Commentary

Does The Data Scare You?

As RTM Daily reported last week, Booyah Advertising has implemented an in-house real-time bidding (RTB) trading desk. It's not common for a digital agency to bring that type of technology in-house, so what drove Booyah to do it? RTM Daily spoke with Booyah President Troy Lerner about the company's decision-making process. 

Lerner said that Booyah is built on the foundation of putting “as much stuff under one roof” as possible. As a small company (60 employees), managing a real-time trading desk themselves is no small task. For now, this makes Booyah unique. In the next 12-24 months, though, others might catch on. Of course, that depends on whether or not other agencies are willing to wrangle the "Big Data" themselves.

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Lerner thought that the kickoff of Booyah's in-house trading desk was "innocent enough." The company was mainly interested in saving money and making things easier for themselves and their clients. The idea behind the trading desk was initially brought up when the company was looking at their expenses for 2012. Nearly 60% of their media was bought programmatically, and the company was spending much more than they wanted to have outsiders manage the media.

Lerner's info page on Booyah's website describes him as someone that likes to "predict the fall of new technologies." So what does Lerner think of the future of real-time tech? "I am a hater of technologies, social media, and every new thing going on. [I'm] twisted up on this one. Maybe it will fail, but in the right-now, in the tomorrow, and next year, and the year after, I don't think it's going anywhere." Lerner admitted that he was one of the people at Booyah that was hesitant to go forward with the decision to bring an RTB desk in-house. Simply put: he is old school.

But he also seems to be warming up to the benefits that come with the technology. "We are going to get our hands on some data like we've never had before," he said. "We get excited about the data. The closer we get to it, the better."

Hearing people talk about "Big Data" always reminds me of body surfing. Everyone loves the idea of catching that huge wave, but most people get scared when the wave is close enough for them to see just how big it is. Lerner observed that all of the people that were telling Booyah to be scared of the data were people that had some sort of ulterior motive. In reality, he said that the first party data Booyah receiving is "blowing [their] minds." OK, so maybe that’s not literally reality, but as a figure of speech, that sounds pretty good.

Depending on how this plays out for Booyah, they could be the trendsetters; the little guy that was willing to bodysurf that huge wave (while hoping their swim trunks don't come flying off when the wave crashes).

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