RSS FeedArchive for the ‘Platforms’ Category


Facebook Reorgs PMD Program, Adding Agencies And More Partner Categories

bye-bye-badgesFacebook is unraveling its preferred marketing developer (PMD) program, its platform for organizing and referring key partners to prospective advertisers. In its place will be a new classification system, called simply Facebook Marketing Partners (FMP, for the acronym-addicted), with no badges but with a list of nine "specialties" – including ad tech, content marketing, and data providers – designed to highlight specific competencies.

Among the most significant changes: Facebook will dump its strategic marketing partner (sPMD) designation, at one time a recognition of all-around mastery of Facebook's toolset for marketers, as well as an unspoken "pat on the back" for vendors driving significant spend to the Facebook platform.

But over time the sPMD badge became an "opaque signal," in Facebook's words. It came to signify that a partner is "good," without answering "what at?" Companies currently basking in the sPMD spotlight will be relocated to other specialty buckets.

"We felt like the 'S' had served a tremendous purpose for a while," said Blake Chandlee, VP global partnerships at Facebook. "The message was, these people are good at what they do. We could add a whole bunch of people, but then it destroys the original intent, which was to help clients understand who can help them with specific needs."

In the end, getting to "specific needs" required a system of nine specializations. They are: (more…)


Startup Lytics Raises $7M, Wants To Help You Build Your Own Marketing Cloud

james mcdermott lyticsThe value of a marketing cloud, as Forrester Research pointed out Tuesday, is in the level of its integration.

But Portland, Oregon-based startup Lytics takes the position that whatever level of integration the big-name marketing suites offer simply isn’t enough. The company, which started in 2012, made its “marketing activation platform” generally available on Wednesday and revealed $7 million in Series A funding led by Comcast Ventures, bringing its total to $9.2 million.

Lytics provides the glue that lets marketers link their disparate technologies. Its value proposition is that it enables companies to build their own clouds out of various point solutions, merging data from systems likes email, social media, web and point-of-sale quickly and easily.

It accomplishes this heady task via 80 connectors that link to parts of the marketing ecosystem, as well as through API connections, said company CEO and co-founder James McDermott.

“Fundamentally our platform was designed to integrate with different marketing execution tools,” he said.

Lytics’ self-serve platform consists of data-management tools (it’s not a DMP, McDermott insisted) and has a layer of analytics designed to make predictions, such as which customers might churn, and suggestions, such as how and where a company should message those churn risks.

Lytics has 15 beta clients including Intel, Condé Nast and DirecTV.
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Forrester: Adobe Marketing Cloud Makes Big Waves, SAS Is 'Best-Kept Secret'

cory munchbach forresterForrester Research crowned Adobe Marketing Cloud in its first-ever ranking of enterprise marketing software suites – informally called “marketing clouds.”

The report, compiled by analysts Cory Munchbach and Rusty Warner and released Tuesday, encompassed eight vendors (Adobe, Salesforce.com, SAS, Teradata, IBM, Oracle, SAP and Marketo). Munchbach and Warner interviewed three clients from each vendor and tallied 53 client responses to an online survey. The solutions were evaluated in Q2 2014.

Adobe’s top positioning had to do with the strength of its core offering and its product strategy. Salesforce.com was slightly weaker in its offering and strategy, but was still in the top “leader” category, according to Forrester.

IBM and, surprisingly, Oracle and SAS Institute were solidly in the second-tier “strong performers” category.

Independent marketing automation provider Marketo and data analytics company Teradata, which has what it calls an “integrated marketing cloud,” hovered between “strong performers” and the third-tier “contenders” categories.

And SAP, which has the hybris commerce suite and struck a deal in March to resell Adobe Marketing Cloud, had a better product offering than Marketo, but its strategy placed it solidly in the “contender” category.
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Fraud-day With Sizmek: Fraud Has A Bit Of A Nomenclature Problem

fraudThis is the 12th and final installment in a series of interviews with vendors combating the problem of ad fraud. Read previous interviews with comScore, DoubleVerify, Dstillery, Forensiq, Integral Ad Science, Moat, PubChecker, RTB Asia, Telemetry, Videology and White Ops.

Wasted delivery is not necessarily fraud – but all fraud is wasted delivery.

In other words: While the "why" – be it attributable to botnets, unscrupulous publisher, fat fingers or negligence – is most certainly relevant, what really matters is whether or not an impression hits home.

Alex White, VP of product strategy at ad tech company Sizmek, likes to put everything in a single bucket.

