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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!






Most of us are aware of the huge evolution from traditional mass media advertising to digital advertising. However, what few of us realise is that, even within the digital advertising landscape, there have been some drastic shifts.


Traditional model

However, the rapid digitalisation of advertising as a whole has resulted in the formation of numerous different companies, each one offering a unique product or service that adds value to the link between the publisher and advertiser. Hence, the digital advertising ecosystem has had to evolve significantly from the much simpler model of days gone by, in order to take into account the new players in the ecosystem. This has meant that a much more complex model.


According to the IAB, “The digital environment that connects websites that live on the Internet together, and with people, is done with such precision that to map it out for people makes it look like something bright, blinking and living, and straight out of a sci-fi movie.”


To make things simpler, here is our own simplified diagram to help you.


Today’s model



These are some simple definitions to help you understand each player in the ecosystem.


Media buyers

Media buyers negotiate, purchase and monitor advertising space and airtime on behalf of their clients.


Trading Desks

A Trading Desk, as we’ve mentioned before, is a service committed to helping advertisers and agencies buy online advertising. This is done through real-time bidding (RTB), enhanced with data. An example of this is The Media Trader.  


Ad Networks

An online advertising service provider often with proprietary technology, that helps marketers run display advertising campaigns across various sources of online inventory, for example Google, Yahoo.


Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs)

A DSP is a tech platform that enables buyers to evaluate and bid for online media using RTB, for example MediaMath, Turn, Data XU.


Data Management Platforms or DMPs, as we’ve already mentioned, are platforms that allow marketers to manage and understand the vast amounts of data that is constantly being generated by consumers, who are digitalising at a ridiculous pace, for example Krux.


Ad Exchanges

Ad Exchanges are online auction marketplaces that facilitate the buying and selling of inventory across multiple ad networks and demand-side platforms (DSPs), for example Doubleclick (by Google, Right Media, Facebook Exchange, OpenX).


Supply-Side Platform (SSP)

SSPs are tech platforms that help publishers to maximise ad revenues when managing and selling inventory on ad exchanges and networks, for example Rubicon and PubMatic.


It is important to note that, although the lines that separate the various functions appear to be clearly drawn, in reality this might actually be far from the case. This blurring of the lines is largely due to the ongoing consolidation in the AdTech industry, a trend that experts like Ciaran O’Kane have identified.


First of all, there is a rise in the number of market makers, who work for both the buy-side and the sell-side. Krux is an example of such a company, working with publishers, marketers, agencies, DMPs, as well as SSPs. Additionally, many companies are starting to offer their clients an integrated solution. For example, Rocket Fuel has a Programmatic Marketing Platform, providing its clients with both a DMP and a DSP.


The Media Trader is an independent trading desk and we are specialised in programmatic buying, using RTB and enhanced with data. We know the digital advertising system may seem like a complex place, but we are here to simplify this for our clients. We thrive in the ecosystem and can help clients to navigate it as it evolves.  


7 days to Web Summit! See you there!









The photo sharing social network follows industry trend

Following Instagram and Snapchat’s decisions to allow Ads on their platforms, Pinterest too is opening up to advertising. Within B2C marketing, brands have realised the potential for high returns on social networking platforms where aesthetic is everything. Like Instagram, Pinterest is full of immersive content. If advertisers master their engagement well, there are opportunities for them to increase conversions. Some ad buyers are sceptical however, given that Pinterest’s technology is relatively limited compared to its competitors. Instagram, for example, is able to use parent company, Facebook’s technology. Pinterest has been noted as a strong alternative to search advertising, as users are able to upload, collect and bookmark what interests them. This offers a lot of potential for advertisers, as Pinterest now allows marketers to collect data concerning its users. Technology providers have already swooped in to make sense of Pinterest users and how they respond to products. This in turn will help advertisers to serve their ads based on the collection of user’s interests and aspirations. With the rise of AdBlock, publishers such as Pinterest are looking to generate revenue from native advertising - that is, advertisements that are embedded in the support, which users cannot block.


City AM

Adblock and the confidence crisis of advertisers


With AdBlocker posing a serious threat to publisher’s revenues, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) has launched a LEAN ads program with clear guidelines for advertisers on what ads are likely to push people to install ad blockers in the first place. City AM has taken serious measures to convince readers that they benefit from seeing ads. They are not alone in this approach to offset losses in revenue due to a lack of advertiser’s confidence. Most publishers are simply reminding their audiences that by blocking ads they may damage the content they want to see, and that they may even have to subscribe online in order to keep publications going. City AM’s digital director Martin Ashplant had two striking facts in order to justify the paper’s decision: the first that around 20% of its 1.2 million monthly browsers are using ad blocking software. Second that ad blocking is set to cost publishers in excess of $40bn by the end of 2016 according to a report from Adobe and anti-ad blocking firm PageFair. This continues the ongoing discussion concerning AdBlock in that advertisers, publishers and technologists need to work together in order for audiences to accept online ads.


