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A Q&A with Adelphic’s Michael Collins — The Jay Sears Mobile Ad Tech Leaders Series

February 18, 2014 in Blog

mobile ad tech leadersToday we continue a series of Q&As with mobile ad tech leaders leading up to the Rubicon Project conference on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 from 9am to 1pm at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The packed agenda includes two panels: “Ad Agencies, Mobile and the Automation Opportunity” featuring leading mobile first agencies and “Mobile First DSPs — Why? And Why Now?”

If you plan to be at Mobile World Congress and would like to attend the Wednesday conference, please send an indication of your interest here or contact sears@rubiconproject.com.

Today we continue our mobile ad tech leaders series with Michael Collins, CEO of Adelphic, a mobile demand side platform.

Your Name: Michael Collins

Your Company: Adelphic

Your Title: Chief Executive Officer

What Flavor Ice Cream Best Describes Your Management Style?

Longford’s Chocolate ice cream. Everyone makes chocolate ice cream, but Longford’s, a local ice cream store in my home town, has redefined this flavor by focusing on all the details, using only the best ingredients and never yielding on quality.

SEARS: In mobile today, how much of each $1.00 spent on mobile media by one of your advertisers is spent on automated or programmatic channels?

COLLINS: Excluding Search, the range for our clients is $0.01 to $0.80. On average, for major brands, the amount would be $0.10. Agency adoption of DSPs or other programmatic platforms, which is still nascent, is the major variable in the growth of this number. It is worth noting that a significant portion of mobile ad network buys are executed through the RTB-enabled exchanges, so the amount of media bought as programmatic is much lower than the amount executed as programmatic.

SEARS: For mobile, what was this number in 2011?

COLLINS: $0.01

SEARS: For mobile, what will this number be in 2015?

COLLINS: $0.75. With the exception of branded content executions, home page takeovers and similar executions, the rest of the spend will be programmatic.

SEARS: App vs. mobile web. The app world is fueled by cost-per-install advertising dollars from the most popular apps such as King.com’s Candy Crush, yes or no?

COLLINS: Yes, the big app players are contributing a significant portion of current mobile spend, although “fueled” may be too strong a word. Also, many big brands are starting to measure the results of their mobile spend on some type of CPA, even if the “A” is an engagement metric like a video view or time spent on the landing page. So, from a campaign execution standpoint, the difference between brand campaigns and app download campaigns is narrowing.

SEARS: The mobile web world suffers from an inability to track users and is waiting for better targeting and more brand dollars to arrive in mobile, yes or no?

COLLINS: No. Targeting and tracking on the mobile web is greatly improved, which is evidenced by the shrinking price differential between mobile web and app inventory.

SEARS: It seems like many of the leading agency trading desks have been slow to embrace mobile. After they solidified their work in display, most trading desks focused on building their video capabilities. What will be the catalysts for trading desks – and their operating agencies at the biggest holding companies – to place more focus on mobile?

COLLINS: Whatever was the catalyst, it has already happened – all the holding companies are going full steam to get a mobile solution in place, if they haven’t already.

SEARS: Are the big carriers still relevant in mobile? Everything now happens “off deck,” SMS and call revenue is declining, yet carriers sit on a treasure trove of data. What are the biggest threats and opportunities for carriers and which ones around the globe are the most progressive?

COLLINS: The change in Net Neutrality could make the carriers significant players again. If they control the toll both and the data, expect them to use both to their advantage.

Globally, TurkCell sets the standard for a carrier in mobile advertising. They moved earlier and big to use their data to launch a category defining mobile advertising offering and became the dominant player in their local market.

SEARS: The future of user ID and cross device targeting. What do your advertisers use today for user targeting? Which companies (or types of companies) are in the best position to facilitate user ID and cross device targeting?

COLLINS: Adelphic specializes in user ID. In fact, we have the patent on “cookie-less” User ID on network devices, including mobile devices. We deploy this technology on behalf of all our clients. Strong user ID allows us to bring to mobile many of the strengths of online – retargeting, highly efficient bidding, deploying third-party data at scale, broad and persistent user profiles – and cross-device targeting and attribution.

