Make Up Your Mind
Eyeblaster has unveiled a platform aimed at simplifying processes to speed up and manage workflow. MediaMind, nearly three years in the making at a cost of several million dollars and hundreds of agency interviews, provides a host of features aimed at removing the complexities associated with managing digital campaigns, such as the hours agencies spend trafficking ads or keeping track of where and when they ran.
In the works since 2002, it took years to collect requirements, design the approach, build and test the platform, and bring it to market. The "enormous" technical and design challenges to building the platform at times became overwhelming, says Gal Trifon, CEO and cofounder of Eyeblaster.
Despite many technical hurdles, Eyeblaster's decision to move from a rich media to an ad-serving and campaign-management company had been spurred by growth. Demand from clients, who wanted one platform integrating multiple services simultaneously, also influenced change. Clients demanded an automated method to control and compare campaigns, combining rich media processes, analysts, workflow and creative flexibility across applications.
Eyeblaster management became tempted to upgrade capabilities on existing products rather than wait to deliver the platform in one package. Even more
daunting was the change in direction and client perception. The success in rich media haunted the company, making it initially difficult to convince clients it could offer a variety of
campaign-management services. By mid-October, MediaMind will have about 60 clients who have adopted the platform. The general release of the product is scheduled for January. We spoke with Trifon to
dig out some of the details on designing the platform and getting it up and running, as well as some of his views on the industry that shaped the project.
How has digital display advertising evolved since 1999, and how has it affected the agency model?
Trifon: At the time we were running AOL's first online branding campaign. Representatives from the agency, the publisher and the creative shop grouped in our conference room for about 24 hours. The room acted as a control center for the campaign. We sat there all day and night to make sure the ads were trafficked and delivered. Eventually, we celebrated the success when we could no longer stand each other anymore. But this campaign became impossible to scale. We have come a long way since.
Since then, many processes have been implemented to allow us to scale campaigns. Display and rich media became mainstream applications. They
show significant share in most traditional categories. By forcing certain disciplines and transparency found in search marketers, agencies worked harder to provide the same measurements for display.
How does digital become profitable when its complexities are so taxing on agencies?
Trifon: When looking at profitability, we look at the revenue potential and expense, and what's left between. To become more profitable, agencies need to be exposed to bigger opportunities.
Agencies want marketers to spend more online and have the tools to manage
the growth, accept more business. They also want to manage cost more effectively and not spend as many hours operating campaigns. A great deal of work is spent on gathering, consolidating and digging
out insights and information to prove the work to clients. Technology has become a barrier, not enabler, because some platforms have become way too difficult and complex to use. For the industry to
grow, technology platforms need to improve and become less complex.
What's your advice to marketers wanting to balance between performance objectives and branding?
Trifon: The lines online continue to blur, but what's unique about digital media is
that users can be tracked throughout the entire funnel. Traditional media, you spend most of your budget to create awareness at the top of the funnel to build purchase intent and message recall and brand-orientated factors. In the lower part of the funnel you invest in promoting products that you expect they know about, and measure it based on sales generated. Between these two worlds there's little happening, so marketers split their budgets on brand-orientated campaigns vs. direct-response ROI-orientated campaigns aimed at users who have already converted to some degree.
Online the lines are blurring. You can follow the user from the point he sees an ad to engagement. You can see if he likes the ad and responds to it. Later on, you can meet him again and see he's interacting with the search engine wanting to know more about the product. Later on, you can follow him to the advertiser's Web site to see him convert. It's a great way for marketers to build a better relationship.
MediaMind provides an interface for multiple applications. It is integrated with billing systems and agency-developed solutions. It provides a holistic workflow, a dashboard to let agencies optimize and track campaigns, from managing the set-up, to tracking performance. It's an access tool to everything Eyeblaster offers. It's the gateway to all our solutions.