Metamorphosis: Our leadership in innovation started in mobile measurement. What’s next is even more exciting.
Our next chapter brings together all the things that matter most to enterprise brands in one dynamic platform.
At long last, I’m thrilled to share a few things we’ve been working on over the last six months. The work is the conclusion of a.) many strategic initiatives we’ve invested in over the last few years which are now arriving at a time of harvest, b.) the manifestation of new capabilities based on how our customers are using our platform, and c.) a continued reveal of what Kochava is today vs. how we started.
In celebration of the innovations we’ve been making over the past few years, our brand team has released an update to the Kochava brand. There has been a lot of great thinking that the team put together in making the brand changes. Perhaps some day they’ll write a post about the considerations. That’s not the purpose of my writing today, so I’ll simply share a peak at the new logo.
This month, in concert with the brand update, you’ll see changes throughout the Kochava website as well as our platform. Changes include: how the offering is presented, how we differentiate from our competitors across disciplines, and how our customers are finding value from the Unified Audience Platform.
As a point of historical reference, a note on where we came from as you consider where we’re going.
- Our Customers Made Us. Unlike any other company in our direct ecosystem, Kochava is self-funded and is a profitable business. We consider this to be a bit of a miracle. In the competitive world of advertising SaaS technology, being bootstrapped AND being a market leader is highly unusual. We attribute a large part of this to the culture that made us — a culture that serves our customers. If we don’t serve our customers and provide what they need, we don’t exist.
- We Are Required to Deliver Value. Unlike our traditional competitors, we haven’t subsidized our product cost and differentiated through price reduction for our services. Instead, we have done the hard work to articulate to prospects and customers that the ROI of our platform out-paces the price of our solution by 7X in the first month. This focus has created a culture to stay close to our customers, serve them, and remember to continue to demonstrate the value we deliver. The piling of the red velvet rope surrounding the Kochava experience is comforting to our customers and yet prickly to our competitors.
- Our Customers Drive Our Direction. Scott Brinker recently wrote a terrific article at chiefmartec.com which outlines the relationship between 3 key indices for a SaaS system as it is applied to an enterprise (features delivered, value realized, and skills leveraged). The premise is that product utilization is less of an indicator of success for Marketing SaaS tech — and the value that’s rendered is a better qualifier.
Because our customers are the leading ‘head of the market’ companies, and because of our driving culture mentioned above, we have been the leaders in feature innovation within attribution while leveraging what we are good at: real-time data systems — bringing it to the marketer in a way that they can use according to their own skills. This combination has delivered an unfair advantage to the customers who use Kochava.
As a historical reference, the below image shows several industry-first features that Kochava customers have been able to enjoy, many of which are still not supported by our attribution competitors today. Some of our competitors have attempted to classify our innovation as a ‘lack of focus’ or ‘a pivot away from measurement.’ On the contrary — we are focused — on the definition of success to the enterprises we serve: high growth brands.
We haven’t behaved like a single-purpose mobile measurement partner (MMP) for a few years, yet we are regularly compared to standalone mmp vendors because of our heritage. Today, I’m not announcing new features to our platform, I’m announcing changes to the public articulation about what we do (things that are well beyond simply measurement) which better illustrate features and capabilities that leading brands use us for today.
The menu below shows the changes we’ve been making in organizing our holistic value proposition (note that measurement is only one of many capabilities). While most customers have expanded their use of Kochava after starting with measurement (a reasonable assumption of cross-selling our capabilities as we serve our customers), we have been impressed by the number of companies that use competitive MMP solutions and came to Kochava to use us for Fraud Mitigation Audits, Audience Targeting, or Data Management. We expect this to continue — the changes in articulating our offering is important to support that.
So what are enterprise customers asking for; the requests driving our ongoing innovation?
- Data Ingestion, Management & Syndication. Enterprises want to control their data, they want to understand how it’s syndicated, they want granular insight on what is sent and with what frequency. They want to understand chain of custody of the data across the supply chain of advertising before it reaches them — and they want it all in real time. Enterprises are increasingly concerned about how much data is being syndicated to the walled garden vendors and they want to bring their data together so they can harness their data for growth. For too long advertisers have been sharing data with media partners under the premise of optimization only to realize that many partners leverage that data for other purposes.
- Unified System of Record. Aligned with the data discussion, enterprises want a unified system of record that can handle the ingestion of data, the classification of the data with the deduplication of devices to identity, the definition of audience (both dynamic and static), the adornment and unification of offline data to those audiences, and the actionability of activation across paid and owned channels.
- Unified Links. Enterprises need a single solution for deep linking, traditional paid media campaigns, and link support for non-traditional channels like influencers or loyalty efforts. Enterprises also want these links to be brandable to their own domains to make them their own.
- Unified Activation. Enterprises want a single object model and dashboard operating environment which brings together the system of record and activation across paid or owned media.
- Targeting, Optimization and Fraud Abatement. Enterprises want tools that enable them to perform targeting, campaign optimization, and fraud abatement independent from the media providers themselves. Signal is key for the enterprise high-growth brand and they want to leverage signal for machine learning optimization without becoming reliant on the optimization tools of a given media partner (which usually comes with the obligation to share raw data at scale).