SEARS: What are the top three “data points” either missing or of dubious quality in mobile media?


1. A persistent and standard identifier, although the lack of one is good for my business

2. More and more accurate location data

3. Reliable third-party impression and click tracking

SEARS: Tell us the about Adelphic:

COLLINS: Adelphic is a mobile DSP and audience solution for agencies, trading desk and brands. Our clients include several of the holding companies, large independent agencies and major web players and we execute campaigns across NA and Europe.


Overall managed budget (media spend / automated media only) for expected 2014 GLOBAL:

  • COLLINS: As a private company, we do not release this information.

SEARS: What are Adelphic’s three biggest initiatives for 2014?


1. Expansion to Asia

2. Integration of new inventory types – DOOH, wearables, automotive

3. In store attribution for mobile campaigns


Apple vs. Google.

iOS vs. Android.

Closed vs. Open.

“The 1%”[Apple] vs. the “Middle Market” [Google].

How do you and your clients think about this dichotomy and how does it impact your advertisers? And how do global markets with a preponderance of feature phones even fit into this mix?

COLLINS: At the end of the day, scale and relevance wins. Google delivers greater scale and relevance than Apple, so my bet is that Google beats Apple in advertising. That said, both the Android and iOS audience is fully accessible without the involvement of Google or Apple, so the ultimate winner should be a platform that can optimize across both these audiences, and the rest of the mobile universe, in real-time.

SEARS: To drive adoption of direct deal automation (programmatic premium) and use of the programmatic channel, what are the major impediments to overcome? Rank these in numerical order:


4__ Operational or workforce issues inside the holding companies or operating agencies

1__ Premium (direct deal) inventory availability via programmatic

5__ Lack of proper ad technology

2__ Alignment of agency compensation models

3__ Other: __Performance as compared to standard exchange inventory

The performance of direct deal (premium) inventory is not consistently better than standard exchange inventory and it is generally more expensive. To be comfortable to spend for this inventory, a brand must be comfortable with assigning the majority of the value to the impression, not the engagement.

SEARS: How are RFPs used in your business? What does a “Programmatic IO” or a “Programmatic RFP” look like?

COLLINS: RFPs for our DSP are generally similar to any other SaaS product. Managed service campaigns, which are a common way for agencies test our platform, are typically executed under an IO similar to an IO that would be issued for a network buy.

SEARS: What should top comScore publisher CROs do to build their mobile direct order automation and programmatic selling with your trading desk and operating agencies?

COLLINS: Establish a private exchange, make the Deal ID available to the DSPs, and attach a lot of data to each request. After that is done, it all comes down to price and performance.

SEARS: All of you work for global companies. What global markets are the leaders and laggards in mobile programmatic?

COLLINS: The US dominates. Western Europe is also strong. China has tremendous potential, but a very large amount of spend is still going to the big players as part of larger, multi-channel deals, so amount of spend available for programmatic is still small.

Tell us a bit more about you:

SEARS: If you could travel for pleasure anywhere in the world, to a place you have never been, where would you go?


SEARS: If you were trapped alone on a desert island and needed to choose one ad holding company CEO to accompany you (other than your own holding company CEO), which CEO would you pick and why?

COLLINS: John Wren. I want his business.

SEARS: When is the last time you went out for a three martini lunch?


To read the interview in its entirety, visit Media Biz Bloggers.

The post A Q&A with Adelphic’s Michael Collins — The Jay Sears Mobile Ad Tech Leaders Series appeared first on Adelphic.

Mad Men meet Mr. Spock; Programmatic Ad Buying

October 13, 2013 in Blog

programmatic ad buyingWe’re witnessing the death throes of advertising’s “Mad Men” era, and the birth of the Mr. Spock era. Mr. Spock is all about making logic-driven decisions with programmatic ad buying based on data collected about consumers and the context surrounding the ad. Who is clicking, and is that click leading to a transaction? Is this ad worth what we’re paying? Mad Men were all about coming up with clever ideas for ads, treating clients to steak-and-martini dinners, and putting TV spots on the most popular shows. You didn’t know exactly who saw your ad when it ran on “Bonanza,” or what impact it had on sales, but you knew it reached a lot of people.

