Anupam Gupta is President and CEO of Mixpo, a video advertising technology company.
AdExchanger.com: How did your experience in product management at Microsoft prepare you for Mixpo?
AG: Broadly speaking, it taught me to listen closely to customers and partners for insights and to use that input as the north star for our value proposition and roadmap. From an industry standpoint, my team and I managed an online consumer service used by more than 300 million people globally that delivered billions of impressions per month – what was then called MSN Messenger, now Windows Live Messenger. This experience gave me an opportunity to work with agencies and advertisers. We developed a number of new ad formats for Messenger. And it taught me to focus heavily on delivering measurable value and impact.
What problem does Mixpo solve?
There’s both a problem and opportunity that we address. I’ll start with the latter.
As we all know, online display advertising has evolved significantly over the last decade. What started out as static ads – I think Prodigy was the first ever to post a display ad – migrated to rich media and then in the last few years, more dynamic ads – meaning ads that are assembled on the fly based on the viewer’s demographics and interests. Dapper and Teracent were the two main companies enabling dynamic ads and were subsequently bought by Yahoo! and Google respectively. Now video advertising is following a similar trajectory, flat pre-roll ads – YouTube, circa 2008 – then interactive video ads – and now dynamically personalized video ads. That’s the opportunity we address, the ability to provide advertisers with spontaneously tailored, interactive video ads that run on any screen – computer, tablet, smartphone – and any in any format – pre-roll, in-banner, in-app, on mobile web. The result is greater brand impact and the ability to reach consumers broadly with video.
The problem, though, has been fragmentation and the lack of a single, simple solution. Where to go to get all of these advanced capabilities? Some vendors do interactive video. Others do rich flash executions including video. Some handle pre-roll formats only, others handle pre-roll and display. Inconsistent support for IAB’s VPAID and VAST standards and even inconsistent support for HTML5. Mixpo addresses fragmentation by providing one platform for interactivity and message customization across video ad formats, due to VAST and VPAID compliance, as well as the ability to run in Flash or HTML5 environments. Additionally, we offer deep optimization and analytics capabilities – end-to-end performance results including ad engagement, brand lift, and insights broken by audience segments and device type. And, you don’t have to go to a dozen different vendors to make all that happen.
So, what "bucket" would you put Mixpo in? Is it "rich media tech provider"?
Mixpo is a video ad technology provider. Our video ads can and do incorporate rich interactive elements, the sky is the limit in that regard. Our focus and core competence, though, is video. We are always striving to make video ads smarter, more effective, and comprehensive so that our customers and partners don’t have to deal with fragmentation. Publishers, Networks and DSPs get a complete, next-gen video ad solution that they can run on top of their media offerings to improve their monetization. Agencies can offer high-impact, personalized, interactive video solutions along with end-to-end analytics to advertisers. We are NOT a video ad network.
Given all the rich media companies in the space, how does Mixpo differentiate?
There are companies that provide in-banner rich media solutions including video. Others focus on making in-stream video interactive. Others offer mobile video ads. We do all the above, but we also include dynamic personalization based on any audience data available – ranging from demographics, to cookie-based re-targeting, to advertisers’ or publishers’ proprietary audience data. Also, as previously mentioned, we’re the only vendor with a comprehensive solution providing rich, personalized, interactive video ads across any screen or format along with the associated 360 degree analytics.
Given the marketer's need to understand how channels are affecting one and another and impacting performance, how does Mixpo keep from being too siloed? Or is it all up to the client?
The majority of brand advertisers currently include online video advertising as a core component of RFPs. Video advertising is a huge market that’s rapidly growing…..to us that’s broad surface area to play in, and we don’t feel siloed at all. Our comprehensive approach and 360 degree campaign performance analytics helps to position us as a broad solution – not too narrow or too fragmented – for marketers. And we are complementary to most players in the ecosystem – publishers, networks/DSPs, agencies – and can add value via our technology-based solutions.
How does Mixpo pricing work?
Our business model works primarily on a CPM basis. While the platform has self-serve capabilities for ad creation, campaign management and analytics, and some of our partners use that, we also provide turnkey services to ease campaign deployment.
Any need for more funding? Or are you already profitable and good-to-go?
We have had two very good growth years and are now profitable on an operating basis. We are very excited about the ramp we are seeing in the business, as well as feedback from our target segments on our broad value proposition. While we are not currently raising another round, we are considering all options to drive aggressive growth.
A year from now, what milestones would you like the company to have accomplished?
I would like for us to double or triple our client and partner base, reach the point where we’re delivering at least 1 billion impressions per month, and have introduced a handful of innovations that drive the video advertising industry forward.