Q&A: Tapad CEO and Founder Are Traasdahl on the Device Graph and the Internet of Things

Are Traasdahl, CEO, TapadAre Traasdahl is CEO and Founder at Tapad, an ad tech company that offers cross-device solutions. Headquartered in New York, the company has offices across the US and in London. At the heart of Tapad’s offering is The Device Graph, which Trassdahl discusses here, along with the potential for the use of data from the Internet of Things (IoT) and the impact data-driven advertising will have on advertising budgets.

Could you explain what Device Graph is and how it works?

The Device Graph is Tapad’s core technology– used by our media business and licensed to other players in the ecosystem. It uses a proprietary algorithm to process hundreds of billions of data points per month to determine if devices are related (ie– belong to the same user).

The Device Graph is currently leveraged by advertisers from more than 200 Fortune 500 companies and works with many media agencies and technology partners to help advertisers deliver the most efficient cross-device campaigns.

Tapad has a patent pending for Device Graph. Is that just your ‘version’ of it or does it give you a stake in the device graphs being deployed across the industry?

Our patent is only for The Tapad Device Graph. We do not have a stake in other people’s technology. That being said, our solution is now powering a large portion of the industry’s cross-device capabilities. The Device Graph is licensed across the board by technology vendors including DSPs, SSPs, DMPs, attribution companies, ad servers and by brands direct. We were the first company to create a cross-device solution for our own media business and also the first company to license that cross-device data for use by partners.

Many believe the data generated by the Internet of Things (IoT) will erode the role of data-driven advertising as we know it. Do you see IoT as a threat or an opportunity?

We see this as a huge opportunity. Strategic marketing is data-driven. The more data available, the smarter marketers can be with their spend and the better experience they can provide to consumers. With the explosion of new internet-connected devices comes an explosion of new data.

The Tapad Device Graph is not reliant on log-in data, giving us a notable advantage. We’re already seeing connected cars and smart watches, and it’s only the beginning. Marketers and publishers are going to keep pushing the envelope here — looking for ways to reach consumers in ways that provide value and drive conversions.

Will cross-screen optimization lead to advertisers spending less as their buys become more efficient, or will the increased effectiveness attract additional spend in your opinion?

Research shows that online ad spend rose from ~$133 billion in 2013 to ~$156 billion this year. This is happening during a time when advertising is more data-driven and efficient than it ever has been. We don’t see this trend changing. With a unified, cross-device strategy, marketers are able to understand how each tactic of a campaign is affecting brand affinity, in-store visitation, engagement rate and final purchase. Marketers will continue spending money as long as they know their ads are reaching the right consumer, at the right time, on the right device and with the right creative. We’re very optimistic about our industry’s future.

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