“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 Eric Picard, chief product officer at Yieldmo.
There’s a revolution happening in digital media, primarily driven by a new focus on privacy. Major players at the core of the digital ecosystem have decided that privacy is a core value, and have made fundamental changes that block many standard practices. This change is going to upend the industry as we know it, and offers huge opportunities for anyone in the right position to take advantage of it.
Let’s work our way from where we’ve been to where we are, and then talk about where we’re going.
Wave 1: In the beginning (1996-1998)
The first wave of ad tech was about establishing scalable ways to operate the digital advertising business. Someone had to figure out how to sell ads in advance of the campaign running, how to implement and operate campaigns, how to track delivery and how to bill customers. We saw the rise of ad servers, the creation of sales and ad operations tools and workflows and the invention of buy-side ad serving. And we saw significant growth.
Wave 2: Formats, Targeting, Tracking, Attribution 1.0 (1999-2001)
After the basics got sorted, we saw innovative work in rich media ad formats (things like interactive ads, video, audio, visual effects, over-the-page, expanding ads, etc.). My first startup, Bluestreak, developed many of these formats. Across the industry we saw significant innovation in targeting of ads. (User behavior was tracked and turned into audience segments, which could be sold.) And a new attribution discipline emerged to measure what happened after a person saw or clicked on an ad.
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