Sramana Mitra: What are the trends in your space right now that you could point to and discuss where there may be open problems corresponding to those trends? If you were starting a new company today along the lines of those trends, what would it be?
Aziz Rahim: I think the biggest trend is the proxies that we had in advertising such as CTR are slowly going away. The norm is backend metrics and showing true conversion. In some ways, new companies should be ready to understand data and provide advertising solutions for their clients. However, at the end of the day, they should know that they are based on a new set of pretty stringent ROI parameters as opposed to proxies that have existed for so long.
Sramana Mitra: Anything else that we didn’t cover that you want to bring into this conversation?
Aziz Rahim: Another advice that I would give entrepreneurs and companies that are coming is spend the time and resources to build a good infrastructure. Too many companies try taking the shortcut to that goal. What they do is they either lease existing platforms or they’re just trying to wing it until they get to a point where they do have a platform.
What’s important in the world of data, AI, and machine learning is that you need to have a well-built platform to take in these data inputs the first day you start. That’s the most important part. Don’t miss out on the data because you’re not ready to receive these data points. That is the name of the game now.
Sramana Mitra: What is the penetration of the kind of infrastructure you’re talking about? What percentage of the brands are doing this kind of mobile advertising? What percentage of the customers actually have invested in such infrastructure?
Aziz Rahim: Most customers have not. Most brands are just getting into that infrastructure. Most ad agencies don’t even have a thorough infrastructure to really be able to take this data in. I would peg that number at as little as 25%. Statistically, I can’t prove that. Based on conversations I’ve had, it’s very low. It goes back to the proxies because for a long time, the proxies have been CTRs and view-ability measurements.
Now, it’s engagement metrics. It hasn’t been as much about backend conversion. I think the industry is increasingly moving that way. Because of that, a lot of companies are racing to build their own ad servers and mechanisms to actually get that data in. I think it’s still small. When we first started Sabio, we were questioned as to why we would want to build our own infrastructure. Why not just continue to lease as everyone else does?
At the end of the day, if you build on the same tech stack, you can get so much more cohesiveness in terms of the data and its usage across your full platform, relative to taking one piece whether it is a DMP from Adobe and then taking another piece of an ad server from whatever company is out there and try combing those pieces. It’s not going to fit in. It’s not going to provide you the efficiencies of having your own infrastructure.
Sramana Mitra: All right. Thank you for your time.
This segment is part 2 in the series : Thought Leaders in Artificial Intelligence: Sabio Mobile CEO Aziz Rahim