Congratulations to the 2015 Girls Who Code Graduates!

 

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Last night, AppNexus hosted the 2015 Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program graduation ceremony in our New York office. At the event, 20 talented young women from diverse backgrounds graduated from the seven-week program, making them the fourth class to graduate since Reshma Saujani founded Girls Who Code in 2012. AppNexus’ Chief Data Scientist, Catherine Williams, addressed the graduates, along with student speaker Stephanie Yoon. After showcasing their final projects onstage, they walked across the stage and became 20 of 1,200 2015 GWC graduates spanning 57 programs across the United States.

In a year where women in both principal American political parties have a real chance of becoming President, the current nationwide percentage of female computer science graduates stands at only 18%, a decline from where it stood in 1984 (at 37%). Additionally, even while 20% of AP Computer Science test-takers are women, an astoundingly low percentile (0.4%) of these same test-takers express any real interest in pursuing Computer Science as a major in college. Something is clearly not right.

Girls Who Code has been fearless in its desire to bring women to the forefront of tech-focused industries. Their goal is to provide “computer science education and exposure to 1 million young women by 2020.” AppNexus is committed to supporting that vision and has partnered with Girls Who Code since its inception in 2012, hosting Reshma and her team in our office year-round and partnering on various initiatives designed to increase the number of women in tech jobs. Over the past four years, we’ve hosted over 70 rising junior and senior high school students for seven weeks of intensive computer science curriculum, focusing on topics such as HTML CSS, robotics, and mobile development.

One of the highlights of the program was last Friday’s field-trip within our New York office. The purpose of the day was to give the students a taste of what it’s like to work inside a technology company, and provide insights and skills to help the students build successful careers in technology.

To kick off the day, Nithya Das, SVP and General Counsel at AppNexus, delivered a powerful talk about her journey to AppNexus and the challenges she faced along the way. Not only did Nithya dare the women to be ambitious in their aspirations (“Go wherever you want to go, just work hard at it”), she challenged the myth that “ambition” was somehow a “bad thing” for young women to aspire to, quoting from Mindy Kaling’s Guide To Killer Confidence: “Entitlement is simply the belief that you deserve something.” The girls, it seemed, were already well on their way to learning that lesson by heart.

Following an Introduction to Online Advertising workshop, Veronique Valcu, Senior Manager of Content Marketing and Corporate Assets, gave the students an introduction on how to cultivate consistent and powerful personal brands. By identifying the difference between how students felt they were perceived and how they would ideally want to be perceived – by a college admissions board, potential employer, or even a student class body – GWC students would be in a better position to attain their goals.

Refreshed and refueled after joining our weekly AppNexus Family Lunch, the girls entered our 300-seat Razzle Dazzle Space, where Nitya Shekar, Learning and Development Consultant and President of SpeakNexus, gave the young women hands-on exercises that tested their presentation, leadership, and speaking skills. She asked the girls to give impromptu talks on a full range of topics—some serious, others rather more random. One example of the latter kind: “Imagine you’re a can of orange soda. Now, tell us about your immediate experience of what’s happening around you.” While the teaching methods were fun and whimsical, the lessons learned were real. As Nitya put it, “It’s all about providing people the opportunity to step up and lead; people who wouldn’t otherwise possess the confidence and empowerment that comes with opportunity.”

To close out the day, we hosted a networking reception and career panel featuring AppNexian women from across the business, discussing their path to technology and sharing insights from their own careers. Ashley Hemingway, UX Director of AppNexus, emphasized the need for women to study subjects that would help them land post-collegiate jobs. “Not only will you graduate with a better understanding for how your major applies to a real-world career, but you’ll have an impressive resume and the confidence of knowing the kind of place where you’ll thrive.”

As a company, we understand and embrace the notion that ideas grow stronger through the creative tension that arises when employees address challenges and opportunities from differing perspectives. This type of dialogue is only possible with a truly diverse and equal workforce. With more equitable numbers of women and men working alongside one another in tech, even the toughest challenges become easier to solve.