- A Path to Supply Chain Transparency. Enterprises want a path they can leverage which brings them to supply chain transparency and chain of custody verification for data. There are countless examples of brands demanding transparency and an approach to at-scale buying independent from the walled gardens. Many new advertisers limit their buying to the walled gardens for fear of not having a managed supply chain — this is an opportunity to be addressed. While many companies are using the term ‘blockchain’ as a means to add marketing flair, brands can see the difference between a marketing gimmick and an architectural solution enabling true transformation of the digital advertising ecosystem.
The aggregation of these points brings up interesting limitations from a culmination of vendors in the market. These limitations are not well known or understood unless you’ve faced them as an enterprise brand. The following are a few examples with illustrations of how our customers have driven our team to solve these problems from a single system, The Unified Audience Platform:
- SDK unification continues to challenge enterprises. Gathering data and supporting capabilities for attribution, analytics, deep linking, push notifications, media cost aggregation, and consent management are all equally critical for high growth brands. Having these capabilities from various vendor tools limits an enterprise’s ability to scale. Kochava provides a single SDK that supports all of these capabilities from a single footprint.
- Identity is a universal theme that needs to be tackled. The identity of users and the linkage of identity using in-house data sets and third party data sets is critically important to enterprises. Since 2012, advertisers have been empowered to link devices to a known first party identity of a user with Kochava’s proprietary IdentityLink™ tool. Further, ongoing developments via the Kochava Collective™ have enabled third party graphs to be applied to first-party data sets for Kochava customers in our system.
- Audience Unification. Audiences defined in one system are not always true to the definition of audiences defined in other tools. This makes for data discrepancy and efficiency challenges when scaling growth. Do you have a list of users who have churned, defined in your attribution vendor tool, with a separate list defined in your analytics tool? Do you have a list of high paying users or highly engaged users in your customer relationship management (CRM) tool which is inconsistent with the list you want to activate in your audience tool for retargeting? Kochava provides a system of record for audience definition. From one place, brands can leverage every data point into consideration. Kochava can manage membership and syndication of those definitions for each use-case from a single view and data model and can leverage first and third party data from a single operating model.
- Data Enrichment, Audience Targeting & Activation. Having separate systems for targeting, enrichment, attribution, and data management translates into enterprises who spend more time doing manual data management or spending even more money for data onboarding. Kochava provides out-of-the-box onboarding of data between these systems in a privacy safe format — with the actionability toward activation through paid (media) or owned (marketing automation, owned property promotion) sources. Kochava boasts the largest independent mobile data marketplace with over 5B mobile device identifiers and supports features like lookalike modeling and arbitrary audience creation based on over 150 attributes stored against devices. Enriching your first party audiences is possible via Kochava so you can learn more about who they are and how you can grow at scale to find more just like them across any number of media sources.
- Data Regulation & Syndication Limitations. Facebook, Google, Snap and other self-attributing networks have governing rules about how campaign data from these vendors can be syndicated to other companies. As a result, every MMP is ONLY allowed to send a device ID to a third party system (marketing automation system or data management system for example) stripped from its related attribution metadata. Because Kochava is both an industry leading MMP and has the capabilities outlined in our Unified Audience Platform, Kochava is uniquely able to leverage these insights while remaining compliant with data regulations from self-attributing networks. Most advertisers buy 30%-40% of their media from self-attributing platforms and smaller high-growth brands have an even higher percentage. As a result, if you’re syndicating data from your MMP to a marketing automation vendor or data management vendor, 30%-40% of the data syndicated is appearing as ‘organic’ and stripped of the valuable associated attribution information that remains in the MMP. Do you want to trigger a push notification or email based on some context of how the user was acquired? We suspect you do. While Kochava integrates with all major marketing automation tools, we are required to adhere to the rules from self-attributing networks and therefore this valuable information is stripped when syndicated. However, using the direct Engagement features we provide in our unified platform to drive the marketing automation, this limitation does not exist.
- Blockchain Based Ad Buying. Enterprises are asking for a next-generation ad buying system that works across any supply partner or aggregator — based on open systems that can inter-operate and incorporate permission based data ledgers. Because Kochava is a vendor providing solutions for data management, audience management, measurement and optimization — we can not provide ad buying/selling without negatively impacting our unbiased approach. As a result, we innovated by building an open protocol based on the Interactive Advertising Bureau (iAB) specifications of OpenDirect. As an open standard, OpenDirect can be adopted by others in the ecosystem and leveraged by us as we serve our customers. XCHNG (pronounced Exchange) is an open blockchain implementation of OpenDirect 2.0. Our innovations surrounding blockchain technology was recently awarded an approved patent across multiple claims addressing digital advertising and general blockchain technology methods in support of marketplace dynamics and supply chain management.
Bringing it all together, outside of the efficiencies of a unified toolset, there is also value surrounding licensing consolidation. SaaS fees are often indexed by number of users, number of conversions, number of events, or some combination. By using multiple tools, each with replicated licensing fees (because of replicated data syndication), enterprises are forced to spend more of their operational budget on tools vs results. Consolidating vendor tools and unifying under a common platform enables brands to take advantage of licensing leverage.
If you are interested in using a Unified Audience Platform and benefiting from the thesis shared here, you will be in good company with other leading enterprise brands who have driven our innovation and who continue to benefit from our platform. We would love to show you first hand the #KochavaDifference.