Google and Facebook have no problem compelling advertisers to create ads that visually conform to their huge platforms. Smaller publishers? Not so much.
This week's podcast guest, TripleLift CEO Eric Berry, built his company five years ago based on that fundamental reality.
"We wanted to create an automated platform that would allow people to buy programmatically through RTB pipes and automatically adjust the assets to meet the unique look and feel of the thousands of publishers we would work with," he says.
To get there, it built a standalone exchange, along with a computer vision suite that reviews creative assets – including faces, bodies, edges focal points, text logos and so on – and a rendering engine that can dynamically assemble those elements into ads that match a publisher website.
The platform went live in 2014, but given a lack of direct publisher relationships in the early days, the company functioned as a programmatic ad network rather than an exchange, bidding on impressions on other exchanges. Later it brought more publishers into its own exchange.
Business is good. Revenue in that first year was roughly $5 million, and it approximately tripled in each of the next two years. It's on a run rate to exceed $100 million for 2017. Today TripleLift works with some of the web's largest publishers, including MSN, Hearst and Comcast. And it's profitable.
The company has raised only $16 million, making its momentum all the more impressive. "That has forced us to be thoughtful about the hires we've made and how we've operated the company," Berry says.
Also in this episode: Competing with Google on service! The rise of first-price auctions! Late-stage ad tech!