Smart TV


American brands should be using programmatic to transform the way they advertise on TV.


What with the imminent boom in Smart TV, it may be wise for brands to use their new foray into programmatic buying as a foundation to advertise more intelligently on TV.  American brands are diverting their ad spend away from conventional television advertising, moving towards digital video. To help them make this transition, they are relying on programmatic buying strategies. 91% of brands and agencies in the US are now buying video programmatically. It is of course a welcome trend that brands are pumping more into digital video and programmatic buying. After all, by “following their consumers online”, they are reaching their desired audience more effectively. However, the danger is that this is done at the expense of traditional TV advertising. (While digital video ad spend is steadily increasing, TV ad spend is beginning to stagnate.) Instead of cutting out traditional TV advertising altogether, they should be using programmatic to transform the way they advertise on TV. Even in the UK, Sky News launching its own programmatic service to sell ads on every platform, even Smart TV.



After its 2 recent scandals, does Apple need to step up its data privacy policy?

Apple had to pull 256 apps from its App store when it discovered that these apps were illegally collecting personal data from iPhone owners, such as serial numbers and e-mail addresses. This latest piece of news follows hot on the heels of last week’s scandal, which saw Apple pulling several apps that could spy on encrypted traffic. People are concerned, as well they should be. With the world going digital, there is an explosion of data. At the same time, with so many consumers going mobile, businesses are finding it hard to track their online behaviour, with cookies quickly becoming obsolete. This has encouraged bad behaviour among businesses, which are resorting to underhand tactics such as spying on consumers. What we can learn from this is that it is crucial to work with businesses who operate with a stringent data privacy policy.



10 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!




The Complexity of Data

Let’s start with a fun fact: according to IBM, “everyday, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data – so much that 90 percent of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone.”

Frequent readers of this blog will have noticed that we are constantly mentioning data - with a special emphasis this week. It really is vital to today’s competitive digital advertising landscape. Data offers companies a huge competitive advantage, if analysed and used correctly.

It is so rich a source of information that it can inform advertisers what customers need and want and how or why they buy. Data drives programmatic buying so that advertisers can target the people they want with absolute precision, making their advertising more efficient.

Sanjay Mirchandani, chief information officer at EMC, claims that “the onus [...] is to leverage data.” Data gives decision makers more authority, as it is difficult to argue with facts. By leveraging data, you are able to understand your customers and their preferences better, and therefore able to create better, personalised ads for them. The more your business grows, the more data you acquire which is beneficial to you for reasons mentioned above.

We have also mentioned that due to huge advances in technology, it has become more affordable and easier to gather information. This is fantastic for businesses and governments alike, argues McKinsey. Big Data (vast amounts of data) has created new growth opportunities and entirely new categories of companies, such as those that aggregate and analyse industry data. We talked about these yesterday - Data Management Platforms (DMPs).


While this is all well and good for businesses and their strategies, the issue is just how much data is out there. So much so that in order to gather, analyse and store it, technology and machine-based systems have to step in. There’s also the cost of storing data - the greatest cost to those who benefit from it most.

Big Data, Big Complexity

With people owning several devices at once, companies now have different ‘touchpoints’ on everyone. That is to say that they now can collect more data on individuals and connect it all together. Consumers are becoming more and more careful about how much data they give to companies, perhaps without even realising the value of their data. Consumers are also entitled to know how much data a company may have about them and how they are using it. The Sony hacking scandal demonstrated that anyone can be targeted, and can have their dated leaked: the issue is not a new one. Confidential data about employees and their families as well as employee’s salaries were leaked, consumers became skeptical as a result and have started educating themselves about handing over data.


With these growing concerns, some good news has arisen in that there is now standardisation on the cloud (internet) of safe storage for data. Companies such as Rackspace are ensuring greater safety standards when storing their customer’s data on their cloud. They want to ensure the same level of security when it comes to protecting virtual assets as companies would protect their physical assets. They break down their security process and look at Cloud Threat Protection, assess vulnerability and protect their customer’s most sensitive data. Furthermore, advertisers can use a White-label registry (e.g Bluekai), providing consumers with complete transparency on their data that has been collected, as well as giving them the choice to ‘opt out’.

The change of the adtech industry on the concern of ad fraud has prioritised the best practice of the market. According to Media Math, it is through education, clear standards & policies, and industry-wide data-sharing that the industry can improve itself, ensuring safety for consumers.


Here’s the main take away: the combination of incredibly smart technology, data safety and transparency are vital for digital ad success.


Here at the Media Trader, we take transparency and data safety very seriously because we fully understand its value, not only to us, but to our clients. We don’t sell data, we simply analyse it using Skylads software giving you better insights into effectively serving adverts to the most relevant people.


19 days until The Web Summit in Dublin. See you there!