Sons of Romania

I’ve had this blog for about eight years and for the most part my posts have been all about my entrepreneurial endeavours. There’s very little personal content, as I’ve never thought my personal life is interesting enough for me to write about it.

A couple of weeks ago, however, I had a TV crew led by the wonderful ProTV news anchor Amalia Enache following me around London & Bucharest, speaking to my friends, family, team and clients. The result is a wonderful window into my life, family and especially into my work at Brainient. If you speak Romanian, I hope you find it informative and entertaining. If you don’t, I hear it’s fun to see anyway. You can watch it below.

Thank you Amalia and the ProTV team for your hard work in putting this together. I owe you lots of chocolate. 

http://www.stirileprotv.ro/lbin/video_embed.php?media_id=61606654&section=54&video_section_id=

#WPPSTREAM

For the past three years, I’ve been lucky to have been invited to WPP’s annual un-conference, WPPSTREAM. This year was by far the best STREAM I’ve ever participated in and, by a long mile, the best event I’ve ever been to. The video below doesn’t do it justice, but it gives a glimpse into what it’s all about: great people, great discussions, great fun.

The rise of second screen, in three graphs

I’m a massive multi-screener, and as it turns out so is pretty much everyone else in the developed world who owns a smartphone. It’s truly incredible how quickly this shift has happened (<2yrs).

Broadcasters love second screen experiences, because they drive more media engagement. Because of this, many big players in TV are investing second screen mobile experiences for their audiences. A good example is ITV with their XFactor and Britain’s Got Talent apps. 

Advertisers love second screen ads, because they boost brand recall and almost double purchase intent.

At Brainient, we’re experiencing the rise of second screen from the front line. ITV, UK’s largest commercial broadcaster has chosen Brainient for the delivery of all their second screen ads. The engagement rate on these ads is stellar, ranging from 30% to 300% in some instances.

So if you’re a brand, give second screen a chance. You may realise it’s actually the holy grail of advertising, because it helps brands generate brand awareness while enabling people to actually make a purchase (or express their intent to make one). 

Going for Europe

Ever since the German aristocrat Richard Nikolaus wrote the paneuropa manifesto in 1923, most capitalists have longed for a unified Europe. No borders, free markets and a unified currency has been the European entrepreneur’s dream for generations. Yet sixty years after the Treaty of Paris, winning Europe as a business is still not as straightforward as going for single-language, single-culture markets like the United States or China.

At Brainient, intrinsically a European company, we’ve been doing a push across the old continent over the past 12 months. We now have customers in 9 European markets and are expanding aggressively into Europe’s key territories – France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the Nordics. We believe we’ve become good at winning Europe, and we’re looking for people to join the team. If you’re in one of these markets and would like to be part of a fast-growing technology company, visit our careers section or drop me an email.

Also, if you happen to be in Cologne for DMEXCO next week, stop by our stand and grab some chocolate. You can find us in Hall 6 Stand F-024. 

Growing up

As some of you may have read, we’ve recently relaunched our platform, our studio and our identity. It’s been a labour of love, sweat and tears, but we felt it was needed after almost five years of being in business. Our platform is now used by some of the largest media companies and brands in the world and they expect us to have the best product in the industry. We think we do, but to avoid banging our own drum we asked ITV, the largest commercial broadcaster in the UK what they think about us. Here’s what they have to say: 

As proud as I am of our new product, I’m even more excited about our KPIs. Here are some interesting stats, to go with our relaunch:
– 400% YoY growth since we started the company
– 600+ campaigns / year for customers
– 95% customer retention rate
– 3 out of the 4 top broadcasters in the UK are Brainient customers (ITV, Channel4, Channel5)
– the average engagement rate across all our interactive formats is 8%

Ad tech: what’s an engagement?

It used to be that a click was a click. Advertisers bought banners and got clicks to their websites, end of story. Today, advertisers buy banners, video ads, native ads, second-screen ads, mobile ads, and many more. For these ads, they get clicks, roll-overs and swipes. To makes matters worse, these clicks, roll-overs and swipes are not to their websites anymore (at least not all of them). They’re interactions within the advert itself – image galleries, share buttons, likes, retweets, with only few of them going to the advertiser’s website. Because of this, it has become almost impossible to compare the impact of the different ad formats used within the same campaign. 

In an attempt to standardise these results, there’s a new metric adopted by a number of companies in the advertising ecosystem, called engagement. In theory, an engagement is any click, swipe or roll-over happening within an advert, regardless of its type. This can be swiping through an image gallery, retweeting, liking, etc. But what we’re seeing as of late is that different companies in the industry are starting to have their own interpretations of what an engagement is. Some look at every interaction within an ad, some at all interactions besides the first one (for example to launch an image gallery within a rich media advert) while some include both the interactions inside the unit as well as the clicks to the advertiser’s site. 

There’s a major benefit of having a widely adopted standard for engagement: by making it easy and straightforward for agencies and advertisers to understand the performance of their campaigns, they’ll spend more money on all these campaigns (provided that the results are good, but that’s a story for another post).

So at Brainient, we would like to suggest a standard definition for what an engagement is: any interaction on any element within an advert, except the click through on the ad itself (because this type of click is already known in the industry as a clickthru). Therefore, an engagement rate would be the total number of impressions divided by the total number of engagements within the ad. We’re trying to get this definition of engagement adopted by as many companies in the ecosystem as possible, so if you’re one of them and would like to contribute to creating the standard, please get in touch.