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Vizury announces $16M Series C Funding led by Intel Capital, Ascent Capital

Bangalore, India, 12-June-2014

Bangalore-based digital CRM firm Vizury today announced a $16 million Series C funding round led by Intel Capital with participation fromAscent Capital and existing investors, Nokia Growth Partnersand Inventus Capital Partners. This brings the total funds raised by Vizury to $27 million; Ojas Ventures had participated in the two earlier rounds.

Chetan Kulkarni, co-founder and CEO said “The funds will be used to drive product innovation on our mobile and cross-channel propositions and to scale operations in existing markets, especially in China, Japan, LATAM, Middle East and Korea. We are also evaluating our options of entering the US market.”

Vizury, last year, launched a comprehensive mobile advertising retargeting product, MobiConvert, which includes mobile web and app retargeting on both iOS and Android devices and powerful conversion features like app deep linking and click-to-call.

The entire product suite across mobile and desktop is powered by Vizury’s big data platform which processes over 30 terabytes of data daily, including purchase intent data of nearly 500 million users and tens of billion dollars of retail transaction data. Meaningful insights derived from this data is used by Vizury’s proprietary bidding and recommendation algorithms to process over 5 billion daily bid requests to precisely target and engage users with highly personalized 1:1 messages.

“Big data analytics is primed for take-off with the ad-tech ecosystem providing a major impetus,” said Sudheer Kuppam, Managing Director, Intel Capital APAC Region. “Vizury understands how data and technology are shaping the consumer marketing & advertising industries and is emerging as a leading player in this sector. Increasing internet penetration across APAC only augments this further. The investment led by Intel Capital will help Vizury take advantage of this big data opportunity.”

Vizury was among the first multi-national ad-tech companies to enter China in 2009 where it now has strong advertiser relationships and a high caliber local team.

“Our emphasis, right from day one, on staying invested in challenging markets like China and Japan, and offering deep industry-focused solutions to enterprise clients has helped us get leadership positions in these markets,” Chetan said.

With a 400% CAGR, Vizury is one of the fastest growing tech companies in Asia. A revenue retention rate upwards of 190% demonstrates the consistent business value it delivers to clients.

Raja Kumar, Managing Director, Ascent Capital, added “Vizury, one of the most promising high-technology product companies to emerge out of India, has all ingredients to be a global leader in digital CRM.”

About Vizury

Vizury helps marketers secure customers-for-life through personalized marketing solutions. Established in 2008, Vizury has offices in Bangalore (HQ), Beijing, Sydney, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Taiwan, Dubai, Seoul and Tokyo. We work with over 500 clients across industries such as travel & hospitality, ecommerce, healthcare, automobile, financial services and classifieds.

Vizury was recognized as the sixth fastest growing company in the Deloitte APAC Fast500 2013 and is among the first in Asia to be an FBX qualified partner and a Twitter Retargeting Platform Partner.

Follow Vizury on LinkedIn or on Twitter @vizury1to1.

For media enquiries, please write to marketing@vizury.com , or contact Subra Krishnan at +91 98808 06681.

About Intel Capital

Intel Capital, Intel’s global investment and M&A organization, makes equity investments in innovative technology start-ups and companies worldwide. Intel Capital invests in a broad range of companies offering hardware, software, and services targeting enterprise, mobility, consumer Internet, digital media and semiconductor manufacturing. Since 1991, Intel Capital has invested more than US$11 billion in over 1,339 companies in 55 countries. In that timeframe, 206 portfolio companies have gone public on various exchanges around the world and 344 were acquired or participated in a merger. In 2013, Intel Capital invested US$333 million in 146 investments with approximately 49 percent of funds invested outside North America. For more information on Intel Capital and its differentiated advantages, visit www.intelcapital.com or follow @Intelcapital.

About Ascent Capital

Ascent Capital is a leading India-focused independent private equity firm. The firm is driven by one of the most experienced teams on ground with over 100 years of collective experience in Indian capital markets. Since its inception in 2000, the firm has helped over 55 entrepreneurs build leading businesses across diverse sectors such as Technology, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Education, Financial Services and Infrastructure. Ascent Capital currently manages approx. US$ 600 million across three funds and is backed by marquee foreign and domestic institutional investors.

