AppNexus goes to Ad Week #AWXII


AppNexus was proud to be a part of the official Ad Week New York program and to co-host the annual Yield Executive Summit – a signature event that we’ve integrated into our calendar since our recent acquisition of Yieldex. For those who could not join us throughout the week, see our favorite moments below.

Brian O’Kelley, CEO & Co-founder, and Catherine Williams, Chief Data Scientist, took to the NASDAQ stage for a session titled, “Behind the Scenes on the Fight Against ‘Fraud.’” O’Kelley and Williams explained how AppNexus rid its platform of invalid inventory through a combination of sophisticated data science techniques and strict policy enforcement—all part of a multi-phase, industry-leading Inventory Quality initiative. Although only three percent of spend was allocated to invalid inventory prior to the implementation of IQ, streamlining AppNexus’ marketplace has not only brought the percent of spend on invalid inventory down to zero, but it has also resulted in increased view-through rates, post-click conversation rates, and CPMs for advertisers and publishers on AppNexus’ platform.

View the “Behind The Scenes on the Fight Against ‘Fraud’” session below:

Driven by a need for more transparency and openness in the ad tech sector, we hosted a presentation aptly called, “Programmatic without the BS.” Marcus Startzel, our Chief Revenue Officer, took the stage with executives from Warc, Horizon Media, A+E Networks, and JP Morgan Chase. He addressed the recent global trust study that AppNexus had conducted in conjunction with Warc, Circle Research, IAB Singapore, and IAB Australia.

After surveying 1,200+ individuals across the global advertising landscape, it was confirmed that nearly half of the digital ecosystem does not have a clear picture of what programmatic entails. It also found that within the next five years, most agencies believe that knowledge of targeted digital advertising will be a more useful skill to have than creativity itself. His talk and panel attracted widespread attention throughout the industry.

View the “Programmatic without the BS” session below.

Across town at the Harvard Club, the conversation around the global trust study continued during the annual Yield Executive Summit with an opening fireside chat between Louise Ainsworth, CEO of Warc, and Tom Shields, SVP of Strategy for Publishers at AppNexus. Later in the day, executive panelists from Microsoft, True Media, The Weather Company, and AMNET weighed in on the opportunities that today’s online publishers stand to gain from a better overall awareness and practice of programmatic advertising. Moat and Infinitive closed out the day with sessions on the value of viewability and building an effective video capability for publishers.

Michael Rubenstein, President, joined the Native Forum at Liberty Theater in Midtown. He discussed the fast-growing importance of native advertising and concluded by announcing the world’s first integration of RTB with native advertising in partnership with Sharethrough.

Michele Weber, Global VP, ATG Marketing, also addressed a key need for B2B programmatic marketers to take more cues from their B2C counterparts in terms of applying both data and technology to fuel their campaigns. By combining data-driven insight in conjunction with automated technology, Weber argued, marketers would overcome a tremendous hurdle in growing their businesses.

We’re looking forward to continuing these conversations and showcasing the innovations that continue to transform our industry. Join us for a series of programs during our NYC Events Week from November 2nd through November 6th to learn more.


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Pre-bid, placement-level viewability – delivering on a long-held ambition

My experience of ad-viewability dates back to 1999.  I was an engineer at NetValue, an Internet audience measurement company that Nielsen/NetRatings acquired in 2002.

My client, a PHD in economics, looked at the first-ever audience numbers in France and said, to my disappointment: “Nice to have page-level audience, but if people do not see the banner that is in the page, it is useless”!  My answer at that time was “ the technology is not ready”. Yet.

In 2007, with Alenty’s co-founder Nicolas Thomas, I was looking for applications for our intra-page measurement technology. We first thought of measuring what comments people actually read in blog pages. Then I remembered my client from 1999 and asked Nico to add a banner in our test page.  In December 2007 at Le Web Conference, Alenty was the first company in the world to publicly demo ad-viewability measurement

Somewhat naively, I thought that this would change the market immediately. Most people did not ask for viewable impressions because they simply thought it was not feasible. As soon as they saw what Alenty could do, they would switch! I thought viewable impressions would be the currency of web advertising by 2012, but it wasn’t until programmatic started to emerge in 2010 that the industry really found the way to scale.

Programmatic solves the two main issues of ad-viewability: manual setup is painful and data is difficult to action. Nico and I quickly realized that the best way to solve these problems was a native integration between viewability and programmatic. Brian O’Kelley shared this vision and in June 2014, we joined the AppNexus family.

Nine months later, AppNexus deployed ad-viewability measurement on its entire platform. A 100x increase in our measurement, and for the first time, buyers and sellers can access the same viewability numbers, for free!

