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Web Summit - almost there!

The countdown is almost over. We are so proud to have been included on Web Summit’s list of the world’s top 50 most promising startups. It is the biggest summit of its kind in the world, in that it brings together some of the world’s leading thinkers in technology as well as startups. It’s not just about leading tech startups and tech companies, however, it is about the most exciting businesses of all sizes and industries, who are impacted by new technologies. We are looking forward to meeting with our fellow startups as well as tech giants, and gaining insights into what’s going on in their businesses and indeed industry. This year over 22,000 attendees will be making their way to Dublin from all corners of the globe to hear insights from over 300 speakers across dozens of stages and roundtables. We are looking forward to those pivotal conversations.


So what are we doing there?

As part of the Alpha Class 50 most promising startups, we are going to be using this opportunity to exhibit ourselves to fellow selectees on the list, as well as investors, the media and fellow entrepreneurs. We are really looking forward to networking with the other companies that are all using different technologies to disrupt the industries they operate in as we are all passionate about making consumers lives easier.


One of the main highlights of Web Summit is the impressive list of noteworthy speakers, who will be present at the event to share their unique perspectives and insights. The event attracts some of the biggest names in technology but these are a few of the most anticipated talks of the summit.  


Mike Krieger, co-founder of Instagram

Krieger will be talking about his vision for Instagram, which recently overtook Twitter with over 400 million users worldwide in September 2015, making it the largest social media platform, second only to Facebook. Instagram is an invaluable tool to advertisers, not only because it offers increased reach and enhanced engagement, but because of the power it affords in terms of the ability to carry out native advertising - one possible solution to AdBlockers. Given that we operate in the AdTech industry, we are particularly excited for this talk.


Stewart Butterfield, co-founder of Flickr and Slack

Butterfield is the co-founder of photo-sharing website Flickr and the team messaging application Slack. His talk will focus on how Slack may one day make e-mail obsolete, which is in itself quite a bold statement. After all, it’s hard for any of us to imagine a world without e-mail. However, the fact that applications like Slack exist to challenge the status of e-mail as one of the main means of communication is again testament to the true extent of digitalisation. Indeed, nothing is immune to change or disruption. As we consider ourselves part of the digital disruption, it would be incredibly interesting to gain some insights from a fellow digital disrupter.


Nico Sell, CEO of wickr

As the CEO of the ‘most trusted mobile messenger in the world’, Nico Sell takes privacy very seriously. Her vision is to allow people to communicate safely and anonymously, whilst being able to control what information is retained on the other end. Wickr encrypts messages from device to device, meaning that they don’t even know don’t know who their users are, who they’re talking to or what they’re saying. With the internet giving us unprecedented access to information, and endless stories of hacking and data leakages, it is refreshing that a company is trying to be the safest messenger in the world.


4 days until Web Summit! See you there!






We all know the Web Summit to be one of the most prestigious gatherings of startups in the global technology ecosystem. However, what few people realise is that it had its own humble beginnings as a startup just 5 years ago. Web Summit started with just 400 attendees in Dublin. In just 4 short years, 22,000 people from more than 100 countries were in attendance. Evidently, people seemed to like what they were doing.

Web Summit was born out of the founder’s desire to find a new way to conduct conferences that were catered to startups and giving them exposure. Instead of allowing the large companies to dominate the main stage, Web Summit would ensure that small companies were not neglected.


According to the founder of Web Summit, Paddy Cosgrave, one of the key differences in how the event was organised was through the hiring of engineers and data specialists, as opposed to event managers as in days gone by. They found that this improved the efficiency of the process significantly. It might seem surprising that something as inherently social as a human gathering could rely so heavily on data. However, again this demonstrates the sheer power of data and just how prevalent it is today.


We don’t always get it right and when we look at what we have done in the past, we sometimes wince. But we care about getting it right and about giving startups the best experience we can - Paddy Cosgrave, founder of Web Summit



Despite the success of the summit, the Web Summit is committed to constantly improving the experience of startups. The Web Summit is a premium event, and they are extremely discerning in who they eventually invite to the event, having turned down more than 1,000 startups that have communicated with them in the last month alone!



Here at The Media Trader, we are proud to be a start up, dedicated to digital disruption. It is an honour to have been acknowledged by Web Summit as one of the 50 most promising startups in the world. We started with a great idea - using programmatic and RTB, enhanced with data, to make digital advertising more efficient and transparent. But this is just the beginning. We believe that the more we build our product offering and client base, the more established companies in this industry will start to take notice. 



12 days until the Web Summit! See you there!





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All you need to know about Cookies

It is not a coincidence that your Web ads, whichever site you may be on, match your interests or indeed your browsing history. Cookies are making advertising increasingly more effective.


So what are they?