At AppNexus, our mission is to create a better Internet for the world—and not just for certain segments of it. And if technology is truly a great leveler and equalizer, then we’re more than happy to play our part in leveling that playing field.

Congratulations to the Girls Who Code graduates! We look forward to hearing about the impressive work you’ll surely be doing in years to come.

GWC

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Hot Wheels are for Girls too.

 

It’s 2015. Let’s get rid of “tomboy” already.

“Hot wheels. Superman action figure. Batman action figure. Tool set. Telescope. Scooter.” That was my daughter’s Christmas list to Santa last year. I browsed a popular e-commerce toy retailer and learned from the toy descriptions that I was buying “boys” toys for my girl. “Your guy is bound to love this car carrier.”

Read the full article on Medium.com.

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AppNexus 2015 Q2 Platform Index

 

At AppNexus, we live our core value of “Learn & Teach” by fostering a culture of openness and transparency. Our hope is that when we share what we know, both here at AppNexus and externally, we empower others to do their best work, and together we make the Internet better. As the world’s leading independent ad tech company, we have access to a tremendous amount of data flowing through our platform every day, which gives us insight into the habits and preferences of buyers, sellers, and consumers.

This past quarter, we compiled these insights into a Q2 platform index, based on aggregated data from more than 700 sellers and 1400 buyers across the company’s open technology platform. Because the AppNexus platform powers a substantial portion of the world’s programmatic display advertising, our index offers a window into systemic trends influencing the broader ad tech sector. Here are a few key takeaways from the Q2 U.S. Index:

  • Don’t count out the classics: Expandable ads (.05%) and banners (.04%) had the highest click-through rates on our platform, well ahead of interstitials, pop-ups, and skins.
  • Web still dominates mobile: 64% of the campaigns we saw targeted desktop web users, compared with 47% that targeted people on the mobile web and 32% aimed at people using mobile apps.
  • The Telecommunications sector was the biggest industry buyer at 29% of total U.S. spend followed by Alcoholic Beverages (10.5%), Financial (8.7%), Automotive/Vehicles (7.1%) and Home and Décor (6.1%).
  • Where marketplaces impose strict pre-bid inventory standards, publishers see greater monetization and advertisers experience higher response rates.

 

International Data Corporation (IDC), a leading market intelligence firm, estimates that the global programmatic advertising market is on a trajectory to increase from $8.5 billion in 2014 to over $55 billion by 2018. The AppNexus Q2 index offers a snapshot of the major storylines playing out across the display advertising landscape.

Fill out the form below to download the complimentary Q2 Index.



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The race to the single platform has begun: Who will finish first, and who won’t finish

This article was originally published on Digiday.com.

By Pat McCarthy, SVP, Corporate Marketing, AppNexus. The opinions here are his own.

Earlier this year, Terrence Kawaja, well-known investment banker and ad tech divinator, rattled many nerves when he predicted an imminent wave of consolidations and failures in the ad tech sector. Of the roughly 2,000 companies involved in advertising technology, he estimated that no more than 150 will live to see a successful liquidity event. The others will either be swallowed whole by as many as 15 mega-platforms or fail altogether.

Read the full article on Digiday.com

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AppNexus Replays Video Ambitions, Starting This Summer

AppNexus CEO Brian O’Kelley spoke with Beet.TV on the company’s video ambitions.

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AppNexus & The Local Media Consortium (LMC) Announce Groundbreaking Partnership

 

Today, AppNexus and The Local Media Consortium (LMC) – a publisher group representing 65 local media companies in top markets across the United States and Puerto Rico covering more than 1,650 individual publications – announced a groundbreaking partnership.

Under the terms of the new partnership, LMC publishers, who have an aggregate audience footprint of 470 million monthly unique visitors, will gain access to Yieldex Analytics, which provides publishers a complete picture of their data to reduce challenges in forecasting and packaging inventory, and YieldexDirect, an Automated Guaranteed solution that offers highly specialized tools to increase operational efficiency through integrated workflows and campaign automation.

