The programmatic ecosystem once held great promise.
Today, programmatic advertising is bloated, complicated, and inefficient. Supply and demand lack a common language with which to classify and value users.
Download our summary to learn how Rivr closes the programmatic gap between advertisers and publishers.
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Rivr Audience Yield Manager — Outline of The Tour
For the last year, Simplaex has been developing our Audience Yield Manager called Rivr. Thanks to the input of our beta partners, we’ve developed a fantastic platform that allows Publishers and SSPs to set the right floor price and select the relevant demand partners — on the audience level.
Now it’s time to hit the road and share Rivr with the rest of the world!
In order to do that, I’m about to embark on a tour across Europe and North America, making stops in various conferences and sundry cities.
For those who like stats, take a gander at this. This tour will include:
– 8 events
– 7 cities
– 16 flights
– 64 hours in the air
This doesn’t take into account a number of smaller trips to Paris, Hamburg, San Francisco, Tel Aviv and London!
Berlin is nicely bookending this tour. We’ll be starting off easy with Mobile Growth Summit in Berlin as the first stop. The last event will be Simplaex’s own event at the start of December back in Berlin! A nice way of celebrating the finish of the tour with an event in our own backyard.
For now, I’m going to rest up, stretch (never want to pull a hammy!) and prepare for the adventure. First Stop — MGS Berlin!
Meet The Berlin Startup Trying To Fix All Of Programmatic’s Problems
Rivr — billed as a universal translator for the programmatic ecosystem — is trying to refine the transaction process. Can a small startup achieve the ambitious goal of simplifying a crowded marketplace?
In my short time covering the martech space, one thing has quickly become clear: Marketing exists in theory and in practice. The gold standard for marketers is for their customers not even to notice they’re being marketed to — to deliver the exact right thing to the exact right person at the exact right time. Yet, with technological innovation comes technological difficulty, and noble as the programmatic advertising space is in its quest to maximize efficiency, there are more than a few efficiency gaps.
Enter: A small Berlin-based startup, Simplaex, that made a big announcement in June at AdMonsters 2018 Ops Conference in New York City. It announced the beta-launch of a project called Rivr — billed as a universal translator for the programmatic value chain to classify audiences and support SSPs and publishers to understand and anticipate any change in the bid stream on an audience level.
“In our conversations with advertisers, publishers and SSPs, we heard a number of recurring themes, all related to the fragmentation of the programmatic supply chain. Rivr addresses these themes head on without adding another layer to the tech stack,” said Simplaex CEO Jeffry van Ede in June.
I recently spoke with Benjamin Hansz, Simplaex’s VP of strategy, to discuss how the solution works, and what it might mean for the future of managing audiences in the programmatic marketplace.
In theory, Hansz said, a publisher is connected to an SSP, the SSP is then connected to the hundreds of different demand partners (either DSPs or direct advertisers), there could be an agency involved in there, and there might be a DMP as well — all those fish are swimming in the automated bowl trying to facilitate the ad buy. According to Hansz, there are two specific ways that the programmatic process as it currently exists fails. One kind of informs the other:
There are too many parties involved, and thus, wires get crossed, mistakes are made.
There’s a tremendous lack of trust. Hansz described a familiar refrain delivered to the supply side from marketers: “Well how do I know that the highest bid that actually came through is what you passed onto me? How do I know you’re not collecting more than your fair share of the transaction?”
Rivr, the AI-powered special project of Simplaex, which is still currently in beta testing with at least four different partners (whom Hansz declined to name) aims to eliminate the causes of that distrust.
“What Rivr does, is it actually uses AI to understand each party’s user classification — how they’re classifying those users,” he explained. “And then it basically acts like a universal translator [to] make sure that everyone’s comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges. More importantly, it can also see which demand partner’s actually looking for a specific user, and can actually just show them the things that they want to see.”
Currently, an advertiser sends out their request to a hundred different demand partners, and if you’re lucky, as Hansz says, perhaps three will reply. That’s a lot of wasted spend in finding those suitable three.