Cookies are the passive part of a tracking mechanism. They are usually small text files with ID tags that are stored on your computer's browser directory. Cookies are created when you visit a website that uses tag management to keep track of your movements within the site, helps you resume where you left off, remembers your registered login, theme selection, preferences, and other customization functions.

The next time you visit that site, your PC checks to see if it has a cookie that is relevant (that is, one containing the site name) and sends the information contained in that cookie back to the site.

Some cookies are even more sophisticated. They might record how long you’ve spent on each page of a site, the links you click, even your preferences for page layouts, colour schemes and language. They can also be used to store data on what is in your ‘shopping cart’, adding items as you click.


Good things about cookies:

  • Cookies limit the number of times an ad is shown particularly in the case of annoying popup ads. Cookies ensure that a popup only shows up once per visit.

  • Cookies help the website you're viewing and remembers the pages you've visited, enabling ads to show up in a particular order.

  • Cookies enable advertisers to know how many times their ads were shown on publishers' websites.

  • Cookies allow advertisers to keep track of how many people visited the advertisers' websites through a click or a response on the ads shown by third party ad serving companies on publishers' websites. This feature helps both the ad serving company and the advertiser determine if a particular advertising campaign produced the desired results.

  • If you do not complete the purchase on a website and return to the online store at a later time or date, the website can retrieve the items in your basket from the cookie information stored on your device.


Types of Cookies

  • Session cookie

Also called a transient cookie, this is erased when you close the Web browser. Session cookies do not collect information from your computer.

  • Persistent cookie

Also called a permanent cookie, or a stored cookie, a cookie that is stored on your hard drive until it expires or until you delete the cookie. Persistent cookies are used to collect identifying information about the user, such as Web surfing behaviour or user preferences for a specific Web site.


Good news!

When cookies first started to appear, there was controversy. Some people were worried that their data was collected without their consent, which could then be used to build a picture of their browsing habits. EU law now requires all sites that use cookies to seek your express permission to store and retrieve data about your browsing habits. You can see this when you first visit a site’s home page.


Cookies: here today, gone tomorrow?

People are using increasingly more mobile platforms, across multiple devices. This could therefore make cookies obsolete, and sooner than we think. Cookie tracking has become outdated. It lacks the sophistication to accurately identify consumers. The tracking is limited to a single browser within a single device. Technology needs to adapt, and is expected to do in the next 3 years or so. Cookieless tracking will place greater importance on cross-channel attribution modeling to accurately access publisher performance and overall effectiveness.

Here at The Media Trader, we are using cookieless tracking mechanisms. Instead, we implement unique user ID technology (UID) as a tracking device. This means that when users click onto our website, they will be given the same ID no matter what device they are on.


14 days until the Web Summit. See you there!




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Publishers offering advertisers larger audience

Following the upselling model in fast food restaurants, publishers can now offer advertisers the ability to reach not just their target audience across different sites and devices, but also find and serve ads to potential audience members. Publishers want to monetise their content. When they find that this is inadequate, they will offer advertisers Audience or Reach Extension. This throws advertiser’s nets wider, through using model lookalikes. That is, lookalikes that are based on other users demonstrating similar preferences and behaviours as those of an advertiser’s established audience. They have to do this with precision as advertisers ultimately want brand awareness. This is composed of brand assimilation and targeting the right people. They do not want to target the wrong people or to decrease the value of their brand. Should publishers succeed in successful reach extension, they will drive more sales and increase their incremental revenue as a result.  



Apple taking advertising into their own hands

Advertising dollars are gravitating towards where audiences are, and audiences are increasingly on mobile devices. This is particularly true in Asia, where mobile penetration is greater than in Western Europe. The mobile market is greater than even the laptop market. Engaging users can be done in two ways on mobiles; through desktop mobile (internet on your smartphone) or through an app. More and more users are spending most of their time inside apps, as these are more interactive than mobile websites. When Apple released its latest version of ios (ios 9), it allowed Apple users to have Ad Blocker on Safari (mobile), but not on apps. Through closing down advertising on their browser, Apple are now able to squeeze those who want to serve ads on Apple’s apps.   



Television to be the new data mine?

With television going ‘smart’, there is a huge opportunity for televisions to provide ample amounts of data to publishers and advertisers. Television is a deeper and more immersive experience, with audiences being less likely to be distracted, compared to watching content on their mobile devices. Advertisers are spending a lot on TV advertising as we know it, but smart TV is promised to be bigger than this and attract a lot more investment. Traditional projected models using representative samples were found to be inadequate. With Smart TV, advertisers will be able to see what the household is watching, and by how many people.  The US has emerged as an experimental market in digital (smart) TV, with a restaurant chain trialling LCI TV (NinthDecimal and TiVo’s tool) to test its advertising related to a major sporting event. They found that out of 2.3 million store visits logged during the campaign, c.350,000 were driven by TV. LCI TV can also be used to create real-world segments based on physical behaviour for example frequent diners, customers who visit once a week rather than creating segments based on age and gender (Demographic segmentation).



