For this week’s installment of Insider’s View, we had a chance to catch up with with Chad Little, founder and CEO of Hivewyre, an online advertising co-op that allows advertisers to share their first-party audience data and build targeted campaigns for prospecting new customers.
Chad is a serial entrepreneur with Hivewyre being his fifth startup. His last company, FetchBack, was quickly recognized as a leader in the space and was acquired by GSI Commerce in 2010. Shortly thereafter, GSI was acquired by eBay in 2011. You can connect with Chad on LinkedIn.
1. Can you tell us a little bit more about your expertise in the AdTech/MarTech industry?
In 2001, I founded AdOn Network, an ad network that was acquired by Prime Visibility. Being involved in ad tech during these very early days has given me a unique vantage point to the entire space. After selling AdOn, I went on to found FetchBack.com in 2007, which quickly became a leading retargeting company that pioneered the space when ad networks didn’t really know what retargeting was. Our goal was to focus 100 percent of our tech and efforts on this space. Fetchback was acquired by GSI Commerce, which was then subsequently acquired by eBay within a year.
2. What specifically does your company do, and how does it fit into the larger digital marketing picture?
HiveWyre is an advertising data co-op focused on ecommerce sites. Essentially, we give ecommerce sites the ability to target consumers who have visited their competitors’ sites. We’re all about combining data to enable ecommerce sites to drive incremental consumers as they compete against larger players such as Amazon. Our philosophy is that it’s better to work together. Second-party data, while not new, is gaining a lot of traction in digital marketing lately. We also provide a unique set of analytics that allow ecommerce sites to see how they stack up against their competitors (Market Insights).
3. What types of technology platforms (data analytics, media buying, etc.) do you use every day to meet your job demands?
We utilize several DSP’s for ad delivery and media buying (Appnexus is our primary platform for this).
4. What do you see as the single most disruptive force coming to the world of AdTech/MarTech?
Can’t say that I see a single disruptive force. I believe (like most industries) it’s a combination of things that will steadily evolve it. Some key technologies and areas of focus I see trending now:
- Continued evolution beyond the cookie and utilizing multiple data sources for better identifying a single user across multiple devices. Adobe’s continued evolution in this space with their access to login information is very interesting.
- I love what companies like Pebblepost are doing, the combination of online retargeting and offline direct mail. I believe this is just the beginning of efforts like this.
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5. What are in your opinion the biggest challenges that the AdTech/MarTech industry face?
Attribution is and will continue to be the biggest challenge marketers face. Everyone has his/her own methods, and I don’t believe this is a problem that can be solved in the way the market is currently attempting. By trying to take in all the possible variables and data points, the challenge only gets worse. Someone is going to have to take a completely different approach in order to offer real solutions.
6. There are thousands of companies in the AdTech/MarTech industry and the whole ecosystem gets more complex every year. Do you have any recommendations for marketers how to navigate this space and choose the right vendors?
Yes. I believe that the majority of the companies out there offering third-party data are crap. It’s a massive shell game where everyone likes to purposefully complicate the sales pitch. Marketers continue to get burned time and time again and agencies are not as focused as they should be on quality. My advice and opinion is for marketers to narrow down and play the long game (i.e., focus on repeat business from existing customers, stay in front of them and use tools to get yourself in front of new consumers, but limit those options and eliminate third-party data options). It’s also important to focus on vendors who are fine with having their performance tracked.
Previous Insider’s View Q&A’s: