LucidMedia CEO Sravanapudi On Launch Of Self-Service For Agencies And Advertisers

LucidMediaLucidMedia announced a new self-service version of its demand-side platform targeting agencies and advertisers. Read the release.

Ajay Sravanapudi, CEO and Founder of LucidMedia, discussed the different facets of the announcement.

Why do you think agencies want self-service? Aren’t they overwhelmed as it is and need full or at least “fuller” service?

Yes, agency media planners and media buyers are universally stretched to the limit and are in dire need of tools to make them more efficient, more productive, more profitable, with reduced complexity. We are seeing that agencies tend to be at different stages in the process of becoming a buy-side network. While the majority are very advanced, some still need full control and others are just beginning so they need a fully managed service solution. Our new self-service solution is really targeted at the large, advanced organizations although any group can work with it from the outset. Our self-service offering includes hands-on training and additional managed service to make the transition as smooth as possible no matter where they are in the process. Our ad operations team works directly with the agency to show their team how the self-service platform works and which lever effects what outcome. All of our initial traction has been around the managed service approach and now, with self-service launched, we are positioned to service any agency at any stage in the transition.

Please discuss “Real-time Assessment (RTA)”. What are its limitations? Could a brand advertiser accurately assess RTB inventory 1, 3, or even 6 months out for a particular audience?

Real-time assessment, or RTA, is a term we have coined for what our real-time bidding (RTB) and decisioning engine do working in tandem. We built an intelligent bidder and unified inventory delivery system on top of our impression-level contextual analysis. Together these technologies offer a new way to evaluate the quality and potential performance of an impression in real-time. Our page-level transparency reporting handles the verification chores so we have exposed new inventory availability controls that indicate impression quality and brand safety as well as provide predictive performance modeling. Our unique RTA capabilities give agencies insight to what media is available and exactly how every optimization change is likely to impact future performance. Since this is being done in real-time it is always a current snap-shot of availability that our performance predictors can project out into the near future. Some of the RTB inventory remains relatively static but a growing portion is highly fluid and needs to be monitored regularly for peak performance. It is not something you set once and forget about for three months.

Why is a server-side database important? What is it usually?

Local cookies are siloed and transitory so a server side cookie store allows us to correlate data across multiple data providers giving our audience targeting a persistent nature. We have always been known for our content targeting at the page-level with 14,000 contextual categories. But we have been building a great deal of advanced audience capabilities into our platform beyond the deep contextual. Since we own the full technology stack in the platform, we have been layering on a broad set of demographic capabilities over the 18 months that we’ve been running as a DSP. We are also responding to the industry’s clear requirement for universal frequency capping across sources. Instead of relying on multiple media outlets for our frequency capping, demographic targeting, and user retargeting, we built and populated our own database. A server-side database of cookie data let’s us accomplish all of these things while retaining the valuable intellectual property in-house. Basically it lets agencies manage all of the massive exchanges as a single media source that can be universally optimized.

In your estimation, what roles should be trained at the agency on your self-service system? How long will it take to train them?

An advanced agency that is ready to roll out a self-service DSP needs to have at least one ad operations person dedicated to the setup, trafficking, and optimization of their campaigns. One good ad operations manager using our DSP can handle dozens of campaigns with just a week or two of training and a successful pilot campaign under their belt. A large agency with more than a hundred large advertisers will likely need three to four operations people on board to manage a large number of brand and direct response campaigns in-house. While launching campaigns can be relatively simple using our proprietary ad server and automated optimization, you quickly learn that the secret to eking out every last drop of performance means regular monitoring and frequent fine grained optimization tweaks.

By John Ebbert

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