising, especially programmatic online video advertising. Yahoo could go a similar route, but it would be more prudent for the company to focus on growing its audience, because with eyes come dollars.

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Programmatic Investments Rise; NBCUniversal Dabbles In Programmatic

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progpopHere's today's AdExchanger.com news round-up... Want it by email? Sign-up here.

Programmatic Pop

Interpublic Group's media investment arm, Magna Global, estimates media investments in programmatic will rise 50% this year to $21 billion. AdAge picks it up: "By 2018, only the most premium digital inventory, including sponsorship and full-episode video, among other non-standard formats, will still be transacted through traditional means." A good question: What’s included in the definition of programmatic? RTB only? Private auctions? Workflow automation? IPG beats the gong.

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Programmatic Video The Basis Of (Expanded) Publicis, AOL Deal

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PalsWhile AOL and Publicis Groupe have been programmatic cohorts since last July, the media giant and the holding company took their partnership to another level by adding video and linear TV to the mix Monday at Advertising Week.

The move will link Publicis' digital arm VivaKi with AOL Platforms, which will become Publicis' preferred partner for programmatic video.

Through the deal, all Publicis agencies will get access to premium reserved and non-reserved inventory through ONE by AOL, as well as the tools to build private marketplaces.

Toby Gabriner, head of Adap.tv and ONE by AOL, told AdExchanger that AOL forged 50 new private marketplaces in the first half of the year alone. With digital video ad spend expected to skyrocket from $7.77 billion in 2015 to $12.71 billion in 2018, agencies are stepping up their investment in the format.

Although it's unclear how Publicis clients using other video platforms for their buys will be affected by the partnership, AOL touts its openness, claiming brands and agencies can use either their own tech or AOL's. More details should emerge when AOL stages tonight its Programmatic Upfront, what's rapidly becoming a fall tradition.

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Is It Time To Kill The Banner Ad?

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marcusprattupdated"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Marcus Pratt, vice president of insights and technology at Mediasmith.

Measured in digital years, the banner ad may be approaching old age. Is it time for retirement?

Wired placed the first banner ad in October 1994, so the banner is now approaching its 20th birthday. A lot has changed since then when the web was still a novelty, Internet penetration was low and those who could get online were lucky to do so at a blazing 56k, tying up a phone line for the privilege. Now the US Internet population approaches 90%, high-speed access can be found in any Starbucks and banner ads are routinely served at 30,000 feet.

Despite the massive growth of digital media, the banner ad itself still looks strikingly similar to the early versions of the '90s. To be fair, animations have (mostly) evolved past the Geocities era, a host of rich media executions provide multiple engagement options and banners sometimes expand beyond their borders.

But RTB media, which represents the fastest growth within display, consists almost entirely of what the industry has deemed “standard banners.” These standard banners can be static or animated, and are typically Flash or image files. At their core these standard banners bear striking similarity to their ancestors: a rectangular shape separated from the page “content” while bearing little relevance to the rest of the page.

The banner has grown up since ’94, but it may not have evolved enough to stay relevant on today’s web. Over the years, many have questioned whether the death of the banner ad was imminent, yet the banner has continued to flourish. The banner ad faces several key threats in 2014.

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Google To Roll Out New Mobile Ad Formats And Conversation Tools

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googleadsGoogle’s betting the industry needs a hand making ads workable across devices.

On Monday, it unwrapped two mobile display formats and a handful of desktop tools that aim to help advertisers optimize ads across multiple screens. Google will release the tools piecemeal over the coming months across the Google Display Network, the AdMob Network and DoubleClick.

Shrinking desktop display ads created sub-par user experiences and many units couldn’t run on mobile devices, wrote Jonathan Alferness, Google’s director of product management for Mobile Display Ads, in a blog post about the announcements.

While many ad tech and companies tout mobile-first creation strategies, Google wants to account for both mobile and desktop environments.

Its first format, Mobile Lightbox Engagement Ads, builds HTML5 dynamic display ads from existing brand assets. These spots resize automatically depending on screen size and advertisers will only pay for the ads when users engage.  Read the rest of this entry »


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Qubit Raises $26M From Accel Partners For ‘Predictive Data’ In Ecommerce

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GrahamCookeLondon-based ecommerce personalization tech company Qubit has raised $26 million in a Series B round led by new investor Accel Partners.

Existing investors Balderton Capital and Salesforce Ventures also participated in the round, which brings Qubit’s total financing to $36.5 million to date.

“Our new funding is for continued investment in R&D, and we have some very exciting developments in predictive data and empowering marketers to take control of their optimization strategies,” company CEO Graham Cooke said. “We’re also continuing to scale up our sales, professional service and marketing teams in the US and Europe… (and) the plan is to IPO when the business is ready.”

Qubit is among a handful of tag management systems (TMS) like Ensighten, Signal (formerly BrightTag) and Tealium, whose technologies track and codify data signals and, oftentimes, run advanced analytics on top of that traffic flow. In Qubit’s case, tag management is a part of a broader portfolio of audience segmentation and online personalization apps developed by a bunch of Google alums.

Qubit helps retail customers ranging from Staples to Jimmy Choo create what company Cooke calls “Visitor Clouds” of first-party customer data.

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