By employing AppNexus technology, LMC publishers, including Belo, Cox, McClatchy, Gatehouse, Chicago Sun Times, and The Boston Globe, will gain automated access and visibility into each other’s guaranteed/reserved inventory, and the ability to ‘cross-sell’ one another’s inventory. In the past, the only way to get audience extension was through an exchange. Now, LMC’s publisher base will be able to buy inventory from one another directly through the AppNexus ‘Automated Guaranteed’ platform, providing significant new revenue opportunities for Direct Sales efforts.

“AppNexus is deeply committed to creating a better Internet,” said Ryan Christensen, SVP & GM, Publishers, AppNexus. “Part of that mission is empowering high-quality journalism. We’re very proud to work with the Local Media Consortium. Together, AppNexus and the Consortium are focused on increasing share of revenue and audience for member companies. By helping great newspapers and broadcast outlets grow their businesses, we’re ensuring that content consumers continue to enjoy rich and diverse news and commentary from a variety of trusted sources in the digital age.”

“AppNexus’ technology platform providing advertising analytics and forecasting will be a key tool for our members as they continue to grow revenue in premium direct and programmatic advertising,” said Christian A. Hendricks, Chair of the Local Media Consortium’s Executive Committee and Vice President of Products, Marketing and Innovation at The McClatchy Company. “We’re very excited to see our member companies grow with this partnership.”

The Local Media Consortium is one of the world’s premier digital media consortiums, a collaborative model that is growing in influence. Publisher consortiums help media brands leverage their collective scale for more advertising dollars, and invest in growth areas like programmatic.

Explained Christensen, “As media outlets face increased pressure to hand over their distribution and monetization channels to mega-platforms like Google and Facebook, it’s critical that independent technology partners like AppNexus help them retain control of their destiny. The Internet is the bulwark of an engaged and informed citizenry – but only if we continue to help great journalism thrive.”

By engaging with technology partners like AppNexus, consortiums enable publishers to offer more targeted, more engaging advertising, benefiting marketers and consumers alike, and creating a better Internet for all.

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Three ways to get more women in tech jobs

Co-authored by Reshma Saujani, CEO and founder, Girls Who Code, and Brian O’Kelley, CEO & co-founder, AppNexus

The late Karen Spärck Jones, who was among the first women to blaze an academic trail in computer science, once quipped, “I think it’s very important to get more women into computing. My slogan is: Computing is too important to be left to men.” As an undergraduate at Cambridge University in the 1950s, where she initially studied history and philosophy, Jones faced high barriers to entry in a field that was almost entirely populated by men.

To read more, check out the full article on CNBC.com

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All Roads Lead to Programmatic

 

The future of European digital advertising—a new publication series

Whenever a new technology or market rises to prominence, it is only natural that its early years are largely spent on defining the opportunity and on driving adoption. The trajectory of programmatic is clearly no exception to this general pattern. Its rapid emergence over the past few years has made it mandatory that marketers, agencies, and publishers understand its scope and recognize the near-endless possibilities this innovation brings with it. As we enter the second half of 2015, we are now at a stage where programmatic is at the heart and center of any meaningful discussion of digital advertising. Key players are looking for additional information and the support they need to grasp more fully the opportunities this technology provides.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is present in all major markets of Europe. Furthermore, the IAB Europe provides pan-regional guidance and direction at a very broad level—more so than any other organization on the continent. AppNexus has been collaborating with IAB Europe for several years both in helping to develop the Programmatic Trading Committee , and in finding better ways to understand and provide insight into ad tech’s latest developments, standards, and policies.

