Jesse Chenard is CEO at Image Space Media, an in-image ad network.
AdExchanger.com: Given your experience at Tremor Media, what key learnings are you bringing with you to Image Space Media?
In order to present a scalable offering to advertisers, we need to fit into their entire online and offline ecosystem. This means measuring results using the tools that they are used to, serving ads using ad serving tools they are used to, and presenting it on brand safe and friendly sites.
Image Space Media is great at providing that well-lit environment that makes advertisers feel comfortable. We have a very sophisticated categorization application and we make certain that the content brands appear next to is relevant and appropriate.
What problem is Image Space Media Solving?
We’re actually solving two problems. We give publishers a solution to their growing revenue problems as CPMs keep declining, and we give advertisers a new cost-effective solution that provides massive scale.
Please discuss how ISM differentiates and how the technology is defensible.
In-image advertising is unique because it combines relevant content with an evocative visual experience. Our network has more than 4,000 publishers, generates more than 740,000 clicks and serves ads to more than 50 million unique monthly visitors per month.
We are building effective relations with publishers, providing a stable revenue source and innovative tools. Most importantly, we’re able to give publishers a stable revenue source that doesn’t compromise content integrity or cannibalize their ad sales or any other revenue. So we have a very low churn rate.
For example, can’t the ability to serve ads over images be easily replicated elsewhere? Is rich media possible “in image”?
Yes, serving ads over images can be replicated, but it’s not easy to determine where to run ads, what ads to run, or where the images are located. As early movers in the space, we have learned a lot in the last year and a half. So, yes, absolutely anything is possible in in-image: rich media, telescope into video. Once the user engages with the creative unit, anything is possible.
Is it possible to target specific image content through Image Space Media. Such as I just want to target pictures of Lance Armstrong?
Absolutely. We feel that the addition of image and keyword targeting to our standard arsenal of targeting methods gives advertisers and publishers significantly higher relevance.
What are the benefits to publishers? And how do you prevent channel conflict? Does Image Space Media offer a version of its product for a publisher’s direct-sold inventory?
We took a space that had no benefit to publishers and created an incremental revenue source. We don’t offer a product for direct-sold inventory right now, but we are in the process of creating this ability for larger publishers.
What’s your view on the demand side platform trend/and, are DSPs able to target users through your network and still manage a global frequency cap to your knowledge?
Well, it’s interesting and it’s definitely something we’re exploring. We’re talking to several of them now to see how we might work together. But we haven’t actually integrated with any yet, so right now they can’t target
their users through our system.
What are you seeing on the client side today? Any up to the minute trends you can share?
Our advertisers have proven that the image space is a very viable medium with incredible potential. Our performance advertiser base is extremely happy with the quality of traffic and conversions with conversion rates higher than some of the search providers. In the long term it will also be good for the brand advertiser because of the tremendous reach and relevance we can offer.
How does pricing work for the advertiser and on what basis are publishers paid?
Pricing is based on the type of ad, placement, targeting etc.
We are about to introduce a self-serve ad product that any advertiser can go in and set up their own campaigns and set their own price based on a CPC or CPM model.
Most ad networks distribute payments every 60-90 days, but at Image Space Media we pay our publishers during the first week of the month for their previous month’s earnings.
How many employees do you have today? You recently raised 2.9M in Series A funding. Any plans on reaching out for funding in near future given your plans to scale the business?
Right now we have 15 employees. We’re very financially secure, so we’re not looking for more funding.
A year from now, what milestones would you like Image Space Media to have accomplished?
We plan to grow to a significant enough size to provide major advertisers with the reach and frequency necessary to provide real value to move aggressively into the in-image space.
As publishers look for guaranteed revenue sources, we plan to continue to increase eCPMs and the value of these massive amounts of completely unmonetized inventory.