Visit www.ascentcapital.in for more information.

Retargeting in Classifieds Websites

E-commerce and travel advertisers have a unique marketing calendar of their own. Apparel and fashion retailing follows a seasonal calendar. Spring collections come in, followed by a spring sale, which is followed by summer collections coming in and so forth. Airline and hotels advertisers market around tourism trends and almost all advertisers have special festival promotions and offers.

Advertisers are keen to create strong awareness about such marketing events. Events like these also create opportunities for marketers to create warm and personal connections with their users. As a marketer, wouldn’t you love to share the yuletide spirit with your users? Or rejoice together in the sheer passion and energy of the Rio Carnival? Even more functional, if you have a set of products on seasonal sale with large discounts, would you not want to prominently display them to users at appropriate moments?

But display retargeting, despite having an obvious visual element that could be tapped into and having the benefit of cherry picking users, is heavily standardized. It follows fixed banner templates and targeting algorithms. So much so that it is not possible to even change colours or fonts on your creatives, much less get Santa to smile at your users. The result: cold, impersonal targeting that would make Captain Spock go into a logic-induced clicking frenzy! (Which we would otherwise be absolutely delighted with, by the way. Our team explains the rigor behind our big data algorithms in two of our previous articles – (i) Overview of Recommendation Systems at Vizury and (ii) Big Data Analytics at Vizury)

At Vizury, we try our best to align with the marketer’s calendar. And have a platform that offers the best of both worlds – the efficiency of automation and the flexibility to integrate promotional campaigns. In this post, I will explore a few of these features.

Push Products:

This feature allows advertisers to identify a set of products from their product catalog that they would like to promote when there is an opportunity to do so. Srivatsa from our Ops team talks about the impact of push products and other strategies adopted during the holiday season in his article ”Retargeting in Holiday Season”.

Discount Matching:

Given a list of offers, Vizury’s systems pick the one that is most relevant for a given user in real time. E.g. if you are offering a 10% discount on flights into Europe during summer when tourism is higher, a Sydney to Amsterdam user would know such an offer is available through our ads.

Event specific Targeting:

Leading up to and post the marketing event, we can target relevant users more aggressively. E.g. leading into the Rio carnival, we open up international traffic on our travel advertisers in Brazil. For the rest of the year, such traffic does not convert and contribute to RoI. But in December and January, there is significant interest from international markets for flights into Rio.

Theme based Creative Design:

While standardized templates can be launched almost with the word go, our awesome creative team can create themed templates that seamlessly blend into advertiser promotions and yet never take away from performance. (Our systems would show them less and less even if they do.) Here are a couple of awesome FIFA themed banners.

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As a large brand with a huge user base, if your website and your social channels are painstakingly working to make a promotion succeed, shouldn’t you expect your display retargeting channel to support you as well and be consistent in messaging?

Keep watching this space to know more on how you can align retargeting better with your marketing calendar. Vizury will soon be publishing a white paper on this topic.

Vizury helped a leading fashion retailer in Taiwan attain 2.5X conversions on mobile

There has been a growing impetus on mobile marketing owing to the sudden surge in the number users accessing mobile internet. Advertisers are looking to tap into this user-pool to maximize conversions through their mobile assets – this is especially true in emerging e-commerce markets where advertisers are constantly on the look-out to drive more traffic to their mobile website/app and widen their user pool.

Mobile retargeting has proven to be a great marketing channel that helps advertisers engage users and boost sales. Here’s how we helped a leading fashion retailer in Taiwan drive more traffic and also boost conversions to 2.5X

mobile retargeting case study

Retargeting in Classifieds Websites

(Co-authored by Lokesh Rai and Rohit Agarwal)

Classifieds – An Overview

With the advent of e-commerce and growing popularity of the internet as a medium for business, like the other business segments, Classifieds followed suit. Companies like Magicbricks, Olx, Naukri, 99acres, Bharatmatrimony, Gaadi.com, etc. opened their shops online. Classifieds can be broadly categorized into Real Estate, Matrimony, Job Portals, Automobiles and B2B companies that focus on creating a website, microsites, product catalogues and SEO.

