CEO Ellenthal Discusses His New Role At Peer39

peer39Andy Ellenthal discussed his recent appointment as CEO of Peer39, a semantic advertising technology company. Given past roles at DoubleClick, PointRoll and quadrantONE, what areas of your experience do you think will be particularly useful as you assume the CEO role at Peer39?

AE: Certainly each of my previous roles has been tremendous learning experiences.  Very little of what I’ve picked up along the way represents new thinking, but are outcome of the opportunity to see thousands of online campaigns.

  1. At DoubleClick, I gained a deep understanding of the inner workings of ad delivery, the “plumbing” of the advertising ecosystem if you will.  I also learned that to win nothing beats the overarching importance of scale.
  2. My key takeaways at PointRoll were that the best thought-out and executed media plans can still fail with lousy creative.  Always remember why the user is on a Web page in the first place.
  3. quadrantONE reinforced that quality content and the right audience dramatically improve the opportunity for engagement and the overall effectiveness of online advertising.

So, to answer your question, my experience leads me to believe Peer39 will succeed with massive distribution, when we marry our solutions with great creative in safe environments and allow advertisers the opportunity to target their ads within content the consumer finds meaningful.

What do you see semantic technology offering the advertiser? With audience buying the targeting movement du jour, can semantic play an important role?

I don’t think it is a question of “if” or “can” semantics play a role, semantics already do and must continue to be a critical part of the equation.  At the most elementary level, most media buys I see take page meaning into consideration.  Entertainment ads in entertainment sections, B2B ads on business sites, car ads on car sites.  You get the point.  We tend to refer to it as placement today.  It is manual and manual doesn’t scale.  Peer39 offers the ability to read, understand, and classify thousands of pages per second.  The end result are ads targeted to the right pages on the fly.

Audience alone is not enough.  Eyeballs are not enough.  To drive response or engagement you need to understand what is on the page.

Can you see semantic technology helping with ad creative? If so, how?

Great creative, in my opinion, is still as much art as science.  Bad ads are bad ads period…in print, radio, TV and online.  They will fail to get consumer’s attention.  Good ads have a higher likelihood of being noticed if the placement is correct.

But let’s take it a step further.  Much the same way a retailer can use geographic data to display the right products in ads dynamically, (snowblowers don’t sell well in South Texas regardless of the season), semantics can be used as an indicator of interest to drive advertising content within the display ad.  We’re seeing the beginnings of dynamic ad generation and are looking forward to better targeting these creatives in relevant placements.

By John Ebbert

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