At AppNexus, we are proud to be an active partner in the IAB’s cause. All too often, companies become complacent and passive about their role in the programmatic market, thinking they can’t drive change or influence best practices. But if our true goal is to cultivate a better digital advertising ecosystem, both now and in the future, it’s also true that we all share the responsibility of teaching and learning from one another. As our industry continues to develop and accelerate, IAB affords an invaluable space where great ideas can be debated in earnest and where best practices can get formulated and fine-tuned.. The IAB and its outputs seek to encourage companies to be enthusiastic participants in setting and enforcing marketplace standards. By doing so, we can all foster the trust and collaborative spirit necessary to preserve and promote the growth of digital, as well as highlight the value that programmatic is bringing to all areas of the marketing mix.

Most recently, AppNexus and other industry partners have collaborated with IAB Europe on the production of a series of programmatic white papers and research reports. The latest white paper, “The Road to Programmatic”, was published last month and was downloaded over 1,000 times in its first week of availability. Designed to help marketers, publishers, and agencies build a coherent and informed programmatic strategy, it includes contributions from more than 20 authors. The white paper includes unique decision trees developed by the programmatic committee to offer guidance on how to procure technology, build teams, and allocate resource towards your goals.

We are confident our efforts will help continue the momentum programmatic is experiencing by educating the market, and enabling participants to make ever-more informed decisions. If you’re interested in learning how best to navigate and thrive in programmatic, we welcome you to download our latest white paper below.

Download the white paper here.

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Flatten Your Waterfall with Pre-Bid Integrations to Scale Programmatic Revenue

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Looking at publisher setups lately, I’ve got a distinct feeling of déjà vu – complex waterfall setups with indirect monetization partners are everywhere. What is this, 2009?  Fortunately no, but the challenge of publisher waterfalls is still very much alive despite the advancements in RTB, and just as this issue put a cap on publisher revenues with networks all those years ago, a complex waterfall can limit publishers today from scaling their programmatic channel to its maximum potential.

The solution?  Back in 2009 it was to amalgamate all those network relationships into an SSP, but given the fragmentation is now between SSPs, publishers in 2015 should look to migrate their implementations toward pre-bid integrations, also commonly referred to as header-bidding, advance bidding or tagless setups.  This technology has actually been around for years, but hasn’t been widely adopted in the publisher community until the last 12 – 18 months.  From my own personal perspective working with over 50 premium, global publishers at Yieldex, I’ve seen pre-bid as a transformative solution, creating major operational efficiencies as well as increased revenue.

The reasons for walking away from the waterfall approach are many and compelling, but it comes down to ad serving costs on passbacks, inventory loss due to platform-to-platform latency, and most importantly, low-fidelity yield management.  Most ad operations people know what those first two are, but that last one probably needs a bit more explanation. What I mean there is that when publishers implement ad tags for a given programmatic partner today, they typically put in that platform’s average eCPM yield for the last week or month, or some recent period.  This means from the ad server’s perspective (which is doing the yield management don’t forget), the value is only known in aggregate across millions of impressions and not on an impression-by-impression basis.

Since the average rate then controls when the ad server decides to serve that ad tag, though, what any platform will pay for a specific impression has no impact on if it actually wins that supply.  Rather, the platform’s rank in the waterfall is what really decides who wins the impression, irrespective of value. Add in the fact that for publishers on DFP, AdX can bid impression by impression which may lend advantage to AdX that could be hard to beat by other programmatic partners.

How does a pre-bid setup solve all these awful publisher pain points you ask?  Pre-bid provides a solution because it separates the valuation process from the ad serving process with programmatic platforms.  Importantly, it moves the valuation part ahead of the call to the publisher’s ad server, so that a bid value can be injected as a key value parameter.  With that key value in hand, publishers can target lots of line items to very specific bid values.  Specific bid values mean high-fidelity yield monetization, because now the publisher can weigh the true value of an impression not based on an average, but at an impression level.  As a side benefit, the publisher can also know if any given platform can monetize an impression to begin with – either there’s a bid or there isn’t – which eliminates all that fill risk, as well as the inventory loss to system latency, because the waterfall just isn’t necessary any longer.  In other words, pre-bid enables any indirect partner to work just like AdX – yield managing at the impression level, and that’s a big deal.

