Q&A with Johan Liljelund, CTO at DanAds, regarding the evolution of self-service infrastructure and what this shift means for the future of the industry.

We’ve seen a trend for quite a long period of time where publishers are spending a lot of resources to streamline their business mostly from an internal perspective. As a result, we have seen more and more publishers moving vital parts of their revenues out of their organization. No matter if this is Google (or any other exchange), Sales Networks or any other “middleman” it cannibalizes the core business in the long term. With a self-service Advertising platform, you take control of the most important part of the value chain ”Ad Buyers”. If we top that with a self-service platform where the publisher gets full control and ownership of data related to every transaction, we believe the chance of surviving in the future media landscape is much higher.

What are the challenges with a self-service model?

I think there are two types of challenges that need to be managed. The first is the “go-to market” where publishers don’t really see what needs to be done to move towards self-service. Just having a self-service platform isolated from the daily business will never work. It needs to be a tool for the Ad-buyers, but also for the internal salespeople. Having salespeople onboarding Ad-buyers to a self-service platform is a great way to start. Salespeople will not find new Ad-buyers that haven’t been a customer yet. This will need to be done through extensive marketing efforts.

The other challenge is technical. To make a self-service platform work it needs to be integrated with all systems it effects. This could be anything from CRM, Order Management, Finance/Billing, Ad Server, SSP/DSP, DMP, etc. This reality is why we at DanAds talk about “self-service infrastructure”. I would also say that this is one area where DanAds has a unique advantage over other suppliers of self-service advertising. At DanAds we are tech agnostics, and this is how our platform is designed. We don’t care what technologies each customer has underlying. Our focus is that we know how self-service should work and this will decide how we need to integrate. Our biggest competition today comes from “build it yourself” and based on my previous comment I think it is very hard to succeed with developing “inside-out” no matter how many resources you have because your legacy will slow you down too much.

We’ve heard you talk about “one-stop-shop” for Publishers but what do you mean by that?

I love the concept of “one-stop-shop” for Publishers. The definition of self-service is 24/7 availability paired with full automation and transparency. At DanAds we believe that we must help Publishers move closer to the Ad-Buyer in terms of ease of purchase. The approach for this will be different based on which publisher we talk about. For example, with SoundCloud’s new “Promote on Soundcloud” platform we, together with the developers at SoundCloud, made it possible for a “Creator” to buy promotion of a record with “one-click” directly within the SoundCloud platform. We build the Native Ad based on creative elements that exist on the SoundCloud platform. The user experience with a model like this is way better than if they would have logged into another system to do the same purchase. This is a type of collaboration we will see a lot more of in the near future.

What’s in the pipeline for the near future?

First of all, we’ve got a lot of customers that will go live with their platform in Q1-2020. We’re also adding support for other media channels like Radio/Audio, OTT/TV, OOH and print. From the tech side, we’ve just launched a feature where Ad-buyers can utilise their own first-party data directly in the self-service platform through our collaboration with LiveRamp. We’ll get back to this in upcoming newsletters together with a very interesting solution for Audience extension that we are working on.

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Johan Liljelund, Chief Technology Officer