Sam Barnett is CEO of Struq, an online advertising technology company.
AdExchanger.com: Would you say that the secret sauce in Struq's technology sn the matching of ads according to a behavioral profile? How is this different than other solutions which retarget and match users with specific creative?
Display ads have a poor click-through rate and a reliance on post impression sales because the content, marketing messages, offers and products within a creative are static and predefined by creative teams. The result is that the content of the display ads are irrelevant to the majority of user’s who view the ad and irrelevant ads result in banner blindness and wasted ad spend.
Struq customizes the content of the ad to the user with relevant products, services, offers and marketing messages in real-time based on user’s online activities. Have a look at our live demo to see how Struq personalises ads for you www.struq.com/demo
We have built proprietary technology to enable advertisers to serve the most relevant ad to users (a Data Engine which creates logic about users; a Matching Engine which matches consumer interest and intent with the right advertiser, product, service and offer in real time; a Presentation engine which collates the creative elements and ad template and an Ad Serving Engine to deliver the dynamic display ads tailored to the user’s interests and activities).
We are fortunate to have leading minds in Artificial Intelligence, Rocket Science and Adserving technology working on Struq’s technology - but it’s the math that matters in each of those Engines – building proprietary technology means the data is extensible, enabling Struq to utlize all the data to successfully influence a campaign to deliver superior performance for our clients.
Do you use multi-variate testing for your creative similar to a Tumri or Teracent? Any plans here?
Struq’s Presentation engine utlizes single ad templates which seamlessly deliver an unlimited number of personalised, relevant and informative ads customised to users. The benefit Struq’s presentation engine originally offered was to Agencies – enabling them to save significant time resource and money on ad design, creation, localisation and ad trafficking using Struq’s presentation engine.
Multivariate testing has been built into Struq’s Presentation Engine to ascertain which creative content and variation of creative elements produces the best results for advertisers in real time as the ad is being served. The result for Struq clients has been unprecedented, lowering customer acquisition costs by up to 47%.
The benefit for agencies, exchanges and networks who use Struq’s Presentation Engine is that at the end of the campaign, they can conclusively deliver the optimal performing creative for their clients at no cost.
What is Struq's target market? Please describe your revenue model.
Struq operates in two ways.
- Media business. Struq charges advertisers on a Cost Per Click basis (CPC) to buy media from Struq.
- Technology Business. Providing Struq’s solution to advertising agencies, networks, exchanges, buying platforms and yield management solutions enabling them to serve dynamic display ads for their clients. We charge technology clients on a CPM basis for every thousand ads they serve.
Where do you get your data sets? Have you been using any of the data exchanges? If so, can you share anecdotes on their performance?
We have spoken to the data exchanges and there seems to be lack of European data at the moment so can’t share any anecdotes unfortunately!
Struq’s data engine creates logic about users. How data sets are created depends on the client:
- Networks and Exchanges can leverage their publisher network to utilize data from publisher sites, Enabling relevant advertisers to target those users with a customized ad within their network.
- Agencies, in addition to their client’s onsite data (from the advertiser they are buying for), they can also utlizie data from media buys (Display, Search, Affiliate etc) to create data sets which can then be applied to existing media relationships to deliver dynamic ads and improve the performance and efficiency of the media buy.
- Affiliate platforms can leverage both Merchant data and Affiliate sites data, enabling relevant advertisers and merchants to target those users with a customized ad within their network.
- Advertiser’s can, of course, use onsite behaviour to create data about users in order to deliver personalised ads relevant to their users.
How are media agencies evolving in the UK? What will they need to do to survive in a digital future?
Agencies certainly need to evolve to survive. Aegis released their profits were 86% down in the first half of 2009 and WPP profits were down 47%. Agencies need to implement cost savings, increased performance for clients (online and offline) and drive greater efficiencies as a business.
Agencies are evolving at different rates in the UK and I think their evolution is highlighted by those agencies adopting innovative technologies like Struq to benefit themselves and their clients. Some agencies use Struq to drive substantial time and cost savings to improve margins through saving time, resource and money designing, building, localising and trafficking creative’s through Struq’s Presentation Engine. Others use Struq to deliver greater results for their clients as Struq’s is a central buying point to apply logic and targeting data across all media purchased to gain unduplicated reach to enable agencies to target users with personalised dynamic ads, ensuring more efficient media spend and better performing advertising. All our agency clients use the data to create trend reports to more effectively buy their media on and offline.
What's your view on cross-channel attribution? Is Struq able to provide clients with cross-channel attribution analytics? Just digital?
Something we didn’t expect was that agencies would use granular data gained from a campaign using Struq’s technology to influence clients overall media plans (online and offline). For example, as a result of the campaign the agency knew that in Newcastle, Hull and Stoke, people responded to the marketing message “Buy 3 and get 1 Free!” and the most popular product for people in those areas were Self Tanning Products, their radio/print etc copy for campaigns in those regions was then tailored with the relevant information to make the advertising campaigns more effective. Granular data from Struq has enabled the faster evolving agencies to buy their media more effectively across the entire media plan and increase their performance as an agency for their clients.
Are advertising exchanges central to your offering? Is there technical integration that Struq needs to implement with an exchange in order to map cookies and creative in real-time?
Ad Exchanges are not central to Struq’s offering as a business. As a technology business we give our clients the tools to use in their own arena. As a media business, we have integrated with the major exchanges that have traffic in the UK. However there is still a lack of inventory (especially quality inventory), available.
What are the basic differences you see between the online ad market in the U.S. and UK?
The US has traditionally been at the forefront of advertising innovation. However there are European ad companies now leading innovation across the Globe. You can look at Struq, Adjug, Tagman and Skmlinks and as just a few examples of that.
Are you a BT (behavioural targeting) believer? Does it work?
Traditional behavioural targeting is limited as the messages, products, services and offers are predefined. I am a believer in the next generation of behavioural targeting that Struq offers, customising the content of the ad to the user with relevant products, services, offers and marketing messages in real time based on user’s online activities to deliver ads that are relevant and informative to users and deliver greater performance for advertisers. Displaying tailored, relevant, informative advertising based on a user’s intent, results in 9 Times the Click Through Rate and 35% More Sales on average than leading networks and targeting providers (including contextual and standard behavioural targeting).
Do you have, or will you have, a real-time bidding capability? What's your view on RTB?
We make a huge amount of real time decisions through our 4 engines about the right advertiser, product, service and offer (Matching Engine) and then about which is the ad template and creative elements to serve to that user based on the Multivariate Testing leanings (Presentation Engine). However, we don’t have RTB capabilities that work within the Double Click Exchange just yet.
RTB brings the promise of greater scale and efficiency to the display space. We’ll have to wait and see what it delivers.