Martin Kogan is the Founder and CEO of Headway Digital, a technology that integrates and provides access to third party data providers, ad networks, ad exchanges, and other top third party providers in order to achieve data-driven media buying power. Prior to Headway, Kogan was Director for southern Latin America for MySpace, where he was in charge of sales, monetization, business development and audience initiatives. The Makegood recently spoke with Kogan about Headway’s successful past year.
The Makegood: In the past year, Headway Digital has announced several new features and platforms, including an integration of your DSP with a data management platform, and more recently, MoBrain, a DSP platform for streamlined mobile ad campaigns. Could you elaborate on these recent developments and why they were vital to Headway Digital?
On a high level, you can say we’re focused on providing services that meet the many previously unmet needs in the programmatic space. For example, advertisers and media buyers who need to launch multi-national, multi-channel digital advertising campaigns don’t have a lot of robust options. The providers they’re accustomed to working with specialize in a narrow market, like only the U.S. So our goal is to offer marketers a wide range of solutions that get them into all the markets they need to be in through a single turnkey platform.
Message delivery is just one piece of the story; the other part is data. Lots of brands want to reach a global audience, but the big U.S. data providers just don’t have global audience data at scale. We spend a lot of our time working directly with local premium publishers in emerging markets, as well as in Europe and Asia, and we’ve helped them to monetize their audience data through DataXpand, our data management platform. DataXpand lets marketers target specific audiences based on user behavior, interests, intent, recent searches as well as demographics. And of course, it’s fully integrated with our DSP, so there’s just one set of reporting and analytics for clients to pull.
We launched MoBrain to focus on mobile campaigns because for some demographics – Gen X, Gen Y and millennials, for instance – mobile is the most efficient way to reach them. Additionally, in some emerging markets, consumers tend to rely on their smartphones to access the Internet so mobile is key. MoBrain is a demand-side platform (DSP) that streamlines every aspect of mobile campaigns. We feel that if we take the pain out of launching and reporting on mobile campaigns, more marketers will start to use it.
The Makegood: For which marketers is the MoBrain platform most useful? How can ad companies implement MoBrain to improve performance?
Due to the wide variety of ad formats, marketers tell us that MoBrain is the perfect vehicle for driving App downloads, mobile subscriptions, and mobile downloads. It’s also used pretty extensively for performance-based and brand campaigns.
Campaign performance is often driven by scale; you need to reach enough consumers in order to get the response you need. MoBrain connects to hundreds of mobile publishers, ad networks, SSPs and global mobile ad exchanges, so we’ve got scale pretty well covered.
And as everyone knows, targeting mobile users is tough since there really aren’t any universal tracking ideas to leverage. Our approach has been to offer highly nuanced targeting tools that go beyond device and geo targeting – useful as those options are. With MoBrain, marketers can target by content, as well as by demographic and behavioral (e.g. search history, sites visited) data.
You can target your best audience, but if you don’t have an ad that grabs the consumer’s attention, then performance will suffer. That’s why we’ve spent a lot of energy in giving marketers great format options, including: Image Banners, which appear when users navigate the contents of their mobile devices; Tablet Image Banners, which appear as users surf the web; Interstitial Banners, which appear within a mobile app itself, as well video and rich-media interactive ads.
The Makegood: Headway Digital is leading the advertising future, utilizing audience data for marketing. Could you elaborate on how this data is useful in the Latin American, Europe and among US Hispanics?
Our data for these is useful for a number of strategic reasons. First, we get it from local sources, so if you’re looking for auto intenders in Mexico, we’ll provide audience data from the in-country equivalent of cars.com. Second, we don’t assume that a single click on an auto ad, or a visit to cars site is enough to indicate true interest intent. We look at a number of actions and criteria, including recency, to rate a consumer’s interest. And finally, as I mentioned earlier, thanks to these negotiated and managed relationships we have with publishers in all the markets you mentioned, we can offer the scale marketers need.
The Makegood: How has Headway changed its strategy, or how has the company come to accommodate the growing Latin population in the United States?
We have the capability and technology to match offline data from consumers and make it available online. Our geo-demographic database, that covers more than 120 MM households
in the U.S., is updated regularly. We identify the persons of each household by their background and define their “Hispanicity level” – we have multiple levels according to the type of Hispanic they are.
This advanced targeting allows the marketer to differentiate between the Hispanics they need to reach in regards to method of communication, product, message, etc. We are able to target the media by channel and DMA.
The Makegood: What do you see for the future of the company’s strategies? How do you want to see the company move forward?
With the growth of the mobile ecosystem, there is a huge opportunity for companies that know how to use data to send targeted messages to the right audiences. That is why we developed MoBrain, for advertisers to take full advantage of the mobile economy. As it continues to grow, we plan on remaining on the forefront of mobile technology.
Connected television is another growing trend that will serve advertisers with an engaged audience whose medium of choice is the Internet. The households that own these smart TVs are growing exponentially, and we are developing products that will let advertisers tap into this diverse group of consumers.
We have also seen the consolidation of RTB and programmatic as the key strategy in every media buyer’s agenda. We are committed to providing solutions that integrate the power of data with our huge global reach in order to give media buyers the ability to connect with targeted audiences at a fair market price.
We want to continue to offer global solutions with local experts. We have grown so much in the past year and we want to continue moving forward with our expansion into new markets. Recently we opened operations in Europe, our goal is to keep expanding our global footprint. We’re constantly investing in new technologies that will meet the challenges of the marketers as they explore new markets and reach new audiences.
The Makegood: Thank you, Martin.