Jonathan Mendez is the founder of Yieldbot, a publisher-side analytics and targeting platform.
AdExchanger.com: What problem is Yieldbot solving?
JM: The market problem as I’ve blogged about is the delta between the true value of publisher’s digital media and the return they get from it. It is an inequitable and unsustainable allocation of media dollars. I don’t think this will ever be fixed in display under the current paradigm. Advertisers have no incentive and Publishers are not digital marketers or technologists.
The publisher problem is that they’re sitting on a treasure trove of data from their visitors and content but they are doing nothing with it that substantively increases revenues. Yieldbot solves this.
Yieldbot is natively an analytics technology that plugs-in between a publisher site analytics and an ad server. Yieldbot immediately makes publisher content more valuable by creating layers of data intelligence around visitor interest and intent that is far more actionable, to far more advertisers, for far longer than current third party data or legacy display solutions.
What's Yieldbot's target market? When will this become widely available?
Our initial market is the 3,000 sites in the United States that get more than 500,000 unique visitors a month though as we continue to build out we will be able to work with any sized publisher. Right now we have 20 publishers in our queue and we’re cherry picking our beta pubs so we can learn initial optimization lessons from a cross-section of publishers. We’re in no rush to scale. Our focus is on tuning the performance of the product first and learning the needs of publishers.
Who's in the competitive set (AdMeld, PubMatic, Rubicon Project)? How do you differentiate?
We believe that Yieldbot is revolutionary. Our ultimate goal is nothing less than creating a new channel for publishers focused on performance. None of what we are doing is possible as second or third party solutions or with existing network optimizers or site analytics systems. We are completely empowering publishers by adding a layer of unequaled actionable intelligence to the stack so publishers can own and control the data but advertisers can leverage it. Advertisers don’t care about data. Data is just a tool for them, but for publishers it is their lifeblood.
One way we enable pubs to build revenue streams is through better SEO. We also can help them valuate every visitor so ultimately they can arbitrage their own traffic rather than having someone else do it and take all the vigorish. We envision some of our publishers even buying Search traffic to arb through Yieldbot. In essence, we’ve flipped the value chain by allowing publishers to embrace and leverage getting Search & Social traffic by appending data and finding the right ad match that makes it high value.
Discuss the intersection of search and display with your product. In your opinion, where in the funnel is the opportunity that Yieldbot creates?
While there has been growing search & display convergence in buying platforms I look at Yieldbot as the first ad matching technology inspired by search & dynamic landing page optimization.
Yieldbot has two main components. First is the Segmentation Engine. Data is fed to us from the publisher’s Site Analytics API (Yieldbot is compatible with most major site analytics such as Google Analytics & Omniture Site Catalyst). Based on the unique characteristics of each publisher’s content and audience Yieldbot dynamically creates actionable and high value segments to match ads against. An unlimited amount of segments can be created based on every major piece of site analytics data collected. While the segmentation roll-ups and targeting rules are fully automated the creation of segments can be 100% marketer, advertiser or publisher controlled based on the needs to reach a specific visitor, audience or performance metric.
The second main component is our Rules Engine that controls the Intelligent Ad Serving. As visitor events qualify them for segments Yieldbot’s intelligent ad server technology delivers the event-driven ad serving rules. Yieldbot has integrated ad server functionality but is also compatible with OpenX, DFP and other third-party ad servers.
Since even the best data and segments need validation and testing Yieldbot has a pattern recognition engine to continually optimize the segmentation and ad matching rules. The system also has built in A/B & Multivariate testing for creative as well as targeted ad sequencing.
As far as the funnel, data can be shaped to help any type of campaign. We’re built to drive actions, engagement, clicks, sign-ups, everywhere and anywhere doing that will bring higher revenues to publishers. There’s not a publisher or advertiser I’ve spoken with over the past year that couldn’t find a good use case for Yieldbot.
What about retargeting the users that Yieldbot sees through exchanges and DSPs? Is this a future iteration? And do you see publisher ad networks as a significant publisher strategy going forward?
I’m not a big fan of the scaling attributes of retargeting or for that matter the cookie economy as a whole (as I’ve written about here). Cookie sharing has fleeting temporal value and major privacy issues. I do see a possibility of bringing the publisher segments directly into the exchanges.
I believe the publisher destiny as networks, DSPs agencies, or whatever the new forms they will have to take – that their success will depend on the performance of their media, the performance of the media will depend on relevance matching and relevance matching will depend on actionable data. We will be there to help every step of the way.
How does the revenue model work for Yieldbot?
Yieldbot is being launched as a managed platform. Yieldbot’s publisher optimizers create the segments, match ads and manage performance optimization. Functionally the interface is similar to AdWords so that someone familiar with SEM would feel right at home using the system. Yieldbot is 100% aligned with getting the highest revenue for our publishers working as a true revenue share partner rather than a more opaque optimizer.
Yieldbot is completely transparent. Publishers can log onto the system and see all site segmentation, impressions, click data and revenue statistics. Publishers at any time can see the ads and creative being served to a particular segment. Yieldbot can also work with the publishers own ads server to optimize direct buys and custom integrations by adding a level a targeting rules and ad performance heretofore unavailable. Our success is our publisher’s success and our publisher’s success is our success.