What Do Publishers Really Think Of The Emerging Forms of Advertising?

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 11.41.20 AMThe advertising industry is hit every day with innovative technologies that transform the way we do business. From mobile, video and native, as well as open exchanges and open programmatic marketplaces, we are continuously breaking new ground.

But are these new forms of advertising really solving the challenges that publishers face on a daily basis? We decided to find out for ourselves, so we interviewed representatives from four media companies: ESI Media, Internet Brands, Terra and Bauer Xcel Media and we asked them what they really thought of the value of these more innovative forms of advertising.

Our findings were highly valuable. Without exception, all of the publishers we spoke to take each of these innovations and changes very seriously. They’re approaching each new ad format and selling model with an open mind. They’re not so quick to pass judgment. User experience is a key criteria to making a decision on how they’ll proceed.

We decided to publish a guide with all of our findings, which includes the interviews with the four media companies, an interview with NYU Professor Anindya Ghose about how millennials consume content and juicy tips for implementing native advertising on your site. Plainly put, it’s got 28 pages of jargon-free awesome content.

Get The Guide!

A Sneak Peak of Upcoming Engineering MeetUp with the LA Tech Community

At GumGum, we encourage one another to share with the advertising and technology communities the knowledge gained from our everyday experiences on the job. Our engineers often write whitepapers and present to the local tech community at events and MeetUps in Santa Monica.

This week, DevOps Engineer Florian Dambrine will present Ansible with GumGum where he will share tips, tricks and best practices about the powerful IT automation tool. We encourage you to swing by, listen and talk about your experiences using Ansible.


In honor of Florian’s upcoming presentation, we decided to ask him some questions about his experience at GumGum and working with Ansible.


What is your role at GumGum?

My job consists of automating any kind of Big Data technology we are using at GumGum. I am also responsible for the production systems we are running in the AWS cloud. My job allows me to work closely with the Software Engineering team to provide them with robust systems that fit their needs.


Why would you say GumGum is different than any other digital advertising company?

I joined GumGum as employee number 30. Just a year and a half later, we have over tripled our headcount and we’ve adapted very well to such incredible growth. A way in which GumGum is special is that we have leveraged the latest and greatest open source technologies in order to deal with the complex obstacles brought on by our spectacular growth.


How would you explain Ansible to a non-engineer?

In order to run an application or a website on a server, the operating system needs to be configured and installed properly. Decades ago, system administrators were doing this configuration manually by running commands on the server itself and going through all of them one by one… Nowadays, tools like Ansible allow you to write codes that define the state that a server needs to reach in order to be ready to host an application or even deploy the application itself. The main purpose of using a configuration management tool like Ansible is to convert your infrastructure as code. Thanks to this concept, you can run the same code against multiple servers simultaneously and you know by fact that they will be installed and configured in the same way. You do not even need to connect to remote servers you just run code against them.


Can you give us a sneak peak about what you will discuss at your Ansible MeetUp?

During this Ansible talk I will share tips, tricks, best practices, observations, and feedback from using Ansible at GumGum. I will first introduce general facts about Ansible and then go over 10 useful tips that we have discovered while using Ansible. I am really excited about sharing what I have learned with the Los Angeles tech community before I move back to France!


Why do you love working at GumGum?

At GumGum, anyone has the opportunity to submit and develop his or her own ideas. Everyone at some point will be able to lead a project from the beginning to the end.


Can you give an example of a project you led from start to finish?

I had a chance to lead multiple projects. Ansible is actually a great example because I introduced the technology one year ago and started this platform myself from scratch. Today we’re a team of 3 DevOps engineers working with Ansible everyday. We are capable of automating and managing 500 servers every day thanks to 60 Ansible automations.


Describe your perfect day.

A perfect day for me is a day where I work on upgrading GumGum’s production heart systems. I love challenging myself with production especially when these modifications need to be done without any downtime. I love having to act quickly and working closely with coworkers.


Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I am French, I never go out without my longboard and I have walked across a 450-foot slackline.

Stay in touch with GumGum by connecting with us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter or by visiting gumgum.com.

