CEO Jakubowski Discusses New Aggregate Knowledge Audience Management Platform

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Aggregate KnowledgeAggregate Knowledge (AK), a data management and ad optimization platform (DMP) company, announced its "AK Discovery Platform, which provides the foundational audience management infrastructure to collect data, configure audiences, and track campaigns across any connected digital channel." Read the release.

Aggregate Knowledge CEO David Jakubowski discussed the announcement and the company's strategy.

AdExchanger.com: What problem is Aggregate Knowledge looking to solve today?

DJ: Here’s the reality of the situation. There has been very little innovation and accountability in display technology for advertisers. The current toolsets are built on an outdated model in favor of the inventory provider. We’re out to fundamentally change that by solving 2 key problems:

First, create a single view of an advertiser’s campaign that clearly illustrates what aspects of the campaign are driving performance. While this may sound simple, it’s an incredibly complex process of amalgamating disjointed data. The reality today is that media buyers spend most of their time figuring out how to get the information into something digestible, much less on what actually happened, let alone make it better. To make matters worse, we’ve now split display again adding bidded inventory as yet another disconnected piece.  It’s not separate. The users don’t see them as disconnected, so why do we?

The only way to fix this problem is to eliminate the tech goo around bringing it together.  We’ve solved that problem. Lets empower media folks to get out of IT hell, get back to strategy and marketing, and maybe even get home before midnight.

Second, we’re out to fix the “trust” problem. Today, the media folks must rely on measurement and reporting tools from the sell side who are incented to keep rates up and often give the view that “their own inventory works best.” Player-Umpires litter the ecosystem by providing a distorted view of campaign level reality. It’s no wonder attribution has been a mystery for so long, the folks building the tools have the most to lose by revealing the truth.

Because we’re a technology company, we’re not masking our inventory, protecting an antiquated click model, arbitraging media, hiding an ad network, or selling data anywhere.  We’re tools. Period. End of story.

Why is the timing right for the AK Discovery Platform?  And, how will AK differentiate with the platform? - after all, it feels like many in the space today are doing data management and ad optimization in the space.

Frankly, it’s overdue. The whole methodology on which display is measured is incoherent.  Everyone knows there are good things and bad, but no one can figure out which is which.  Display should not be surprised that Search has dominated for so long.

Look, we wouldn’t be having this conversation if there weren’t something fundamentally wrong with current solutions. The industry has taken people that are trained in marketing, customer acquisition, strategy, and forced them to learn how to normalize ad server logs!? Who’s idea was that?  No wonder we’ve been working off of the same models for 10 years. Who has time to think about it? …And we want TV dollars to shift?

Having said that, processing very granular, fragmented data at scale is incredibly difficult.  In order to do it right, you are increasing the amount of processing necessary on each impression served by an order of magnitude. The distributed data-warehouse, ad serving, and decisioning processes in the ecosystem today have a math limitation that prevents this.  Advertisers are in for a rude awakening when they try to apply current ad network and vendor solutions to 100,000’s of requests a second that an inventory provider like Google can offer. People are claiming to offer data management, etc., but they’ve just repackaged the same old systems with prettier UIs. What we’re doing is a fundamental change to the way you look at a campaign.

Further, most of these solutions are coming from those motivated to keep rates high. They make money on spread, they don’t want the advertiser to see the inefficiency and cost savings.  When was the last time your technology solution drove price down?

Until now, it has simply been easier to just “let someone else do it.” Retargeting is the classic example. It’s about as simple a concept as there is and about the easiest thing on the Internet to execute. Retargeting has been renamed and repackaged numerous times but at the end of the day, it’s the same simple process. So why would any advertiser or agency let someone arbitrage them? Because as the market stands today, the tools available to advertisers are inadequate to do it any better.

What is the target market for the new platform? And can you drill into a use case?

There are two major use cases:

  1. I spend a lot of money online and I’m really not sure what I’m getting or if it’s making a difference, I just know I spend a lot of time justifying it.
  2. I manage several accounts and I have great ideas about what I should be doing. However, I spend 99% of my effort just figuring out what  happened last month, much less doing anything that I actually believe would be good for the client.

Break it down….

AK Discovery Platform is a simple JavaScript implementation that becomes tracking code in the media buy. It’s simple to set up and is already part of the everyday process; cut and paste for the average trafficker.

Once AK Discovery is in place, a typical day looks like this: I’m a media planner, I sit down in the morning with my coffee, pull my Campaign Summary Report where the AK Discovery Platform has pulled together and indexed all of my campaigns. In about 2 minutes, I know exactly which campaigns are doing well, and which campaigns are trending downwards.  From there, I likely focus on the poorly performing campaigns. I pull my Campaign Details Report and I begin to investigate the campaign interplay between my inventory sources, audience performance, and creatives.  I figure out answers to questions like:

  • Which attribute is performing best?
  • I targeted “young moms.” Was it the fact that they were “female” or the fact that they “had children” that was more indicative of performance?
  • How much did I pay for that? Did I see the same user on Yahoo as I saw on MSN as I retargeted in the exchange?
  • I negotiated a 3x24 frequency cap, is that what I received?
  • Who was my most efficient reach vehicle? How did their data stack up vs. my own?
  • If I cut this chunk of my campaign that doesn’t seem to work, how many sales will I lose?

Each one of these questions can be answered every day for every campaign in literally minutes. I then spend the rest of my morning making optimizations to improve my campaign performance. I’m now empowered with the information to affect performance and strategy every day instead of at the end of the campaign when it’s too late.

I finish optimizing or cost cutting, then go to lunch.

After lunch, I have to prepare for a meeting with my boss or my client to show them what’s going on. Back into the AK Discovery Platform. I click the data point I want, choose my graph, it’s already formatted, I copy and paste a half dozen charts and graphs into a PPT deck, and I’m ready.

In the afternoon, I’ll set up tests to see how I get those people who abandoned their cart to come back and actually buy. Imagine that, its mid-afternoon and I’m working on making more sales for my company. When was the last time you had that luxury?

What is the pricing model for the AK Discovery Platform?  Is it available today?

Yes.  We offer two options.

One. CPM if the client wants to tie it to their media budget; or two, a monthly licensing fee if they want it as part of their own infrastructure.

By John Ebbert

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