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Hitting the Right Audience

Advanced algorithms and machine learning power AcuityAds’ demand-side platform
  • May 14 2012

Matching the right advertisements to precisely the right audience at the right time has been the Holy Grail for digital display advertisers. They know that the best match increases the likelihood that online users will pay attention and connect with the ads which leads to better brand awareness and sales. Which is why there is no shortage of demand-side platform (DSP) technologies that help companies pinpoint their ads to greater effect.

Yet AcuityAds believes that its Consumer Connection Platform offers companies unprecedented accuracy in reaching online users who are most likely to be interested in certain content. The company uses a machine-learning algorithm that examines and weighs dozens of variables before placing bids on real-time ad exchanges, and continues to incorporate additional information as a campaign evolves. Among these said variables are details about individual audience members and their online behavior. Acuity has more than 500 million consumer profiles in its database and they enable clients to identify where they should place ads and how much they should spend on them.

“At the end of the day, brands are demanding better results and measurements,” says Tal Hayek, Acuity’s CEO and a co-founder. “What we find is when we go into an agency, and we run a test campaign for them and deliver results, we generate renewals and we get other brands in the organization. The bottom line is that we deliver results and we do so because of the proprietary algorithm and our consumer profiles.”

“We didn’t invent real-time bidding, but we’re taking it to a new level,” Hayek explains. “If you want real-time bidding, you’ll come to us because we can make the process more efficient through our machine learning technology and consumer information.”

Acuity is the brainchild of Hayek, two other marketing/technology veterans and Dr. Nathan Mekuz, who holds a doctorate in machine learning and has been researching machine-learning algorithms for statistical pattern recognition, predictive analytics and data mining for 15 years. The three-year-old company has offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Toronto.

Acuity’s technology has consistently led to improved performance metrics for its clients, such as higher conversion rates and brand lift. Because the algorithm provides increasingly precise information on campaigns, clients may fine-tune campaign size or make other changes to spur greater response. A proprietary brand safety tool ensures that an ad does not show up on inappropriate websites (as defined by the client’s guidelines).

Meanwhile, the company collects a range of data on Internet users via its own technology and through third-party services. The information covers demographics such as age, gender, income level, location, interest and intent.  “We run a lot of branding campaigns, and it’s our job to put out the right message to the right consumer at the right time for the right price,” says Hayek. “This is where the consumer profiles are best put to use.”

Hayek adds: “Our technology makes it more likely that someone will connect with an ad that the client hopes they will.”

Acuity already counts more than 50 large multinational brands among its clientele. Recently, Acuity ran a campaign for a Fortune 500 health insurance company that was looking to increase enrollment to one of its newest insurance products. The client provided Acuity with a strict set of consumer targeting guidelines, as well as a cost-per-action (CPA) goal of $200. Acuity was successfully able to deliver a CPA value of $157, while generating quality conversions for the advertiser.

“Our motto is to help our clients pick the right apple,” says Hayek. “There are a lot of great apples out there. We connect companies with the right apples and do so more cost effectively.”