MainAd: Converting shoppers into buyers with high-quality ad retargeting

About MainAd

Founded in 2007, MainAd is an international advertising technology company specializing in real-time bidding and programmatic ad retargeting. The company’s employees are spread between its headquarters in Pescara, Italy, its prime European hub in London, a development team in India, and offices in another seven countries.

Industries: Technology
Location: Italy

To stay ahead of the competition, MainAd moved to Google Cloud Platform and engaged Google Cloud professional services, achieving three times faster time to value for its real-time bidding platform Logico.

Google Cloud Results

  • Reduces digital marketing costs
  • Improves real-time bidding accuracy by 75%
  • Accelerates time to value 3x with Google Cloud professional services team
  • Optimizes processing speed to maximize ad inventory and run complex algorithms in less than 100 milliseconds

Increasing online conversion rate 2x

When shopping online, have you ever noticed that, as if by magic, an ad for an item you’ve previously viewed appears on an entirely different website?

You’ve just witnessed the power of ad retargeting, an effective way for e-commerce sites to convert browsers into buyers. Ad retargeting is a fast-moving, competitive marketplace. Innovators such as MainAd differentiate themselves with speed, accuracy, and flexibility. MainAd uses predictions of customer behavior to calculate which display ads to buy in a real-time bidding marketplace. It measures its success in online conversions, or how quickly a window shopper can be converted into a sale. This requires highly precise ad targeting. Achieving that level of accuracy means analyzing petabytes of customer data in real time.

To build a high-performance, real-time ad bidding system that can serve up to 50,000 requests per second, MainAd migrated its core infrastructure to Google Cloud Platform. It also used Open Bidder, an open source bidding API developed by Google, to craft predictive intelligence algorithms and build custom real-time bidding solutions to meet the unique needs of each customer.

“With Open Bidder, we can take a tailored approach to clients,” says Piero Pavone, Chief Operating Officer and Co-founder, MainAd. “That’s a real revolution; we have the flexibility to build an algorithm around a specific brand for better performance, more cost efficiency, and revenue. We get a very tangible output.”

“Thanks to our Google professional services team’s expertise and outstanding commitment and teamwork, we have been able to fully leverage Google Cloud Platform to elevate our competitive position. With Google’s assistance, we built our real-time bidding architecture three times faster and with 100% success.”

Piero Pavone, Chief Operating Officer and Co-founder, MainAd

Moving 3x faster

To make sure its real-time bidding solution would perform and scale as needed, MainAd engaged Google Cloud Consulting Services for assistance in designing the cloud architecture. MainAd invested in a Technical Account Manager to optimize its cloud environment on a day-to-day basis. Through cloud architect and data engineering sessions, Google delivered valuable knowledge and recommendations.

“Thanks to our Google professional services team’s expertise and outstanding commitment and teamwork, we have been able to fully leverage Google Cloud Platform to elevate our competitive position,” says Piero. “With Google’s assistance, we built our real-time bidding architecture three times faster and with 100% success.”

Adds Larraine Criss, Chief Product Officer at MainAd: “The support we received from Google in developing our real-time bidder was just as important as the technology. We feel as if Google Cloud and MainAd are one team. Now that we have our own bidder, we can focus on developing our unique algorithms and creating more value for our customers.”

“With Google BigQuery and Google Cloud Bigtable, we can work with huge quantities of customer data to inform our predictive ad buying through our real-time bidder. As a result, our bidding accuracy has improved by 75%.”

Larraine Criss, Chief Product Officer, MainAd

More accurate real-time bidding

Because Open Bidder uses Google Compute Engine, it delivers optimal latency with DoubleClick Ad Exchange, a real-time global marketplace. Globally distributed Google Cloud Platform servers handle traffic from every time zone at high availability with no delay due to distance, helping ensure maximum efficiency with automatic scaling by region. MainAd can easily scale to hit traffic peaks of 50,000 requests per second, optimizing the variety of ad inventory it can offer to customers.

Shortly after moving to Google Cloud Platform, MainAd launched Logico, a predictive analytics engine that delivers greater precision in ad retargeting by targeting individuals instead of broadly defined audience groups. MainAd has since expanded the engine into Logico 3C, a comprehensive AI-based retargeting platform with an easy-to-use customer interface.

To enable Logico to perform real-time analytics on big data, MainAd combines Open Bidder with Google Cloud Bigtable, a massively scalable NoSQL database service, and Google BigQuery, a fully managed data warehouse for big data analytics. Every 24 hours, MainAd adds 3 million records to Google Cloud Bigtable and analyzes 10 million records in Google BigQuery, creating deeper insights into the data it collects.

“With Google BigQuery and Google Cloud Bigtable, we can work with huge quantities of customer data to inform our predictive ad buying through our real-time bidder. As a result, our bidding accuracy has improved by 75%.” Larraine Criss, Chief Product Officer, MainAd

The best of the best

In an environment where speed is key, MainAd uses Google Cloud managed services for its entire real-time bidding and data collection architecture. MainAd uses Google Cloud Pub/Sub for data ingestion and collection, making messages available to Google Cloud Dataflow, which converts them into the appropriate format and writes them into Google Cloud Bigtable, Google BigQuery, and Google Cloud Datalab for visualization. MainAd also takes advantage of many other Google Cloud Platform services, including Google Cloud Storage to store ad images.

“With Google Cloud Platform, we have the best of the best: the most scalable databases, the fastest network, and the greatest variety of managed services,” says Piero. “Even as our business grows quickly, we can run complex algorithms in the cloud and return queries in less than 100 milliseconds.”

“Google Cloud Platform helps us stay ahead of the competition. Our online conversions improved by up to 2x, which increased the efficiency of our investments. Once again our sales strategy is supported by our technology, in a win-win balance, which ultimately benefits our clients.”

Claudia Collu, Chief Commercial Officer, MainAd

Doubling online conversions

Because MainAd’s business model is rooted in performance marketing—customers only pay when a sale occurs—keeping online conversion rates high is critical to cash flow. With the ability to apply real-time predictive analytics to ad retargeting, MainAd can purchase higher quality traffic. That means fewer clicks or views are needed to make a sale.

“Google Cloud Platform helps us stay ahead of the competition,” says Claudia Collu, Chief Commercial Officer at MainAd. “Our online conversions improved by up to 2x, which increased the efficiency of our investments. Once again our sales strategy is supported by our technology, in a win-win balance, which ultimately benefits our clients.”

About MainAd

Founded in 2007, MainAd is an international advertising technology company specializing in real-time bidding and programmatic ad retargeting. The company’s employees are spread between its headquarters in Pescara, Italy, its prime European hub in London, a development team in India, and offices in another seven countries.

Industries: Technology
Location: Italy
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