The Future of Marketing and Advertising Belongs to Software

April 15th, 2012

Since day 1 I’ve described what we are building as ”a web technology for marketing and advertising - not an advertising and marketing technology for the web.” Of course it’s a play on words but the purpose is to more clearly define our product. It is software. As we begin to open source some of the tools we have created we are reminded everyday that Yieldbot is a software company. That’s a good thing.

I ventured into display advertising because it had a weak technology stack supporting a pre-digital business model. The de-facto intelligence in display advertising is a 1-10 ranking system – the ad server waterfall - with a single unit of measurement – the impression - that was in fact always different. From a software perspective, display advertising is a massive of opportunity.

My web software experience was first in e-commerce where I watched amazing software be created by the likes of ATG and Endeca. Then in Search where I watched Google and Yahoo employ thousands strong armies of engineers. Most recently at Offermatica/Adobe Test&Target where the software serves billions of highly optimized and dynamic web experiences every week. Software. Software. Software.

Michael Walrath, Founder of RightMedia said recently:

“In order to build a truly disruptive and highly valuable company delivering enterprise software for digital advertising, the new solution has to be an order of magnitude better than the existing systems. It is not enough to deliver an incrementally better version of the existing systems. If there is to be a resurgent disruptor in the advertising technology space it has to change the game. It must attack the white space…”

What I love about this quote is that it frames the market opportunity as enterprise software and software that must do something where nothing has been done before.

Yieldbot attacks this challenge everyday. Massive batch and realtime and predictive analytics. Machine-learning and automated intelligence. Differentiated and highly dynamic units of measurement. The visualization of data and the ability to make it actionable. A white space where the focus is not on buying or selling media – but on how well media and people can be matched in realtime.

Matching differently. That is our disruption.

The enterprise software I admired and mentioned above all looked to solve the matching problem. Display advertising’s main problem as I wrote 2 years ago is the only place where the “order of magnitude better than existing systems” can be achieved. This is because new, more intelligent methods of matching can fundamentally revalue the media around something besides impressions and cookies. We believe that something is realtime visit intent.

It’s an amazing time to build software. There is more technology to get more understanding and create more intelligence at a lower cost than ever before. The advances in analytics, databases and the languages create an order of magnitude more power. I couldn’t think of anything more exciting to be working on in this day an age than software or a better group of people to be doing it with. The future of marketing and advertising belongs to software.

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