Danish software company Adform (www.adform.com) has been seeing great growth following the launch of the first Pan-European demand side platform in November last year. Recent news around Adform’s expansion have put the company in the spotlight once again. CMO Martin Stockfleth Larsen shares with us some insights into the current state of display advertising and explains how the Adform platform is radically different.
Otilia Otlacan: We’ve been hearing a lot of good news from Adform lately and it seems that the past 6 months were very busy for you. Can you walk us a little through what Adform does and what differentiates it from similar ad serving platforms?
Martin Stockfleth Larsen: First of all we are beyond ad serving, so you don’t find similar platforms. Adform is Europe’s biggest technology and service provider within display advertising, which mission is “making display advertising simple, relevant, rewarding”. Our product strengths and strategic focus areas lie within our real time buying, rich media and dynamic creative optimization offerings, as these areas will create the most value for our clients going forward, we call it the Adform trilogy.
Supporting the offering we have developed an end-to-end ad serving platform offering comprehensive media planning, campaign optimization and reporting functionality. The platform supports various online channels, such as social media, search, mobile and video, enabling our clients to optimize display campaigns using data from all online channels.
On a historical note, Adform was established 10 years ago in Copenhagen, Denmark by three engineers from Denmark’s Technical University and today we have offices in 12 European countries including the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Eastern Europe and the Nordics. We work with leading media agencies and online advertisers and receive a great deal of praise for our unrivalled service, flexibility, data reporting and targeting capabilities. We serve more than 2,000 advertisers and 200 agencies across all our markets.
Otilia Otlacan: What is your view of the current state of the display advertising market? Many have touted its resurgence but does the growth live up to the hype created around it?
Martin Stockfleth Larsen: Hype is the wrong word. It’s not hype but simply a matter of huge potential for many years to come; the market is for real.
The reason behind the growth of display advertising is threefold.
Marketing spend is shifting from offline to online marketing. The reason behind that is digitalization. This makes people spend more and more time online, whether by using a computer, tablet, Smartphone or any other connected device.
Display is benefitting a lot from this shift.
During the last couple of years, we have seen a good deal of innovation coming to life to help display advertising become a performance channel just like search engine marketing. Technologies such as retargeting, personalized ads, real-time bidding, cherry picking, etc., are legitimate and used across industries.
Branding is huge—not only with outdoor and TV ads, but, indeed, also online. Rich media, video and mobile give brand marketers some fantastic formats and creative opportunities to make the consumer engage with the brand through unlimited creativity, and deeply linked with social media platforms. The distance between branding and engagement in the outside world is far apart, but in the online world, it is happening in real time. This is another good reason for growth within display.
Otilia Otlacan: What type of publisher could benefit most from allowing the ad inventory to be sold through RTB? Are there any particular characteristics of publishers that can generate higher ROI?
Martin Stockfleth Larsen: We are on the demand side and not the supply side, so we help agencies and advertisers.
Otilia Otlacan: Do you ever receive requests for custom metrics through Adform? What metrics do you see as most relevant for display advertising nowadays?
Martin Stockfleth Larsen: Yes, although we have almost 100 metrics, the metrics still evolve. We have recently created a new metric that is a branding index score that is as close as possible to the true branding effect of a campaign or creative. This metric is called “The Branding Exposure Duration” and is the most relevant measure for branding campaigns.
Most relevant for performance-driven advertisers or campaigns, are actual sales, which are consolidated across channels and either de-duplicated or cross-attributed.
Otilia Otlacan: Can you share with us what’s in your pipeline for the rest of the year; what are you working on?
Martin Stockfleth Larsen: We don’t reveal our pipeline, but the market will be thrilled.
Otilia Otlacan: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Martin Stockfleth Larsen: It’s a fantastic industry to work with; so much is happening in the U.S., EMEA and APAC —and it will continue for many years. Right now, though, Europe is on fire, for sure, so look out for the Adform Crusade!
Adform close the loop by integrating media planning, buying, optimization, and reporting for all online display advertising in one place, thus saving an enormous amount of time, money and resources.
Adform’s unique platform incorporates display ad serving, rich media, video, mobile, dynamic ads, personalised targeting, and real-time bidding through integrations with major inventory players, making display advertising simple, relevant and rewarding for media agencies and online advertisers. Adform was established in Denmark in 2002 and now has offices in 12 countries including Nordics, UK, Germany, Spain and Italy.