Is this the moment the techy, arcane world of real-time advertising goes mainstream? Fans of Mad Men in the US, many of whom are advertising professionals, last night saw an advert to promote Turn, the real-time ad platform that's ploughing big bucks into plans to gobble up online display inventory, including a gung-ho European expansion. Here's the ad:
Put simply, Turn is one of a new breed of advertising technology companies who are redefining the way display ads are bought and sold. Its pitch is that publishers give over some audience data, and it can help you monetise users in real-time based on their interests, as this chart (sort of) explains:
Buying ad space on such a high profile platform is a sure sign this insurgent sector is coming of age. I spoke to Turn's CEO Bill Demas in January and found a very ambitious and confident man running a fast-growing company. But despite adtech companies' assertions that they all do something different, there are several competitors all vying to win market share on both the supply (i.e. publishers) and demand (i.e. ad buyers / agencies) sides of the equation. Here's what else points to a new maturity in adtech:
-- Pubmatic's investment surge: You could say $45 million is a lot in any industry, but it's a lot of money to throw at one adtech company in one go. But that's what Silicon Valley-based Pubmatic received in a funding round led by August Capital and others last month.
-- Rubicon's mobile bet: Much like an England football win at a major tournament, relevant, targeted mobile ads have long been sought after without much luck. The Rubicon Project is hoping to change that with its acquisition last month of mobile ad platform Mobsmith.
That means that the impressive roster of brands and publishers who uses Rubicon's REVV platform, a claimed 1/3 of the comScore 100 list, will be able to seamlessly trade mobile and non-mobile inventory at the same time, including in-app ads.
Growth is coming thick and fast for Rubicon - it's just opened an office in San Francisco, making that eight offices in five countries, including one in London.