Classifieds are known to follow a C2C business model which sets itself apart from other e-commerce segments that follow the B2C model. Online classifieds industry grew at a rate of 29% CAGR from 2008 till 2011 crossing USD 290 Mn (Source: ResearchonIndia) in the same year. The classifieds market is undergoing a paradigm shift from offline to online with the latter growing its share from 43% in 2009 to 51% in 2012 (Source: Netscribes).

Retargeting in Classifieds

Subscription is the highest revenue generating source for a classifieds company. The crux here is to increase lead generation through various marketing channels like TV, print and online media. Of all the marketing channels, online media is the only one where marketing messages can be customized to a very large extent. In return, it creates stronger brand associations and helps in driving traffic back to the website.

Retargeting is the most interactive channel that enables marketers to reach website drop-offs at the right time and location with personalized messages that can really prop up conversion rates when compared with traditional channels.

Retargeting in Real Estate

So does retargeting really play a major role in Real Estate? Vizury did extensive research around this and the results are awesome!

      • Retargeting creates stronger recall for classifieds websites’ inventories that eventually results in stronger brand association.

 

      • Retargeting plays a significant role in conversions. Vizury delivers close to 4% of the entire website contribution, a great deal for marketers.

 

      • 3/5th of retargeted users return to the website within 5 days! Close to 70% of them are single leads.

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      • The highest number of conversions are in the ‘Buy’ segment. 63% of leads generated by Vizury falls in this category.

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      • 68% of retargeting conversions are from the top 8 cities in India which includes Metros and Tier I cities. Vizury’s retargeting engine optimizes the campaigns to focus on these cities.

 

      • Non-peak hours like lunch, snacks and dinner-time especially during Wednesdays and Thursdays are the prime-time for classifieds retargeting.

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    • Retargeting is more in sync with Social networks when compared with traditional channels. Facebook has proven to be a very strong channel to reach users at different times during the day. Social media platforms have helped in increasing the reach by 20-30% when compared with conventional channels.

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Segmentation and Retargeting

This is the most important part of retargeting channel’s success. The classifieds vertical is prone numerous changes on their website on an hourly basis. The following techniques can be used to segment users based on their behaviour:

  1. More focus on New Property segment followed by Sale and Rent segments. Retargeting helps in prioritizing the new property segment by using a differential messaging scheme.

 

  1. Location based targeting for city specific properties are driving up the conversion rates. Vizury’s retargeting engine prioritizes the properties based on the location of the user and properties that are closer to them appear more frequently on the banners. The banners also carry the major USPs of the displayed property. Vizury props up the leads by an astonishing 250% in less than a week’s time!

 

  1. Customization of landing page drives high rate of customer acquisition for marketers. Vizury optimizes search results and customizes property landing pages. Search result customization drives conversions as it gives users more options to browse.

 

  1. Segmenting based on # of properties viewed helps in classifying users into hot and cold prospects. Users who visit more frequently are the ones that convert first. Retargeting aims at pushing these users deeper into the sales funnel by taking them straight on the lead generation page(s).

Customization is the mantra here

Customized Banners help in bringing down the cost spent by marketers as they target only the relevant segment. It also fosters strong brand recall. The level of customization offered by Vizury is as high as 95%. A large pool of creative designs are experimented with in order to make the banners go in-sync with the website theme. It results in a very strong mental association between the brand and the drop-off users. The click through rate can even double when banners are personalized. Static banners are a passé.

A typical real estate customized banner will display very relevant details such as Property name, Property image, Developer’s name, # of bedrooms, Price per area, Covered area, etc. A personalized banner is an instant connect!

Here are some examples of customized banners

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Image, Developer’s Name, # of bedrooms, Price per Sqft, Covered Area, etc. on the banner which helps the user recall his search criteria quickly.

