Platform161: Bidding for a more reliable demand-side platform for marketing campaigns

About Platform161

Founded in 2008, Platform161 delivers flexible solutions for advertisers, agencies, and publishers, offering a truly customizable demand-side platform to help clients increase their return on investment.

Industries: Technology
Location: The Netherlands

Platform161 migrated to Google Compute Engine on Google Cloud Platform, reducing its downtimes by 95 percent with an infrastructure that’s more stable, more reliable, and easier to maintain.

Google Cloud results

  • Reduces downtime by 95 percent since migrating to Google Cloud Platform, meaning less disruption for client campaigns
  • Supports data security and transparency goals with global standard certification and data encryption of Google Cloud Storage
  • Enables a more dynamic development pipeline thanks to a reduced maintenance burden, giving developers more time to experiment

20 percent cost saving on Google Compute Engine

With automation and programmatic buying, online advertising is fast-moving and complex. Brands are looking beyond the number of clicks to focus on the lifetime value of a potential customer. Using innovative Platform161 tools, advertisers, agencies, and publishers can manage advertising campaigns across multiple channels and media in a way that answers their specific needs. Thanks to this bespoke approach, Platform161 has grown significantly over the past decade and now has offices in Stockholm, Madrid, and New York in addition to its Amsterdam headquarters.

“We want to position Platform161 as a leader in data security and transparency, in Europe and beyond. We’ve finally found a provider who is aligned with those values and can help us answer our technical challenges: to provide a highly available service and deliver banners in under 100 milliseconds.”

Cyril Mallet, CTO, Platform161

To accurately target the right viewers, Platform161’s demand-side tools facilitate high-level ad customizations. Using their programmatic platform, advertisers can define their strategy, the viewers they want to target, and other campaign parameters. Once the campaign is launched, the platform provides insights on how it’s doing, so it can be optimized on the fly. The company also adapts its software to answer specific client challenges: thanks to a digital billboard campaign in Istanbul, for example, Toyota saw a 44 percent year-on-year increase in its Turkish hybrid motor sales.

Platform161 was experiencing issues with the stability of its infrastructure, which was leading to downtimes. It looked for a provider to solve these issues and deliver greater reliability for its customers, while meeting international standards for best practices in data security. Migrating to Google Cloud Platform (GCP) was the answer.

“We want to position Platform161 as a leader in data security and transparency, in Europe and beyond,” explains Cyril Mallet, CTO at Platform161. “We’ve finally found a provider who is aligned with those values and can help us answer our technical challenges: to provide a highly available service and deliver ads in under 100 milliseconds.”

Building a more reliable infrastructure

However good a marketing platform’s offer is, clients are likely to switch services if tools are unavailable when they want to use them. With its previous hosting provider, Platform161’s clients were experiencing downtimes due to network unavailability and server crashes. “Not only was it an annoyance for them, it required a lot of time and effort on our part to get systems up and running again,” says Cyril.

“Since migrating to Google Compute Engine, we’ve seen a 20 percent cost saving. We’re able to reinvest that in upgrading our architecture, adding more servers, and configuring failovers. We’ve used the migration to optimize our infrastructure overall.”

Cyril Mallet, CTO, Platform161

Following a positive experience using Compute Engine for a client project, Platform161 decided to migrate its entire infrastructure to GCP. “We were running a few virtual servers on Google Compute Engine connected to a third-party project, so we had firsthand experience of the quality of service offered by Google Cloud,” Cyril explains. “After the Spectre and Meltdown security vulnerabilities were exposed in 2018, providers everywhere had to release updates. On our main infrastructure, we experienced a lot of issues, but we didn’t notice any disruptions on Google Cloud Platform due to its security patching.”

Platform161 uses Cloud Storage and Cloud DNS alongside virtual machines on Compute Engine to deliver its services and meet its security goals. “The ISO27001 certification of Google Cloud Platform is aligned with our own, and we really appreciate the fact that with Cloud Storage, data is encrypted at rest,” says Cyril. “Because it’s encrypted by default, there’s no additional configuration required on our part, and we’re able to achieve world-class encryption to safeguard our clients’ data.”

Switching to GCP has also given Platform161 the budget to optimize its architecture. “Since migrating to Google Compute Engine, we’ve seen a 20 percent cost saving,” says Cyril. “We’re able to reinvest that in upgrading our architecture, adding more servers, and configuring failovers. We’ve used the migration to optimize our infrastructure overall.”

Delivering big data analytics with BigQuery

Before migrating its infrastructure to GCP, Platform161 was already using BigQuery to deliver both internal analytics and customer insights. With several gigabytes of raw data ingested every day, the team needs a tool that delivers quick analyses and requires minimum maintenance.

“Our clients want us to deliver greater volumes and types of data, and greater accuracy, and we couldn’t do that without Google BigQuery,” says Cyril. “It allows us to deliver customer insights within our chosen time frame of four hours, as well as running real-time analyses for specific use-cases.”

Using BigQuery on GCP also makes it simple for Platform161 to deliver its dashboards, either through easy integration with Looker, or by serving data straight from BigQuery to Google Data Studio for clients also on GCP. “As well as being quick and easy, delivering straight from BigQuery—whether to Looker or Data Studio—means the data is never moved from its secure source,” explains Cyril.

Spending more time on development

“We’ve really improved the way we do things. Thanks to the budget and time savings we’re making on Google Cloud Platform, we have space to experiment more: for example, now that we can play with scaling up our testing environment, we’re able to focus on developing a continuous deployment pipeline.”

Cyril Mallet, CTO, Platform161

Since migrating to GCP, Platform161’s downtime has been reduced by 95 percent. Not only does that mean greater customer satisfaction, it also means the IT team can spend more time on development, rather than problem-solving and maintenance.

“We’ve really improved the way we do things,” says Cyril. “Thanks to the budget and time savings we’re making on Google Cloud Platform, we have space to experiment more: for example, now that we can play with scaling up our testing environment, we’re able to focus on developing a continuous deployment pipeline.”

Platform161 is now hoping to further improve the insights they can offer to clients using BigQuery ML. “We want our clients to be able to make business decisions based on predictions, rather than taking a reactive approach,” says Cyril. “We’re dedicating an entire team to this project, and we’re excited about how machine learning could help us provide new services before our clients even ask for them—taking our approach from passive to predictive.”

About Platform161

Founded in 2008, Platform161 delivers flexible solutions for advertisers, agencies, and publishers, offering a truly customizable demand-side platform to help clients increase their return on investment.

Industries: Technology
Location: The Netherlands
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