How The Trade Desk Uses AI to Find 'Perfect' Impressions for Advertisers

Data-driven insights and new-gen features ostensibly can deliver better planning, smarter buying and stronger performance for brands and agencies.


Here’s a thought: Why not run digital advertising campaigns in a similar fashion to the stock market, using programmatic methods and new-gen IT? How about letting a few knowledgeable humans together with machine learning and analytics engines figure out where the perfect impressions are--on any device--that present buying opportunities relevant to us today?

That’s exactly what global ad tech provider The Trade Desk does on a 24/7 basis. To advance this whole scheme, the company on June 26 launched a set of new products designed to help advertisers use data-driven insights to plan, forecast and buy digital media more effectively. And it’s not all automated, as other platforms tend to be.

The Trade Desk provides a self-service omnichannel software platform for advertising agencies and other service providers that enables clients to purchase and manage data-driven digital advertising campaigns in the United States and internationally. The company's platform enables clients to manage integrated advertising campaigns in various advertising channels and formats, including connected TV, mobile, video, audio, display, social, and native on various devices, such as smart TVs, computers, and mobile phones and tablets.

'Precise' Platform for Advertisers

“We’ve built a platform that is very precise for advertisers … our goal is to go find those perfect impressions and only buy those for the advertiser,’” Dave Pickles, CTO and co-founder of The Trade Desk, told eWEEK. “At the same time, we want to create great performance for the advertiser but also a better experience for the user, because if we can find those perfect few impressions, we can pay ridiculously high prices for them.

“So then, websites get the funding they need without having to bombard users with tons and tons of ads that don’t bring in very much revenue.”

The difference between The Trade Desk and its competitors, Pickles said, is that TTD is espousing “the concept of precision: the fact that we think humans and AI’s and algos (algorithms) must all be involved. Our competitors took the approach of ‘People aren’t fast enough to participate here, so we’re just going to automate everything.’ But we’re making bets on the infinite possibilities of human behavior, using UIs where they’re needed, but also using automation where it should be used.”

TTD calls its new product set the Next Wave, which includes these products, according to Pickles:

  • Koa is an artificial intelligence engine that improves advertisers' decisioning and accelerates campaign performance. Koa's robust and transparent forecasting engine is built on The Trade Desk's data set--that includes a whopping 9 million queries every second--to help buyers extend audience reach and spend more efficiently.
  • The Trade Desk Planner is a data-driven media planning tool that delivers audience insights and informs ad strategies across channels and devices.
  • Megagon is an intuitive new user interface that proactively surfaces tailored insights and offers Koa Recommendations to help advertisers make real-time optimization decisions. Megagon helps buyers save time and advertising budget without sacrificing transparency and control.

As a result, The Trade Desk's new platform allows advertisers to:

  • plan and immediately activate cross-channel campaigns that identify high-value opportunities before spending a single dollar in market;
  • have immediate visibility into the impact on scope and spend for every optimization made or setting selected in the platform; and
  • make smarter, more effective optimizations with customized, data-driven Koa Recommendations.

"We are proud to launch the Next Wave to deliver on the promise of programmatic-- a more data-driven approach to advertising that benefits advertisers, publishers and consumers,” co-founder Jeff Green said in a media advisory. “By enhancing the innovations on our platform that have always set us apart, we are giving agencies and brands more control and power and a great user experience. This is truly the next wave of digital advertising."

Founded in 2009, publicly traded on Nasdaq, The Trade Desk is headquartered in Ventura, Calif. and has offices across North America, Europe, and Asia.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...