You started Clickky in 2010 as a monetization platform for publishers in emerging markets. How has that vision changed to where it stands today?
Clickky celebrated 7 years on the market last year. And of course, since the time Clickky was founded a lot has changed. Now we’re a full-stack platform for mobile advertisers and publishers. The technology stack that we developed allows us to work with large scale campaigns, gather and process data to ensure the efficiency of the real-time bidding marketplace. We also have a supply side platform, where publishers can monetize their inventory programmatically. Clickky works with brands and publishers from all over the world. We still have a strong presence in emerging markets, but we work with partners in Tier 1 and Tier 2 as well. The vision has changed — we strive to develop better technology to help advertisers and publishers worldwide become more efficient and earn more. Basically, it’s all about creating value for everyone on the market.
There are many challenges that the ad industry faces today, from things like ad fraud, to viewability, and attribution. In your opinion, what are some of the biggest problems the industry needs to focus on fixing first?
Viewability is surely another challenge that mobile marketers work on to increase profit and improve the experience for users. And attribution is increasingly important for anyone working in mobile marketing, but in my opinion, the real problem for marketers worldwide is fraud. And it seems to evolve along with the adtech. New solutions arrive and fraudsters still try to weasel in and profit from the advertisers. It is possible to find and identify fraudsters, but it takes time and resources. Clickky uses its own anti-fraud solution to detect wrongful actions online and expose unreliable traffic sources. We also work with a number of reputable anti-fraud solutions — Pixalate, Fraudscore, The Media Trust, etc. — to make sure that we cover as much data as possible and no one falls through the cracks. Still, there is a small amount of traffic that will be fake, regardless of the effort we make to avoid it. Of course, it’s a downer that neither we, nor any other platform on the market, can guarantee 100% fraud-free service. But we’re working on it and this is the challenge that we’re going to face in the future.
When it comes to mobile monetization, app developers have many choices in terms of networks, exchanges, or SSPs they can partner with. What are some best practices or processes app developers can follow to best discern which solutions will provide them the best yield?
When choosing a monetization partner, app developers should find out more about the reputation of the intermediary. Whether it is an exchange, an SSP or an ad network, it is crucial to learn if it works with brands directly and which brands give it their trust.
App developers have to realize that not every partner will be a good fit. There are many verticals, and platforms can be particularly strong in one and less useful for monetization in another. The same is for geo. For example, some networks and exchanges may work perfectly for Asia-Pacific, but they will not provide the same fill rate for app developers in LATAM or EMEA. So being aware of what they need to achieve good yield is what necessary for app developers to know before selecting a partner for monetization.
Many networks tend to guarantee publishers high eCPMs and fill rates when they first reach out, but once integrated, many of their promises end up falling flat. What do you think are some benchmarks for average eCPMs or fill rates a publisher should look for when trying to integrate with a monetization partner?
Mobile monetization is a two-way road, so publishers need to be aware that their earnings also depend on the quality of content they provide and whether advertisers want to work with them. Premium publishers with great reputation on the market and quality traffic get all that is promised — more than 90% fill rate and high eCPM rates. They are sought-after commodity. For smaller publishers things are more tough, they need to constantly improve their content and make sure that they are not blacklisted by advertisers. It happens if they supply poor quality traffic and drive audience that doesn’t convert. Also publishers need to be more selective when choosing where to sell their inventory to protect brand safety for the advertisers.
What are some up-and-coming desktop and mobile ad formats that could become heavily used in the future?
By all means, video is growing fast. Clickky is witnessing incremental growth for video advertising and we have all reasons to believe that the trend will continue. Video has better viewability than display ads and there is a big room for creativity to engage users and encourage conversions.
As for display ads, banners and interstitials are still quite efficient, despite all the predictions that these formats will soon die out. They are still capable of bringing in good yield.
As for new formats, Clickky tries to innovate, e.g. after many different tests, we developed its own format — the gift ads. It looks like an image of a gift in the corner of the screen and when user presses on it, a dialogue window appears that encourages the user to take action. We found the format to be quite effective, actually it is one of the most profitable formats that we offer. Users like that it’s not intrusive and they can view the ad when they choose to, and the image of a gift looks appealing and sparks curiosity.
Mobile data plans and speed vary heavily by country; is there any data you can share on nuances between how this affects mobile ads you can serve by country? (eg. India has smaller data plans so can’t serve rich media, etc)
The growth pace and penetration of mobile internet is really inspiring. Perhaps, soon the development of technology will erase the discrepancies between the regions or at least make them less pronounced. Of course, in certain countries the internet speed is slower and some ad formats will not run as smoothly as intended. But in any case, the ad formats can be selected individually for every publisher, so they usually self-regulate what kind of ads they show their audience to achieve maximum effect.
Which countries do you think we need to pay most attention to, when it comes to the growth of mobile advertising spend?
Asia-Pacific is a distinct leader in the number of mobile users and the time they spend browsing mobile internet. Moreover, the growth trend is predicted to continue at the same pace. So definitely, China, Japan and South Korea are worth looking at. South-East Asia has great potential, and most probably the market will expand soon. Middle East region is often overlooked by the marketers, but there is a huge opportunity to discover in Gulf countries, where consumers like to shop on mobile. LATAM is another promising region, with huge number of mobile users and interest in mobile apps. It probably will take time until reliable international payment systems arrive in Latin America and monetization can be streamlined. So we’re going to follow those regions closely while the markets mature.
What are some innovations happening now in technology that excite you the most? (VR/AR, blockchain, etc)
The technology nowadays develops at an impressive speed. I’m definitely excited about VR and AR, as they present so many opportunities for including technology into everyday life and broadening the limits of what we can achieve. Especially on mobile, AR and VR give a promise to increase the level of engagement for users and make app monetization an integral part of this experience.
We’re looking forward to the development of AI for programmatic media buying. It will serve to improve the techniques of gathering and analyzing large data sets for making easier the task of matching the ad with inventory in seconds. The same is for blockchain technology, which can contribute to ad tech industry in a very meaningful way. Smart contracts can help deal with fraud and bring more transparency and trust to the market.
Clickky as a company has been listed in INC multiple times as one of Europe’s fastest growing companies. What are your thoughts on the evolution of the start-up & tech ecosystem in Ukraine, and Europe as a whole?
The startup ecosystem is growing and evolving. Ukraine now boasts of a number of highly successful tech companies. It’s still a popular outsource destination, but now there are more local product companies with unique ideas and technologies that drive the industry forward. It’s a competitive and inspiring environment that has great potential. Clickky’s R&D office also evolved a lot with more focus on data-driven technological solutions, which allowed us to sustain the growth rate and keep up with European counterparts.
Lastly, what are your thoughts on the future of mobile monetization?
The number of mobile users increases every year and this trend creates more opportunities for mobile advertisers and publishers alike. New technologies appear and markets mature, which means that there will be a growing demand for innovative, engaging apps. The apps that will interest users and bring profit to app developers. So the issue is how publishers are going to use this opportunity, whether if there is an opportunity at all.
Clickky is a full-stack platform for advertisers and publishers, which offers both programmatic, video and performance advertising solutions, while currently focusing on the development of its own SSP and RTB Marketplace. Our mission is to connect premium advertisers with the right customers. We invest into technology as it allows us to follow our mission and satisfy our business partners.