“So, it not only acts as a translator so everyone can know who wants what — who can buy what,” Hansz said. “But it also helps save on operational costs, because you’re only sending the relevant impressions or the relevant opportunities to the people who want it.”
But how? Hansz said the data Rivr needs to work is the same data already available to SSPs.
“The programmatic ecosystem is developed to sell individual impressions in an automated fashion,” Hansz said. “The problem is, that is on what we’re calling a ‘traffic-level’ dimension. It’s saying, I have a banner … on the sports page of this website that we want to show, who wants to buy it? What’s different here is, we’re transforming the transaction from an ad format to an audience format.”
So, instead of the machines talking and saying, “Hey, I have this inventory on this particular website,” Rivr could, in theory, provide a much more granular impression. Say, for example, “Hey, I have this impression to offer: A 20-to-30-year-old female in the U.K. who loves competitive diving.”
Rivr is in the early stages, with an ambitious goal of expanding its partners and going commercial before the end of the year. There are multiple machine learning models for different datasets (age, gender, interests, engagement likelihood) that are all in automated communication with one another. Hansz said that its partners have seen five times higher clickthrough rates in beta testing, and the company is hoping that will carry them to commercial success in the coming months.
“The motivation for advances in ad tech has been to the benefit of one party, or to maximize the ROI for one party,” Hansz said. “What we’re doing is we’re not maximizing anyone’s ROI, what we’re maximizing is the efficiency of the deal flow.”
If that’s true, it’s hard to imagine why it wouldn’t be welcome.
A Rivr Runs Through the Exchange: Simplaex’s AI-Powered Identification Layer
“Why is everyone unhappy in this industry?” asks Jeff van Ede, CEO and Co-Founder of Simplaex. “There is something fundamentally wrong in this industry, and with my nature as a troubleshooter, I couldn’t let it go.”
Doesn’t it seem ridiculous that technology players like Facebook and Google are soaking up the majority of digital ad revenue? These companies are merely the gatekeepers to access data and users — well, access them at scale, which is where the real money is.
Because advertisers and publishers feel as if they’re forced into working with the Duopoly, they fling fingers of blame at each other (e.g., viewability, programmatic race to the bottom) and square off with increasingly ludicrous postures. Thus we remain in the era of sided platforms as Google, Facebook, and a little up-and-comer named Amazon gain more and more leverage over the larger digital advertising landscape.
“A lot of new technologies are developed to support either the advertiser or the publisher,” van Ede says. “Each is trying to outsmart the other side in getting a better deal. That might be good for either one individually, but the ecosystem suffers.”
Simplaex has an interesting solution — an AI-powered communication layer centrally located so it can assist publishers and advertisers better meet each other’s objectives, which VP of Strategy Benjamin Hansz was kind enough to detail for the crowd at Programmania during this year’s Ops. The beta rollout of Rivr (actually launched at Programmania) is greatly focused on SSPs, which are increasingly serving as exchanges or just preferred intermediaries.
The technology attempts to push bid infrastructure away from units to people-based marketing — evaluating bid streams on an audience level. By serving as an independent layer, River aims to classify users from the bidstream via bidding attributes from the buy side; profile attributes from the supply side based on data connected to bid requests; and user interaction gathered through monitoring.
Rivr theoretically allows the buy side, exchange, and sell side to exchange audience information through a secure channel. Van Ede explains that Simplaex does not store or enrich the data; it can be used a validation or verification tool by third parties. But the larger benefit will be using its AI Wallace to optimize recommendations to both buyers and sellers.
In effect, the company is proposing using this communication layer — or a “universal translator,” as Simplaex puts it — as a way to bypass IDs (including cookies). This could be a useful way to get around some of the pitfalls of GDPR, with the buy side able to rely more on the supply side data from publishers that have received consent.
It’s a fascinating employment of AI, one that could level the playing field for supply-side technology players that aren’t as well endowed when it comes to first-party data, but whom have solid technology and publisher partners with the data goods. Though it’s early days with Rivr now just launching in beta, the aim seems to be a solution that easily plugs into most technologies within the programmatic space.
Potentially, a tool like Rivr could sit side by side with other identifiers… Or such a communication or translation layer could actually replace the need for identifiers.
