Benjamin Fonzé CEO and Founder ExoClick
Tell us a little bit of history about ExoClick
I set up ExoClick as an ad network in 2006 and the first few years were a gradual progression as I began to build and improve the ad serving platform and turn it into a serious business. As it grew I began to hire talent in order to build up scale. In 2011 we moved our offices to the Torre Mapfre by the beach in Barcelona, and this was a defining moment as ExoClick had grown into a substantial business. Two years ago we doubled our office space in the building and now we employ 130 people made up of 33 different nationalities, with additional offices in Madrid, Valencia (Spain) and Dublin with plans to open two new offices shortly.
We have grown ExoClick by always reinvesting the profits we have generated, developing our business and expansion in a cautious way. We have never wasted money and only invested in things that we really believe in. No outside investors have been involved, so we haven’t been under pressure from outside forces or been pushed to grow the company with the goal of making an exit. This has enabled us to grow at our own pace.
Some key milestones for us have been the growth in ad impressions, if you look back to 2010 we were serving ½ billion daily impressions, by 2014 this grew to 4 billion, in 2016 5 billion and today we are serving 6 billion daily impressions. This growth is down to continually innovating with new platform features and ad formats.
One of our company values is ‘where people and creativity drive innovative technology,’ so we put tech and our talented team first, and this blend between people and technology enables us to bring ‘firsts’ to the adult industry. We were the first to introduce programmatic RTB, native advertising, in-stream video advertising and now we have another first with the launch of our new Ad Exchange. By staying ahead of the game and making the right strategic decisions we hope that we are setting the industry standard. By pushing technology forward, our clients can maximise their ROI with the best tools available.
Tell us more about your new ad exchange
Programmatic is the future of the digital ad industry. It is highly efficient and allows advertisers to automate many parts of their campaigns so that they can build scale while reducing the time it takes to achieve their conversion goals. This has been a strategic part of our growth which we began way back in 2014 when we made our client’s big data available to them along with a range of analytical tools, we followed that in 2015 with our platform API which allowed clients to plug in their own automation software.
At the start of this year we launched our Programmatic RTB engine. Programmatic RTB is a means by which advertising inventory is bought and sold on a per-impression basis, via automated instantaneous auction, similar to the model used by financial markets. With RTB, advertisers bid on an impression and, if the bid is won, the buyer’s ad is instantly displayed on the publisher’s site. These auctions are held in the milliseconds it takes for a web page to load. The big advantage for advertisers is that they can now automate their bidding and integrate their own optimisation software and algorithms in order to improve their ROI.
This has now led to the next product in our strategy, the launch of our new Ad Exchange. Now publishers can monetize their traffic not only with ExoClick, but also with other ad networks from one place: our Ad Exchange. Currently we have over 30 ad networks and DSPs that are already plugged in to our exchange, and we are adding more each day. We offer full transparency to publishers by displaying which ad network or DSP is monetizing their traffic. The exchange allows publishers to increase demand for their inventory and advertisers to plug into our RTB exchange engine, giving them direct access to multiple sources of high quality inventory in a massive global market place. Our ad exchange is seamlessly integrated into our proprietary ad serving platform so that ad exchange clients have access to all of our platform’s features including deep targeting, retargeting, real-time statistics, conversion tracking and big data analytical tools.
This is the real game changer for our clients and it is also a game changer for ExoClick as a brand as we now offer two products: an ad network and an ad exchange which has led us to reposition ourselves as a global ad company. This allows us to widen our business eco system like never before.
What ad formats do you offer?
We offer ad formats for desktop, mobile, tablet and SmartTV which include traditional banner ads, video ads (in-stream & banner), popunders, instant message and we introduced native advertising in April this year. Native ads can help publishers avoid banner saturation on their sites which can be off putting for users. We advise our publishers to create new ad zones with Native ads and mix them with the actual content of their website. Additionally, some publishers find that they can generate more revenues by replacing underperforming ad zones with Native advertising. We introduced the format in April this year and feedback from clients has been very positive. It is super easy for publishers to integrate our flexible widget into their ad zones and because they appear like editorial content, they do not interrupt the user experience like an animated banner would. The format has a much higher CTR especially if the ad is relevant to a user.
What is the future of online marketing?
The complexity of modern marketing is only going to become even more complex, the job of being a marketer in 2017 is undoubtedly more difficult than it was 10 years ago. The proliferation of channels, markets and incomes in emerging markets around the world, has made marketing a complex discipline. While this is a big challenge, it’s also a good problem to have, as over the next five years marketers will have an ever-growing customer base thanks to the growth of smartphone adoption in emerging markets, enabling digital marketers to reach billions of these users directly.
Technology continues to develop rapidly with AI having a huge potential. At present there are simple AI programs, like digital assistants that are starting to shape the ways that users interact with digital devices, but on a much bigger scale, ad tech companies are working on ways to use AI and machine learning to update their own systems and develop algorithms. Similarly the lines between the digital world and real world are starting to blur. With virtual reality, users are starting to crave immersive, interactive experiences and marketers will have to provide a hybridized experience to meet consumer expectations.
Whatever progress happens in technology in the coming years you can be sure that ExoClick will be there to harness the power of these new technologies in order to help our clients monetize and grow their businesses in the ever changing tech landscape.