Vivaki recently announced it was renewing its partnership with Invite Media. Marco Bertozzi, Managing Director EMEA at Vivaki Nerve Center, spoke to ExchangeWire this week about the implications of the partnership and what we’re likely to see in terms of innovation from Vivaki over the coming months.
Vivaki announced that it is renewing its partnership with Google for another two years. Does this mean that Vivaki will just exclusively use Invite Media to trade inventory? Or is there more to the deal?
MB: As I mentioned in my blog, the best friendships / partnerships come with time. Google and Vivaki have been working together since 2008 and have a close working relationship at a product development level and not just at a media level. It was our collaboration that encouraged them to purchase Invite. On that basis we feel that working with one partner, who in our view is the leader in this space is going to deliver better results than working with a whole range of partners who all have different processes and approaches, we will learn together and they are more likely to work to our needs as we are a large customer of theirs.
All that said of course it is incumbent on us to make sure we have a view on the marketplace and understand different systems. On that basis we have trialled different DSPs so to that extent it is not exclusive. As an aside the deal as you call it, I prefer a partnership as that is closer to the truth, is a Google one, not just an Invite one. Invite are one important part of our discussions.
What effect will the deal have on the European arm of the Vivaki and the Publicis agencies here?
MB: The US has been market leading in many areas of digital and ad exchange trading is no different. They are a good 12 months ahead of the UK in terms of maturity, understanding of the marketplace and scale. Therefore in EMEA we have always benefitted from that forward thinking work from the US and deals like this just add to that and help us mature more quickly in the EMEA markets. I believe this will create for us some very good first mover advantage in the areas we are focusing on such as video and mobile in the exchange space.
In a recent blog post you spoke about how the partnership with Google will focus more on mobile and video. What opportunities does Vivaki see in those channels from the perspective of data-driven ad trading?
MB: We see the whole ecosystem as being display whether its mobile, video or traditional display. The growth in spend is in these areas, the interest from agencies and clients is in this space so for us will come the need to be able to deliver an efficient and targeting solution in the form of exchanges across these different channels. We will want to have data that crosses channels and helps us discover out audience regardless of screen and this partnership will help us get there in the quickest time but at scale. There will always be small PR led partnerships around mobile and video but they are not at scale and often a lot of hot air, our approach is to do it right and to do it at scale.
Will “The Pool” initiative be part of this video and mobile strategy?
MB: The Pool is a slightly different approach where we are identifying the optimum ad format with in the video space. In the UK, Spain, China and US we are well underway with all of that work and it’s exciting to see the results. Although we will not be directly linking these, of course when the video ad exchanges take shape, our Vivaki built ASq model will be part of the formats available on the exchanges. I think more broadly Vivaki and SMG have really owned the video innovation space and so we would see these two areas being complimentary.
What are the key objectives you would like to achieve in the next two years with your renewed partnership with Google? Is it more automation across display, mobile and video?
MB: I think it’s pretty straight forward, we want to work with the Vivaki brands to accelerate all ad exchange trading but most importantly in the space of video and mobile, this will be a key battle ground and we want to be leading the market in this space, our work with Google and Invite will be a big part of this. Let’s not lose sight of why we are looking at all of this though, it’s to target the right audiences, minimise wastage and deliver strong targeting solutions and strong commercial results for our clients.
What currently differentiates Vivaki’s exchange strategy from those of other European holding companies?
MB: We have a purist approach to ad exchange trading and are not looking to create an ad network or exchange right now. The most important development for us is fine tuning the best approach to trading on exchanges and delivering an expertise to our clients, if the focus was on creating a marketplace or network I think the ambition is too centred on margin management and not on the best solutions. On top of that, the sheer scale and experience we now have from the US and more latterly in the UK in particular means we can use that experience to the benefit of our clients. Practical experience over the last 18 months gives us a head start on the other agency groups, some of which are still grappling with technical or organisational issues.
Since joining Vivaki do you think the European exchange space has evolved? Or are we still in the early stages of development?
MB: It’s slow but steady. On the one hand it feels as though everyone is talking about it but then you realise that it’s still very much under radar, I think all the people connected with this industry know each and other and interact, some limited teams in the agencies are aware but generally it’s still nascent. That said I am having more conversations with publishers who are waking up to the possibility that exchanges are an opportunity rather than a threat and that can only be a good thing. We are also slowly seeing the migration of US companies into EMEA but that remains surprisingly slow, so all in all I think things are growing but we are not mainstream yet!