As explained to me by Kochava CEO Charles Manning, the new product allows the company to move beyond mobile ad measurement into optimization. In other words, an advertiser using Kochava currently has to look at campaign data, determine which ad networks or publishers aren’t performing, then contact someone at the ad network to adjust their spending accordingly. With the new Optimization Beacon, this analysis and adjustment can happen automatically, based on rules and goals identified by the advertiser.
“Moving forward, measurement has to include optimization,” Manning said. “Because if you don’t, you’re not taking into account all the data you’re collecting.”
There’s plenty of ad optimization technology out there, but Manning said it’s largely controlled by the demand-side platforms, i.e., the buying tools used by many advertisers. The issue there, he suggested, is that advertisers are then choosing DSPs based on their optimization capabilities, not the quality of their ad inventory. By “moving the optimization goal post” and giving advertisers similar capabilities, Kochava allows them to focus on whether or not a DSP gives access them to premium publishers and desirable ad units.
Manning emphasized that Kochava is still not doing any of the ad-buying itself, making it an independent player in this process.
Acquiring InferSystems made sense, he added, because of its experience using machine learning to optimize display ad campaigns. Plus, this allows Kochava to jump into optimization without spending years on development.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the InferSystems team is moving to Kochava’s headquarters in Sandpoint, Idaho, bringing the company’s total headcount to around 50.
The Kochava Optimization Beacon is currently in beta, with plans to go into general availability at the end of March. In the meantime, Manning is recruiting more ad networks to support the technology — he said he doesn’t think it’s “a big ask” because it should give those networks priority with advertisers.
And yes, Manning is aware that the product name might remind some people of iBeacon technology, which is also used for mobile marketing. He said it’s just a coincidence — Kochava does support iBeacons, but Manning likes the beacon name here because it suggests “a broadcasting system” for the entire mobile ad industry.