Until not long ago, advertising was about devising a uniform message and plastering the same ad everywhere in hopes of reaching the most customers. Today, advertising is driven by algorithms to achieve automatic buying and placing of highly targeted, real-time, personalized advertisements.
Israeli knowhow underlies much of the technology enabling this digital advertising revolution.
“Israel is becoming a leader in programmatic advertising, also known as algorithmic advertising,” says Nimrod Kozlovsky of Jerusalem Venture Partners. In 2014, Israel had $3 billion in ad and monetization exports, he points out.
“Ad solutions based on creative content and the wisdom of ad agencies is vanishing. We see the dominance of computers in planning and executing ad campaigns using smart analytics,” Kozlovsky tells ISRAEL21c.
Programmatic advertising helps place each digital ad in front of the right audience at the right time for the right price, explains Avishai Sam Biton from in-image ad specialist Imonomy.
“It’s like an auction where advertisers bid for ad inventory, and online publishers get the highest payouts while making sure they have relevant advertisers for their audience,” Biton tells ISRAEL21c. “If an ad is relevant, you’ll see it across all the devices and sites you use. With ad-tech, everybody wins — advertisers and publishers and users.”
On April 29, startups, publishers, agencies, brands and ad networks met in Jaffa at an AdTech Summit to share the latest on technology and platforms for monetizing and accelerating advertising in mobile and desktop. More than 50 ad executives came from North America, Europe and Asia to see what Israelis have to offer.
Here, ISRAEL21c presents 12 of the many Israeli ad-tech companies that are shaping the worldwide digital advertising landscape.
Be sure to tune into our TLV1 podcast on the Israeli ad-tech revolution.
- Imonomy developed an algorithm that lets publishers place contextual in-image ads on their posts. More than 12,000 publishers are Imonomy clients, including AOL, CBS and Argentinean publishers InfoBae and La Voz.
“People look at images first. Publishers all want to monetize those images because of a shortage of website real estate,” explains Biton. “We took all the data from our publishers and decided it makes sense to monetize the most interesting space on the web page. Our image ad platform caters to publishers, but the advertiser also gets more engagement and click-throughs.”
Imonomy, founded in 2012 in Ramat Gan, is now rolling out a white-label program so that any online ad company can offer the Imonomy technology to other publishers.
- myThings crunches big data to optimize media buying and generate real-time ad content for desktop and mobile, customized to each user in a matter of milliseconds. More than 600 clients of this 150-employee Tel Aviv company – one of Israel’s fastest-growing tech firms — include major e-retailers such as Puma, Toys R Us, Shop Direct, Alitalia and Walmart.
“We help large ecommerce brands drive qualified traffic to their sites and achieve higher conversion rates using machine-learning algorithms to customize programmatic campaigns,” says CMO Shachar Radin-Shomrat. “Each banner will be created differently for each user, constantly changing through machine learning.”
She explains that while ad agencies traditionally drive traffic to the beginning of the sales “funnel,” marketers require cutting-edge solutions for widening that funnel to acquire, engage and retain customers for the long term in a cost-effective manner. “Our platform helps advertisers drive users down these steps in the funnel efficiently and automatically, taking hundreds of data points into account for each decision.”
- Inneractive is an automated mobile-ad marketplace for app monetization. Its flagship product, Story, is claimed to be the world’s first programmatic platform for inserting relevant “native” video ads into the constantly updating stream of app content feeds. Native advertising matches the form and function of the platform on which it appears.
CEO and cofounder Offer Yehudai found that mobile advertising returned higher revenues to the developer than app sales, yet ad networks were not providing a good solution. “The in-feed programmatic native video [ad] format is something new,” he told VentureBeat. “The combination of native and programmatic is very unique.”
The 60-employee company is based in Petah Tikva and has offices in North and South America, Europe, Africa and Australia.
- ClicksMob, founded in January 2013 by four serial entrepreneurs, took the model of affiliate web marketing and applied it to mobile, providing a platform for advertisers and publishers to buy and deliver mobile traffic.
“Our company is the intermediary between developers and applications,” says CEO Chen Levanon. “One side is app developers and mobile content (advertisers) and the second side is publishers, from small blogs and up, who want to make money from their traffic.”
The company has offices in Tel Aviv, New York and San Francisco, and will soon reach a total of 110 employees – more than half of them female, as is Levanon. ClicksMob appeared on Forbes Magazine’s list of America’s Most Promising Companies for 2015.