Basically, explains venture capitalist Jeffrey Bussgang, “The geeks have taken over the advertising industry, and it turns out we have a lot of geeks in Boston.”

In the Spock era, it’s amazing how much information an advertiser can get about who’s seeing their message, and how automatic the purchase and placement of these ads are. As you click around a website on your iPad, for instance, advertisers can bid to have their ad shown on a page as it loads.

What price is Zappos willing to pay to reach a 37-year-old woman in Wellesley on a given Sunday? They can pay for their ads to follow you from one site to another, a practice called re-targeting. They can even set ads to show up only when the weather is below 30 degrees.

“Honda might try to encourage people to do test drives by ‘geo-fencing,’ ” says Jennifer Lum, cofounder of Adelphic Mobile, an ad tech start-up in Waltham. Geo-fencing uses your phone’s current location to determine which ads to show you. “They can have mobile ads show up only when someone on a phone or tablet is within a mile of one of their dealerships. Or Starbucks could advertise to users who are close to Dunkin’ Donuts locations.”

And just like programmed stock market trading, many of these ad campaigns are being run automatically with programmatic ad buying. “If you are a company like Wayfair with millions of products, you want to use software to figure out what products to advertise where, and with which kinds of ads,” says Ric Calvillo, chief executive of Boston-based Nanigans, which is nearing 150 employees.

Boston start-ups like Jebbit and SessionMare trying to devise new ways to incentivize consumers to watch or interact with ads. SessionM, for instance, offers a kind of “frequent flier point” for using mobile apps; they can be given out by the app itself, but you get more when you do something with an advertiser, like watch a video or fill out a survey.

With enough of SessionM’s points, “You can shop for Amazon or iTunes gift cards, or make a charitable donation,” says chief executive Lars Albright. “It turns advertising into a more positive experience than just slapping up a banner ad, which people see as basically spam.” His Boston company has 60 employees and has raised $26 million from investors.

All of these new forms of digital influence may skeeve out consumers, who’d prefer to remain untargeted and unmolested. But it’s important to remember that in the Mad Men era, we had soap operas and “Seinfeld” on TV because we watched the commercials. In the Mr. Spock era, we have free apps and social networks because we watch — and occasionally click on — the ads.

“It’s an explicit value exchange,” says Lum. “Consumers get apps and content, but the creation is being subsidized by advertisers that want to reach them.”

The technology delivering the ads may be new, but the trade-off is the same.

To read the article in its entirety visit the Boston Globe.

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What is a Mobile Demand Side Platform?

March 15, 2013 in Blog

Mobile Demand Side Platform

Some companies claiming to be “mobile demand side platforms” are veiled mobile ad networks, or at least they’re mobile ad network-like. Which is to say they may be taking margin without disclosing price paid to the client.

Others may be more transparent, buying on a per-impression basis and charging licensing fees as a standard DSP would do. These companies may bring bidding and optimization features, and data sources, geared to capturing impression opportunities among the confusing array of smartphones and tablets.

We asked a few people for their take on this frequently applied label.

“Mobile DSPs need to unlock the marketing potential of the largely anonymous mobile inventory available in market today. Mobile DSPs require advanced technology that enables faster and more complex processing on a much larger data set. Mobile DSPs need to collect, combine, analyze and process massive amounts of real-time data in order to execute successful campaigns.  Decisions must be made based on real-time analysis of over 100 mobile data points.

There are factors unique to mobile that DSPs must be able to handle across operating systems, browsers, apps, locations, and thousands of devices. An effective mobile DSP must offer robust solutions for each of these fundamental challenges:

  • Variability in data availability
  • User identification
  • Audience intelligence and segmentation
  • Tracking

Of course bidding, targeting, and optimization tools are also required. However they must be designed to consider mobile-specific data to drive real-time consumer behavior and positive ROI.”

To read the article in its entirety, visit AdExchanger.

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Meet the 21 Most Powerful Women in Mobile Advertising

July 11, 2012 in Blog

Mobile AdvertisingWhen we compiled our list of the most important people in mobile advertising — the Mobile Power List 2012 — it contained one depressing anomaly: They were all men.

