Hello, I’m Konrad Feldman, co-founder and CEO at Quantcast, speaking to you from Quantcast’s headquarters here in San Francisco. Welcome to the fall edition of Virtual NOVA. I’m excited that you’ve joined us to talk about the future of advertising and marketing.
Today we’ll be discussing key industry challenges and opportunities, and introducing new Quantcast Platform innovations that will empower simply smarter connections. We’ve got a great lineup for you.
I’ll start by sharing some thoughts on the state of our industry. Then we’ll discuss–and, more importantly, show you–new Quantcast Platform capabilities designed to be impactful for your business today and to ensure you’re well prepared for the changes underway in our industry.
Then, we have industry thought leaders joining us in two separate discussions: one that explores the role of advertising in supporting diverse and multicultural voices, and in the second, we’ll hear from a group of prominent technology companies on how they are approaching their advertising priorities today.
We’ll also have a fireside chat with the Chief Strategy Officer at dentsu to hear her perspective on how industry dynamics are changing and the opportunity ahead of us.
But let me start by thanking all of you.
Customers Drive Our Innovation
It is our partnerships with you, our customers, that inspires our innovation. From the 100 million plus web destinations that understand their audiences with Quantcast Measure
, and the millions of domains using Quantcast Choice
to collect the consent they need to operate effectively under regulations such as GDPR, to all the advertisers and agencies who entrust us with their programmatic advertising–thank you for the opportunity to serve you, to partner with you, and to learn from you. Our innovation is guided by a desire to solve your most fundamental business challenges.
Across all of our customers, there are many different business needs. But we all share a common goal: to promote a truly vibrant open internet–the most powerful mechanism for free expression the world has ever seen, where billions of people around the world can have free access to information, entertainment, music, education, and so much more, all without requiring paid subscriptions that are out of reach for all but the very wealthiest.
Let’s be clear: the model for funding the free and open internet is advertising. Without advertising, publishers could not fund and fuel the content that touches billions around the globe, and that we all have the privilege of enjoying.
But the free and open internet continues to be at a crossroads. The tech giants’ walled gardens continue to capture a disproportionate share of the advertising budgets that could better fund original content creation from the multitude of diverse publishers that comprise the open internet.
At a fundamental level, the walled gardens offer machine learning-fueled ad performance and buying simplicity that has been simply unattainable across the fragmented publishers of the open internet. Leveling the playing field, reducing the complexity in the system, and bringing the power of internet-scale data and sophisticated machine learning to all publishers and all advertisers has been at the heart of our quest to radically simplify advertising on the open internet.
We firmly believe that when friction can be eliminated and advertising results elevated, then every advertiser and every agency stands ready, and is more than willing, to allocate a greater share of their marketing budgets to the open internet and the voices it represents and supports.
Building on our near 15 years of experience of machine learning-powered audience and advertising solutions, honed on billions of dollars of ad spend, earlier this year, I stood on this same rooftop and introduced the Quantcast Platform, a new and modern intelligent audience platform that empowers publishers, advertisers, and agencies to know and grow their audiences. In the short six months since our spring NOVA, our self-serve platform for integrated planning, activation, and measurement across the open internet has received an enthusiastic response.
Transformative Ease of Use, Unparalleled Performance, Actionable Insights
And we’ve heard from you that what makes the Quantcast Platform so unique and so compelling when compared to legacy demand side platforms is its transformative ease of use. It’s unparalleled performance at scale, the intelligent and actionable insights, and the comprehensive transparency. All of this is available in a single unified intelligent audience platform. If you haven’t seen it yet in action, you will today.
Rapidly Changing Advertising Landscape
In this same six-month time frame, we’ve seen continued industry evolution and some major developments. There’s a lot going on: data privacy laws and regulations continue to be rolled out around the world; industry consolidation continues apace; and the scrutiny of tech giants and whether their unilateral actions are designed to, or simply serve to, disproportionately benefit themselves at the expense of consumer choice has ramped up considerably in Washington, D.C. and around the world.
But unquestionably, the most talked about development these past few months has been Google’s decision to delay their planned deprecation of cookies by two years to 2023.
The Cookie Conundrum
While this delay is certainly welcomed by the industry, it would be a mistake to step back from the investments and industry collaboration that are underway to create sustainable alternative approaches.
For while Google may have called extra-time on third-party cookies in their Chrome browser, they are still going away, and let’s not forget: there are still many parts of the open internet already–for example, those accessed through Safari and Firefox browsers–that require alternatives to third-party cookies right now. Visitors from these browsers are already far less valuable to publishers that those for whom third-party cookies are available. This means they contribute less in advertising revenue to support the immense investments that publishers make in producing and hosting the content that billions of people rely on. If every visitor were less valuable to every publisher, it doesn’t take a PhD to infer the potential implications for the open internet.
This is why Quantcast remains focused on and committed to developing sustainable solutions to the essential functions of audience and advertising planning, activation, and measurement, independent of third-party cookies. As the tech giants that operate the browsers currently dictate the rules, the ultimate set of technologies that replace third-party cookies will not come into true focus until their plans are complete, and perhaps not even until those plans are approved by regulators around the world.
