Cross-Screen Age Interview Series: An Interview with William Gu, Vice President of Research of hdtMEDIA
2014-09-09

When mentioning "hdtMEDIA", what pump to people¡¯s mind are creative and vivid rich media ads and leading advertising creative technologies. As the Internet advertisement enters the era of programmatic buying and multi screens, the development and ideas of hdtMEDIA on the latest DSP service and other relevant technologies are worthy of our attention. With such awareness, RTBChina interviewed William Gu, Vice President of Research of hdtMEDIA, who has been profoundly engaging in the advertising industry for years.

RTBChina: It is known to all that hdtMEDIA is one of the most professional and experienced companies in the advertising technology industry, and has extensive product lines. Considering the rising of programmatic buying and multi-screen advertising, what are the core products of hdtMEDIA? What are their relations with other products of hdtMEDIA?

William Gu: Technological products of hdtMEDIA mainly involve three categories: the well-known rich media advertising network; the SSP---hdtSSP; and the DSP---hdtDXP. hdtDXP, also called PMP (Programmatic Marketing Platform) abroad, is a platform that serves the demand-side of advertisers and agencies, and is an updated version of DSP (Demand Side Platform). The ¡°X¡± in the ¡°DXP¡± means to convey the concept of ¡°all-inclusiveness¡± by providing extensive services to advertisers and agencies. hdtDXP under hdtMEDIA makes it possible for advertisers to enjoy fast and efficient advertising media purchase, intelligent budget allocation, precise audience display and marketing service functions based on big data mining.

hdtDXP is an independent product of hdtMEDIA and is also neutral in resource docking. This nature enables it to better serve advertisers and agencies. Since its launch in March 2012, hdtDXP has, apart from docking with resources of hdtMEDIA, docked with dozens of suppliers and advertisement exchange platforms as well as several data platforms in and out of China.

RTBChina: It has been over two years since the launch of hdtDXP in March 2012. Could you please introduce the adjustments and optimization of hdtDXP during the process?

William Gu: Drastic changes have taken place in the digital advertising trading industry since 2012. Accordingly, our products have been developing in four directions: 1. mobilized marketing; 2. programmatic buying; 3. transparency; 4. dynamic creativity. Our products are primarily driven by the business needs of the media agencies whose demands we have been closely tracking.

Mobilized marketing: Two years ago we simply docked with the Internet, but now we are gradually turning to mobile phones and videos. We are the first DSP that puts mobile phone videos and Internet on one platform. hdtDXP takes the lead in docking with Google video pre-roll advertisement (VAST) and is also the first DSP in China that supports multiple advertisement delivery channels including Internet, mobile Internet, video pre-roll advertisement and so on.

Programmatic buying: Our platform supports four buying methods including RTB and non-RTB. In terms of non-RTB transaction, our system can perfectly support the Deal ID standards that comply with the international standards. In addition, hdtMEDIA also tries to include the rich media advertisement into the system of programmatic buying, which is a rare try either in or out of China. Till now we have already finished several successful cases of rich media programmatic buying.

Transparency: Advertisers and agencies can transact with media directly in advance and deliver their advertisements via our platforms. hdtDXP offers advertisers with an optimized tool rather than providing simple media resources and earning from the price difference. This is also the philosophy of overseas PMP.

Dynamic creativity: I believe the development of advertising industry covers three phases. The first phase is extensive growth; the second is the current phase of group buying; and the ultimate is individualized delivery phase during which different advertisements will be delivered to different groups according to their region, gender, interest and IP address. To put it in other words, the ultimate goal of dynamic creativity is to deliver individualized and creative advertisement to independent individuals.

RTBChina: Now there are many DSP in the market. What¡¯s unique about hdtDXP?

William Gu: hdtDXP means to serve the demand side like advertisers and agencies for their benefits. With this core concept as basis, I conclude the uniqueness of hdtDXP as "RESET" which stands for ROI, Efficiency, Safety, Empowerment and Transparency.

R stands for return on investment, i.e. yielding high ROI through advertisements delivery via hdtMEDIA. We believe advertisements that excel at both brand and performance can better achieve higher return for the advertisers and better capture the target audiences.

E stands for efficiency, i.e. more efficient advertising effect could be achieved via automatic ad delivery. Ad Network used to be operated by people, the same as the stock market where transaction forms were completed by traders manually via telephone. Now all businesses can be easily done by one click at home. Now the advertisers prefer to achieve their goal via efficient and automatic methods rather than wasting a whole week on research and preparation work before buying. By using automatic methods such as programmatic buying, efficient ad delivery is easily achieved.

S stands for safety, i.e. the security of advertisement delivery. For brand advertisers, the security of advertisement delivery carries huge weight. hdtMEDIA will ensure the our clients¡¯ advertisements being delivered to sound environments.

E stands for empowerment, i.e. giving advertisers and agencies more choices. We provide advertisers with various tools with which they could better adjust and optimize their advertisement delivery strategies.

