Mendel Senf, CEO of YD, Discusses Recent Fund Raise, Building Proprietary Tech & Positioning to Client Direct
There is a lot of heated debate around the clash between ad tech vendors and agencies — and the battle for client direct business. However, in the last four years a new clutch of businesses have developed because of the shift to tech and data in the space. These new entities look more like consultancies than traditional agencies or VC-backed ad tech companies (mostly ad networks). In Europe, YD have been building this type of business for a number of years — and now are looking to scale with the recent round of funding. Here, Mendel Senf, CEO of YD, discusses the recent raise, building proprietary tech and positioning to client direct.
With the new funding, how will YD position itself in the market? Are you looking at the client direct route?
YD has always focused on building direct relationships with advertisers and will continue to adopt this strategy. The reason we’re so strongly focused on advertiser integrations is that we believe we can deliver true added value to the customer lifetime value of our advertising clients within the aviation and telecommunications industries. This is the base we’re working from and we are moving to more new sector specialisations as we speak. Our technology platform Impulse is solely built for carrying out direct programmatic activity with brands and we believe that giving brand marketers the ability to be autonomous will pave the way for the future of successful programmatic brand advertising.
What will be the company’s key offering going forward?
We aim to continue to build our direct programmatic advertising business in the online and mobile display performance market. We are currently testing and developing more and more data and segmentation integrations, including on and offline CRM audiences, to enhance the way we offer precise and accurate data segmentation to our clients.
Is there room for solution providers offering more of a consultative operation to advertisers?
It depends on what the KPIs of the advertisers are, we are delivering a managed service on top of our performance demand-side platform Impulse; but we are also able to licence our technology to direct advertisers and educate them with consultants to handle the technology themselves. In our managed services model on top of Impulse we assure the advertiser a performance and transparency level because our optimisation technology is dedicated to delivering on KPIs and transparency either on direct response, sales or branding KPIs including brand engagement or preference.
Why have you built your own tech, bidder, etc.? What is the value of having owned and operated tech?
Optimisation is the key point here. A lot of the technology currently on the market focuses on optimising against clicks, however our decisioning engine specialises instead on conversion optimisation. Most DSPs deliver scale but no real optimisation. Our multi-funnel decision engine is fully independent and able to deliver performance throughout the customer journey. Also, we benefit from gaining deeper insights from our own tracking and technical integrations, and from these insights we can therefore leverage the conversion attribution better than via an average DSP.
You have been investing heavily in your mobile solution, can you give some overview on your solution and how it works?
Our mobile solution focuses on generating mobile buyers, where most other solutions in the mobile space completely focus on app installs and the generation of web traffic. We consider such KPIs to be a starting point and not an end result. Using our solution, we can provide genuine value to app installs by combining data from the advertiser with our advanced performance display platform and generate actual conversions: i.e. in-app retargeting. Mobile offers more extensive tracking options and has the potential to focus more on the customer journey, in comparison with online. One of the new KPIs coming from our in-app retargeting campaigns is the Lifetime Value of customers, which we will use to further enhance the retargeting campaign. Advertisers can go a step further and then start using this new KPI to reward brand loyalty.
Retargeting in mobile seems to be the big thing for many vendors at this time, particularly for DR advertisers. Can you explain how that will work?
DR advertisers will benefit from the advanced HTML5 ads we are using for retargeting. The ads have standard sizes, they can be used on all devices and ad-exchanges and they can be interactive.
Thanks to the new innovative ad formats, a user is not redirected away from the main site or app after clicking on a banner, the banner simply expands and becomes an interactive mini-site in which the user can directly and easily convert. Take the automotive industry as an example: by clicking, “Yes, send me an invite for a test drive”, the email function will pop-up and the user only has to click on “Send”. After that has happened, they will still be in the app or website where they clicked on the banner.
This technology is particularly interesting for the airline industry where companies struggle to gain profits by up-selling services and extra products, such as leg space, seat selection and meals. This is what we consider as first-party data from the advertisers app. After a booking has been made, users can be retargeted with such offers and they can add extra space directly from the banner. The app must be installed and will show the confirmation.
How is YD approaching the problems around mobile campaign execution, particularly around targeting and tracking?
YD has always focused on transparency for both advertisers and their customers. We have developed a simple and easy-to-integrate tracking solution for in-app tracking. Advertisers can easily integrate this solution in-app and no longer need to integrate multiple tracking systems. We can also add other systems on the server side which means no app update is required. Our tracking and targeting system uses the IDs provided by mobile platforms such as the ID for Advertisers from Apple, for which users can opt-out of. Besides that we also provide a tracking information layer in all our mobile ads with the option to opt-out. We are fully compliant with EU and US privacy regulations.