Jeff Wood is CEO of aiMatch, a publisher selling solution for direct and unsold inventory.
JW: First, our greatest achievements in our past experience(s) came from being laser-focused on providing value to our customers. We have to continue to listen to the evolving needs of our customers and our industry, applying over 10 years of industry expertise to deliver new innovations that help our customers achieve results. Second, we have developed an integrated view of the entire online advertising ecosystem. We are putting this experience to work for our customers by providing a platform that addresses a publisher’s business needs and enables them to bring new value into the ecosystem.
Any challenges getting back into startup mode?
It certainly didn’t happen without moments of pause at the thought of starting a new business in the current economy. But the key for us is that we saw a huge need in the market, and we were able to quickly put together an experienced team to address it. We were fortunate to have access to many talented individuals with comprehensive knowledge of the industry and with experience in the startup culture. Our biggest challenge now is to remain focused on our core objectives while at the same time laying the foundation of a company capable of rapid growth.
What problem is aiMatch solving?
There has been great investment and innovation building value into the inventory that a publisher sells via third parties, but more innovation is needed to build value into the inventory that publishers wish to sell directly. The aiMatch solution gives the publisher the Advertising Intelligence (ai) needed to define, increase and optimally sell inventory directly or through third parties.
Given the creation of demand-side platforms for advertisers, do you see aiMatch as the equivalent for publishers? A supply or sell-side platform, if you will?
aiMatch delivers a single solution for publishers to create, forecast, deliver and analyze online media products sold directly or through third parties.
How does aiMatch help with a publisher's data strategy?
Data is definitely a crucial factor in what drove us when we began architecting our new platform. We are delivering an open, extensible platform to make the best use of both internal and external third-party data. Our solution enables publishers to efficiently aggregate and leverage their data. We also provide the business intelligence to analyze and act on that data.
Do you agree that - industry-wide - ad serving has been largely been commoditized? Why did this happen? How will aiMatch overcome this perception?
We agree that ad serving technology prices have been pushed too low and that this has caused a slow-down in innovation that isn’t serving publishers well. The other part of the equation that has squeezed technological advancement is subsidization (the bartering of technology at a low price in exchange for inventory). Recent feedback from publishers indicates they will gladly pay more for more value. Publishers see the value in paying for the technology and keeping relationships between technology and inventory separate.
Do you think publishers should sell through ad networks and exchanges? If so, under what conditions?
We think the recent investment by ad network and exchange vendors is creating good value. We help our publishers leverage those channels by providing the business intelligence required to make educated decisions about networks and exchange strategies or any other channel they choose.
What about an aiMatch solution for real-time bidding (RTB) such as dynamic floor pricing?
We have defined goal, discounting and floor prices on products in our solution so that publishers can monitor and manage rate cards. If our publisher clients want to make inventory available with dynamic floor pricing as a solution to optimize their sales channels, we’re ready.
Can you see a future exchange someday that would include premium/reserved inventory? Under what conditions?
Sure, and our focus is to make sure our publisher customers have the business intelligence tools to make educated decisions on when to sell directly and when to sell through third parties.
A year from now, what milestones would you like to have seen aiMatch accomplish?
We expect to look back and see that our publishers increased the overall value of their inventory as a whole, whether sold directly or through third parties. We expect that we will have helped them make better use of data from both internal and external sources. We will have given them better insight into sales performance. And we will have helped them become better focused (across the organization) on selling both products and audience.