X+1 CEO Nardone On Update To Company’s Demand-Side Platform Technology

X+1 logoX+1 announced that it has added new features to its demand-side platform. Read the release.

X+1 CEO John Nardone discussed the recent updates to his company’s platform and demand-side platforms, in general.

Why is a universal tag a step forward? Can you give some background as to what marketers have been used to?

JN: Our universal “Smart Tag System” is a big advance for several reasons:

1)    It simplifies client implementation and reduces the need for IT staff time.

First, there is only one tag which works for both site optimization and for media.  Then, the exact same tag is implemented on every single page, so that the client does not have to keep track of which tag is where.  This allows it to be automatically inserted into the header or footer of the web pages.  It also reduces test time.  Since it is always the same, IT staff can be comfortable with spot checking, rather than testing every single page the tag sits on.

2)    It reduces maintenance headaches.

Once in place, the tag does not have to be changed, even if page content changes.  The “meaning” of the tag can be changed through our UI without the intervention of IT.  And since it is a container, the marketer or agency can use it to place other tags within it – again, without IT support.

3)    The tags allow you to “pull” data through into the [x+1] platform for site or media targeting.

The tag can accept data parameters that are then available for targeting.  This might be the contents of an abandoned shopping cart, the dollar value of an order or the loyalty status of a customer.  The data is then available for targeting, either through rules or through the automated POE optimization engine.

4)    You can automate rules based on the tag.

Since the tags in the Smart Tagging System are linked to the [x+1] platform’s rules engine, you can write rules for site content or ad presentation based on the tags.  For instance, if a consumer is seen at both tag A and tag B, your rule might say, “Serve content X on the next page request.”  Or, if a consumer is seen at tag A, but does not convert (i.e., is not seen at tag C), then the rule might say “Remarket to that user in display, beginning three hours after last contact, with a frequency cap of two times per day, at a price of no more than $3 per thousand, for the next five days.”

The new tagging feature seems to be not only for advertisers who are optimizing their landing pages, but could be something for publishers. Any thoughts of expanding to the supply side?

Publishers are definitely interested in the [x+1] platform.   In fact we have several publishers as clients already, though for the most part they use our platform as marketers (yes, publishers market their property and have products to sell).  We have just begun to pilot more comprehensive solutions for publishers, and have had some early success. We expect to bring them to market as we build the options into the user interface.

Can you address when clients will be able to buy audience that includes other digital channels beyond display – specifically video and mobile?

Clients will be able to buy and target video through our platform very, very soon.  Look for an announcement in a few weeks.   Clients can already buy mobile ads on smart phones.

What trends are you seeing on the client side today that you weren’t seen six months to a year ago?

Clients are beginning to understand that they have new options and capabilities available to them.  They are absolutely fascinated by the opportunity to dynamically message to individuals across digital touchpoints.  But at the same time they are becoming aware that technology like ours exists, they are also becoming frustrated by three things:

  • Their IT departments are slowing them down (nothing new here)
  • Silos in their own organization make execution across touchpoints difficult
  • Agencies that treat audience targeting as a way to buy cheap media, rather than as a vehicle for comprehensive customer and prospect contact strategies.

We are just seeing the glimmers now, but I think you will begin to see big changes in online media planning in 2011.

Any thoughts about the recent “What is a DSP?” discussion?

From what I can tell, DSP either refers to one of the agency buying entities, like Cadreon or Vivaki, or it refers to an exchange buying technology.  I hate when we get described as a DSP; we never use the term.  While we are the largest exchange buyer, that is only a small part of what we do.  We refer to [x+1] as a multi-touch point audience investment platform.  Since POE quantifies the potential value of every interaction, it allows marketers to appropriately invest in audiences, not just in bid pricing on an exchange, but in what offer is delivered to each user.

By John Ebbert

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  1. I’m a fan of the people at [x+1], literally some of the smartest/nicest guys I’ve ever met in this business. However, it’s often difficult to say what [x+1] exactly does to others because of your wide range of products. That said, there must be a better definition for your services then, “…a multi-touch point audience investment platform.” That’s crazy talk.

    • We are describing ourselves by what we do, and given our multi-faceted business and solution set of tools, it is complex – if you have any suggestions, we’d love to hear it!