Zach Coelius is CEO of Triggit, an online advertising technology company.
AdExchanger.com: So what is Triggit - and where'd the name come from? Are you a buying platform? A media buying services company?
ZC: Triggit provides Real Time Bidding (RTB) technology and services to innovative marketers and their advertising agencies. Specifically, Triggit’s technology individually prices and bids for billions of impressions daily on the real time display exchanges. Triggit’s media partners include such companies as Google, OpenX, Admeld, Pubmatic, Adnexus and more.
At Triggit, marketers use our technologies to allocate their media budgets on the real-time bidding enabled media exchanges. In this process we provide our clients a range of offerings to meet their needs. For sophisticated agencies, ad networks and large ad buyers, Triggit’s self-serve technology platform enables them to leverage their own data, insights and media buying expertise in the exchange buying process. Others want a more hands off approach to their media spend, and for those clients Triggit’s account managers take complete ownership of the campaigns and provide full media buying services as well as technology to achieve unprecedented ROI.
As far as our name goes, Triggit is Scottish for "playful," and more importantly "URL" for not taken. We picked it a long time ago for a very different business model and have never found a reason to change it. It also happens to be pretty memorable. We like it.
How do you differentiate from other buying platforms in the space?
Triggit has been building RTB technology since the space first went live with Adnexus and Pubmatic in December of 2008. The technology stack required for individually pricing and bidding on billions of impressions a day is very challenging and different then anything the ad industry has done before. RTB is all we do, and we have gotten very good at it. For instance not only can we take any advertiser’s or third-party's cookie set and target against it on Google and other exchanges, we can vary the price we pay for each matching placement according to its expected value. We have found that the ability to value and bid on each impression individually, and to do a multi-variate calculation on all the valid data points, results in a significantly more efficient and effective media pricing process. At the end of the day, it is all about results and we stand behind our ability to deliver for any marketer.
Are you buying from Google's DoubleClick Ad Exchange? Any early results you can share?
Yes. We have been live with RTB on the Google exchange since September. We were really lucky that the technology we built for bidding on Adnexus and Pubmatic was architected in such a way that it was pretty easy for us to integrate Google’s AdX. We are starting to see huge scale now, over 2 million bid requests per minute and growing amazingly fast. Google has built an excellent system and deserves a lot of credit for validating RTB as the standard for the next generation of media buying. We buy across the Google Content Network (GCN) as well as the Ad Exchange and are excited about how quickly Google is exposing more and more GCN content.
Do you think impression-level real-time bidding is a proverbial game changer? Why?
We have seen results from hundreds of campaigns that show impression level bidding with good data behind it results in an exponential increase in ROI. It is basically cherry picking the best impressions for our clients at a huge scale. When we no longer have to buy a million, poorly-targeted impressions just hoping to reach a few of the right users, we can be far more efficient with our client’s media dollars. Essentially, per impression bidding enables us to de-average the price we pay for each ad and have that price more accurately reflect the expected value. In an ecosystem where other bidders on the exchanges still use rules-based line items, with average prices like you see on Right Media, we are able to buy good impressions at lower prices.
On Triggit.com it says that you offer "Fully Transparent Analytics" - what does that mean?
Because proper real-time bidding involves the passing of a transparent URL as well as a user ID, it allows us to share with our clients full site information before and after a campaign. For instance, before a campaign begins we provide our clients with a site list of all the domains we see across the exchanges. The client can then use that list to target specific sites for their campaigns. This pre-campaign transparency allows the client to very carefully manage the content adjacency of their advertisements and to ensure that they are not being run anywhere they don’t like. Once the campaign is live we provide the client with a login that enables them to monitor where every impression, click and conversion is recorded on a fully transparent site-level basis. This transparency is very important for our clients and we feel it is one of the most important innovations that the real-time exchanges have provided.
What are your future plans for Triggit? Perhaps you could start with telling us how many employees you have today and your hiring plans? Will you need more funding to grow the way you want to?
Triggit currently has ten employees and is growing like crazy. We are having a lot of fun and are looking forward to 2010, which we think will be a great year on the exchanges for DSPs.
How important is effective creative in your campaigns? How do you work with clients on creative?
Creative is tremendously important. We work closely with the clients to build libraries of creative that we can optimize for the campaigns. One of the more interesting capabilities of real-time bidding is to use the data that we have about the users and their intent to serve highly targeted creative. For instance, when a user completes a search on a travel site for a flight to New York, we can immediately target the user with creative for New York hotels, tourist attractions and maybe even a helicopter flight into Manhattan.
Is there going to be one winner in the buying platform race?
No. This is the sort of market where there will be a number of companies that develop robust DSP capabilities. Because clients have very different needs there will be DSPs that emerge and develop different specialties for different parts of the market.
How do agencies need adjust their model to keep up with innovation in the digital space in your opinion?
I don’t think there are many people who dispute the fact that media buying is going to become a highly automated data and algorithm driven process going forward. In that sort of world agencies can make a choice. They can either bite the bullet and learn how to build, manage and innovate with technology or they can become dependent on vendors. If they want to retain the important role they play in the media buying process they will have to learn how to start adding value on the technology side. If instead they want to remain focused on their current competencies, they can give up their media buying arms and outsource that function to the next generation of technology-driven companies.