So as much as everyone might like certainty, what this undoubtedly means is that we’re on a journey, one that may yet contain more unexpected twists and turns. All good journeys should have a reliable companion, a partner that can help navigate complexity, ambiguity, and even the unexpected. We are committed to being that partner. And today I want to share with you new solutions we’re introducing to meet the post-cookie challenge, I think you’ll be impressed.
No Silver Bullet
We start from the perspective that there is no silver bullet, but rather that the most scalable post-cookie solutions will comprise a range of technologies and approaches. We are active participants in industry working groups, and we are committed to interoperating with emerging identity solutions, such as those based on email addresses.
But we believe it would be shortsighted to rely on these alone, given the messages coming from the self-appointed digital gatekeepers, Apple and Google. And that is why we have also made significant investments in using contextual analysis and machine learning to create alternative approaches to planning, activation, and measurement that don’t rely on third-party cookies.
We started with measurement, since you cannot optimize what you cannot measure. Without measurement, advertisers cannot justify investments in cookieless environments. This means missing out on large and growing portions of potential customers whose browsing or other digital media consumption is not supported by third-party cookies today. Without measurement, publishers cannot attract advertiser spend for those visitors either, which is already resulting in this massive group of internet users contributing substantially less revenue to fund publishers ongoing content creation.
Measurement is the foundation of a sustainable post-cookie open internet and today we will show you how the Quantcast Platform now provides cookieless conversion reporting.
Ara™: AI and Machine Learning Engine
This new measurement approach is made possible by the AI and machine learning engine that underpins the Quantcast Platform, which we call Ara. The usefulness of an AI engine is differentiated not only by the capabilities of the scientists that create it, but also inextricably by the data on which it operates. And with Quantcast Measure, we have the privilege of working with one of the world’s largest unique real-time data sets.
The scale and diversity of Quantcast Measure is staggering, encompassing trillions of measurement events spanning tens of billions of distinct URLs. The diversity of these URLs reflects the unbounded diversity of the open internet, and each can provide unique insight into context, sentiment, and intent.
Introducing Ara TopicMap
As the longevity of third-party cookies began to be questioned, one approach that saw a resurgence of interest was contextual analysis. The truth is context has always been highly important in creating compelling and relevant advertising experiences for consumers. Context was important with cookies; it’s going to be even more important without them. But understanding context accurately, consistently, and in all its nuanced forms across the entire open internet is a mind-bogglingly complex challenge.
And that is precisely the kind of challenge that we thrive on here at Quantcast, and that’s why I’m delighted to today introduce to you Ara TopicMap. Using advances in natural language processing and deep learning, Ara TopicMap organizes the diverse, messy content of the open internet into a sophisticated contextual map: a multidimensional interpretation of content by topics and interests, empowering our customers to plan custom audiences based on browsing behavior, interest, and intent.
Radically Simplifying Advertising on the Open Internet
Cookieless measurement and Ara TopicMap make it possible for marketers and publishers to understand open internet audiences today and into the future. These are exciting innovations, and we’ll share them with you in more detail, but before we do that, I want to introduce one more thing.
Another common observation on the eventual loss of third-party cookies is that this will lead to closer connections within the digital advertising ecosystem, and between ad buyers and ad sellers. We agree wholeheartedly that this is desirable, and not just because of the disappearing cookie.
To radically simplify advertising on the open internet means making it easier for advertisers to find and transact with a multitude of suitable publishers and vice versa. We want to make it easy for any publisher to directly connect with ad buyers who value their content and their audiences. We want to make it easier for any ad buyer to find high-quality environments that can deliver the audiences they care about. We want to make it easier for everyone to reach consumers in the environment of their choice with relevant, useful advertising experiences.
For too long, buying high-fidelity audiences on premium media at scale across the open internet has been overly complex as compared to the walled gardens. And that’s why today I’m excited to share a new solution to address this imbalance by helping publishers and advertisers more effectively connect: advertisers, audiences, environments, publishers, consumers–together. Simply smarter connections.
Quantcast Connect: Simplifying Publisher-Marketer Connections
I’m delighted to introduce Quantcast Connect, a major new innovation in the Quantcast Platform. For over a decade, publishers have used Quantcast to understand, organize, represent, and measure the high-quality audiences that they can provide to support advertisers’ marketing objectives. Advertisers and agencies have long used Quantcast to research, predict, access, and optimize the precise audiences they seek to deliver business outcomes.
Now, Quantcast Connect bridges both sides of the advertising marketplace and brings together ad buyers and publishers–together in an audience-centric, intuitive, transparent, consistent, and measurable way to enhance business outcomes for everyone.
For advertisers and agencies, Quantcast Connect supports holistic planning across your proprietary supply relationships and audiences; it enhances deal and audience discovery, simplifies the buying process, and measures and validates supply deals in the context of your unique audience definitions.
Publishers can showcase their unique audiences and inventory packages, validate their programmatic deals with detailed audience reporting, and discover new opportunities with ad buyers who can expand their reach and influence by uncovering new sights, new content, and new opportunities for consumer engagement. Quantcast Connect offers straightforward setup and activation and provides complete transparency and control. It’s available today, and if you think it sounds great, just wait till you see it!