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Yieldbot 2012 Review

2012 was a huge year of progress at Yieldbot. We started off the year by taking our second round of funding in February from true VCs that didn’t need to see “traction” before making their bet. With that investment we grew the company over the course of the year from 5 to 19 full-time employees in New York and Boston. Companies are about people first and we have put a together a tremendous team of data scientists, developers, engineers, strategists and sales people who have joined us from companies like Criteo, Microsoft, Kayak and the Wall Street Journal.

After two years of development from that small team of 5 we launched our real-time consumer intent marketplace in May. It was worth the effort. The amount of paid clicks in the Yieldbot marketplace has doubled every two months since we launched. Doubling the size of your business 4 times in 8 months presented numerous scaling challenges that touched all parts of the business. Our team handled them incredibly well.

We have a good number of the word’s leading brands and many other marketers large and small extending their Search budgets into Yieldbot to buy real-time intent on a performance (Pay Per Click) basis. Speaking of performance, in many cases advertisers are seeing results as good or better than what they see in Paid Search from traffic derived from Yieldbot. As most industry observers know, this is heretofore unseen. 

Best of all we truly unlocked a direct path for Search Marketing budgets to reach Premium Publishers and buy intent in real-time. This is an industry first and we consider it a monumental achievement in digital media. Yieldbot’s largest publisher partner is on a $2M 2013 run rate for new revenue – Search revenue. These are budgets they have never touched and their direct sales teams have never called on. We truly have created a new channel. That doesn’t happen very often.

In 2012 Publisher partners were stacking Yieldbot behind their sponsorships/direct sold impressions and ahead of exchange/network. That’s a great starting place but we aim to create much more value as our technology improves in 2013. We saw over 15M different consumer intentions across more than 2.7B page-views in 2012. The more data we capture the better we perform. This is one reason Yieldbot overall platform CTR (click-through rate) has gone up every month even as impression levels have skyrocketed. There are efficiencies created as markets get larger and those will benefit both Yieldbot advertisers and publishers. 

Major initiatives around automation and artificial intelligence were also started late in 2012 that will make optimization of Yieldbot performance completely automated. From campaign set-up and launch through goal management, the use of first party data and ad server integration creates an opportunity to reshape what is possible with marketing technology and reduce the resources necessary to manage campaigns.

We head into 2013 fully aware that we have not accomplished anything close to our goals and we are still at the beginning of building our business. We have 2 new verticals launching Q1 and more growth to manage ahead of us.  There is also pressure that comes from the sheer enormity of the opportunity in front of us. That’s a good thing. It was Billie Jean King that said “pressure is a privilege” and we’re privileged to be solving problems that bring the highest quality consumers, world’s top marketers and premium content publishers together in a way that delivers relevance and value to each simultaneously. 

Should old acquaintance be forgot and never thought upon? Maybe. But if you did not make the acquaintance of Yieldbot in 2012 and you are a Search Marketer or Premium Publisher we hope you do in 2013. In the meantime, Happy New Year!


An Amazing Search Insider Summit with One Thing Missing

I have recently returned from arguably the most in depth, interesting and well attended event involving the search industry Mediapost’s Search Insider Summit. After spending the past nine months attending a number of other events and conferences and indoctrinating myself into this incredible community on behalf of Yieldbot, SIS clearly stood out.  The content of the conference encompassed a number of the past, current and future trends of a business that is still incredibly young despite its size both in sheer economics as well as the volume of businesses both big and small that are participating in it.  Due to that dynamic combination of youth and size there are many exciting new things emerging as bright entrepreneurs with new ideas and the existing industry behemoths continue to innovate and bring new methodologies, technologies and ideas to the table. 

So first a brief outline of a couple of the new opportunities discussed that were most interesting and then a dive into what was so obviously missing from the dialogue. 

Creative – if there was one direction and point on which it seemed almost all of these experts agreed it was that new creative formats, creative technologies, creative optimization methodologies will continue to be at the forefront of the industry’s innovation.  As GYB (Google, Yahoo, Bing) and the other “traditional” platforms continue to experiment and innovate with SERPs that are more dynamic and visually pleasing for the dual purposes of better engagement and the ability to attract more dollars from brands with higher levels of concern about image, there are interesting companies well represented that are doing cool stuff to leverage this need.  One that comes to mind is Datapop a real technology innovator in this space.  Then there is the simple blocking and tackling of better text copy optimization being tackled by folks like BoostCTR less a technology and more a time saving method for the drudgery of copy testing.

New Platforms – the other area where much of the most interesting discussions took place and where the opportunities for industry growth seem most fertile were in new platforms.  Everything from increasing growth of mobile and tablet search and its different nuances from desktop to the coming of more vertical search encompassed by Yelp, Amazon and others (surprisingly none of which were represented at SIS with the exception of the very cool Intent Media but were much talked about.)  Even really cool (but maybe a little scary from a privacy perspective) technologies like visual search from Xbox were hot topics.  These new platforms create new markets and new audiences on top of which the best practices of the search industry are being built and their rapid growth is representative of their promise

And now the missing…

It was never clearer to me than at this great conference that content publishers (not to be confused with eCommerce publishers) are such a glaring afterthought to the leading innovators of the most successful and impactful part of the digital advertising industry… the search community.  There was not a content publisher in the room nor was there a mention of one on the stage (except briefly by me).  Yet, I bet that if asked in a vacuum (and I did a bit of asking) that most of this talented group knows that premium content publishers are hardcore SEO buffs, often times buy Paid Search and are sitting on a treasure trove of first party data. When properly harvested (as we do at Yieldbot) this data can illuminate the “search-like” behaviors of web visitors in their sessions. Selling these visitors’ premium publisher intent in the currency of keywords to the very marketers that makeup the search ecosystem (that was so well represented at SIS) represents an enormous opportunity for market expansion. Not just for those publishers to access search budgets but also for search marketers to find new ways pin pointing the user that they want in real time as they are expressing interest in a specific category.  Utilization of this real time data can (and does) yield in some cases results even better than traditional search itself all over the marketing funnel (from branding to conversion). 

We heard and talked about the utilization of third party search data and third party site visitation in marketers’ and eCommerce platforms as a new data set for the search marketplace to leverage its methodologies in buying performance media.  There is no question that there is a place for that and some have done quite well.  But nowhere in this paradigm is the use of FIRST PARTY DATA in REAL TIME within publisher content to make ad decisions on the same pubs from which that data is harvested being mentioned.  In this paradigm the publishers can participate at the very least on par in the search (and performance) digital marketplace like all these old and new search platforms that marketers know and want more of.

So in the vain of a good search creative call to action we say: Come talk to us, content publishers!!!!!!  And next Search Insider Summit join the conversation and participate in the marketplace that our friend Murthy from Adchemy proclaimed was (to paraphrase) the dawn of a new era in search the most successful (digital) advertising platform ever.  You can and should be a major voice in that room.