Gurman Hundal is the co-founder of MEDIA iQ, a leading innovator in digital trading. Prior to launching MEDIA iQ, Gurman set-up the online ad network, A&NY Media, for the large publishing group Associated Northcliffe Media. He has a passion for the online advertising space, particularly in areas of analysis and optimisation. The Makegood recently spoke with Gurman on the importance of analysis and optimization for the digital display trading industry.
The Makegood: At Media iQ, you ensure that digital display ads are seen by the most valuable audiences to generate maximum ROI. Can you elaborate on your services?
Our business is designed to bring innovation into the Trading layer. The answer to achieving this lies in Predictive Analysis. How can we create new and exciting ways to analyze data to a) Predict who a client’s potential customer is and b) Understand when and why to buy them in the most appropriate manner.
Our business is a Trading business; clients that decide to work with us have full access to our analysis and our infrastructure to execute on this.
Furthermore, a large part of our belief system is all data should be made accessible to clients. Empowering client’s with their campaign insights is the best way to deliver maximum ROI.
The Makegood: You state that it is on you to identify and address the flaws within the sector. What are the flaws and what do you do about them?
I could go on for hours regarding this, so I will try and keep it short! Here are my top 2:
- “Project Led” companies making Digital inaccessible and confusing. A common mistake of funded companies (not all but a large majority) is they are run to “exit” rather than ad value over a sustained period of time. This leads to enhanced market confusion and by making propositions more inaccessible, market growth is compromised. By making what we do as open and accessible to clients, we believe that empowerment will be a catalyst to fuel growth. Being independent and having a business goal focused on sustainability and relevance also helps in achieving this.
- Too much focus on the execution rather than analysis layer. By execution I mean on the bidding/buying “technology” layer, largely down to point a. However if you focus on analysis, you can understand what factors cause a change in a client’s business. By making client’s understand this, you can have greater influence on the planning and buying stage. Innovation in the field of Analysis will be at the heart of fixing key specific flaws within the sector (i.e. Attribution Modeling)
The Makegood: In your ROI focused trading model you are not committing to a set inventory source, a static targeting strategy or a fixed pricing strategy. What are the criteria instead?
One key principle we find trading companies forget is Optimization starts before you buy an impression. Optimization starts with your strategy. It is our strategy to enter each trade with the upmost Flexibility at the start. Having complete flexibility on when, how, who and how much to buy, you have complete fluidity within the optimization process.
You don’t get this if you say you are only running on one source of inventory. You don’t get complete flexibility when you only trade against one form of data or targeting methodology. Lastly, you don’t have complete flexibility, when working in a biddable real time media environment, if you sell on a fixed Price or margin.
The Makegood: Can you provide a successful example from your work?
We work for over 300 Advertiser’s globally, so have several case studies with individual clients. The key to delivering success for these clients lies within our proprietary analysis platform AiQ.
The best recent example of AiQ in action is within the Credit Card category. Let’s keep it simple and think of this in the field of Planning, knowing when to buy, who and when to target and for how much.
Through various analyses and modeling techniques, we recently found that the most likely applicant in summer month’s for Credit Card clients; are user’s interested in Luxury Travel. When we looked at further analysis this indicated that the audience was more likely to convert when the USD was at a high, against a bucket of foreign currencies. We then customized the bid algorithm for that client when buying against this Audience, to maximize bids only at times when the USD was at a high against this bucket.
This successful approach was fuelled by analysis, which customized the planning and buying process for this credit card client.
The Makegood: You have offices in the UK, North America, Germany, and India. What are the differences in the markets and how to you address them?
Our birthplace was the UK. The market is certainly mature when it comes to programmatic Trading with acceptance coming from all sides of the ecosystem. The market is small and competitive, which has led to a big movement towards consolidation of Media Plan’s. Agency Trading Desks have done a good job in the market to help this and generally a company really has to add and prove their value to exist, which we see as a positive move for the industry, as this will lead to true innovation.
We see Germany having the potential to be a major market. The acceptance of Programmatic Trading is not as open than the UK and this is not necessarily down to maturity, but more the dynamics’ of the market are still weighted to Premium buys at a Publisher level, so they are rightfully being more cautious. From the buy side, there is most certainly more of a need to have more focus on business development with the sell side in Germany than the UK and US.
North America has the scale, which no other market can compete with. This makes consolidation at scale much harder, so there is more room for multiple players. We also see more of a standardized approach to analysis, trading and optimization, which we think is a huge advantage for MEDIA iQ. Being an Independent, more agile and nimble player we can add a more customized layer and really work harder with our client’s to identify the analysis which matter’s to them. We truly believe this is what the North American market is missing.
India is very much a development hub for Infrastructure and analysis. We are keen to open a sales operation in H1 of next year as we do see an opportunity there. The liquidity is still fairly weak, with the majority of local premium supply not available through open means. The market needs to be educated on the benefits of Programmatic, which will need greater investment from Programmatic players.
The Makegood: What will we see coming in the next year and how do you stay the ‘Next Generation Performance Trading Specialists’?
We see differentiation coming through the Predictive Analysis layer. By focusing on this and really making our client’s understand ‘what’ analysis makes a difference for them. With this, offering a Trading service to execute and continuingly learning from this, we believe we can maintain our stance of being leading Trading specialist’s on a global scale.
The Makegood: Thank you Gurman.