- Dynamic Yield is a SaaS (software as a service) solution to help marketers create personalized content and promotional campaigns in real time. The 60-employee company, founded in 2011, has offices in Tel Aviv, New York and London.
“We empower our clients to take smart data-driven decisions and customize content by themselves, with no help from IT,” says Yaniv Navot, director of performance marketing. “It’s used by major retailers, publishers and general online brands such as the New York Times, NBC, Kenneth Cole and Playtex to create high-yielding pages in terms of personalized layout and content on and off site. We offer an all-in-one holistic personalization approach for the complete customer journey.”
In an ever more crowded ad-tech ecosystem, Navot says, “Advertisers are always looking for innovative technologies to drive sales and revenue. We cater to both marketers and consumers; there is significant revenue uptick for the marketer, while consumers get a more personalized browser experience.”
- eXelate, acquired in March by the global performance management company Nielsen, unifies customer profiles across channels and devices including display, video, audio, offline, mobile and smart TVs, enabling digital marketers to engage potential customers with personalized messages.
eXelate was founded in 2007 and has offices in Rosh Ha’Ayin (Israel), Paris, London, Los Angeles, Hamburg and Chicago, which will continue serving clients following the acquisition. The company was named a Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Winner and appeared on the Forbes 100 Most Promising Companies in America and Inc.’s Fastest Growing Companies in America lists.
- Crossrider specializes in monetizing desktop and mobile media through the use of big data. Millions of publishers and advertisers have used Crossrider’s cross-browser web apps and extensions development platform, mobile ad-server and programmatic media management platform and media buying and selling agency.
Reportedly, Crossrider has 25,000 live campaigns by its customers at any given moment and gains 1.8 million new users daily. The company, founded in 2011, has about 130 employees, mostly in Israel, and operates as well in Cyprus, Ukraine, Romania, the UK, US and India.
- PLYmedia in Tel Aviv develops performance-based, collaborative ad exchanges for ad networks. In the PLYexchange ecosystem, performance ad networks leverage each other’s strengths – synergizing supply and demand to maximize revenue and results.
Using a next-generation prediction engine, PLYmedia calculates user value per all available ecosystem campaigns, from multiple ad networks, and claims 99% accuracy. “Weighing constantly changing key parameters, our solutions predict, in real-time, the value of each impression for all available campaigns in the exchange.”
- Woobi enhances user engagement with in-game advertising, adding relevant ad content at maximum-engagement moments within gameplay, customized per user and per game. Coca-Cola, for example, used Woobi to drive competition entries to its recent social media competition.
Founded in 2009 as TokenAds, Woobi offers custom, scalable, native advertising solutions for web, social and mobile games based on user-profiling, machine-learning identification and real-time optimization. Headquartered in Tel Aviv with a subsidiary in London, Woobi provides both publishers and advertisers a wide variety of game monetization products and services throughout 130 countries.
10. Roojoom offers an online marketing intelligence platform to repurpose existing content — such as web pages, PDFs, videos and images — and add call-to-action buttons and lead-generation forms to increase conversion and engagement and boost the return on investment of existing content, with no IT or design skills needed. Users can embed dynamic widgets anywhere as visual stories or smart links under the company’s own domain.
11. Hiro Media has a patented technology “to serve up the right ad, at the right moment, to the right viewer, for rich results.” In May, it will demonstrate this video ad technology at Ad:Tech San Francisco. “Our programmatic distribution and monetization facilitates one of the fastest prediction-based real-time bidding processes in the market,” according to the company’s website.
Another Israeli company using video content to beef up programmatic advertising is AnyClip Media, which has offices in Jerusalem and New York. Utilizing its partnerships with content owners such as Warner Brothers and Universal Studios, AnyClip matches contextually relevant, premium video content to optimize ad campaign performance and user engagement.
12. Todacell, which just won a spot on the Red Herring Top 100 Europe list of innovative companies, serves billions of monthly ads through its global mobile advertising network for advertisers and publishers. Its technology for tracking, measuring and optimizing mobile ad campaigns is currently used by clients in 160 countries. Founded in 2007, Todacell has offices in New York, London, Berlin and Tel Aviv.
Ubimo also won a place on the Red Herring Top 100 list. Its programmatic buying platform uses machine learning and big data analysis to create relevant and timely messaging, ad campaign planning, management and reporting tools, and contextual campaign targeting. CEO Ran Ben-Yair was the sole Israeli named to the Mobile Marketing Association’s new Mobile Location Data Accuracy Group.