Art Versus Science

It doesn’t take long after meeting Peter Matsuo, co-founder and CEO of rich media upstart AdInterax, to recognize his love of data and analytics. After all, he holds a Ph.D in physics. And it is this sensibility and passion for parsing data that differentiates AdInterax from some of the other players in the “floating ad” rich media space. It almost seems as if AdInterax got involved with rich media by accident, which to a certain degree they did.

Founded in 1998, AdInterax began as a developer and server of online games, such as checkers and word-type games, for a network of 1600 online newspapers sites. Eventually, they began to create advergaming products for and in order to easily embed an advertisers logos and product imagery into the advergaming products, they began to develop an internal production tool to facilitate development. Thus AdInterax the tool developer was born.

AdInterax began promoting their rich media tool as a solution for publishers to take back control, both from a creative and pricing standpoint, of their rich media solutions. But they didn’t stop there. Soon they were adding the ability to easily attach surveys to their banner creative, ala Dynamic Logic, and to easily track, edit, and manage the results.



But it was when they focused their attention to the problems of reporting, deploying, and tracking rich media campaign results that Adinterax really started to shine. One of their first innovations was to incorporate the ability to deploy split runs and tie results into a “click boost” metric. In other words, after developing the rich media creative, the agency or site could specify a control group (say, 10% of the impressions) that would randomly deliver a plain banner creative along with the rich media creative. The increased (or decreased) number of clicks that resulted after comparing the plain banner creative versus the rich media was presented as a “click boost” percentage number which was then associated with each type of rich media creative deployment. This gave sites not only the ability to quickly test the effectiveness of rich media in general, but to do a side by side comparison of various rich media deployments. Agencies could now compare a “advergaming” creative next to a “floating ad” creative next to an “expanding banner” creative and immediate tell which provided the biggest boost to the campaign.

More recently, AdInterax has focused their attention on the Reach/ Frequency problem. adRF is their patent pending tool that lets agencies apply strict frequency caps, not only with a particular site, but cross all publishers or network of sites running the campaign. The idea is to maximize the numbers of unique visitors at the target view frequency for a particular campaign, and eliminate wasted impressions. AdInterax recently tested adRF with two different campaigns over the same five sites. The results can be viewed in the two graphs seen below.

The first graph is the results of the campaign with adRF turned off. Each campaign had a frequency cap of 5, but as you can see the vast majority of impressions were delivered to an oversaturated audience: over 20% of the unique audience viewed the ad over ten times. With adRF turned on, however, the majority of unique users are locked and loaded at the targeted frequency.

Obviously the usefulness of this tool is tied to the amount of publisher overlap: a key issue for highly targeted campaigns. The more overlap, the more efficiency is possible by decreasing the amount of over-delivery. For situations where there is less publisher overlap, site-specific frequency capping might be adequate.

Like all players in this space, AdInterax must deal with site integration issues but economics for Web advertising are on their side: come up with a paying advertiser and site integration delays are not the hurdle they once were in fatter times.

Finally, unlike other players in the space, AdInterax downplays their rich media roots. Peter Matsuo sees the gaming tools that launched the company to really be a means to an end with the real value and direction of the company focused on developing the science of online marketing rather than the art. This is an argument that has a lot of traction these days as marketers struggle to prove the value of online advertising. With AdInterax, the proof is in the numbers.

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