“It’s not a healthy conversation to talk about fraud separately from something like poor placement,” White said. “From an advertiser’s perspective, they want the ad they bought to be shown to a prospect. If that ad shows up below the fold, if it’s a video that has no sound or if it's stuffed into a one-by-one pixel – it’s all just wasted delivery.”

And wasted delivery will always exist – as will fraud, White said. That’s not a pessimistic viewpoint, just a realistic one. Fraud, he said, is an area that needs a dose of realism.

“As long as money can be extracted by perpetrating fraud, someone is going to figure out how to do that,” White said. “That’s why it’s simply a matter of educating the constituents within the ecosystem as to what fraud is and how best to deal with whatever flare-up is flaring up at the time.”

White sat down with AdExchanger.

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Sticky Puts The ‘Eye’ In DIY With New Automated Eye-Tracking Tool

StickyWhen it comes to online viewability, there should be more than meets the eye.

That’s the philosophy at Sticky, an eye-tracking tech company launching a DIY version of its online research product, Autogazer, on Thursday. The tool is designed to enable users – primarily agencies, brands and publishers – to run unlimited tracking studies for a set monthly fee.

A single eye-tracking study can often cost in the neighborhood of $50,000 or more, but the Autogazer price tag comes in at roughly one-twentieth that cost.

It would be easy to confuse Sticky for a viewability solution provider, but it’s not exactly that, said Sticky President and CRO Ephraim “Jeff” Bander.

“Viewability is great, it’s a good step, but it’s only a step,” Bander told AdExchanger.

That’s because there’s a nuance between the potential to be seen and actually being seen – and as the IAB standards stand right now, there isn’t much room for nuance between the two. If 50% of an ad’s pixels are in view for one second, that’s counted as a viewable ad. Up that to two seconds and the same goes for in-browser video.

But considering that more than half of ads, about 54%, are not considered viewable, according to data from comScore, that leaves a somewhat diminished landscape from the get-go.

Sticky aims to move beyond viewability with what it’s calling the “SEEN” metric, a data point that calibrates which ads consumers are focusing on and paying attention to with the actual eyeballs in their actual heads. (Speaking of actual eyeballs, the interactive nature of the Sticky tech means that its clients never run into bot-related issues while running test campaigns.)

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Dreamforce: What Salesforce.com’s Analytic Bomb Drop Means For The Marketing Cloud

WhatsWaveSalesforce.com revealed Wave Analytics Cloud this week at its Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, the latest patch – alongside marketing, sales and customer service – in the tech giant’s quilt.

Speaking to more than 100,000 registrants (some were virtual), Salesforce.com’s chairman and CEO Marc Benioff called the analytics offering “revolutionary” and swiped at analytics competitors.

“When you look at companies like SAP and Oracle with data products of the past… no wonder they’re turning over their CEOs,” he said onstage. This was an obvious shot at Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison’s recent transition out as CEO of the rival CRM company.

Opinions on Wave were mixed. While the offering fills an important gap in Salesforce.com's portfolio, Ray Wang, chairman of Constellation Research, said “Let’s get some definitions right – Analytics Wave is not analytics nor is it big data. It’s data visualization and reporting.” Wang’s opinion underscores a common Salesforce.com criticism: That its more robust capabilities come from partnerships via its AppExchange program.

But this is also, arguably, Salesforce.com’s strong point. It’s a lightweight platform powering thousands of third-party APIs with consumer-like design elements.

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Under Pressure From Buyers, Fraud-Plagued AppNexus Girds For Battle

appnexus-fraudThe digital ad sector has made some tangible progress in the war on fraudulent ad impressions, thanks to new detection methods and improved hygiene from many sell-side platforms. But one of the biggest exchanges has added rather than subtracted invalid impressions, and buyers are complaining.

AppNexus, the industry's uber-exchange and one of the most promising ad tech platforms globally, has in recent months come to be seen as a major point of entry for invalid impressions in the programmatic space.

Multiple sources on the demand-side tell the same story: AppNexus has over the past year or so allowed legions of new supply partners, many of a long-tail nature, into its ecosystem. Many are legitimate publishers. Others are bot-fueled "ghost sites," ad farms and other sellers of a dubious nature.

Today, as much as 30 to 40% of the total impression volume flowing through AppNexus is impossible to verify. Not necessarily fraud, but not not-fraud.

And, while smart buyers are able to avoid much of this stuff by vetting supply sources, working with anti-fraud vendors, and applying best practices, other less sophisticated buyers are still snatching up those ads like so many knock-off Louis Vuitton handbags.

O'Kelley Acknowledges 'Trust' Issue

The good news for aggravated buyers is that AppNexus is aware it has a problem, and is working to solve it.