Improving data will be key in informing Mars’ new behavioural targeting strategies.

Evidently, to stay competitive in the FMCG sector, Mars has a lot of “catching up to do in the digital race”. The company is trying to move beyond its conventional tactics of basic demographic targeting, towards more sophisticated behavioural targeting; the behaviour being targeted here being “impulsivity”.  Mars wants their ad to be displayed at the precise moment a potential consumer feels impulsive. In order to discern this crucial moment, they need a lot of data about their consumers. Hence, it might be wise for Mars to invest in programmatic marketing. After all, serving relevant content to the right person at the right time is precisely what programmatic marketing is all about. Relevant content is more likely to be shared, increasing brand awareness, and also gives potential customers the push they need to be converted to real customers.



Better attribution solutions need to be developed to meet marketers’ demands for greater accountability.

Marketing budgets are still rising but at a slower rate, as a result of falling confidence in the economic outlook. Here’s the danger: cutbacks in marketing budgets actually feed into a vicious cycle – the fall in brand awareness that follows reduced marketing spend ultimately translates to reduced profits. Regardless, with budgets getting tighter, marketers are calling for greater accountability. This means that getting a return on their investment has never been more important. Hence, it is crucial that better attribution solutions are developed to meet the demands for more accountability. This would demonstrate to companies the impact of their investment, helping them understand what initiatives drove specific results, so that they can adjust their marketing strategies according. Furthermore, this could explain the strong push for programmatic solutions, which enable real-time decision-making that ultimately optimise advertising expenditure.



YouTube urges advertisers to shift TV media spend to their online platform before the impending Smart TV boom.

It is not hard to see why advertisers are attracted to YouTube as an advertising platform. Firstly, YouTube offers advertisers the benefit of audience scale. ComScore found that YouTube reaches 100% of 18 to 34-year-olds in the UK. YouTube also offers higher engagement levels. The premise is that someone who watches something on YouTube makes a conscious decision to, which therefore results in increased engagement. However, despite its viability as a platform at present in 2015, YouTube may have underestimated the massive impact of the impending Smart TV boom in the advertising industry. This could explain YouTube’s most recent efforts to get as many advertisers onboard as possible. It could perhaps be said that Google might be misguided in shutting down access to YouTube from other platforms.


17 days until WebSummit. See you there!






Anyone in the AdTech industry will have heard about words such as ‘Programmatic’ and ‘RTB’ and how they are used by trading desks in programmatic buying.

Just to refresh your memory, real-time bidding refers to the buying and selling of online ad impressions through real-time auctions that occur in the time it takes a webpage to load.

Here’s something to give you an idea of how RTB works.

During the loading of the webpage, the user’s information is passed on to the Ad Exchange which puts the advertising space in an auction, operating on the Second Price rule. This means that the highest bidder wins but the price paid is the second-highest bid.

But what is so good about RTB? Why is everyone in the digital advertising industry talking about it?


In the past, advertising inventory was bought and sold in bulk. (Ad inventory refers to the quantity of ad placements available for selling to advertisers during a given period.) With print media, there are limits as to how much advertising space there is. This is not the case with digital marketing, as it is on the internet, and adverts can be placed in several places. The opportunities are endless. Hence, there was still some available inventory leftover.

In order to monetise the leftover content, publishers pushed this through ad exchanges on an auction basis. Publishers were also able to reap the benefit of the vast amount of data available to them, which made even more precise targeting possible.  

Even though it was publishers who started using RTB to monetise their content,  advertisers soon discovered the many capabilities of RTB as well. So much so that, for some companies, it has become the tool of choice for ad buying. The fact that entire companies that specialise in RTB have sprung up in recent years demonstrates just how well it is working.


When you compare RTB to traditional advertising (for example print and broadcasting), you are sending your message out to the masses. However, you have no idea who is seeing your ad, if they have seen it at all. You don’t even know who your customers are. With programmatic, you are able to target the people you want. You are also more certain that it has been seen by the right people. With RTB, you are able to show them relevant advertising in real time.  


According to Leon Siotis, Director of Media at BrightRoll


“The ability to show the right ad, to the right person at the right time appeals to every advertiser no matter what their intent, and this is something that can only be done if you are making that buying decision in real time.”


So, who does RTB benefit?

RTB can benefit both the buy-side (advertisers) and the sell-side (publishers).



RTB gives advertisers greater control over the performance of their campaigns. It enables them to achieve more targeted results for themselves. This is because RTB ensures that advertisers are immediately reaching their desired audience on more than one website and device. This also increases the scale of their advertising. 

