TechBytes with Ram Venkataraman, Chief Product and Technology Officer, Kibo

TechBytes with Ram Venkataraman, Chief Product and Technology Officer, Kibo

Please tell us about your role and the team / technology you currently handle at Kibo. 

I’ve been with Kibo for more than two years, serving as the chief product and technology officer where I oversee our product and engineer organizations. My role at Kibo is to constantly work to better align our technology stack across all products and increase innovation velocity. In this role as a CPO, I work to ensure Kibo continues to create and deliver innovative, yet effective technology solutions designed to answer merchants’ needs as they continue to move forward in their digital transformation journey.

Prior to Kibo, I’ve held prominent leadership roles at Red Hat, Spectrum K12 School Solutions, Altisource and Promethean among others.

Prior to joining Kibo, I served as VP of Payments at NCR Software. In my previous role as CTO and Head of Products at Promethean, I was responsible for Promethean’s technology vision, strategy and execution of all Promethean hardware and software products. Prior to working for Promethean, I served as the Chief Technology Officer at Altisource, where I was responsible for the transformation of Altisource and Ocwen software products into a world class SaaS-based platform. At Red Hat, I served as the Director of Product Management where I was responsible for the complete product lifecycle of the core middleware products. Before Red Hat, I co-founded and served as Chief Technology Officer at ClearNova, where I was responsible for providing the overall technology vision and direction for the company’s product lines.

How have paid advertising options evolved in the last 2 years? 

Advertising is not our primary business. However, we’ve seen an emphasis on retailers and brands looking to optimize their advertising dollars by delivering personalized experiences for their shoppers. We’ve officially entered the age of “eCommerce-first” and for retailers this means harnessing the ability to better optimize who clicks on an advertisement and what they see once they click on it. For example, as it pertains to a retailer’s website and their advertisements, it’s about improving overall website engagement through targeted, personalized advertisements and banners for each and every shopper.

One of our recent consumer survey reports demonstrated that 63% of consumers are influenced by personalized recommendations on a retailer’s homepage. Therefore, it’s about driving homepage personalization through dynamic banners, “hero” carousels and promotions based on segment, location or individualized experiences. 

How do you see publishers/advertisers mitigating the seismic shift in click experience as third-party cookies go out of business for Google and Apple?

Publishers, marketers and retailers and brands for that matter are opting for first-party cookies and apps to gather additional data points in order to be complaint with laws such as CCPA and GDPR. It affects consumer facing organizations across the board as they will lose the ability to convert shoppers utilizing search history and browser data. Organizations will have to navigate this new reality and identify how to utilize the opt-in data points they will be able to gather and then move to personalize the engagement for consumers that are already engaged or bought-in to create new forms of effective advertisement. 

What is AdLink? How does it bring the best of what Kibo and Monetate already offered to martech customers?

AdLink is a new audience creation tool that enables marketers to efficiently personalize the onsite experience for traffic from paid media campaigns. AdLink pulls data from paid advertising sources into the Monetate platform and enables marketers to create and target audiences for personalized post-click experiences across the site. By keeping already interested consumers engaged with a relevant post-click journey, retailers will be able to deliver more performance per ad dollar spent.

AdLink cares about where the interested visitor is coming from (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) so brands and retailers can create recommendations. AI comes in as a tool to optimize connections and make sure the right person is seeing the right advertisement. AdLink’s technology gives brands the ability to measure ongoing audience activity so they can discover what works and what doesn’t to create new opportunities and inform better ad-targeting decisions during and after COVID.

Tell us more about the logic behind monetizing the post-click experience. Why did advertisers wait so long to jump into this unique ad tech domain? 

Advertisers did not wait too long. The underlying technology has been monitored for a while, but it’s an organizational issue at the core. Traditionally marketing and advertising organizations tend to fall into the issue of working in silos making it hard to create a comprehensive and holistic campaign, but AdLink brings the two together to optimize the process and the outcomes through AI-based personalization technology.

AdLink solves this silo issue by giving marketers a full view of all the paid campaigns being run by their advertising teams. They can then create highly targeted experiences for each campaign, without having to rely on the advertising team. This allows for both teams to work seamlessly and do their job, without having to waste time in the needless back and forth. 

Please share one unique advertising tactic that has made a profound impact on your product development strategy in the last 12 months.

Personalization drives conversion and we’ve seen this in action with our AdLink tool in how retailers and brands have been able to optimize their post’s foot traffic. Industry stats show that 95-98% of paid ad clicks fail to convert shoppers. This is where AdLink can serve as an added layer to retailers and brands advertising strategy, it adds a level of personalization technology that adds relevancy to each ad click driving the consumer to convert.

Thank you, Ram, for answering all our questions!

Ram Venkataraman is the chief product and technology office at Kibo.

Kibo is the only extensible, unified commerce platform that delivers personalized, omnichannel experiences. The platform combines AI-driven personalization from industry leaders Certona and Monetate, omnichannel commerce, and distributed order management. Global clients like Office Depot, Taco Bell and Patagonia rely on Kibo to optimize web, mobile, search, in-store and every fulfillment touchpoint for an end-to-end personalized commerce experience.