Recognizing Our Incredible CTO Ken Weiner

ken_beach (1)Not enough effort is spent recognizing the engineers who make the workings of a business possible. We’re proud to report on some recent news around our very own Chief Technology Officer Ken Weiner.

Ken started as employee #1 at GumGum in 2008, and since then he has grown his engineering team from zero to 30. In addition to developing the company’s core In-Image Ads product, he helped GumGum create new products and revenue channels as well as headlined the evolution into offering programmatic capabilities over the past two years.

Ken continues to be a recognized tech community thought leader. He is involved in establishing standards for in-image and native advertising with the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). He also hosts the ThursdayLunch networking group, wherein people from the Santa Monica startup community meet weekly to share ideas. Ken is a frequent speaker at local technology events, and he recently led a panel discussion during the LA Ad Tech meet-up.

We’re proud to announce that Ken is named one of the 2015 CIO Award honorees by the Los Angeles Business Journal. You can find Ken in the LABJ CIO’s of the Year Supplement.

If you are interested in learning more about Ken and GumGum you can read this PWC interview Scaling online ad innovations with the help of a NoSQL wide-column database and article How NoSQL key-value and wide-column stores make in-image advertising possible.

GumGum Raises $26 Million in Series C Funding

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.49.24 AMWe’re thrilled to announce that GumGum has raised $26 million in Series C funding led by Morgan Stanley. This is an exciting time for us as we enter into a new chapter of maturity and start building for the long term.

This funding is all about growth. GumGum plans to spend the new money on additional growth overseas, improved image recognition and computer vision, and product development for ad units.

As an engineering company, we plan to continue to introduce disruptive products based on our patented image recognition technology, including expansion into programmatic, native and social analytics solutions. In speaking about expanding beyond in-image ads, CEO Ophir Tanz said there’s an opportunity to apply the company’s technology more broadly. He characterized GumGum as “an engineering company focused on image recognition,” as opposed to the “common misconception … that we’re a marketing company that found this new ad unit.”

Tanz predicted that GumGum could be ready to go public by the end of 2017 — but he also emphasized, “It doesn’t mean we’re going to do that at the end of next year or the following year or the year after that.”

The announcement was originally released by The Wall Street Journal. Other media outlets include Dow Jones, VentureBeat, TechCrunch, SoCalTech, Los Angeles Business Journal (1), Los Angeles Business Journal (2), MediaPost, Social Media Analysis, FashInvest, BuiltinLA, MarTech Advisor and Re/Code, among others. To stay up-to-date on our latest announcements and products connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


Can the visual web predict who will win The Oscar? We won’t know for sure until Sunday night, but if current image impression traffic on the GumGum platform is any indication, The Imitation Game is the clear frontrunner to take home the statue for Best Picture, followed by American Sniper, Birdman and Boyhood. Benedict Cumberbatch is the lead contender for Best Actor by a wide margin, followed by Michael Keaton and Bradley Cooper. And Julianne Moore is the favorite for Best Actress, followed closely by Reese Witherspoon.

How do we know? Whether or not an in-image ad is served, GumGum’s technology continually monitors billions of images across our platform, measuring and classifying them on a keyword, category and event basis. For the handful of brands running in-image campaigns this weekend, that means an opportunity to capture the attention of engaged movie fans as they view and share images before, during and after the 87th annual Academy Awards telecast.

Good luck to all the nominees…we’ll report back next week on which Oscar images were most popular, whether or not they turned out to correlate with the winners.

Among the celebrity photos receiving the most traffic across the GumGum platform this week were this image of Julianne Moore (from her film Grace Savage) on NY Daily News, and this one of Benedict Cumberbatch seen on GumGum publisher The Cheat Sheet.

"The Imitation Game" - Opening Night Gala Red Carpet Arrivals - 58th London Film Festival savage-grace

GumGum’s Big Data Team Shares with LA Tech Community

GumGum has continued to grow at a remarkable rate, not only in employee headcount but also in traffic served and user reach, which ranks GumGum as one of the top 5 ad platforms in the U.S. The GumGum ad server requires real-time access to the metadata of millions of images and pages on the Internet. To solve this big data challenge, in 2013, GumGum implemented the storage and serving of the metadata in Cassandra, an open source distributed database management system.

