Optimizing The Content Algo; Criteo Rumor Mill

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Optimizing The Content Algo

In The NY Times, David Carr recounts how movie streaming/DVD service Netflix used insights on its own “big data” to create a successful new television (wait, streaming) series called “House of Cards” with director David Fincher and actor Kevin Spacey.  Carr writes, “Netflix, which has 27 million subscribers in the nation and 33 million worldwide, ran the numbers. It already knew that a healthy share had streamed the work of Mr. Fincher, the director of ‘The Social Network,’ from beginning to end. And films featuring Mr. Spacey had always done well, as had the British version of ‘House of Cards.’ With those three circles of interest, Netflix was able to find a Venn diagram intersection that suggested that buying the series would be a very good bet on original programming.”  Addressing audience for content.

Exec Rumor Mill

The Business Insider reports that former Yahoo Rich Riley (LinkedIn), who had been with Yahoo for 13 years until he left last June, may become the next CEO of display ad retargeting firm Criteo.  BI’s Owen Thomas sees a tie-in to a Criteo IPO, “By hiring Riley, Criteo would simultaneously make itself more valuable to public investors, with a reassuringly experienced and well-connected CEO – and to Yahoo as an acquisition.”  Read it.  Yahoo buys Criteo?  Seems unlikely.  Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer does not appear to be in ad tech acquisition mode.

Mobile Display Takeover

The display ad world expands into mobile apps and Yelp is climbing aboard. Ad Age’s Josh McDermott says it’s all about “direct” as Yelp will be selling category takeovers: “InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Taco Bell will be exclusive advertisers within their given Yelp category, meaning all ads served while Yelpers make travel-related searches will be from IHG while Taco Bell will serve all ads in the restaurant category.” Read it.  Editor’s note: It will be interesting to see if Yext can get in this mix.  With its unified delivery of merchant information across Yelp and Yelp-like sites, its pipes could enable unique, retargetable addressability.  Yext CEO Howard Lerman and Chairman Mike Walrath (former Right Media CEO) should be able to figure that one out.

Real-Time Creative

Spongecell CEO Ben Kartzman pulls one right from his company’s playbook in a think piece on MediaPost.  He identifies the spawn of real-time bidding (RTB) as RTC – or real-time creative. Kartzman writes, “RTC draws upon the same Big Data technology as RTB – cookie matching, tracking tags, IP addresses and more – to deliver images and words appropriate for a particular viewer. It is relevant content tailored instantaneously and delivered seamlessly – a marketer’s dream.” Live the dream.

Around The Middleman

Gannett’s Chief Digital Officer tells Digiday that he believes he has a solution to “middlemen” (i.e. ad networks, exchanges, etc.) who have eaten away at his newspaper sites’ margins. Digiday’s Alex Kantrowitz explains, “Instead of fitting as many ads as possible around an article, it decided to place a single ad unit next to each of the site’s articles and package the content and ad together in a pop-out lightbox.” Scarcity, integration… Read more.


WPP Ch-Ching! Agency holding company WPP Group reported better-than-expected full-year results on Friday.  Read the financial deets.   Nevertheless, Guardian reports that Sir Martin Sorrell admitted, “’We got there ugly’ and warned that the global economy may only be half way through a ‘lost decade’ following the financial crash.” Read the Guardian.

Cutting The PII

Ad network industry org Network Advertising Initiative has come out with new guidelines for its members according to an NAI blog post.  MediaPost’s Wendy Davis deciphers the changes saying that clear definitions around PII (personally identifiable information) and non-PII and its use in digital ads are at the core.   Read more.

‘I’m Moving’

On Friday, AppNexus CTO Mike Nolet announced that he’s loading up the truck and moving to London.  From the AppNexus blog, he offers some explanation including that both he and his wife are of European descent and clarifies that his role will not change with the company.  Nolet adds, “Europe is a hugely strategic market for us, and broad, international expansion is one of our core priorities.” Read it.  Whatever the reasons, AppNexus will be pouring fuel on the European RTB fires where AppNexus partners abound.

Adding RTB

In Europe, performance marketing agency LeadMedia announced last week that it has acquired ad tech company Gamned to help with efforts across real-time bidded ad inventory.  All of the 29-person, Paris-based Gamned team will join LeadMedia’s 150 employees. Read the release (PDF).  LeadMedia had €25.6 million in net revenues in 2012 (US$ 33 million), an increase of 34% compared to 2011, according to a company spokesperson.

SaaSy Funding

Following Eloqua’s acquisition by Oracle in 2012, marketing automation firm Marketo (AdExchanger Q&A 2012) appears to be headed for an initial public offering – announcing as much on the Marketo blog.  B2B marketing tools are hot.  Brian Jacobs of Emergence Capital Partners discusses the size of the offering with SiliconBeat, “We’re happy for our friends at Marketo. We will see several other large SaaS IPOs this year, so I think it’s too early to predict which will be the biggest.”   Read more.

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