Dstillery released Thursday a self-serve version of its digital audience platform, combining a data management and demand-side platform.
While the bulk of Dstillery’s business comes from agencies, it does some brand-direct deployments. The new self-serve offerings won’t replace Dstillery’s managed services, but will offer more flexibility to clients who wish to take an active role in campaigns.
“It’s no secret that agencies are looking for technology tools and not necessarily service providers,” said Kevin Reilly, SVP of platform for Dstillery.
“We spent a very long time building data processes and modeling capabilities and incorporating huge amounts of data into our system but admittedly, we were neglecting … the needs of our users and internal users as well.”
As Dstillery automated its workflow, it wanted to cater to clients who preferred to ditch the I/O process and run campaigns themselves.
“There were customers who wanted to work with us on a self-serve basis and historically, we didn’t have the ability to service those customers,” he said. “It’s opening us up to conversations we weren’t able to have in the past.”
Dstillery’s programmatic self-serve platform won’t compete with traditional DMPs of the like of Oracle DMP (nee BlueKai) or Adobe AudienceManager. On the contrary, Reilly said integrations into Adobe’s DMP, for instance, power audience extension and lookalike modeling.
“The reason our DMP exists is to build really specific audience segments and then translate those to all constituents in the ecosystem,” he added.
Dstillery also claims it can deliver audiences who were previously unidentified and who are of likely value to brand advertisers.
This capability dates back to 2008, when Dstillery was called Media6degrees. At the time, it tapped MySpace’s social graph to perform this capability. Today, it helps brands determine affinities between buyers and non-buyers alike based on the range of sites they visit and the items they purchase.
“We started to add more data to our system, such as web and blog data, which improved our performance and overall algorithms,” Reilly said. “We ended up acquiring Everyscreen Media just over two years ago, which introduced mobile data to the mix and allowed location data to inform our models in addition to commerce and general web data.”
Dstillery also worked early on to root out fraudulent impressions and non-human traffic, developing an algorithm that proactively detects sites with duplicative audience attributes.
“We definitely took a hit in the market early on because our performance looked a little worse compared to some of our competitors because, let’s face it, fraud performs,” Reilly said. “We’ve sprung back and it’s a key differentiation for us, both on a managed basis and increasingly on a platform basis.”
Reilly stuck to CEO Tom Phillips’ earlier declarations that Media6/Dstillery isn’t and never was an ad network or publisher play.
Reilly said Dstillery primarily buys through the open exchange except when it deals directly with a publisher to access a private marketplace. However, that’s a nascent part of its overall business and spend.
“We don’t really have an interest in being a network or owning pub-side relationships,” he added. “We think some of the older networks are struggling to enter the self-serve space since so much of their business is built on these relationships and not on real technology tools.”