What next?

Retargeting is poised to enter the next level of personalization. Vizury is working on a new recommendation engine that will help in recommending properties to the user based on the type of properties the user has been browsing recently. It is expected to improve lead generation volume by at least 20%.

Mobile is the next big channel for websites to reach users with personalized messages. Location-based targeting will be more impactful on mobile devices as they can generate a faster response when compared with other channels.

Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook News Feed will soon carry personalized messages to further improve the marketers’ reach for the classifieds vertical.

India’s projected 330-370 Million internet user base by 2015 (Source: Internet World Stats 2010) will provide an immense opportunity to the classifieds industry in India to diversify their portfolio into more strategic end user oriented businesses. Retargeting will continue to be one of the most influential marketing channels for reaching out to the target audience in more meaningful ways.

Like they say, ‘Relevant ads are best ads’.

Please note: All data points in the blog are based on data insights captured by Vizury from the Real Estate vertical.

Maximize Your ROI with Vizury’s Growth Marketing Stack

Category based pricing: Variable pricing for focused retargeting

This blog post introduces a new class of business models- Category based pricing that allows Advertisers to exercise more granular control over the returns on their retargeting budgets.

Advertiser Categories

Every e-commerce website organizes the products/services sold on its website into hierarchical logical groups to improve product discovery for users. E.g. Apparel->Men’s Apparel->T-Shirts or International Flights – Domestic Flights etc. The interesting thing about categories is that their products, more often than not, have similar financial attributes. The sale prices of products in a category are in the same ballpark and offer similar margins to an Advertiser. It is also not uncommon for e-commerce companies to structure their teams around the different product categories detailed on the website.

All Categories are not created equal

Time for a pop quiz! As an advertiser, let’s say

  • You have multiple categories retailing on your website, each with different Average Sale Price (ASP) and Profit Margin. You have a limited digital marketing budget (of course!) and you want the best bang for your buck. What do you want your affiliates to do?
  • You have just introduced a new product line/category. You have spent a great deal on above-the-line marketing campaigns to create awareness and draw users to your website and check out these cool new products. Should this have any implication on your retargeting campaigns?
  • You are in a crowded e-commerce market. You want to protect your turf but cannot declare an all-out war in all the categories (why else, that limited budget again!). What’s your next move?

The rationale behind the answers to the above questions is the same: regardless of the context, not every category could possibly be equally important. If you want better returns (ROI), you want to drive up sales in high value (price, margin) categories. You want your affiliates/partner to take cognizance of the newly introduced product category and push sales in it. If you want to entrench your position in a crowded market, you aim to be the market leader is a select set of strategic categories and align your affiliates with the strategy.

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Clearly, some categories are more equal than the others and you want to influence the sales mix based on your strategy (both organically and affiliate driven).

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Ok, but what about users?

Please check out the recently published Whitepaper on Industry Driven Retargeting if you have not already done so. Our research clearly shows that end user browsing/buying behavior differs significantly based on the industry/product / category of interest.

Category based pricing

In light of the above data and feedback from some of our clients, we recognized the growing need for Advertisers to exercise a greater degree of control over their marketing spends. We have overhauled our systems to allow our clients to monitor and influence campaign performance at individual category level granularity. Our algorithms and reporting systems now factor in the category that a user is interested in and that allows campaign optimization to be taken to a whole new level of detail!

Using the new pricing models, our clients can now:

  • Define category level payout rates for strategic categories
  • Analyze the performance of these categories on Vizury Central

Keep watching this space for more insights on Category-based-pricing. Say hello to us at marketing@vizury.com

How to Apply Big Data Analytics in Retargeting

Enough and more has been written about the importance of big data. So we will not labor the point any further. These large, complex, disparate, and rapidly changing data sets offer the world of display advertising many advantages. Retargeting too utilizes big data in order to improve the experience for the consumer and also the results for the brand or the marketer.

What kinds of data are used in retargeting?

The two main types of data captured and mined for retargeting are user data and product data.

