Ruben Buell is CEO of AdShuffle.
AdExchanger.com: How has AdShuffle evolved since its inception? What opportunities is AdShuffle seeing today that it didn't see when AdShuffle began in 2005?
RB: AdShuffle started out as a real-time ad serving solution for publishers in 2005 and has grown into a fully integrated real-time advertiser and publisher solution that can easily be managed under one login. We built AdShuffle on a real-time architecture, so users could manage all their buys and inventory in real-time and run reports in real-time. Then we expanded to real-time automated creative optimization, then landing page optimization and then to integrated remarketing and targeting within our own custom targeted creative sets technology. We continue to push the boundaries of real-time analytics, leading the industry.
AdShuffle was founded on the idea that buying, selling, serving and measuring advertising online should be easy. The single greatest comment we hear from our customers is that their previous ad server was too complicated and didn’t deliver results. AdShuffle solves that. We built AdShuffle as one simple solution for both advertisers and publishers. And AdShuffle’s ongoing mission is to continue to make everything as easy as possible and to break down some of the process barriers that currently exist in the industry.
What's your view on the demand-side platform (DSP) trend? How does it relate to AdShuffle's business model?
Demand-side platforms are agencies’ response to the lack of transparency in the industry. This lack of transparency is one of the core problems inherent in the online advertising industry.
Agencies were frustrated by their inability to see what was going on with their buys, and they felt that the only solution was to do the work themselves. AdShuffle is solving this problem for them. We’re developing products and processes that provide that transparency, so agencies can focus their energies less on the technology and more on their clients.
What's in the DSP trend for publishers?
Demand-side platforms apply negative pressure to publisher pricing, eroding their inventory value in an already-tight advertising economy. AdShuffle gives publishers a way to maximize their eCPMs, helping them identify which advertisers and networks work best for them, and which do not.
How do you compete with free ad serving capabilities such as those of OpenX with AdShuffle's EasyPay product?
OpenX is a very limited solution for publishers new to advertising. AdShuffle serves both publishers and advertisers with a flexible, yet robust full-service solution that maximizes both eCPMs and marketing spend, helping them to be more profitable.
Please define AdShuffle's core competencies - beyond "a global leader in ad serving and marketing technology." Who's in your competitive set?
AdShuffle is a full-service, real-time ad serving platform for advertisers and publishers. AdShuffle incorporates everything under one login allowing users to easily manage buying and selling media without having access to two systems and learning two different systems.
AdShuffle’s strengths include providing advertisers and publishers with real-time reporting, automated creative and landing page optimization, remarketing, advanced targeting (using what we call “targeted creatives sets”), campaign management and more.
Our competitive set includes larger players in ad serving, including Google’s DoubleClick and Atlas, now part of Microsoft advertising platform.
How have your previous roles at Wells Fargo and H.D. Vest Financial Services prepared you for the ad business? Any challenges?
At Wells Fargo and H.D. Vest Financial Services, our focus was on maximizing what we provided for our clients and what they could in turn provide for their customers. We worked on systems that provided real-time data and these systems could not fail or they impacted a client’s purchase or sell of a customer’s stock or mutual fund. Coming from the financial services industry, we have no tolerance for failure within our systems and data and that’s coming from a different mindset than most people in this industry.
We also developed extremely creative ways to provide our clients with top-notch technology and services, which they in turn could provide to their clients. We’ve leveraged that background in real-time trading and stock quotes to bring real-time data to ad serving. Without having worked in the financial services industry, I’m not sure we would have had as much knowledge on the financial side of our clients business as we are as fortunate to have today. We understand finances and what it really means to have a return on your investment, which is what every single one of our clients wants.
Coming from the financial services industry, we didn’t accept the status quo of the online advertising industry. We constantly ask, “why is it done this way?” and then respond with “we can do it better.” And from the responses we get from clients, we are doing it better.
Is "real-time" really necessary for effective optimization? Can effective optimization be implemented without real-time feedback whether its conversion data, audience data, etc.?
Real-time is absolutely necessary. Finding out an ad or a landing page isn’t working as quickly as possible saves advertisers from wasting money on the wrong ad or the wrong location. You also don’t know what’s working at certain times of the day if you don’t have real-time data. Without real-time data and optimization what do people do over the weekends? Typically wait until Monday to find out a buy didn’t work. Imagine how critical it is for advertisers to be able to run buys on the weekend and know they are performing effectively because of real-time information and results.
Optimization cannot be effective if it’s not in real-time. You will be without a doubt throwing money away. If you settle for optimizing once a day or only several times a week, you are basically saying that it’s okay to throw away 30-40% of your marketing budget.