Rocket Fuel's entry into Japan last year through a partnership with Dentsu subsidiary interactive unit cyber communications inc. (CCI) has helped the Japanese ad shop's ability to expand its programmatic services, particularly its demand-side platform (DSP) business.
Though its programmatic business was essentially nonexistent before teaming with Rocket Fuel, its DSP business has since risen more than 400% over the past year. And now, programmatic in general accounts for 10% of CCI’s total revenue -- up from 2% before the two began working together, said Akio Niizawa, CCI's president and CEO, in a translated email conversation.
"Compared with the traditional DSPs, Rocket Fuel has been very successful not only to automatically optimize campaign effectiveness but also at the same time to discover potential clients for the advertisers, to provide the effectiveness without interruption and expanded the reach which we consider that it contributed to our revenue growth," Niizawa said.
Niizawa also mentioned CCI's recent partnership with data-management platform (DMP) Krux, whose technology CCI will integrate with Rocket Fuel’s to improve its DSP offering. Additionally, Niizawa said earlier this month that CCI is preparing to use US-based DSP Dennoo's cost-per-view metrics to support its online video ad buys. The Japanese company also participated in Dennoo's $2 million funding round earlier this year.
Programmatic ad spending, though still a small part of Japan's total $50 billion ad market (as per ZenithOptimedia), is expected to experience even greater gains in 2014. Niizawa cited Dentsu figures showing that Japan's programmatic marketplace rose about 119% last year. Similar growth rates are expected for this year as well, Niizawa said. Both CCI and Rocket Fuel hope to capitalize on this growing market by expanding their respective partnerships.
“In addition to helping our existing customers grow their programmatic success, we will continue to work with Japanese agencies to identify advertisers who could benefit from Rocket Fuel's technology," said Richard Frankel, president and co-founder of Rocket Fuel. "We are very excited about the recent release of our branding products, which will allow some of the Japan's biggest advertisers to capitalize on the growing power of RTB (real-time bidding) in the market."
The CCI partnership has certainly helped Rocket Fuel, which recently posted Q3 top-line revenue growth of 132%. Though neither company would provide specific dollar figures, Frankel said that the "growth rate of Rocket Fuel's business in Japan has averaged 250% per quarter."
Other Western companies are also getting into the mix. Besides Rocket Fuel, DSP/DMP provider Turn and retargeter Criteo, have all made their first forays into Asia in the past year to help latch onto the emerging programmatic space there.