In an interview with AdExchanger, CEO Brian O'Kelley acknowledged the existence of "trust gaps" between buyers and sellers on his company's exchange. And he outlined plans to overcome the issue, including a new certification program that will essentially act as an AppNexus stamp of approval for verified ad space.

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Q&A: AppNexus CEO Brian O'Kelley On Fraud And Certifying Digital Ad Supply

BrianOKelleyAn AdExchanger story published Wednesday describes the persistent problem of fraudulent ad impressions in the AppNexus inventory supply, and the company's plans to fix it.

Its plan of attack includes a new certified supply program that will clearly label inventory AppNexus has deemed "valid." Buyers can choose to purchase only the good stuff, while ignoring the uncertified inventory that could be harboring botnet-generated, toolbar-injected, nonviewable or otherwise undesirable ad impressions.

Much of the material in the story came from a direct interview with AppNexus CEO Brian O'Kelley. Since the interview has substantial material that didn't make the story, we're publishing it in full here.

AdExchanger: How do you respond to concerns about fraudulent impressions trafficked through the AppNexus platform?

BRIAN O'KELLEY: AppNexus is a different kind of platform than almost anything else in the industry in that we are usually indirect in how we access supply. We have plugged into every supply source on the planet: every SSP, every exchange, every ad network, everything else. There's a very broad range of traffic we see. Some of it is fantastic, it's the best inventory in the world. Some of it is mediocre at best.

A key thing we talk about is "valid" vs. "invalid," not good vs bad. Valid traffic to us is, to the best of our knowledge, a human being on a web page or app. It looks to us like some source of inventory that is not hateful, pornographic, that is not a site supporting piracy. We have a whole list of criteria. The vast majority of our work goes into trying to delineate between invalid and valid. It's been in our policies for a long time. There's a ton of effort in the line between invalid and valid.

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DMP Lotame Crosses Cross-Device Off Its Road Map With A New Tool

LotameCrossDeviceCross-device is hot (hey there, Atlas), and now data-management platform Lotame has tossed its hat into the ring with a feature built from AdMobius’ technology, a company Lotame acquired earlier this year.

The feature, announced Wednesday, uses a combination of deterministic and probabilistic algorithms to create device matches and cross-screen audience segments within Lotame’s DMP.

Targeted Victory, a digital agency focused specifically on political candidates and causes, was one of Lotame’s beta partners, of which there were several, said Lotame CEO Andy Monfried. The tool, which Monfried positions as an alternative to the big boys (Facebook, eBay and, ostensibly, Google) is now generally available.

Lotame’s cross-device offering is baked directly into its existing DMP functionality, Monfried told AdExchanger, thereby giving clients the ability to simultaneously tap into other parts of the Lotame system, including its audience insights tool. The combination aims to enable clients to optimize campaigns by determining which device – be it PC, smartphone or tablet – is driving the best results.

A media-agnostic DMP like Lotame is well-positioned to play in the cross-device game because it gives users what Monfried called “complete ownership” over their audience segments, as well as flexibility to use whatever exchange, DSP or SSP they want for their execution. Once links are established between devices, users can transfer audience data gathered from cookies to mobile device IDs and vice versa – a feature that particularly appealed to Targeted Victory cofounder Michael Beach.

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CRM Startup Iris Mobile Builds Cross-Device Linkages Using Mobile Phone Numbers

marc-grabowski-irisChicago-based Iris Mobile provides a CRM platform that helps retail industry clients identify and personalize messaging to their customers across devices.

The system works partly by taking a phone number from a customer record, and then pinging the phone associated with that number to establish a device link. Iris then tries to deliver offers most likely to maximize lifetime value for that person.

This week the company hired Marc Grabowski as CEO. Grabowski was the COO at Nanigans and ran North America media sales at Yahoo, so he knows a thing or two about both SaaS and media sales models. He plans to bring that business knowledge to the project of ramping up the Iris platform in the marketing industry.

Iris employs less than 50 people and has an undisclosed number of customers. It has raised $3 million to date from a group of Chicago-based angels and VC firms, including Origin Ventures.

Grabowski spoke with AdExchanger.

AdExchanger: What problem does Iris solve?

MARC GRABOWSKI: Advertisers are going through the same path of acquiring data on mobile as they've done on desktop. The difference is all the experiences on desktop live within a single browser, so it's much easier to aggregate information on a user basis attached to a cookie. On mobile the experience is disparate. It's app, it's browser, it's messaging. Cookie-based targeting doesn't have the same impact. To aggregate all that experience together and have a single unique identifier, you have to go beyond the cookie. You have to go beyond the device identifier. You have to go to look at the only identifier that's really pure in mobile, and that's the cell phone number.

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