Tell us about your role and how you got here. What inspired you to be a part of an ad- performance company?
I am currently the co-founder and President of Barometric, which is a division of AdTheorent. For some quick background, in 2011 I co-founded AdTheorent with a mission of using Machine Learning to make better decisions using data when serving mobile advertising. The ad-tech industry, specifically in mobile, was underserving its clients both in targeting and measurement. Cookies were the way of digital targeting, and tracking in most cases, so new thinking was paramount to improve the entire ecosystem. With that being said, AdTheorent built a series of technologies to improve both sides of the issues. Over time we developed a proprietary ML solution to make decisions called SymetryML, which is an identity resolution graph along with a cross device/cross environment measurement solution we now call Barometric.
Barometric was born as a technology back in 2012 when we faced the challenge of measuring conversions that would take place in different environments from where the ad was originally served. Specifically, ads were served in apps and users would typically convert on the mobile web. With no other technology to help us, we began to build a device graph to solve our own challenges. Barometric has quickly evolved to become a unique graph and measurement solution from the perspective that it combines offline identity and activity with online/mobile identity and activity.
How do you rate the success of Media Intelligence and Attribution Solutions in the current context of the advertising ecosystem?
For most brands we see, it is apparent they are in the early stages of figuring things out. We tend to see a fracture between measuring offline and online media and almost no ability to measure beyond digital sales. In many cases, media and marketing groups in these organizations will individually measure and take credit for the same conversion. This needs to change by converging a single measurement solution across the organization.
What is the driving force behind Barometric’s Data Management and Analytic Solutions?
Barometric’s backbone is its meshed identity resolution graph. The idea of a meshed graph is to meld together in a single record a consumer’s identity in both the digital and physical world. By doing so, every media/marketing channel a consumer is exposed to is measurable to any environment they convert in whether that is e-commerce or physical commerce.
How do you deliver clear insights to understand consumer’s ‘Path to Purchase’?
Barometric tracks (similar to blockchain) every exposure point of a consumer and time stamps these exposures. With a little fancy math, combined with the volume of data, we see a series of paths to purchase that can be mapped and optimized against. These paths go deeper than media touchpoints and can include geo-spatial, demo and other characteristics.
How should CMOs better leverage Cross-Device Measurement Technologies in their marketing and branding strategies?
CMOs should create a foundation that can help them really understand the consumer’s meshed identity first. With that foundation comes measurability and insight. Next, these organizations must make this data available across the organization and with their agencies in a near real-time manner so decisions can be made in-campaign, and not after $100 million has been spent ineffectively to drive ROI.
What startups in the industry are you watching/keen on right now?
Data aggregation players are interesting to us as it takes some friction out of sourcing what we need to be the best at what we do. We are seeing niche players evolve in location, purchase and behavior-based aggregation that can help other organizations be more efficient in sourcing.
What are your predictions for the unified Brand Safety and Advertising Analytic technologies in 2018?
The market will continue to invest heavily in these areas as the market has woken up and realized that billions of dollars have been burned on wasted ads that are other fraudulent, not in view or just plain ineffective. The problem is that it takes 4 to 6 pixels to measure these things today, which is why Barometric now offers a single pixel to measure the majority of metrics that are important to brands (e.g. Cross-device, IVT, Reach and Frequency, viewability, Site/App Transparency, etc.)
What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2018?
Our stack is fully coded and owned by Barometric. We use AWS at scale to move data and execute our platform. We are large users of RedShift, Cassandra and other big data technologies at AWS.
Would you tell us about your standout digital campaign at Barometric or a customer success story?
My favorite story was when we launched our direct mail tracking product with a Fortune 500 client and found that search was stealing credit from direct mail. We saw that direct mail would hit the mailbox and the consumer would Google the brand instead of typing the URL. With unsophisticated measurement, any brand would attribute that engagement to search. We showed it was the direct mail that should be given credit. To me, it was profound and telling of the industry that the mail was ignored completely on the attribution model.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader? How does Barometric leverage AI/ML technologies?
As mentioned earlier, Barometric was born from machine learning/AI. Since 2011, AdTheorent has used ML to identify consumers, serve ads effectively to them and measure them wherever they may convert. Let’s also keep in mind the hot air being blown by everyone jumping in on the AI bandwagon. The promise of true AI is still just a promise, and ML can do most of what is needed in ad tech. We incrementally learn all of our models but there is no need for the computer to self-learn at this stage.
One word that best describes how you work.
Unorthodox – it’s why I became an entrepreneur ?
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
I use my phone to scan, fax, sign and do just about everything I need. It saves me a lot of time for administrative tasks.
What are you currently reading?
I am a Kindle App for iPhone junkie. I am currently reading The Last Lecture. I tend to read books that keep my ego in check and remind me that the world is not just about business, but about being human as well.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
It was from my father who was a small business owner. I begged him when I was younger to join the family business, but he always told me “You have to learn to make it on your own. Even if you fail you will have learned who you are and how strong your passion is to overcome and eventually succeed.” It made me rely on myself and my own instincts, and helped shape who I am today.
Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
I would like to see what Jeff Green, who is the CEO, Founder and Chairman at The Trade Desk, would have to say.
Thank you Anthony! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Anthony Iacovone co-founded ADTHEORENT, Inc. in 2010 and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. He has also served as the Chief Innovation Officer of Augme Technologies, Inc. since July 2009. He is considered a leading voice in the area of mobile integration for large traditional media organizations. Anthony conceptualized the Augme Mobile strategy in 2004, identifying major gaps that existed in the both the technology and distribution strategies in the mobile
Barometric is the most advanced cross-environment media tracking and attribution solution in market. Originally developed as an internal tool for AdTheorent’s data-driven digital ad network, Barometric currently processes 3-4 billion ad calls per day. Since 2011, Barometric has served, tracked, and organized petabytes of data for use by AdTheorent’s predictive modeling platform, delivering unparalleled accuracy. Barometric is now offered as an independent hosted service offering for use with all media allowing marketers to leverage Barometric’s transparent, multi-environment methodology to measure cross-channel engagement in real-time, allowing for ongoing optimization and campaign management. Barometric is the only solution capable of collecting mobile IDs across all environments — such as web, app, rich media, video and brand studies — and matching these multiple IDs to a single user, resulting in superior attribution.
The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.