Jon Ingalls is Co-Founder and CEO of TrackSimple, online advertising technology company.
Please discuss your background. Moving big data has always come with the territory it would appear.
I've been lucky to work in markets where data is very important. I was at Amazon.com during an incredible growth cycle and was responsible for building out Amazon’s large-scale data aggregation network. That infrastructure processes several hundred terabytes of performance and operational data every day. Seeing such a powerful application make it easy to aggregate, easy to mine, and easy to share all this data made me think other companies could benefit from this kind of technology.
What problem is TrackSimple solving?
TrackSimple automates the three critical pieces of managing data in distributed environments:
- Data collection;
- Highlighting critical insights from data; and
- Sharing data safely and securely with partners.
Interactive advertising resides within an almost completely SaaS or service infrastructure, meaning that data which is critical for planning, in-market optimization, and analysis is invariably siloed, sometimes intentionally - sometimes not. This is called a distributed data environment - we think of this as a Data 1.0 environment – where there is a lot of data within an enterprise, but no simple way to discern what is actionable data, let alone what to do with toward making predictions.
Because of the powerful economics of the web and online storage, data is almost casually produced as a massive by-product of companies’ collective activities. This spans all channels and tactics, display, email, search, coupon, etc. In other words, while everyone knows that there is a ton of data in our business, they don’t know what to do with it, and the fact is that there’s probably a whole lot more data that they’re not even aware of, but could do a lot with if they knew how.
Who do you consider to be in your competitive set?
What we did at Amazon.com has not been duplicated anywhere, and I think it’s safe to say that people regard that as the best system of its kind. So we have not encountered any true competitors yet. Assuredly, some will rise. But -
- Our system is indifferent to where the data comes from and the format.
- Our predictive analytics stack automatically surfaces correlations in this context. This means more data can become actionable automatically through our technology.
- We have invested a lot of time and money into making this a very low IT burden on the industry. We show them what they can be doing with their own data because it’s simple to get started and add additional data sources easily.
What are the factors involved that will enable the trading of online media? Can you see it happening someday?
The industry is certainly taking steps in that direction, it’s fun to watch. We see new companies being created just to educate and enable Agencies to participate on the buying exchanges and intent exchanges.
I’m a huge fan of the direction and the buying and selling within a data economy, but the value of any purchase needs to be measured and that is hard to do in a distributed data environment where there is no data standard and there won’t be for the foreseeable future.
Nick Brien touched this point at 4A’s. The industry is drowning in data and that’s exactly why we created TrackSimple - to make it simple to collect, correlate and share data for greater returns. We have a lot of experience at surfacing what drives and degrades results. The Agencies and Publishers we work with are leveraging TrackSimple for precisely this purpose.
What is predictive analytics cluster analysis? Why should marketer care about it?
Interactive media marketers have been talking about data for years. But, how often do you hear anyone talking about predictive analytics? While some companies are claiming to provide predictive analysis, there is nobody enabling the kind of predictive analytics and dynamic segmentation that we provide.
Simply stated, by leveraging the cloud and performing dynamic segmentation for each campaign, our technology enables marketers to compare exchanges, sites, data-suppliers, psychographic, demographic, seasonal, site and property attributes across an infinite array of metrics or conversion outcomes – whatever the marketer defines.
So, our technology enables marketers to make predictions in an ongoing manner, every day – while also showing them in stark, graphical terms, why these predictions are the right ones.
TrackSimple creates an easy to use destination where marketers can manage and leverage their advertising data, which has clearly outgrown the standard spreadsheet pivot table.
Do you provide the insights in layman's terms or does the marketer need to do sift through the data feeds to make it actionable?
Marketers need not ever sift through our interface. We make it very simple.
We have tailored our resulting predictions into very simple Drop or Increase recommendations and we show you the probable outcome in advance.
Amazon was a great teacher in this respect. One of the reasons ecommerce is so successful is because Jeff Bezos is relentlessly focused on the consumer and making it convenient for them to buy whatever they can discover – for example “1-Click”.
Can you talk a little bit about the federated data model? Is the customer ready?
Marketers (and some publishers) are creating their own federated data models every day. Every-time a Media Planner, Analyst, Director or Inventory Analyst pulls data and reports from multiple vendors to create a view of the world they are creating a federated data model. Ad-Networks are federated data models in action. Because the data is so valuable, it’s rare you see joint federated data models between these entities.
Publishers have the most to gain from federating data and IAC Advertising is a great example of aggregating data and inventory to create better selling opportunities at scale.
Trouble is, both Marketers and Publishers are trying harness the power of data using Excel as the aggregator, which is a wonderful tool that has quite literally powered decision making for the last 10 years. But Excel doesn’t scale very well to the amount of data, doesn’t generate recommendations with predictive outcomes. The industry needs to be able to collaborate and share data dashboards with information that is valuable to each party without giving away the farm. For example, few Agencies will share conversion data with publishers unless the relationship is really strong, but both parties would benefit if they could share it without exposing each other’s incentive.
How long does it take for a client to become integrated with Track Simple? And, when do they start seeing the insights?
Most of our clients are up in running in 2-4 weeks and then it runs continuously so it’s not a big up-front to get started. After that, clients generally want to contribute additional sources that will produce new segments, such as geo-targeting. We take log-files, API’s, CSV files, streaming data, data via FTP this makes pulling the data in easy for us and next to zero IT integration. Naturally, our technology works with all the major service providers in display, search and email.