Gustav Von Sydow, CEO & Co-Founder, Burt, Discusses The Company's Brand Analytics Tool As Well As Trends In The Scandinavian Display Market

Gustav Von Sydow, CEO & Co-Founder, Burt, discusses the company's brand analytics tool as well as trends in the Scandinavian display market. Von Sydow is speaking at the upcoming ATS Stockholm event on May 24. Tickets are now available to buy for the Nordics first all day event on data-driven advertising.

Burt product offering, what exactly is it?

We're a measurement and analytics platform for brands, agencies, networks and publishers. Think of it as web analytics, but developed from the perspective of digital media and brand advertising, rather than e-commerce and direct response.

Web analytics products have historically done an amazing job at optimising the e-commerce model, but they don't really give publishers what they need know in order to build a strong and viable online business, or get brands to figure out how they can start making digital a compelling alternative to traditional media.

These are the kind of fundamental issues we're working to solve together with our customers and platform partners.

How do you see online display advertising evolving?

We believe that display advertising will continue to morph into something more Google-esque. And by that we don't mean the targeting (although that's already happening in the low end of the market) but in the sense that ads will become a native part of the consumer experience, placed where people see them naturally, adding real value and often compete directly with the editorial content.

Our media will also become less complex and decluttered. Not necessarily in the sterile Google sense of the word, but we're confident we'll see less navigation, fewer, but larger, ads per page and fewer formats - even one major format per device, and not more.

The reason for this is simple. Display advertising still lacks most of the key components of what makes great advertising media, and we need to change this quickly in order for brands and agencies to truly embrace online and to make sure publishers start making serious digital dollars.

What do you think about the vGRP initiative by comScore - good, bad? Are you doing something similar?

On a higher level we believe quality, guaranteed impressions are an important building block in making digital a better advertising media, mainly for two reasons:
It promotes consistency across media sellers and, over time, makes it easier to compare price and performance.
Buyers reduce their up-front risk, since sellers assume responsibility over the fundamental impression "performance".

On a lower level, it looks like the first generation of these products is essentially ad verification in new clothes. As such, the marketing story easily becomes focused on fear and downside protection (low in-screen rates, fraud, brand protection, etc.), which decrease brand trust and often introduce more complexity into an already messy media.

That being said, it's an amazing development for Burt that so much marketing muscle is being put behind this, since it gives publishers a direct incentive to improve the quality of their inventory, around which many of our core features are built.

What is the state of the Scandinavian display marketplace, how is it positioned as it moves more towards automation?

Scandinavia shares many of the traits of most digital advertising markets, in the sense that SEM has become saturated for many e-commerce companies and display ads (using retargeting and other audience-based models) is a natural evolution for online direct response marketing.

That being said, Scandinavia is actually a couple of smaller, independent markets with surprisingly little cross-pollination that may result in the value chain being structured slightly different than in larger national markets across Europe.