Michiel Mulders

@michielmulders

Ad tech industry under pressure — Where to find innovation?

“Advertising and marketing technology was created to make marketing easier and save people time and money. But the irony is that the technology is complicating the process and making companies spend a boatload of money on platform solutions.” — Daniel Kim, marketing Guru

Technology is complicating the process and making companies spend a boatload of money.

Advertising agencies are under pressure to change archaic and inefficient elements of their business models. Today, many campaigns are still overly complex in an era when campaigns and ads need to be designed and refined quickly across lots of platforms.

Advertising agencies under pressure

Key problems

  • Overcomplicated tools with bad UI
  • Too many similar platforms with insufficient integrations
  • Too much data
  • GDPR regulations
  • Ad blockers and ad fraud

“90% of marketing software is not doing a good job on UI,” said Jason Keath, CEO of Social Fresh, during The BeanCast Marketing Podcast.

Jason is totally right. The user interface for most of these ad tech platforms is too difficult. It’s hard to learn what the full capabilities of the technology should be. The excessive offer of marketing platforms makes it hard for companies and marketing agencies to effectively navigate the space. Basically, it’s just all trial and error — there is no such thing as a silver bullet.

In addition, there aren’t many platforms that allow companies to integrate their own data streams or tools to be used inside the platform. This is quite strange as the advertising industry is becoming more and more data-driven. Data analysis is becoming notably important as it’s one of the top skills sought for on website upwork.com. A data scientists will have experience working with statistical programming languages like R, Python, Scala, plus a background in databases. Added to that, he needs some proficiency in the fields of statistics, machine learning, linear algebra, data visualization, and software engineering — quite a lot right?

On the other side of the fence, the multitude of data streams leads to misinterpretation of the data. A tsunami of data leads to many powerful business insights, it’s hard to decide which wave to ride, which insight will give the best results.

GDPR and impact on ad tech industry

The ad tech industry is well-known, in a negative sense, for collecting users data in all sorts of ways. If a company does not comply with GDPR regulations, they will receive high fines.

It is not an easy task for a user to aggregate all the data created online and this is where the GDPR regulation helps them. The data portability clause says that every user has the right to get a digital copy of his or her personal data and can transfer that file anywhere he or she chooses to. However, this clause has a drastic impact on many marketing agencies as it’s not an easy task for them to provide a full copy of all the digital data they own.

In search of innovation

It’s not an easy task to innovate an archaic landscape and provide the needed transparency. Here are a few things to remember:

  • Virtual Reality is hot, soon we will see agencies creating VR advertisements.
  • Tapad is a project that helps marketers to follow an individual from device to device by using complex algorithms to create a “probabilistic device graph”.
  • MediaMath enables a marketing team to buy thousands of ads across half a dozen ad exchanges daily, automating the buy side of ad tech.

Blockchain technology disrupting the ad tech industry

Blockchain offers the needed transparency and gives back control to the user of his personal data. Here are some interesting projects that can help the ad tech industry.

1. Single-page embed layer for ads — Vidy

Vidy has invented the first single-page invisible embed layer for video, run on the Ethereum blockchain. Tiny hyper-relevant videos hidden behind the text of any page on the web. But how does it work?

Vidy constructs a ledger system that measures how long a user watches an ad thanks to holding tracking technology on its embed layer. Vidy then rewards publishers and users accordingly for holding down on ads with VidyCoins, taken as a fraction of the VidyCoin payout made from advertiser to publisher for that video ad impression.

Using this technique, hyper-relevant videos can be hidden behind the text of any web page, unlocking a whole new dimension to the internet.

Vidy makes use of a natural language processing protocol, operated by miners, that will automatically place video ads on a massive scale into publishers pages. The protocol will analyze the text on websites and try to find a match for live ad campaigns.

On the other side, publishers and advertisers get access to a dashboard where they can manage their campaigns and upload their video advertisements. They can rapidly change live campaigns, view statistics and review the ads performance. Ad fraud is impossible as everything is tracked on the underlying blockchain.

2. Blockchain-base data marketplace — Wibson

Blockchain-based data marketplace that enables users to sell their validated personal data directly to advertisers. This provides them with a secure way and environment to sell their personal data. In addition, users are able to track and manage the access to their data using blockchain technology.

Through the release of the Wibson iOS and Android apps, individuals can connect to data sources, such as Facebook and their mobile device location, monitor offers from data buyers, and sell their personal data. “In today’s economy, data equals money. Unfortunately, that exchange hasn’t made its way into consumer wallets — until now,” says Wibson.org founder and CEO Mat Travizano.