Viewabilty has now been part of AppNexus’ commitment to improving quality and transparency within the industry for over a year. Providing free ad-viewability numbers to all our clients, whether they are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ numbers, drives a better conversation between buyers and sellers.

Transparency is the first necessary step to high quality. We believe that knowing the truth will drive the market to adopt better quality standards and at the scale we operate at today, we are having a real long-term impact on the market. We also see buyers shift their budgets to more viewable inventory simply because they see that non-viewable impressions have no impact on people. We see publishers improve the layout of their pages, because they were sometimes not even aware of the problems.

Today, AppNexus goes further in our commitment to transparency and quality. Every bid request that AppNexus generates now comes with a predicted viewability score, based on the specific placement history. We want the market to know how likely an impression will be viewable before they bid, so that this knowledge can be used in valuing each and every one of the billions of advertising opportunities flowing through our platform every day.

With the integration of Alenty complete, AppNexus is leading the long journey to a viewable industry. Now that the market knows how viewable each piece of inventory is, there will be no turning back.

My long-lasting vision is becoming true…today is a very good day for our industry.

This blog is the first of a series around viewability, with more data and more exiting announcements!

Stay tuned…


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Introducing the New AppNexus Industry Reference


We’re excited to announce that after weeks of collaboration by a cross-functional team of writers, client enablement specialists, engineers, and product managers, our relaunched AppNexus Industry Reference is live and available to all.

AppNexus believes that the best way to improve the Internet is for everyone to invest in what our CEO Brian O’Kelley calls the “virtuous cycle” – the idea that harmonious cycles of advertising and content ensure ongoing access to a free and functional Internet. What does this Internet look like? It’s a place where publishers can generate revenue from the sale of ad space, advertisers can reach consumers with relevant ads, and consumers are connected to products and services that matter to them.

We also believe that accurate and unbiased resources that explain what’s going on “behind the scenes” are an important part of the virtuous cycle, because quality information helps us all make informed decisions about how we interact with online content and advertising.

The Industry Reference contains helpful information for everyone from ad tech newcomers to ad industry veterans, from consumers to content creators – as well as business, technology, advertising, and engineering students. We’ve included an updated glossary of ad tech terms and a growing pool of articles describing key concepts and processes integral to ad trading, including ad tags, cookies, and mobile and desktop ad serving.

Please visit the Industry Reference and take a look around! We’re proud of the resource we’ve developed. And be sure to check back for additional resources on topics including data and privacy, developing video technology, emerging viewability applications, and more!

Finally, we welcome feedback on how we can improve and grow this guide. You can share your thoughts on the Industry Reference by using the feedback button at the bottom of each page in the guide, or by directly contacting the AppNexus Documentation Team at documentation [at] appnexus [dot] com.
Technology background, concept of global business

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The AppNexus Latino Alliance Presents “¡Exito!” a Panel Discussion of Success Stories from Latin Americans in Tech

Like many young immigrants living in New York during the 1990s, helping wire money to his family members still living in the Dominican Republic was just another fact of life for 11-year old Edrizio de la Cruz. But when asked to describe the effort it took for him and his grandmother to send money, de la Cruz, now a 33 year-old technology entrepreneur and Wharton School graduate, had this to say to The New York Daily News: “Every time we sent money, [my grandmother] would have to get on a bus, go to the agency, wait in line, fill out a form, get the money, get on another bus, go back home [and] put the cash under her pillow.” There was also the added pain-point of a 9% surcharge just to wire the money. “It made no sense to me,” said de la Cruz.

Fortunately, “sense” seems to be gaining the upper hand. In 2013, de la Cruz launched a Manhattan-based startup called Regalii, the world’s first “global bill payment API” that allows people to pay other peoples’ bills — no matter where in the world those recipients are located. Flash-forward two years later, and Regalii (a play off the word “regalo,” the Spanish word for “gift”) is a company that now “processes thousands of payments daily, in more than eight countries, with more than 37,000 partners” – and has already received $3M in total investment funding.

It’s innovators like de la Cruz who have helped provide the impetus for the AppNexus Latino Alliance (ALA), an AppNexus Affinity Group founded earlier this year. Members of the ALA work in concert to honor the achievements of AppNexians of Latino and Hispanic heritage, as well as to foster ties to the greater Latin American community. Not only does ALA share Latino history and culture with AppNexian friends and colleagues, but they also seek to use technology to empower a new generation of Latin Americans to realize a better life — and gain ever-greater access to careers in technology.

That latter goal is one of the main reasons behind ¡Exito! Succeeding in Tech, ALA’s first-ever external event. Right from the get-go, their goal has been to assemble a panel of successful technology leaders and entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds and fields to bring interesting, timely, and relevant perspectives about their experiences in tech.