User data refers to the millions of users who visit the brand website and exhibit different forms of browsing behavior on it. Several aspects of user data are important for a retargeting campaign. As an example for an airline brand, user data will include:

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The other important big data set is the brand’s product data. In several industries, especially online businesses, product data can be voluminous and change frequently. Imagine a multi-category online retailer and how rapidly elements like product prices, colour variants, and availability can change in such an environment. As a result, it is important for the retargeting engines to have accurate product information at any point of time. This may include:

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How is this big data analyzed for retargeting campaigns?

The analysis of big data results in making retargeting campaigns effective for the user as well as the brand. Big data analytics aids processes like:

  • Segmentation: Users who are most likely to buy and hence most valuable for the brand are identified from the others.
  • Real-Time Bidding (RTB): Data is used to bid for the users’ impressions in real-time so that the brand who values the user most wins the impression.
  • Product recommendations: Banner design and product placement on the banner is determined by a bunch of algorithms.

Segmentation

Every marketer knows all website visitors are not equally valuable as prospects. Some land on the website because a link is clicked by mistake or by chance, some others visit the website just for the information, and yet others are passing by. And then there are the loyal visitors, loyal buyers who enjoy spending time on the website and have a higher propensity to buy. Research seems to suggest that up to 75 – 80 percent of retargeting revenue can often be attributed to only about 15-20 percent of the retargeting impressions.

The variety of user data available helps brands create micro-segments and create individual retargeting strategies for each of them. As a result, brands are also able to change their investment strategies for each segment and maximize their marketing ROI. On the other side, users who belong to the not-so-interested segment are not bothered by too many retargeting ads just because they clicked a banner once.

Real-Time Bidding (RTB)

Here brands compete for the impression of the user and only the highest bidder gets to display an ad. The bid value is determined by the users’ data, the kind of product pages the user visited, and by usual buying trends on the brand website. As an example, the brand will bid highly for the impression a user who:

  • visited in the last 3 days,
  • spent more than 10 minutes on the website, and
  • saw two of the brand’s highest-selling products.

Big data ensures that bidding is based on many more complex rules than the rather simplistic example above. Bidding ensures the brand who finds the user most valuable wins the right to utilize the impression. Also, for a consumer who is really in-market (the term “really” is used loosely here for a bunch of metrics that brands use to gauge the level of interest) for a particular product, banners are extremely contextual and hence useful.

Product Recommendations

Typically every banner offers the brand the ability to sell the product of interest as well as up or cross sell other products. If most users of an apparel brand website who buy a shirt are also known to buy ties on the website it would make sense to showcase both shirts as well as ties on the banner. Several such logical groupings are created by brands on the basis of click-through as well as purchase data analysis. Some examples include:

  • Those who viewed product X also viewed products Y and Z.
  • Most of those who viewed product X ended up buying Z.
  • Banners with discounted products in the same category converted better than those with product X at full price.
  • Most users who clicked on the banner clicked on a top-10 selling product rather than the product they had seen earlier.

Other uses

The role of big data in retargeting is not necessarily restricted to these areas. As an example, banner click-through data is used to determine and implement frequency caps for every user segment. This implies that people who show a propensity to not click banners or are no longer considered a valuable prospect by the brand will not be bothered by repeated banners every time they visit a website that offers impressions to the brand. In this case, the brand generates and uses a third big data set i.e. the retargeting campaign data itself.

Final word

Retargeting offers the world of digital marketing several opportunities to get its big data strategy right. In order to maximize marketing ROI as well as to make ads less annoying and more contextual for users, brands must learn to adopt big data science as a genuine practice. Brands that run their own retargeting campaigns must hire a data scientist to ensure every dollar spent on an impression is scientifically nuanced. If campaigns are outsourced, they must know how much and what kind of big data science will be applied to their campaigns.

Original article published by Vizury Marketing on Clickz.

 

A Beginner’s Guide to E-Commerce Retargeting

All major retargeting companies globally have a programmatic buying platform, which takes real-time decisions on every impression. And almost all the players claim to have sophisticated big data algorithms that take real-time bidding decisions on users’ impressions.