The other key benefit here is that because getting a valuation doesn’t require redirecting the inventory, a publisher can ask as many platforms as they like to bid on the same impression simultaneously, which drives demand liquidity.  Pre-bid is a total game changer for publisher monetization strategy.

Now pre-bid sounds pretty good, but like anything, not all solutions are created equal, and it’s worth it for ad operations to dig in and review specific partner nuances.  One critical factor is whether or not a programmatic platform is actually running an auction as part of their pre-bid process, or is creating some kind of estimate instead.  Estimates are lousy because they bring back some of the downsides of the waterfall process.  An estimate won’t be 100% reliable, so it’s possible that those systems can’t fill every impression they bid on, and that they won’t fill at the rate they bid.  This is because they only run the auction after they get the inventory, which is an inferior approach.

Another important factor is whether or not a platform can return a true numerical value as a bid, versus something more generic.  I’ve seen platforms that can only pass “high / medium / low”, or even as limited as “yes / no” as pre-bid responses.  That’s an improvement over just using an overall average as the waterfall does, but still lousy because it’s still low-fi yield management.

We also see a big difference in how well pre-bid works in the US vs. the rest of the world.  Companies that don’t have internationally sourced demand partners or datacenters outside the US have major issues with latency (that is, even providing a bid in a reasonable amount of time), or for those that are providing estimates instead of a real bid, show an especially high rate of failure on fill and monetization.   That is, their estimates are especially bad on international inventory.

And finally, while it’s a bit of a technical nuance, finding a partner that uses an asynchronous script is an important step in minimizing the impact pre-bid scripts can have on how fast the rest of your site renders.  One of the potential downsides of pre-bid scripts is the additional latency they can add to the page.  That’s not because you are waiting longer for ads to load – that should actually happen faster because your users won’t move through a long daisy chain of irrelevant partners – but because when JavaScript renders synchronously in a browser, it can prevent the rest of the content from rendering until the JavaScript has completed.  This is just how browsers work, and it’s one reason why many publishers choose to load scripts and tags of any sort in a tag management solution. As anyone in ad ops knows, the easier you can make your life with IT, the better.

There’s no question that more and more dollars are moving to programmatic channels, so if you are a publisher struggling under the weight of an unwieldy waterfall, it’s only going to get worse.  Modernizing your connections through pre-bid not only allows you to scale your partners, it can increase revenue by eliminating wasted inventory, and most importantly, it provides hi-fi, holistic yield management between all sources of demand.

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A Clearer Message and a Bolder Look for AppNexus

When we built our website three years ago, things were a bit different here at AppNexus. For starters, we didn’t have 1,000+ employees working in 23 offices from Sao Paulo to Singapore. In those bygone days of real-time, serving five billion impressions in one day was a landmark feat worth emblazoning on our company wall (in contrast, we served 45 billion impressions on one recent day). Let those numbers speak for themselves.

As we continue our growth-spurt, we also continue to learn at a fast clip. One of the important insights we’ve gained over the years is the constant need to optimize (and customize) the ways that we engage our different audiences. Agencies, publishers, and ad tech companies are empowered by the technology services we provide—but their business needs are as unique as their company mission statements. In order to provide the right technology solutions for each of our audiences more accurately—and to reflect our overall mission of creating a better Internet—we’ve rebuilt our website and company assets in their entirety.

It all begins today. While it will be evolving continuously over the coming months, we couldn’t be more proud to announce the launch of our new AppNexus.com.

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But we haven’t just created a new website. We’ve also evolved our company logo and given it an ultramodern twist. We’ve scaled up the look and feel of all our external touch points—whether it’s a business card you receive at our next event, a white paper you download from our website, or the look of our business presentations at your offices. In sum, we’ve restyled our company’s look to match its position as an industry leader.

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You’ll be hearing (and seeing) more from us soon. In the meantime, you can see for yourself what we’ve done at AppNexus.com.

 

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