While it’s obviously a moment for the ALA to celebrate diversity here at AppNexus, it’s also an opportunity for the greater public (whether of Hispanic heritage or otherwise) to take stock of Latino accomplishments— and get inspired by them. Hosted by VP of Global Operations, AppNexus, Pablo Dominguez, each of the panelists will share his or her own story of breaking into tech, and how they each succeeded. Right after that, the panel will engage in a conversation about the future of tech in Latin America, and how people of Latino or Hispanic origin can help create a more diverse, inclusive atmosphere in the United States.

It’s obvious that the statistical percentage of minorities in technology isn’t what it should be (you can read more about those statistics here and here). But AppNexus and the ALA also believe in the ability of individual minds to change those facts and figures for the better — and rapidly so. AppNexus has long since made the commitment (and the investment) to ensure diversity of every kind in throughout its company culture. The ALA believes that by highlighting the stories of Hispanic and Latino-Americans who who have “braved the statistics” and embraced individual success, AppNexus’ vision for a more diverse tech sector can better be achieved.
¡Exito! will occur in the 4th Floor Razzle Dazzle space of AppNexus’ New York offices. Doors open at 6pm, the panel discussion will begin at 6:30pm, and there will be a cocktail reception and networking event at 7:30. The event is open to AppNexians and non-AppNexians alike. To attend, please visit our registration page.


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AppNexus claims positive results for video reboot

Originally posted on Beet.TV


A couple of months back, we reported how AppNexus, the programmatic ad tech firm, told us it would reboot its video advertising offering after a troublesome start. And now it’s claiming initial results as promising.

According to the company: “Based on conversations with clients who tested our product over the past few months, we’ve consistently heard our video buying solution achieves greater audience reach at a fraction of the cost of competitors’ solutions.

Read the full article on Beet.TV 


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AppNexus’ video buying product bursts the video cost bubble with superior audience reach and supply; moves to general availability release


AppNexus was always insistent that we’d make a full entry into the video market when we could introduce a product every bit as scalable and efficient as our display platform. Indeed, similar to the display market, we observed a fundamental problem in how video is bought and sold in the market today: video publishers aren’t getting the revenue they deserve and advertisers are paying too much for their media. In June, we announced our entry into the programmatic video market with a new world-class team of engineers and technologists. Our mission was to burst this video cost bubble.

Today, we’re excited to share results of our Beta testing, including news of how Collective UK and Xaxis EMEA increased their video buying power using our solution, and to announce the general availability of AppNexus’ video buying product with a group of leading industry supply partners.

Insights from our Beta

Based on conversations with clients who tested our product over the past few months, we’ve consistently heard our video buying solution achieves greater audience reach at a fraction of the cost of competitors’ solutions. Buyers have shared they’ve experienced:

  • Audience reach of 10x to 100x better than competitors
  • Video engagement / click through rates increased by 300% or more
  • Video costs for buying that are 30% to 60% lower than competitors


In short, we’re successfully enabling video advertisers to get the same number of impressions (or more), with better audience reach or engagement performance, for less money.

AppNexus boosts video buying power for Collective UK and Xaxis EMEA

In addition to designing a product that drives value, we wanted to enable buyers to leverage their own data and unique technology to reach their target audiences efficiently and at scale. Collective, the multiscreen programmatic media company, built a solution on our open platform that works with their own unique targeting technology. They integrated their TV Accelerator product to enable advertisers to measure multi-screen digital (desktop, mobile, and tablet) activity alongside TV campaigns. This allows them to reach audiences of a TV channel, program, genre, or competitor on both video and display inventory at the same time.

“We integrated with AppNexus to deliver Collective’s complete programmatic technology solution across multiple screens and formats,” said Tim Hussain, Director of Product Strategy at Collective UK. “This allows us to deliver award-winning creative across quality, multi-format inventory, and deliver the complete media solution that big brand advertisers demand.”

Xaxis, the programmatic media platform within the advertising agency holding group, WPP, also utilizes AppNexus in combination with their own proprietary technology to increase their video buying effectiveness across Europe. Xaxis rolled out the AppNexus video buying solution in ten countries in conjunction with Turbine, their Data Management Platform, to enable real-time, granular targeting for their clients. In addition to the application of proprietary real-time data to power client success, increasing trader efficiency is key for Xaxis. Xaxis already leverages AppNexus for media buying across other formats, and the ability to use a single solution for display, mobile, and video saves valuable operational time.