“Wibson completely changes this dynamic by restoring ownership over our personal information. Now consumers can access their data, and can choose to profit from these transactions how and when they want.”

3. Self-sovereign identity (SSID) — Civic

Identity wallet where all user’s their personal data is stored on Civic’s blockchain. Civic users choose service providers and individuals they want to share their information with. Civic’s blockchain architecture ensures that this data remains private and practically inaccessible to hackers. Its multi-factor authentication does not require a username, password, third-party authenticator, or physical hardware token. Identity access is only available through biometrics (face or fingerprint).

Civic users choose service providers and individuals they want to share their information with. These counterparties can use the Civic platform for immediate authentication of a user’s identity, without any data transfer, processing, or storage requirements. This eliminates the risks that come with centralized data operations, making Civic’s SSID solution a major breakthrough in data theft prevention and identity protection.

Interview with Vidy.com

How did you come up with the idea to create Vidy? What’s the reason behind it? What problems did you see?
Vidy was founded more than 2 years ago with the purpose of allowing search inside video via natural language processing. Despite the rise in the use of videos across every industry, there was a lack of innovation when it came to the searching of videos. We thought to ourselves why not allow video content to be served up based on natural language? Why wasn’t there an easier way to serve up highlights of videos?

Over the last 1.5 years, we have processed over 100 million videos through our transcription engine. Being able to search inside a video was fascinating because we understood what was said inside the video, and hence serve up videos according to what was typed or written. And finally, we found an uninhabited territory, a blue ocean, and that was all the lines of texts on the internet.

We brainstormed and found a way to embed tiny hyper-relevant videos behind these texts that would unveil with a hold down action. We had essentially unlocked a new dimension to the internet. In doing so, we solved many problems that have plagued the digital ad space for centuries such as the lack of real estate, fraud, irrelevant ads among others.

How will VIDY disrupt the current ad tech industry?
Vidy creates the first-ever, decentralized, truly distributed video-ad platform for fair and consensual advertisement consumption. The invisible layer solution that makes videos rest atop of any web page, allows advertisers to embed their video ads behind the relevant text that they are linked to. It disrupts the current norm of how video ads are displayed and interacted with context. The blockchain adoption also brings transparency, security, equity and privacy that all parties need. Moreover, it’s hassle-free. By one-tap installation of Vidy’s embed layer SDK, all advertisers and publishers can be benefited from this overnight.

Can you explain the VIDY ecosystem?
Vidy’s ad placement mechanism is an open-source NLP protocol, run by miners, that automatically places video ads on a massive scale into the hyper-relevant text of millions of publisher pages. The VIDY ecosystem is composed of a data layer, consensus layer and application layer. The data layer is the foundation that tracks and maintains all data.

The consensus layer receives data from the former, process them as inputs, as well as decrypts the smart contracts that are handed off for user-data target application. The application layer is the consumer-facing distributor of video ads across the web, encapsulated in an SDK that can be installed with just a tap by any publisher. The design of VIDY ecosystem ensures its stability and scalability, which are crucial to both advertisers and publishers.

Can you share how the NLP Match protocol will work in a human understandable way?
NLP is serving to process real-time video ad placement. Through Vidy’s accumulated database and re-enforced corpus with deep learning, we are able to precisely extract and match context with the most-highly relevant videos.

What’s the use of the VidyCoin and how to earn it?
VidyCoin (VIDY) can be utilized in 3 main ways/layers. You earn VIDY every time you hold down on an ad, you use VIDY to make purchases in one-tap on ads, and VIDY is required to stake as fuel for all ad campaigns on the platform.

How will you prevent user will be bloated with multiple in-text advertisement videos?
It is very simple, we will always have a limit on the number of in-text ad videos. This will be a consensus amongst our customers who are the publishers on what they think is a good number to set as a limit. This feature will be on the dashboard which is accessible to the publishers who are integrated with our SDK.

Ad blockers? How do you prevent that?
Ad blockers are blacklists of IPs that downloadable software blocks from loading content and media.

In order to be obfuscated as part of being targeted by an ad blocker, first a new content delivery system, such as Vidy, needs to be determined an ad that a user has no choice whether or not to see.

Vidy is architected to be inherently pro user choice, meaning it is completely up to the user at all times to hold down or not to hold down to see a video ad from Vidy. This is a paradigm shift from all other advertising options on the market today which display their content without any consent or any control from the user.

In addition to choice, Vidy embeds both entertainment videos alongside advertisement videos meaning the underlying utility of the system is hyper-relevant entertainment value which is not relevant to the purpose of ad blocker technology and if obfuscated would be debilitating for the user.

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