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Q&A: Quantcast CEO Konrad Feldman on advertising & publisher data

Konrad Feldman, QuantCast
Konrad Feldman is CEO and Co-Founder of Quantcast, and a speaker on the data panel at the AOP Summit on 14 October - we caught up with him at 8.30am Pacific Time to talk endemic/non-endemic audiences, creating audience packages and turning remnant inventory intro premium. Q: Quantcast positions itself in the middle of the display ad trading dynamic – what advantage do you provide publishers? Quantcast provides tools to better measure, segment and package audiences: in short, using mathematical processes that turn tags into rich, buoyant data – a level of detail you just can’t get from panel-based systems. The way we see it, in order to keep satisfying advertiser demand, the media and ad industries are moving away from aggregate data, towards real time segmentation. Quantcast provides free aggregate measurement to everyone, but also paid solutions to segment audiences in real time, according to models tailored for publishers' clients.  Publishers can use these models to deliver audiences through their unique content to satisfy that demand. Publishers have historically been very good at satisfying endemic demand, but their advertisers’ budgets get exhausted, and many still end up with sell through rates below 50%. What publishers have missed out on is the many non-endemic advertisers out there – for example, for a financial news site, its endemic advertisers would be targeting richer older men, but there could be a million women also accessing the site who advertisers miss, because overall, the site under-indexes for women. Quantcast opens up your inventory to this type of non-endemic demand, and can target them in real time. The opportunity is around turning remnant inventory into more premium inventory. In other words, we’re not talking about adding 50p to your premium sell, but to take your 50p remnant and sell it for £5, because it satisfies brand advertisers’ needs. Q: As publishers looks to harness the value locked up in their audience data, what are the key areas that you would advise that they focus on? I don’t believe there are many publishers making significant returns from selling their audience data. Rather, the opportunity for most comes from using data as a means to organise inventory and made it relevant for advertisers. This provides leverage against a publisher’s core business – creating high quality environments for advertisers to engage consumers. Q: Tools like Quantcast Lookalikes allow publishers to grow their potential reach & campaign sizes. Do you see the future of digital content businesses in joint venture, premium exchanges? How will publishers differentiate themselves from ad networks? There’s a trade-off here – the value of the exchange is about creating liquidity and competition. Competition will drive value. Publishers understandably want to retain absolute control of their inventory, and exchange platforms and sell-side platforms now provide fairly fine-grained controls to do that. One thing to keep bearing in mind is that we’re going to see lots more brand & TV money coming online, but digital is a harder medium for buyers to work in than print/TV, and tech providers make it easier for budgets to transition to this more fragmented environment. Publishers need to be confident their partners treat their audience data with absolute respect. They also need to encourage maximum possible competition for their audiences. Publishers should differentiate by creating vehicles for brands to engage users. In order for publishers to be best positioned to take advantage of this move of spend online, that requires a streamlining of the industry’s use of data – creating controlled liquidity for publishers’ audiences, while all the time retaining control. Q: With many publishers anxious about losing their advantage to 3rd parties who are retargeting the audiences elsewhere, what would you say to provide comfort? They are right to be concerned about the retargeting of their audiences, it’s unfortunate and brazen people would appropriate that. Quantcast doesn’t allow anyone to retarget publishers’ visitors – and we don’t create or sell categories based on individual brands – that would be devaluing the unique audiences publishers create. Our business is all about manufacturing new data, and creating opportunities for publishers to satisfy new marketer demand. Q: What’s QC’s prediction for growth in the UK Online display market? Have you plans to develop into Video & Mobile? The UK is in many ways ahead of rest of world for online advertising, but it’s also heavily weighted toward performance, even more so than the US. That said, brand budgets are moving online and publishers will be the primary beneficiary of this trend. Quantcast works extensively with video both for measurement and targeting. We also observe enormous amounts of mobile media consumption - it’s worth remembering that the web browser is still the dominant app across mobile devices – and you’ll see a lot more from us around mobile in the future. Q: You’re speaking at the AOP Summit in October, what developments are you hoping to see amongst digital publishers? We’re already seeing publishers grasp the opportunity to grow their businesses, creating audience packages with real time data that are more valuable for advertisers. We build solutions in conjunction with the publisher community, and look forward to continuing to engage with it. We’ve done a good deal of this in 2011 in the UK, but we know there’s a lot more we can do and we’re committed to doing it.

See Konrad speak at the AOP Summit on 14 October, on our 'dealing in data panel' with Future, IDG, Vivaki and Admonsters - early booker rates for the event end soon, so book now to avoid disappointment.

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