John, a former Yahoo exec and NASA engineer, said real-time BT gives advertisers the ability to see improvements in brand metrics as the campaign runs. More than 400 brands and agencies worldwide run on Rocket Fuel's audience targeting platform to reach consumers throughout the purchase funnel. "We didn't foresee the evolution of real-time bidding when we started Rocket Fuel," he said. "Now that it exists, it's the perfect infrastructure to build on, because it's the way the online ad industry buys impressions."
In fact, the same lines of code that that do intelligent bidding also enable the platform to do intelligent ad serving, John said. The technology combines behavioral, contextual, geographic, demographic, and other data analytics techniques to target ads across the Web in display, video, social, and mobile channels.
Among the advantages of real-time bidding, the platform considers attributes such as time of day, geography, home or work depending on the connection speed, or whether the ad will serve up above or below the fold on a page. The platform then determines the best results for the advertiser and the amount it should pay for the ad impression. It does it all within 50 milliseconds, responding to Google's tap on the shoulder letting the ad server know it has an empty rectangle to fill. Rocket Fuel must come back with a price to bid on the ad unit.
Last week Google rolled out to all AdWords users its"interest-based" targeting platform. The Mountain View, Calif., search engine introduced interest categories more than a year ago on the Google Display Network, which now has more than 500 million visitors. The platform now offers more than 1,000 interest categories from ecotourism to mobile phones. One advertiser increased brand lift by 40%, while a shoe retailer drove 400% more conversions at a lower advertising cost per sale.
In Q1, Rocket Fuel added more than 120 advertiser customers; grew revenue 567%, compared with the year-ago quarter; opened new offices in Detroit and London; and tripled its employee count. And, Clark Kokich, the chair of Razorfish, joined Rocket Fuel's board of directors.