MainAd: optimised ad retargeting with Google Cloud Platform and Open Bidder

The explosion of new tech compounded with a huge cultural shift in the way people interact with brands online has turned the ad tech world on its head. Taking the charge are key innovators like MainAd, an experienced ad retargeting company that’s purely focused on performance results.

MainAd uses predictions of customer behaviour to calculate which display ads to buy in a Real Time Bidding marketplace. It measures its success on online conversions, a tactic that’s earned them the trust of over 80 high profile clients worldwide.

Accurate targeting means analysing petabytes of customer data in a real-time environment. MainAd combines the speed and efficiency of Google Cloud Platform with the flexibility of its Open Bidder to stay ahead of competitors.

“We operate in a very fast and competitive but standardised ecosystem, saturated with players. With Open Bidder, we are able to take a personalised and tailored approach to clients without having to offer third party bidders as a take-or-leave solution. 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.” - Piero Pavone, Chief Operating Officer & Co-Founder, MainAd

Crafted approaches with Open Bidder

In the past, MainAd operated with the typical retargeting technologies; it tailored to audience groups. Today, it’s able to engage with individuals through multiple variables. By developing a bidding framework on a highly efficient processing platform, MainAd can easily process petabytes of data in real-time.

When MainAd switched to Google Cloud Platform, it became one of the first users of Open Bidder. Open Bidder doesn’t just put all of MainAd’s bidding tools into one simple framework, it provides an API for MainAd to craft custom real-time bidder solutions to the needs of each client. Because Open Bidder uses Google Compute Engine, it delivers optimal latency with DoubleClick Ad Exchange, while GCP’s globally distributed servers handle traffic from every time zone at high-availability with no delay due to distance, ensuring maximum efficiency with automatic scaling by region. MainAd have taken the solution one step further by combining Open Bidder with Google Cloud Bigtable and Google Cloud Machine Learning, to deliver ever greater precision in ad retargeting.

“In an environment where speed is key, this technology allows us to stay ahead of everyone else; Google has the fastest database, the fastest cloud system and the fastest networking. With BigQuery and Bigtable we can work with unimaginably large quantities of big data that we use to inform our predictive buying through the bidder. It’s a conjunction of Google technologies that lets us create a better version of our business.” - Larraine Criss, Chief Product Officer, MainAd

Leveraging Big Data

With GCP, MainAd serves approximately 20,000 queries per second, and can scale up to 50,000 queries per second, creating more variety for its clients. Every day it adds an average of 3 million records to BigTable and analyses 10 million records in BigQuery, creating deeper insights into the data it collects. And now that server maintenance is automatic, and modifications can be carried out 50% faster because everything is within one GCP environment, the team can focus on new ways to stay ahead.

“Technological advancements are at the very core of who we are. We are moving to the Google Container Engine and we are working with Google Cloud Storage. Everything is going into the cluster system from Google Compute Engine, and by the end of 2017, we will be entirely on GCP. The challenges that we are undertaking are a proud achievement to be part of.” - Anoop Ramachandran, Chief Technology Officer, MainAd