Breaking Down Boundaries: Q&A with Jonathan Lewis, AdGent Digital

Sprinkling Social atop Behavioral Targeting

With a strong grasp of social media, AdGent Digital brings a comprehensive advertising strategy to advertisers and publishers. We sat down with Jonathan Lewis, GM International Markets at AdGent, to delve into the ways AdGent masters technology to generate revenue.


AdGent Digital provides a diverse set of offerings for both advertisers and publishers. How do all these tie together in the company’s holistic strategy?


Our strategy is very simple: we focus on delivering a premium audience to brands no matter how or where they are accessing content.


As there are no boundaries to the web we initially focused on delivering brand ads to people in their location. So, if you were in London accessing a web page on a US publisher we served you an ad relevant to you in London. This is still a large part of our business today. When people started consuming Twitter content, we built Tweetology, a curation system for Twitter, so brands could communicate with their audience in a safe way. And as people are increasingly watching a ton of video online our D30 video ad platform allows brands to get their message in front of people using a TV like approach. And now we are moving into the HTML5 space as we believe very strongly that the majority of content is going to be consumed on a mobile/tablet device in the future.


Where does AdGent place itself in the highly fragmented digital media landscape? Where do you see the company moving toward – potentially a new category?


Our HQ is in Silicon Valley so we have always tried to be across emerging technologies. That path is currently taking us to the tablet world. We firmly believe opportunities exist for publishers and advertisers outside of the app space that isn’t necessarily being addressed currently. We hope to be at the forefront of that in the coming months with a platform suite of HMTL5 ad units targeting tablets users.


Can you give examples of how AdGent’s social media platforms and audience targeting technologies cross paths?


Our social media platforms are integrated into our overall ad platform strategy to measure the effect of online ad campaigns. Advertisers can include our social media widgets into the creatives that add interactive social sharing elements into the ad units. These widgets turn creatives from passive units to active medium by encouraging the views to engage with the ad to share the creative in the social media, increase social recommendation and improve product discovery. We measure the brand recognition and campaign engagement in social media to gauge the effectiveness of the campaign.


What are publishers’ biggest challenges when it comes to optimising user data?


User data presents publishers with a few issues from the get go. The veracity of that data, how to organise that data from multiple points / sources and then of course giving it that nice data bundle a value. Also, the sheer volume of data being produced makes it increasingly difficult for publishers to analyse and optimise, we think that the biggest challenge facing publishers is figuring out who to work with to assist them in optimisation. By opening the door to third party vendors publishers are likely opening access to their audience. In doing so, they risk commoditisation of their audience. If a brand can buy your audience cheaper else where it will.


With the May 26 UK Cookie Law enactment day looming, what kind of impact do you think legislation based on the European Commission’s E-Privacy Directive will have on AdGent’s business?


Opt in cookies are going to make it very difficult for the industry to operate as it has been doing. There is nothing inherently wrong with cookies and indeed they are incredibly useful in enabling delivery of relevant ads and content. Unfortunately a few rogues in the industry have (potentially) ruined it for all causing the government to step in to protect user privacy. We are in discussion with our publishers and with a few vendors : it really depends on how many people opt out.

OPS Markets

How does ever-changing technology impact advertising? AdMonsters Sydney will bring digital advertising leaders and ops professionals together to discuss and develop best practices for operational excellence in the evolving automated landscape on the Australian continent. Register today for AdMonsters Sydney, which will be held March 22, 2012.