Have you ever wondered how these algorithms work? What insights go into these massive platforms that can crunch through terabytes of data and pick the most valuable impressions from billions of ad requests?

Here are a few insights used in e-commerce retargeting and how advertisers are using them to drive performance.

More Recent Users Convert Faster

Recency refers to the user’s last visit to the advertiser website and it plays a big part in delivering return of investment (ROI). This is fairly intuitive. Users that visited the advertiser’s website recently are much more likely to convert than those that dropped off earlier.

The “earlier is better” argument is true only until a certain point, though. There’s an inflection point beyond which bidding based on recency will likely give worse results. Statisticians call this phenomenon the “inverted U-curve.” Malcolm Gladwell covers the concept extensively in his book David and Goliath, where he says that almost anything worthwhile in the world follows this curve — whether its wine, student class size, or exploiting recency!

To drive higher conversions, advertisers exploit recency at or near this inflection point consistently.

Recency as a variable should not be looked at in isolation. It’s strongly correlated with other variables described below. It is also often combined with the “depth” of the user’s visit — did it stop at the home page or did the user add a few products to the shopping cart?

Users That Frequently Research Are More Likely to Buy

Research frequency of the user refers to two things. First, how many times has the user visited the advertiser’s website? In website analytics lingo, this is also called a “session.” Secondly, across these sessions, how many products has the user seen?

Clearly, the more often a user visits the advertiser website, the more valuable the user. But that’s just half the puzzle. The key is to understand the number of sessions it takes before the user buys. This varies a lot from advertiser to advertiser. For instance, from our internal stats, a majority of baby products buyers often complete the purchase in the same session. Fashion products shoppers, on the other hand, visit the advertiser site more often before making up their minds.

Closely linked to session frequency is the number of products viewed by the user. Here again, there’s significant variance among different types of advertisers. Apparel buyers can easily look at a couple of dozen different products and their sizes, colors, and availability before they purchase. Cosmetic buyers visit three or four products — typically comparing brands, prices, and benefits for a cosmetic product they intend to buy.

Browsing behaviour before purchase_retargeting

 

Image source: Vizury

Users Buying High-Value Products Drive Better ROI

While it’s important to know how many products the user visited, it’s equally critical to know what these products are and consequently, how valuable is the user’s transaction likely to be? Taking the baby products website as an example again, targeting users that saw a low margin product like diapers may not help drive great returns, so going after users that checked out toys, which have higher margins, may be better.

One way in which advertisers can tap into this insight is by setting different prices for different categories of products. By doing so, they can better control investments by category and the overall ROI from retargeting.

The three insights explained above — recency, frequency, and expected monetary value of user — form a generic framework called the RFM model that is used to determine customer value not just in retargeting but across multiple industries.

Loyal Users Are Much More Likely to Transact Again

Users that have already bought before on an advertiser’s website are much more likely to transact again — since they would expect to have a familiar and predictable experience. Assuming, of course, that the price is comparable to that offered on other sites.

Advertisers often use non-PII information (typically encrypted CRM IDs) about previous buyers and use this information effectively in real time — ither to aggressively target the user next time or to upsell products after a recent transaction.

A related but exactly opposite example involves advertisers using the same data to focus their retargeting campaigns only on new users to lower costs of acquisition.

Smartly Mixing Product Recommendations Creates Better Engagement

The age-old saying associated with retargeting refers to “that pair of shoes which keeps following me around the Internet.”

While showing products the user has already seen is definitely helpful as a gentle reminder, it makes sense to keep refreshing the banners from time to time with other similar and relevant products. This prevents user fatigue, helps the user understand all options available, and drives higher engagement.

Another technique advertisers used is to have a set of products they want to proactively promote to users, usually because there’s a discount or sales promotion on them. These products are “mixed” with regular recommendations.

Conclusion

Some of the best retargeting companies consistently outperform others because of two reasons. They are able to work closely with advertisers to identify many such insights on a wide variety of e-commerce advertisers and apply rigorous mathematical models on large data sets to exploit these insights to the hilt.