Rivr, the new AI-powered Audience Yield Manager that enables SSPs and publishers to advance to an audience-based performance model, today announced it will host a special roundtable event entitled “Supply Side Innovation: Is it the Missing Piece in the Digital Advertising Ecosystem?” Scheduled for Wednesday, June 6th from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. ET in New York at ZAG S&W Law Firm, 1633 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. The roundtable will explore issues, trends and opportunities that are currently top-of-mind with the digital advertising and media industries, including:
Publisher alliances and why they haven’t delivered on their promise.
Consolidation in the industry, especially on the supply side e.g. Snap & Metamarkets, Rubicon & NToggle.
Blockchain being applied to digital advertising — a welcome degree of complexity that will add value or just hype.
If the complexity of technology should be applied to those areas where humans cannot perform — like in how RTB works in less than 200ms.
How to demonstrate value-add as opposed to being considered part of the “tech tax.”
What does the landscape between Publisher and Advertiser look like in 5 years?
If simplicity of technology should be used where humans need to interface with technology or rather at the intersection of manual and automation — like in set-up, execution, and reporting, among related topics and issues.
The roundtable, hosted by James Hercher, Reporter, AdExchanger, will feature several notable industry executives including:
Jeffry van Ede, CEO & Co-Founder, Simplaex
Romain Job, Chief Product Officer, Smart AdServer
Ahmed Karim, Yield Optimization Lead, Chegg
Jim Asip, Director, Programmatic Sales, Cox
Eric Zambrana, Global Head of Inventory and Yield Management, TripAdvisor
John Delvito, Yield & Ad Ops Manager Programmatic Specialist, Nasdaq
Charlene Chen, Account Director, Global Brands and Agency Teams, Sonobi
Yinon Horwitz, Global Data Strategy, StartApp
“There’s an enormous gap that divides the digital advertising industry. On one side, you have the ‘walled gardens’ and on the other side is everyone else. These walled gardens derive their power from being the sole system standing between demand and supply. This allows them to ‘speak’ the same language throughout the process from bid request to serving an impression. However, SSPs and publishers are in a unique position to act as a ‘translator’ to the fragmented ecosystem. By detecting the bidding patterns on the demand side, plus all the available data in the bid stream, allows them to shift to an audience-based advertising and fight back against the ‘walled gardens’!,” said van Ede. “We’re delighted to bring together some of the industry’s smartest and brightest minds to have an open dialogue to discuss the issues of the day, how to address the challenges digital advertisers face, and how we can find the best monetization tools.”
To attend this special roundtable breakfast, please register here.
Rivr is a new Audience Yield Manager, powered by Simplaex’s AI-backbone, that enables SSPs and publishers to progress to an audience-based performance model, delivering exponential value to both advertisers and publishers. Rivr is the first AI technology that will reduce waste and complexity, create a new kind of transparency and control to deliver ROI benefits across the full programmatic spectrum. For more information, visit http://biz251.inmotionhosting.com/~rivrai5/ or follow us on Twitter.
Simplaex Unveils AI-Powered Rivr To Help Advertisers Reach Audience
Simplaex, a company focused on using artificial intelligence to evaluate consumer habits and programmatic advertising, beta-launched its new Rivr.
Rivr is an AI-powered audience yield manager that provides an audience-based performance model to bridge the programmatic gap between advertisers and publishers.
Meant to tackle the increasingly complicated relationship between publishers and advertisers, Rivr offers a new level of precision by simplifying the supply chain.
“In our conversations with advertisers, publishers and SSPs, we heard a number of recurring themes, all related to the fragmentation of the programmatic supply chain. Rivr addresses these themes head on without adding another layer to the tech stack,” stated Jeffry van Ede, CEO-cofounder, Simplaex.
Rivr translates any changes to the bid stream on an audience level for publishers and SSPs. It also allows for dynamic pricing strategies that posits the value of an audience rather than demand. In turn, buyers can target specific audiences while sellers get the best pricing and rates.
The focus is on transparency for both sides of the advertising supply chain: real time adjustments are made through AI-powered programmatic interaction inside the bid stream.
