NIMESHH PATEL: Drawbridge sells cross-device campaigns to extend targeting from desktop to mobile.
Our go-to-market strategy for Drawbridge in Europe has been to work on a management service basis, but now we’re beginning to drive traction with our platform business, rather than operate on a traditional, more ad network-like model.
Do you also work brand direct, or are most of your clients on the agency side?
NP: Our mode of operation is not to go direct, but to go through an agency, though in the US, it’s a bit of both. In Europe, agencies have considerably more traction. Some of the verticals working best for us right now are retail, travel and technology.
MARK WRIGHT: Travel is huge because people are doing more research on their phones before switching to their desktop to make a purchase. We see this as quite significant because marketers are still reluctant to spend on mobile. They feel like they can’t show worthwhile ROI for those campaigns, but we can see across those different devices and attribute the sales.
Speaking of attribution, you launched an analytics feature in September. What’s next?
NP: We’ll be building out our data and insights product to allow brands to see cross-device attribution across 100% of their media spend. More and more agencies are developing their own in-house mobile teams. In the UK and Europe, especially, we’re beginning to see mobile treated as a vital component that can’t be ignored, which means mobile needs to be truly accountable.
The desktop impression is really intelligent in terms of data attribution, it’s true, but mobile impressions have location. By porting mobile data attributes to desktop and desktop data attribution to mobile, it gives you greater choice regarding how you want to target a certain user in the cross-device ecosystem.
Who are your data partners?
NP: Each local market in Europe is nuanced. Drawbridge has integrations with all of the major data management platforms predominantly in the US. We’re on the hunt for DMPs that have scale in Europe. In Europe, brands often don’t have a DMP of choice as they do in the US. As we start to work with more brands, we’re getting requests to integrate their personal data partners into our platform. As we ink platform deals, we’re getting a laundry list of folks that they’d like us to connect with.
You have a close relationship with Starcom MediaVest in the UK. How do you guys work together?
NP: We work across a number of their brands. The key thing for them is the ability to begin strategizing and getting insights around cross-device attribution for their performance partners, as well as the ability to do location-based targeting.
Agencies, and particularly the mobile teams within agencies, are quickly realizing how important it is to drive accountability in mobile. We’re working closely with those teams to flesh out the whole path to purchase piece.
MW: When you’re part of a mobile team in an agency, you’re beaten with a big stick by the client, who says, “We spent this much, but you’re not showing us great results in the backend.” That’s why attribution is so important.
What kind of cross-device trends are you seeing in Europe and how do they compare to what you see in the US?
NP: We don’t see massive differentials between the two, although smartphone penetration in the Nordics has always been very high. The rest of Europe and the US is catching up to that.
In terms of the number of devices and second screen behavior, it’s fairly similar. If you talk to any major publisher, mobile is becoming a significant portion of consumption in Europe, as it in the US, and, in turn, the methodology we use to track that doesn’t change much. However, there’s not much else to say in the way of generics, because each local market is nuanced.
What are some particular challenges in Europe?
NP: The UK, France and Germany are roughly similar in terms of size and spend, but let’s talk about the UK market, specifically, which is effectively one-seventh the size of the US. That means that when you go out to build and sell campaigns, the deals are going to be much smaller. There are far more particular local markets in Europe versus in the US.
How do you handle a country like Germany which has such strict privacy regulations?
MW: We pride ourselves on being able to take the moral high ground when it comes to privacy. We don’t use logged in data, only anonymous data, to build our device graph. And through relationships with companies like TRUSTe, when a person opts out of a Drawbridge ad, we make sure that the user is also opted out across all the devices associated with that ID on our graph.
The deterministic guys might have trouble in Germany, but they do have some valuable data. How do you approach them?
NP: They operate in walled gardens right now. Facebook has made great advances in mobile – everyone knows that – but we see ourselves as a democratizer of cross-device identity for everyone outside of Facebook and Google, although Google isn’t out in market yet.
NP: I wouldn’t say that Tapad is our main, or our only, competition. The deterministic players like Facebook and Google have a huge graph, but we have a strong pedigree on mobile sites. Our competition is against them, Tapad, perhaps, and a whole raft of other competitors who claim cross-device.
The competitive density of the entire ad tech landscape is very high. That’s why it’s incumbent on us to not just do what our competitors do, but to innovate products and stay ahead of the curve.