As a single platform, AppNexus is able to forge highly liquid marketplaces across both video and display for increased value and efficiency for buyers. Xaxis EMEA and Collective UK are seeing financial efficiencies working in favor of their clients. Tim shared, “We’ve used AppNexus Video on selected campaigns for leading advertisers, and have been impressed with scale we achieved across Europe. We’ve also seen engagement performance increases of up to four-times compared to what we typically see.”

AppNexus launches open video supply platform with leading industry partners

In addition to these client successes with video buying, AppNexus is taking a leadership position in building out an open programmatic video and managed network video solution. Larger video buying competitors are building walled gardens that reduce choice, flexibility, and buying power for marketers and advertisers. AppNexus is working to build the opposite: an open and cost-efficient solution that provides the same scale advantages but empowers our clients to customize their offerings and provide differentiated value to marketers and advertisers.

AppNexus is thrilled to partner with a terrific set of industry leaders to build out a broad and deep portfolio of video supply. Our open video supply platform is designed to maximize choice and value for marketers to deliver their campaigns to video users. Today we are proud to share that LiveRail, SpotXchange,, Optimatic, SMARTSTREAM.TV, Fyber, and AerServ are all activated for clients to buy video inventory. These partners provide a broad range of video supply spanning diverse geographies, demographics, and device types to reach audiences across long-tail, mid-size, and premium inventory. Available impressions are at the scale of hundreds of billions of video impressions per month. As the video market expands, AppNexus will continue to build on its market position to drive efficiency and scale across an open, vibrant, and growing video ecosystem.

AppNexus’ video buying solution, currently in beta, is scheduled to be generally available to all buyers on the platform as of September 30, 2015. The product allows buyers to target campaigns for video ads by player size, playback method, and linear stream position (pre, mid, or post roll), integrates with a number of leading video SSPs in the industry, provides video reporting and analytics, delivers an extensive API upon which developers can add value, and combines programmatic video with managed video supply.

We are looking forward to next steps with clients and partners to continue to build a better video Internet.


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The State of Our Unified Platform Is Strong


I’ve worked in digital media long enough to recognize when I’m face to face with the opportunity of a lifetime. In this case I found myself face to face with my friend and former boss, Jon Hsu, who was now playing a leading role at AppNexus. AppNexus was making initial overtures to WPP about acquiring Open AdStream and Jon’s role that day was to give me a glimpse into what a deal might look like, as well as provide “over the wall” insight into how OAS would fit into the AppNexus platform if a deal was ever struck.

During our meeting, one moment stands out. Jon suddenly turned aside from his whiteboard and gave me a look I might describe as someone who’d just realized a missing string in M-Theory. He said with quiet certainty: “Ellen, you realize everything we’ve ever wanted to do… we now actually have the opportunity to make happen.”

I fully realized how integrating OAS into AppNexus was a bold move. It had been a slow build to the top but our work clearly demonstrated world-class results: Open AdStream was the second-largest publisher ad server in the world attracting blue-chip clients like Comcast, Dell, and ToysRUs. Meanwhile, at the tender age of seven, the AppNexus platform was generating nearly $2B in media spend on its platform, and already fielded best-in-class RTB technology. With our combined capabilities, we’d be well on our way to achieve AppNexus’ goal of building a complete suite of solutions for all members of the Internet economy. If integrating OAS into AppNexus came about as smoothly as Jon was drawing on his whiteboard, the marriage of technologies would be a game changer for all parties involved; an achievement greater than the sum of our platforms.

The acquisition and consolidation went through just as Jon had whiteboarded – but it’s one thing to whiteboard “crossing the Alps” – and another thing entirely to bring it to completion! I remember the moment I sat down with AppNexus Publisher Product Manager Mike McNeeley. Between conversations of cross-product training, sales scripts, and service levels, a growing set of questions started to weigh on my mind. While OAS ad serving was state of the art, the fact was this: our company had been founded the same year the first online banner ad was created. Having been through all the storms of “starting up,” we’d arrived at a space where we did our jobs well and managed our clients seamlessly and efficiently. Meanwhile, the culture of AppNexus had all the spitfire of a young, ambitious company ready to take on the globe. How would these very different cultures make sure that “greatness” truly “happened?” I remember during those early months how each organization — both OAS and AppNexus — took it upon itself not only to help its counterpart learn new technologies, but also to learn better practices. On our own end, we showed AppNexians the core processes we’d developed over our years in business; core processes that gave us our formidable reputation in the industry for exceptional client service. And in turn, AppNexians galvanized us with their collective level of far-reaching vision, off-the-charts energy, and can-do spirit – no matter what the odds.