Original article published on ClickZ on February 4, 2014

Sandy Ozdemir of Namshi.com talks about their experience with Vizury

It’s been close to a couple of years since we entered the Middle East with our retargeting solutions. We have generated great results for some of the best-known brands in e-commerce, flights, and hospitality. We set out to speak to our clients and find out what they have to say about us.

Our client Namshi.com is one of the largest online fashion stores in the middle east and has won the prestigious “Retail Leadership Award 2012”. Here’s Sandy Ozdemir talking about Vizury. She tells us why they chose us over other ad-tech companies in the region and how we’ve delivered awesome results for them. We love them too!

MEA Ecommerce Retargeting

 

Keep watching this space. We’ll showcase more happy clients soon!

Vizury’s Technology Platform Overview

We are in the business of behavioral advertising and show personalized advertisements (ads) to users who drop off from e-commerce websites across other websites (publisher) on the internet. These personalized ads help our clients (advertisers) get the drop-offs back on their website. For the uninitiated, this is Retargeting. As a result, three primary entities interact with Vizury’s platform – the advertisers, the publishers, and the end users (via advertiser and publisher websites).

Vizury retargeting technology platform

Advertiser interface: There are two points of integration between the advertiser and Vizury’s platform. The first one is through Vizury tags. Tags are pieces of JavaScript or iframe codes that are placed on all the web pages of the e-commerce website. The first interaction of end users with Vizury’s platform is via these tags. Whenever the user visits the e-commerce website looking for products, the tags collect non-personally identifiable user behavior data like the products and categories viewed by the user and store them in our user-behavior database. Based on the user behavior, the tags also inform the publishers that we are interested in showing ads to that user and seek inventory for the user. The second point of integration is called feeds. Feeds are essentially the product and price catalogue of the advertiser which is used for showing the ads. They contain product id, product name, product category, price, product image, landing page URL etc.

Publisher interface: Whenever our publisher has inventory for us, they insert our ad tag on their web pages. When a user visits such a publisher website the result is a call to our ad server. Our ad server looks at the user’s behavior data and identifies products to be shown in the ad using proprietary recommendation algorithms. Our ad server creates a personalized ad by combining the results of the recommendation algorithm and the feed data (for the price, image etc) and is served on the user’s browser as a flash or html5 banner. When the user clicks on the banner, the browser is redirected to the relevant product page on the advertiser’s website. The predominant inventories used for showing ads are Real Time Bidding (RTB) and non-RTB. The publisher allocates non-RTB inventory for Vizury ads. In RTB, publishers ask for bids for the inventory from various DSPs in real time and the winner gets to display an ad.

Data and analytics: There is a huge amount of logs generated by different components of Vizury’s platform and we have two components on our analytics platform that handle this data. The first one is an OLAP reporting system used by different stakeholders to analyze the performance of the campaigns and contains standard reports. The second is an ad-hoc querying system, where one can perform any query on the generated log files and is used to find various insights that are fed back to algorithms and operations to improve the campaign performance.

What are the technological requirements and the challenges involved?

Vizury’s platform handles hundreds of millions of user data and receives billions of ad requests every day. The analytics system has to process multiple terabytes of data every day. Creating systems that can scale to those numbers is both interesting and challenging. The scale has to be thought through on every feature that gets implemented. Performance (or latency) of the systems are also of utmost importance. All the end user related processes have to be completed in single digit milliseconds so that the user experience on the advertiser and publisher websites are not affected.

To run a service at internet scale, a very reliable and efficient infrastructure is a necessity. On the technical side, it should be able to support the scalability and performance. The end user experience will depend on both the processing at the servers and the network latency from the user to the servers. All RTB publishers impose a time limit of 100ms between the sending the bid request and receiving the response. Hence, the infrastructure has to be designed with these constraints in mind. On the financial side, there are costs involved for servers, storage, and bandwidth. Any feature designs have to consider the costs into account.