Additionally, as they are serving the right impression to the right audience at the right time, their spending will be more efficient. They no longer have to worry about wasted impressions. (An impression refers to a single instance of an online ad being displayed.) Finally, the auction process dispenses with the need to work directly with publishers or ad networks to negotiate ad prices, offering greater transparency.


RTB can help publishers generate more revenue from their ad inventory. If you refer back to the above diagram, you will remember that the ad exchange auctions the space to the highest bidder. Therefore, the higher the bid, the higher the revenue generated from the sale.

The auction pricing system has resulted in concerns that RTB benefits advertisers at the expense of publishers. After all, since publishers are no longer naming the price, some worry that RTB would result in advertisers paying them less for their inventory.

However, there are ways for publishers to retain control over prices. Publishers can set a price floor (the minimum price at which their inventory is sold). The reserve price must be met in order for a transaction to take place. This enables publishers to open their ads up to an auction while ensuring that they maximise inventory revenue.

Here’s the main takeaway: RTB is no longer a thing of the future; it is our present. The benefit it offers in terms of efficiency, precision targeting, transparency and scale means it is here to stay. The reason everyone in the digital advertising industry is talking about it is because everyone wants a bite of the RTB pie. And yet, it remains something that not everyone has the expertise to do.

Here at the Media Trader, we are a trading desk specialising in the use of RTB to optimise the execution of your ad campaign. Our aim is to help you to reach the right person at the right time on the right device.

P.S.: 25 days to go until the Web summit, Dublin. See you there!



Thinking about trading up?

As we spoke about yesterday, a trading desk is a key player in the world of programmatic buying. We exist to optimise advertising budgets by reaching a large audience at a fair price across multiple devices.

But let’s go back to the basics: what exactly does a trading desk do?

Most of us are familiar with the idea of trading on Wall Street and what it means in the financial world, even if we don’t know the ins and outs of how it works. Hence, to understand the role played by digital trading desks, it may be useful to see it as the case of exporting the Wall Street business model and applying it to the advertising industry.


First off, the environment that a digital trading desk operates in is similarly fast-paced and competitive. Secondly, the concept of trading remains much the same but the commodity being traded here is online ad space and the people who see those ads. 

How does the trading happen?

1. Publishers, in order to monetise their content, link their ad space to the buying ecosystem.
2. With the help of the trading desk, advertisers decide who they want to reach and which space would be the most effective to enable them to reach this audience.
(General rule of thumb: The more popular the space, the greater the price the client is keen to pay for it.)
The trading desk puts forward a price to bid for each space according to the people watching the content, the screen they are using and the support.
3. The auction takes place, with the one paying the most winning the space.
4. This entire process happens in under 250 milliseconds. This is incredibly fast, demonstrating that it is happening in real time, hence the name RTB (Real-Time Bidding).


This business model arose as a way to enhance publishers’ online ad space using data.  This broke with traditional methods of online advertising. The reason why it is working so well is because advertisers now know their audience. It is no longer the case of them taking a stab in the dark. There has been a movement away from previous reliance on mass media, such as print and broadcasting, towards linking your message with specific people.

To provide you with an overview, there are basically 2 types of trading desks: agency trading desks and independent trading desks.

Agencies have incorporated the trading desk as part of the full range of services they provide to advertisers. Examples include Havas-Adnetik, Publicis-Audience on Demand and WPP-Xaxis. Their expertise in online advertising was relatively low and did not yield such results as someone who is specialised. As a result, advertisers wanted to move their trading in-house. Clients were therefore uncertain about the process and the possibility of being taken advantage of.  

On the other end of the spectrum, we have the independent trading desks. An independent trading desk is a company specialising in trading, that is not directly related to a media agency.

The case for independent trading desks:

We are focused on online advertising, mastering our own technology, and helping advertisers embrace the digitalisation of their clients. As we are experts in our field, the decisions we make can drastically influence the placement and pricing of your advertising. The fact that we do not have to answer to a large holding company also prevents any conflict of interest. We focus solely on the buy-side. Furthermore, we offer greater visibility regarding price and data and ad serving by using an independent tracking device owned by Google. This demonstrates to our clients that we are helping them achieve their goals and assures them of the trust they can have in us.

Finally, as we are a company specialised only in trading, clients need not worry that they are paying us to both manage their ad campaign, as well as for our trading services.

Here’s the main takeaway: As an independent trading desk, the Media Trader is committed to transparency, cost-efficiency and re-establishing your control over your ad campaigns. Educating you about what trading desks do is what we see as the first step in this process. This is what differentiates us from other trading desks, whether they be independent or agency.





When people think ‘advertising’, the first thing that comes to mind is ‘creative’, and it is true that the industry has long been the domain of creatives. However, with the recent boom in digital media, the spotlight is now being shared by the technological players that make it all possible.