But any growing pains I may have felt ceased to matter the moment I heard Tom Shields speak during a Publishers strategy planning session (a speech similar to the one he went on to deliver during AppNexus’s European Summit). Like OAS, AppNexus had recently acquired Shields’ highly successful company, Yieldex. By incorporating Yieldex technology into its stack, AppNexus could now take the multiple terabytes of data coursing through its platform and apply that data to develop better forecasting models for publishers. Put it this way: AppNexus and OAS were already providing publishers with the optimal services they needed to manage their inventory today. But with the consolidation of Yieldex’s Yield Management Analytics capabilities into the AppNexus platform, publishers could now accurately forecast the level of inventory available to sell to tomorrow’s buyers as well – and apply the appropriate price range.

It was a “Eureka” moment I’ll never forget; AppNexus Console, OAS, and YieldEx Analytics… I suddenly glimpsed how when put together they formed a perfect trifecta of integrated technologies. I knew then and there that not only was AppNexus able to go head to head with the tech giants of Silicon Valley, it was capable of winning. After all, we had everything we needed.

John Hsu’s prediction from months before had come true. Today, my own sense is that a year after being “integrated” into AppNexus, our OAS team seems more integral than ever to the overall mission of completing a full-stack platform that bridges buy side and sell side. Furthermore, it’s a pleasure to watch firsthand how publishers can do things on our new unified platform they weren’t able to do only a year ago: They can open up their inventory to programmatic demand within AppNexus. They can sell and pace campaigns based on video completions. Trafficking has been simplified by allowing ad operations to quickly query the platform to answer very detailed questions. And AppNexus’ data centers enable OAS to complete its overnight processing by 30%. In short, we’re faster on our feet than when we started 19 years ago!

While I count myself fortunate in helping to manage our current client roster, I’m excited to recognize that we’re just getting started. From the POV of my own whiteboard, I see greatness ahead.


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AppNexus at Advertising Week XII


Join AppNexus at one of our sessions during Advertising Week XII in New York City:

Tuesday, 9/29: Programmatic Without the BS
Request your pass to attend here

Join Marcus Startzel, CRO, Advertiser Technology Group, as he moderates a discussion on how technology is changing advertising, however, the talk of algorithms and machine learning leaves many wondering what is real and how can they capitalize on it. Join the only programmatic session at Ad Week guaranteed to be 100% BS free and learn how to survive and thrive in 2016. Hosted by ad tech veteran, Marcus Startzel, this session unveils new global market insights from WARC and AppNexus before discussing the high-stakes decisions being made by agencies and advertisers as programmatic goes mainstream.


Wednesday, 9/30: The Future of Programmatic Native
Register here

Join AppNexus President Michael Rubenstein for a panel on the future of programmatic native. It’s clear we have arrived at a turning point for advertising on the modern Internet. A moment where we lay to rest the notion that interruption is the core tactic to produce attention and commit to a future built on respect and quality. With that in mind, Industry leaders come together at the Native Advertising Forum to discuss today’s native transformation and brainstorm tomorrow’s possibilities.


Wednesday, 9/30: Behind The Scenes on the Fight Against Fraud
Request your pass to attend here

Inventory quality in online advertising is one of the largest existential threats to the growth of the industry. Take an inside look at how the world’s leading independent ad tech company eradicated invalid inventory from its platform through aggressive policy enforcement and sophisticated data science measures. AppNexus CEO & Co-founder, Brian O’Kelley, and Chief Data Scientist, Catherine Williams, will give you unfettered access to the techniques used to establish a new industry standard for transparency.


Thursday, 10/1: Automating Premium Programmatic
Register here

Join AppNexus Director of Product Management, John Murray as he demystifies automated guaranteed.


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Out with intermediaries: What axing bad inventory did for our platform

Originally featured on

Last week, you read about AppNexus’ initiative to rid its platform of as much invalid traffic as possible. The undertaking was complex, but through a combination of aggressive policy enforcement and sophisticated data science measures, we did it.

As a mathematician and data scientist, what interests me even more is what we learned along the way. We set out to develop some algorithms to clean our platform of invalid traffic and in the process came to a deeper understanding of the system and improved the whole thing.

Read the full article on

Number in Space series. Design composed of numbers, fractal textures and lights as a metaphor on the subject of computers, mathematics, science and education

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The Ad Blocking Controversy, Explained

This article was originally featured on

Apple’s introduction last week of iOS9, which allows iPhone and iPad users to download ad blockers that operate on Safari, has caused marked controversy within the interconnected worlds of advertising, publishing and ad tech. Since the announcement, we’ve seen dozens of articles foretelling (variously) the end of newspapers, the death of advertising, and an emerging clash of titans between Apple and Google.


Technology background, concept of global business

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