Through this blog, I have made an attempt to present an overview of the technology and challenges involved in Vizury’s retargeting. In future blogs, we will look at some of these components in detail, their technical challenges, and talk about some of the technologies that we use to address those challenges.

Keep watching this space. Say hello to us at marketing@vizury.com

 

 

We’re in Korea!

A short flight from Beijing took me to Seoul, Capital of South Korea. An Early memory of South Korea was during my school days when we were told that it is the Land of Morning Calm. But other words/brands which most of us know of Korea are Samsung, LG, Hyundai, Daewoo, Kia Motors, Line, BB Creams, and Gangnam Style!

The South Korean Market

South Korea is one of the Asia’s largest economies, and its technology is world class. One can experience superfast internet connection and smartphones are a major source of connectivity. It has a worldwide high 82.7% Internet penetration and 78.5% of the population is on smartphones! Among 18 to 24-year-olds, smartphone penetration is 97.7%. Soon, the South Korean government plans to start a 5G network, which would be 1000 times faster than 4G.

The search engine market is led by two local players – Naver and Daum. Google and Yahoo have found it tough to grow in the South Korean market. South Koreans are increasingly buying things online. South Korea is third largest e-commerce market in APAC after China and Japan. The online spending has increased year-on-year by 10-15%, and future looks even more bullish. In the world’s most wired country, South Koreans often use the internet extensively to seek out bargains and over $30.2 billion worth of goods were sold online last year.

Advertising Industry in South Korea

The South Korean advertising industry is a multi-billion dollar industry with internet advertising forming 12.2% of the gross revenue.

North korea retargeting

north korea_retargeting

With top-class infrastructure and heavy internet usage, mobile ad exposure is increasing rapidly as advertisers move towards the bigger crowd. Users have two ways to access data on mobile – App and the web. Data clearly shows that users search and gather information through the mobile web, and use Apps for games, communication, and entertainment. Mobile ads are expected to reach 25-30% of total online ad spending, and this number will only grow in coming years. Strong mobile ad growth will come at the expense of other weakening offline media platforms.

Market + People equals Opportunity

With such a next-gen technology setup, mobile usage, and online market, Korea is a perfect market for Vizury to enter and expand. Vizury has offices in 8 countries and clients in almost all the APAC countries. Finally, in January 2014, we opened our 9th office in Seoul, South Korea! We’re in the Gangnam District, which is personified by PSY in his song “Gangnam Style”. It is one of the major business districts of Seoul. It is home to famous companies like IBM, Google, POSCO, and now, Vizury.

Vizury has world class products which cater to different forms of behavioural advertising. Our WebConvert and MobiConvert help our clients retarget users on PC and mobile browsers respectively. Our MobiApp takes it a step ahead and retargets users on Apps. Vizury is amongst the first exclusive partners of Facebook and Twitter retargeting, and so we can go an extra mile and help our clients with social retargeting.

Here we come!

A Korean proverb says – 시작이 반이다 (Shijaki banida), whose English equivalent is “Well Begun is Half Done”. This means that starting properly ensures the speedy completion of a process. A beginning is often blocked by one or more obstacles (potential barriers). The removal of which may ensure the smooth course of the process. Vizury Korea has begun and clients are welcoming us with a smile and saying – 한국에 오신 것을 환영합니다, it means ‘Welcome to Korea’. Vizury is under the process of localizing the current products to suit the Korean market. Moreover, we will further develop local products to suit the client expectations and user behaviour, because localization is the key to succeed!

Keep watching this space for more Vizury-action in the South Korean market. We’re there to stay!

Sources:

1. http://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/27/travel/10-things-south-korea-does-best/

2. http://mashable.com/2014/01/26/south-korea-5g/

3. http://www.emarketer.com/Article/B2B-Propels-Ecommerce-South-Korea-Above-1-Trillion/1009840

4. Macquarie Research Report – Korea Internet – April 2013

5. http://betech.asia/2014/01/09/amazon-set-to-battle-it-out-with-korean-e-commerce-channels-in-2014/