It’s been a decade since I sat in a conference room at Right Media in New York watching then CTO Brian O’Kelley whiteboard the structure of what would become the first ad exchange and subsequently triggering a massive wave of change in online advertising. While we were filled with both fear and excitement wondering if the idea would work, we were confident that the online advertising industry needed more innovation to truly meet its promise.
As the end to another year rapidly approaches, it is amazing to think about how much the ad tech industry has grown since those days. However, we have a similar feeling today at AppNexus, that more change is necessary to fulfill the industry’s potential as well as to meet our mission of creating a better Internet through advertising.
Last week, AppNexus was proud to host our 2014 Summit NYC at The Times Center in New York City – our 11th Summit in four years (including those on the West Coast and in Europe). Alongside our colleagues, partners, and clients from across the industry, we took a look back at the milestones and developments that have brought us to where we are today, and what is on the horizon. This year, for the first time, our CEO and Co-founder Brian O’Kelley led the Summit in a talk show format as he welcomed guest speakers such as Russ Glass from Bizo/LinkedIn, new AppNexus board member and TheStreet.com Chairman, CEO and President Elisabeth DeMarse, special musical guest rap artist Talib Kweli, President & COO of MediaLink Wenda Harris Millard, and many more.
Wenda addressed an important issue facing the entire ad tech ecosystem – inventory fraud. She spoke about the proactive programs her company is working on with others in the industry, including an in-depth study along with the IAB that AppNexus is sponsoring, that are aimed at addressing this problem and invoking widespread change throughout the industry.
On that topic, Brian is once again taking on a major industry problem. He introduced a groundbreaking initiative launched by AppNexus, along with key partners including DoubleVerify, Integral Ad Science, Microsoft, PubMatic, Xaxis, and other major partners to combat this important issue of fraud, and specifically invalid traffic, as well.
Here’s how it works: the Certified Supply Program will classify online advertising inventory, identifying the safest and most trusted supply available. All the partners involved will, for the first time, provide buyers with financial guarantees that the inventory they are purchasing is valid, starting in Q2. It’s a monumental step toward eventually discouraging invalid supply altogether and eradicating an industry problem once and for all. You can read more about it in our press release and on AdExchanger.com.
At AppNexus, we’re deeply committed to making sure all of our clients have access to the best and most sophisticated technology available, including our publishers, who form a core segment of our client base. At Summit, Ryan Christensen, SVP & GM of our Publisher business, unveiled the first mobile app, AppNexus Insight, which allows publishers to monitor in-app ad quality, in real-time, directly from their mobile devices. Overall, our mobile business has seen explosive growth in the last year, and today, more than 15 percent of all ad spend on the AppNexus platform is mobile. You can read more here about the new app, and other significant company milestones in mobile.
In another exciting development for publishers and mobile, a new premium mobile exchange was launched in Australia in the days leading up to Summit. We were joined at the event by Tom Armstrong, Commercial Director, Fairfax Media, and Marc Barnett, COO, Mi9, who spoke with Brian from the audience about APEX Advertising, powered by AppNexus. The APEX Exchange is Australia’s first brand-safe, content-driven source of mobile advertising inventory from over 80 well known locally created mobile sites and apps.
AppNexus CFO and COO Jon Hsu also presented at the event, recapping the major chapters in the ad tech space with his presentation “A Brief History of (Ad Tech) Time,” and President Michael Rubenstein, talked about the Ad Tech Power Game (#ATPG) as well. And what Summit would be complete without an ad tech rap from Talib Kweli?
Finally, we were thrilled to announce the close of our acquisition of OAS®, a premium ad-serving technology, which was part of a major strategic transaction with WPP and Xaxis. Following this announcement, the finale of our Summit featured Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, who spoke about our companies’ shared vision of providing our clients with world-class advertising technology that is an open, independent alternative to the walled gardens that exist in our space.
AppNexus’ NYC Summit marked the end of our 2014 Summit series, and we’re grateful to our sponsors Adgorithms, adomik, Aerospike, AlephD, Civolution, Equinix, FlxOne, Grapeshot, Microsoft, Millennial Media, Pixalate, Peer 39 by Sizmek, and wywy, and who were critical in helping to make it all happen. AppNexus is committed to working together with our peers to discuss ideas and progress, and to forge a collaborative technology community that can work together to create a better Internet. We’re looking forward to seeing how all of our exciting prospects help further this mission as we head into 2015!