Rivr closes the programmatic gap between supply and demand
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At the core of Rivr’s audience yield manager for publishers and SSPs is the AI-powered user classification technology, launched by Simplaex earlier in 2018.

Following his appearance at The Drum’s Programmatic Punch in December, where he discussed the challenges publishers face in an automated media buying world, vice president of Simplaex, Benjamin Hansz talks about why transparency and trust remain the major challenges of the ecosystem and how Rivr bridges the programmatic gap between advertisers and publishers.

There’s been plenty of hype around AI, but is it really making a difference in ad-tech?

AI has found applications in a surprising range of industries; from gaming to finance to medicine. Beneath all the hype and buzzwords, the technology is making serious progress. And it’s happening faster than many of us realize. According to a study by eMarketer, in 2016 companies invested about $6 billion into AI research and development. By 2021, that figure is expected to grow to $29 billion.

The best thing about AI in ad-tech is that it benefits both sides of the ecosystem. It allows SSPs and publishers to do business directly with advertisers. AI can help the supply side understand how the demand side classifies users. With these insights, the supply side can offer better quality impressions, for which the advertiser will gladly pay more.

A suitably designed AI can watch your bid-stream for any granular movement that might affect your revenues, and then translate those movements into user-level programmatic yield optimization and actionable intelligence.

In 2019, what advice would you give to publishers and SSPs?

In programmatic advertising, life moves fast. According to Zenith Optimedia, 67% of the digital display advertising will be sold programmatically by 2019. However, transparency and trust remain the major challenges of the ecosystem.

Anyone who’s been in this industry for more than a couple of years has witnessed massive changes in the way we work and the tools we use.

Our new product, Rivr, answers the most pressing questions faced by publishers and SSPs.

Which audiences are driving the most revenue? Which demand partner wants to bid on which audience? What’s the most appropriate demand partner for each bid request?

By switching from a traffic-based model to an audience-based model, publishers and SSPs can finally optimize their pricing and fill rates accordingly.

You have recently launched your product called Rivr. Tell us the story.

The programmatic ecosystem once held great promise. Its goal was to connect ad buyers with publishers in the most simple and efficient way, letting the market determine the true value of each transaction. In practice, however, the programmatic approach has created needless layers of complexity and confusion.

Take a look at Facebook and Google. In the ad-tech industry, everyone loves to criticize them. Facebook and Google built their empires by giving both sides of the ecosystem exactly what they wanted: better accuracy for advertisers, more revenue for publishers. If the rest of the industry hopes to claw back market share and compete with these two goliaths, we would do well to take notes on their strategy. Supply and demand need to stop competing and start collaborating.

To bridge the programmatic gap, advertisers and publishers must find a way to evaluate traffic more transparently. They must agree on a common standard for assessing the value of their audiences. With these challenges in mind, Simplaex has built a solution. We’ve found a way to fix the inconsistencies and fragmentation of user information without adding another layer of complexity to the tech stack.

Our solution is called Rivr. At the point in the bid stream where demand and supply intersect, Rivr acts as a universal translator between the audience classification of the two sides. Rather than providing mismatched feedback to each side, it gives everyone a consistent and unified view of the user.

Rivr is built as a supply-side solution and its AI technology can easily be added via a server-side or client-side integration. With this single integration, publishers can authenticate user classifications across the value chain and apply optimal floor prices for each demand partner.

By tapping into the bid stream, Rivr’s AI engine can analyse the bid requests and the bid responses and extract the key audience information. Rivr observes how the demand side is classifying a user, while at the same time monitoring that user’s behaviour on the supply side. With this end-to-end process, Rivr can determine the user’s actual interest and intent.

Hansz was a panelist on the Publishing and Programmatic session at The Drum Programmatic Punch 2018.


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