T stands for transparency, i.e. putting everything on the table. We stick to the belief of being a professional technical platform and getting rewarded from technological strength rather than seeking profit from price differences.

The strength of hdtDXP are four-fold: media resources, traffic platforms, services and technologies.

hdtMEDIA has been profoundly engaging in digital media advertising platform for years and has many media partners, which halves the effort and doubles the effect in our accumulating data such as Cookie Mapping and gives great help to the audience in their DSP buying. Besides, we have docked with many high-quality media platforms and dozens of supply-side platforms, and have large amount of desktop traffic, mobile phone traffic and video traffic. In addition, we have served the advertisers and agencies for many years, and are clear about their needs, so that we can meet such needs by optimizing our products timely after getting the feedbacks from our clients. Still, we are also one of the first platforms that use cloud platform and big data technology. And we are using the same open-source technology platforms as foreign advertising technology companies do. It is fair to say that we are not far behind top-notch international enterprises technically.

RTBChina: Cross-screen ability is heatedly discussed in the field of DSP. Could you brief us about the features of hdtDXP its future direction?

William Gu: Cross-screen is indeed a hot topic and the need for mobility is also increasing drastically, but we believe that the concepts of ¡°cross-screen¡± and ¡°multi-screen¡± should be separated and realized step by step. ¡°Cross-screen¡± means only one audience is recognized at the other end, while ¡°multi-screen¡± refers to cover more than one audience through multiple platforms. These two approaches are technically different, but are often collectively called ¡°cross-screen¡±. Objectively speaking, it is quite challenging and tricky to realize wide ¡°cross-screen¡± advertising precisely (for instance, to include precise frequency control) at present, and the key to this may be in the hands of super Internet companies that have user login IDs. Currently, the major advertising method of hdtDXP is ¡°multi-screen¡±. By realizing a scientific multi-channel attribution analysis on multiple advertising platforms (PC, mobile phone, and so on), hdtDXP maximizes the effect desired by the client and uses the maximized effect to guide and drive the budget allocation among different screens, so as to reflect our general belief of ¡°the combination of brand and performance¡±. Now, as we are evolving towards the higher phrase of ¡°cross-screen¡±, we are also paying attention to the new targeting tools such as LBS, audience data, OTT and other platforms based on new devices.

RTBChina: How do you see the future of programmatic buying in China and its potential barriers?

William Gu: The future of programmatic buying in China can be described as ¡°while the prospect is bright, the road is twisty¡±. There might be three major problems that are worthy of our attention: standard setting, data sharing, and media quality.

1. Standards of China¡¯s digital advertising industry still need to be strengthened. Now there are still many non-standardized behaviors in the market, such as standard ad dimensions, necessary parameters and so on, which have been causing unnecessary troubles in our docking.

2. While many Chinese companies are now building DMP but there still lacks a data sharing mechanism. I believe we should first clarify what data are exchangeable and what are not, and draw a red line on data sharing. On the premise that no privacy is violated, those exchangeable data are shared and the development and reforms of the whole industry will be accelerated. The fact that some large media companies choose to keep the data concealed is not good for the development of the industry.

3. How to exclude fake traffic and improve the media quality? The Ad Exchange platform of Google uses hundreds of algorithms to exclude fake traffic and give relatively cleaner traffic to DSP. A Viewable Impression technique is now popular among many foreign advertising technology companies and I hope some Chinese companies could also realize similar functions. ¡°Viewable impression¡± means that only an impression that reveals at least 50% contents in the Internet browser and lasts for at least one second can be counted as an effective impression. Supervising viewable impression is technically demanding and I hope more Chinese companies can cooperate in this field and build a more extensive industry chain.

RTBChina: How is hdtDXP business growing recently?

William Gu: The growth rate of hdtDXP kept at around 40% to 50% for the past few months and even doubled in some months. We attach more importance to serving brand advertisers and our major clients are large brand advertisers and agencies, including 20 to 30 famous agencies.

Advertisements that excel at brand and performance are increasingly welcomed by large brand advertisers. hdtDXP will also deliver more of such advertisements for our clients. hdtMEDIA puts the rich media traffic and video traffic on the hdtDXP, thus combining brand-oriented ads with performance-oriented ads. For example, hdtMEDIA delivers featured rich media ads as brand ads while use banner ads as performance-oriented ads to halve the effort and double the effect. When advertising, we design two packages and put them in place simultaneously. By using featured rich media advertisement for the brand effect, we collect the audience data information and classify such information into clicking audience, registered audience and other audience data that have been converted. And then different strategies will be worked out in accordance with the different reactions to the brand ads coming from different audiences so as to exert different influences.

RTBChina: could you update us about the new trends and launch of hdtDXP products?

William Gu: We are focusing on the technology of mobile native ads and multi-screen integration. Our attention also goes to mobile creative products, namely the realization of individualized dynamic creative optimization. In terms of data, we are improving the real-timeness of our data. We are also improving the attribution models to let our technologies better serve the goal of achieving ¡°the combination of brand and performance¡± and the optimal allocation of multi-channel budget.