George John is CEO of Rocket Fuel, an online advertising technology company.
As part of its "State of..." series of articles with industry executives, AdExchanger.com spoke with John to discuss his company, his views on the space, and the state of Rocket Fuel today.
Click below or scroll down for more:
- RTB Impact On Display
- The Ad Network & Company Positioning
- Revenue, Momentum
- Trends Ahead for 2012 and 2013
- Mobile, Social And Rocket Fuel
GJ: It’s much better than I thought. If you consider the layers of sophistication around leveraging exchanges and liquid inventory, where "1.0" was the original Right Media Exchange, and you'd log in and define your targeting rules and your bids, then "2.0" was real-time bidding - but it doesn't add anything to that style of buying.
And, if you thought in terms of rules like "I love this BlueKai segment so I want to pay $3.50 CPM whenever I see someone who seems like they want to buy a luxury car," then real-time bidding doesn't add a ton. It lets you build your own computers and manage your own global frequency counts across multiple exchanges and all that. But if you just think in terms of rules, it adds a bit of efficiency, but not that much.
What we've done is plugged into the major [RTB] sources for inventory that give us 10 billion impressions a day and that we evaluate through four data centers across the US and Europe - and we're building out in Asia. Every impression gets fully scored by AI (artificial intelligence) models that predict response. I know everybody says this.
For a while, everybody thought that it's all about just aggregating as much supply of ad space as you can. And then, it was all about getting as much data as you could. When I was at Yahoo, we suffered from this disease of thinking that more is better. In fact, it was the mission statement of the Yahoo data group back in 2005 to 2008, to build the world's largest and most actionable database.
[Former Yahoo! CEO] Terry Semel once asked a good question of the leader of that group. "What's so great about it being big? Most actionable I can understand, but does it have to be big?" We feel that RTB is a critical enabler because only by looking at every impression one at a time can you have an A.I. model saying, "This one gives me the chance of response at 1.03797 percent so I'm going to bid $20 CPM on this one impression."
Before, if you had intelligence, there was no way to express it in the way ad servers and pre‑RTB exchanges worked.