According to Simplaex, the simplicity of the technology allows for optimized performance, as it uses actual supply and demand to unify audience classification and value, which it claims leads to an enhanced ROI for all parties.
Moti Tal, CTO-coFounder, Simplaex stated “Rivr’s AI can be plugged into any existing technology to offer SSPs and publishers the ability to better forecast and price audiences … so they can sell more without risking under-delivery or cannibalization.”
Rivr was tested with several SSPs across the U.S. and Europe before entering the beta-testing phase.
Simplaex Introduces Rivr To Bridge The Programmatic Gap Between Advertisers And Publishers
Simplaex, today announced the beta-launch of Rivr, its new AI-powered Audience Yield Manager that enables SSPs and publishers to advance to an audience-based performance model, delivering exponential value to advertisers. The announcement was made today at the AdMonsters 2018 Ops Conference in New York.
Today, programmatic advertising has passed the tipping point, and has become a highly complex and non-transparent landscape. The ever-increasing tech stack at both sides of the ecosystem is driving advertisers and publishers further apart when it comes to understanding and evaluating audiences.
Rivr promises to present a unified audience view live from the programmatic bid stream to give publishers and SSPs renewed confidence in their most valuable asset — its audiences. It’s no secret that advertisers love precision; the more precisely they can hit their prospective customers right in their key motivators, the more they stand to gain from their placement on a publishers’ site.
At its core, Rivr acts as a universal translator for the programmatic value chain to classify audiences and supports SSPs and publishers to understand and anticipate any change in the bidstream on an audience level. According to the demand-side’s “willingness to pay” for a specific audience, SSPs and publishers can also adapt to a dynamic pricing strategy that represents the real value of an audience versus the actual demand. As a result, buyers will be able to receive the specific audiences they want and sellers can optimize pricing and fill rates accordingly with a highly cost-efficient traffic distribution mechanism.
Following an intensive collaboration with several SSPs in the US and Europe, Rivr officially closed its design phase and is now moving to beta. Heading up Rivr will be Benjamin Hansz, who was recently appointed as Vice President of Strategy for Simplaex
“In our conversations with advertisers, publishers and SSPs, we heard a number of recurring themes, all related to the fragmentation of the programmatic supply chain. Rivr addresses these themes head on without adding another layer to the tech stack,” said Jeffry van Ede, CEO and Co-Founder, Simplaex.
“We’ve worked extremely hard on ensuring that Rivr’s AI can be plugged into any existing technology to offer SSPs and publishers the ability to better forecast and price audiences, while also giving them the assurance that these audiences don’t overlap with other high-value segments and sections so they can sell more without risking under-delivery or cannibalization,” said Moti Tal, CTO and Co-Founder, Simplaex.
The following are the key benefits of Rivr:
Transparency: A single factual view on audiences from both sides of the supply chain, classified in real time through the programmatic interaction from within the bid stream.
Simplicity: Recognize and respond to any change within the bid stream and understand all factors of influence to any change in audiences on either supply- or demand side.
Performance: Unified audience classification and valuation based on the actual supply and demand optimizes the ROI of advertisers, publishers and SSPs.
“It’s easy to get lost in the over-complicated landscape of adtech these days, but what we’re providing is a rather simple and elegant solution. Advertisers have become used to buying audiences, and our platform enables SSPs and publishers to deliver what advertisers want,” said Hansz.
Simplaex is the company behind the world’s most advanced Artificial Intelligence-powered user classification technology. As ads move through the programmatic supply chain, Simplaex aligns the ROI interests of the demand and supply side by creating a unified insight in understanding and valuation of consumer behavior. For more information, visit www.simplaex.com or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Rivr is a new Audience Yield Manager, powered by Simplaex’s AI-backbone, that enables SSPs and publishers to progress to an audience-based performance model, delivering exponential value to both advertisers and publishers. Rivr is the first AI technology that will reduce waste and complexity, create a new kind of transparency and control to deliver ROI benefits across the full programmatic spectrum. For more information, visit biz251.inmotionhosting.com/~rivrai5/ or follow us on Twitter.