Martin Smith is senior vice president of ad platforms and general manager of advertising technology company TruEffect. Martin has more than 29 years of technology experience in the U.S. and the U.K., having worked for Apple and for hardware and software provider Zones. In this interview Martin talks about how TruEffect uses big data to optimize advertising, his insights into how the market will develop over the next few years, and how consumer data will be used and administered in the future.
Sramana Mitra: Martin, let’s start with some context about TruEffect and you. Our audience would like to hear a little bit about the company.
Martin Smith: TruEffect is an advertising technology company. We occupy the space that relates to the delivery, measurement, and selection of the right advertisement to the right person at the right time. We are an emerging company in this market. We are certified with all the major sites and portals, which is quite an undertaking. There are only a few companies in this space that are tier 1 certified to deliver media across all major properties. We developed a number of bespoke solutions for large advertisers, including the U.S. government.
Our initial growth period as a company was to develop new ways for advertisers to engage with consumers through advertising technology. In 2005 we landed on a very different model of that process and of serving the media. We filed our first patents back then, and they were granted in 2010. We rolled with that in 2008 as first-party ad serving. First-party ad serving is really integral to the [ad technology] industry. Everything in the industry, which comprises Google’s DoubleClick products, Microsoft Atlas products, ValueClick’s Mediaplex products and Digital Generation’s Mediamind products, is all what we call third-party ad technologies. Everything these products do [relates] to the domains they are serving from.
What we do is very different. We deliver the media as the advertiser. What we found with that approach is that it performs incredibly well, it is efficient, and it opens up the analytic side of media. It is allowing us and our clients to develop new kinds of analyzing and new ways of making decisions about media to make advertising more relevant to our end customers. It has been a bit of an odyssey, but it has also been a phenomenal period of innovation.
SM: Whom do you consider as your top competitors?
MS: We compete with three segments of the market: traditional ad serving technologies, data management platforms (DMPs), and the media analytics side of the space. On the one end we are competing with third-party ad-serving products, and on the other we are competing with companies such as those in the DMP space, and with companies in the measurement space. But like everyone else in the space, we collaborate with a lot of the players. It is a “coopetition” marketplace, where you have point solutions or element solutions that advertisers combine into a solution. We look at the market and say: “Yes, we compete in this aspect of it, but we are also cooperating with partners in other aspects.” It is an interesting space.