While there are plenty of influential women in the business, most of them have CEOs above them who are male. When women are CEOs, it tends to be at smaller companies they founded themselves.

So we set out to find and rank the most powerful women in the mobile ad business.

First, we asked our readers to submit nominations. To ensure the nominations weren’t self-serving, we also asked you to submit two nominations from other companies, rivals or colleagues.

This is not a complete list of every influential woman in mobile advertising, obviously. We chose the women with larger client bases, greater revenues (or spending) further reach, larger staffs and more innovative ideas than their peers. There are plenty of women who could have been named to the list, but because they work for companies where there is a peer company that employs an even more powerful woman, we didn’t include them here. We also discriminated against companies that aren’t specific about their revenues, employee headcounts and user reach.

The result is a list that counts not just the most important women in the business, but the women who are also the most prominent for their company type. (For further detail, we discuss the methodology behind the rankings at the end of the list.)

#21 Jennifer Lum

Adelphic Mobile only launched this year but Lum makes it onto the list because of her resume and connections: She was vp/advertising operations at Quattro Wireless, the company that was acquired by Apple and turned into iAd.

She’s been in mobile advertising since 2005, and mentors and invests in other small mobile companies.

We’re curious to see how successful Lum and Adelphic’s “predictive data platform” will be.

To read the article in its entirety, visit Business Insider.

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4 Mobile Marketing Trends to Watch

April 17, 2012 in Blog

mobile marketingAs a marketing professional, I spend a lot of time learning and educating on digital trends. With the current rate of growth, mobile marketing has been one of the most exciting to monitor. The data on user adoption is changing almost daily, with consumers actively changing the way they consume, share and publish.

To keep up with these changes, brands and media companies are regularly making advancements that affect our industry. For this column, I spent some time with my agency’s mobile strategy team to define the top four current trends.

More Data Capture, More Targeting
Advertisers have been able to target by location, content and demographics for some time now. Recently “social targeting” and retargeting across mobile-enabled platforms has emerged. The new capabilities represent a significant opportunity to hone ad delivery. They also allow for greater customization of messaging.

Social targeting (e.g., partners like LocalResponse, Twitter, and Facebook): Scrapes social conversations tied to location to target users. Great for determining very specific communication opportunities.

Retargeting (e.g., partners like Tapad, BlueCava, and Adelphic): Uses connected devices that require registration to trigger usage patterns. Technology can then serve ads based on data collected.

The “Holy Grail” will be a connection point and solid data capture between all digitally enabled platforms (desktop, IPTV, phone, and tablet) … but you can’t be too greedy.

Content Is Adapting
With the proliferation of more digital access points, the attention span of customers is more and more limited. The content should mirror the expectations of the user and brands are starting to use this research to guide asset development across mobile and tablet devices, making content more accessible across all formats (app or mobile web).

Brands should be developing content tied to the consumer’s primary needs. This is true if you are running standard ads in mobile media placements or if you are developing content for organic distribution (e.g., Flipboard). Content development and distribution have positioned marketers as an advertiser and a publisher. It is important to understand the demands on a brand’s content in an always-on, connected culture.

Social Media Is at the Forefront
We have all heard (and agree) that a mobile device is the most personal technology a user constantly accesses. It is unsurprising that social represents a majority of a consumer’s time in mobile. According to comScore, 45% of all Facebook traffic and 55% of all Twitter traffic is mobile. Unlimited access via mobile is not just changing how people access the social web, it’s changing what they do when they get there.

Activation, Activation, Activation
Engaging consumers through mobile continues to be a hot topic. Many brands are trying it out, for right or wrong. I see the opportunities focused in four main areas: visual (QR codes), mobile visual search (Google Goggles), audio (Shazam), and native (SMS, MMS).

QR codes have reported the largest growth (63%) in the past six months. Activation through mobile can be a great opportunity to extend the conversation from a traditional medium and represents a tracking mechanism. However, it is only as good as the content provided; it needs to be done at the right time with the right content, providing value to the consumer.

These represent just a few top trends for mobile; with the seismic change in the industry, many of these developments will likely be outdated in just a few months.

To view the article in its entirety, visit Mashable.

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