Last week, GumGum Big Data Engineer Mario Lazaro and Dev. Ops Engineer Florian Dambrine presented to the Los Angeles tech community at Hulu headquarters on GumGum’s migration to Cassandra. They discussed the migration process from HBase, obstacles they faced and reasons why GumGum chose to make a complete switch to Cassandra as its distributed NoSQL database.

If you’re interested in helping GumGum with its Big Data challenges, please get in touch with us at http://gumgum.com/careers.

Publisher Spotlight: Food Fanatic

food_fanaticFor our latest Publisher Spotlight, we are very proud to feature Food Fanatic as a partner with whom we have been fortunate to build a strong relationship since its launch in 2012. Food Fanatic is owned and operated by Mediavine, Inc., an internet marketing company that specializes in entertainment-themed websites. Food Fanatic itself brings together food bloggers of all types to foster a community in which they can share recipes, pictures and ideas. We were able to catch up with Eric Hochberger, Co-founder of Food Fanatic and Mediavine, Inc, in order to learn how they have benefitted from GumGum’s in-image and in-screen advertisements.

How would you characterize the audience you reach (size, demographic composition, etc.)?

We’re 80% women and mostly skew towards a 25-34 age demographic. Our users are mostly highly educated with an above average income and have children. We are a relatively new site and we reach about a quarter million unique visitors a month.

What appeals most to you about the in-image advertising format?

The In-image advertising format offers us a great supplemental income of previously unmonetized screen real estate. Even more than that, in-screen offers a very visually appealing location for advertisements in an already visual medium. It’s really a win-win-win for publishers, advertisers and users.

Do you have a favorite GumGum ad format or a favorite campaign that has run on your site?

Some of the brand advertisements on Food Fanatic have been frighteningly fitting. We run a lot of Tex Mex recipes since our managing editor hails from the great state of Texas. There’s nothing like seeing a “Visit Texas” ad or an ad for some tortillas over a picture of your latest taco recipe.

Have you received any feedback from site visitors about ads from GumGum?

We have not received any feedback from our site visitors about GumGum ads and we take that as a good sign. Our audience is surprisingly vocal when it comes to ads they dislike and not so vocal with ads they do like. We figure our audience sees GumGum ads as a friendly addition to their online experience.

What advice would you give to other publishers thinking about working with GumGum?

Absolutely run it. If you’re not currently monetizing your images and you have large images on your site, you’re wasting a lot of screen real estate and missing out on some great supplemental income. These are beautiful, relevant ads for your users. We’ve never heard a complaint and it’s been a great source of reliable revenue.

Is there anything else you’d like to add about working with GumGum?

The account managers at GumGum are unlike any other company we’ve worked with. They are very publisher-focused. Dan and Evan are always extremely responsive by email and phone and I can honestly say I’ve never worked with an advertising platform where I have felt as comfortable with my team as I do with GumGum.

GumGum Ranked As Top 5 Ad Platform

Quantcast released their October ranking of networks and platforms and we’re pleased to share that GumGum is #5 in U.S. reach and #6 in global reach! With a U.S. reach of more than 195M people, GumGum offers advertisers access to over 95% of all web users nationwide. This 84% year-over-year growth was only possible thanks to all our fantastic advertiser and publisher partners. As we move into next year, we’ll keep delivering innovative products that create superior value for both advertisers and publishers. To view the complete list of top 20 ad networks visit Quantcast’s blog.


The New York Times Reports Monster at Large


For years GumGum has been championing the idea that there’s a better way to advertise on the Web than banner ads.  Now The New York Times is joining the chorus.  In this recent article, Fall of the Banner Ad: The Monster That Swallowed the Web, columnist Farhad Manjoo reports banner ads are on the decline as advertisers embrace more context relevant options.

He asserts, “if native ads do become the de facto standard of online advertising, they will be a major improvement over banner ads. Both technologically and aesthetically, they do not sit apart from the content with which they appear.”

We couldn’t agree more!  Ads that integrate into their surrounding content, such as in-image ads, deliver a superior experience for both consumers and advertisers.

In-Image Advertising Goes Programmatic

As programmatic continues to dominate the advertising industry agenda, we recently unveiled GumGum’s strategy and announced our first major partnership. Having invented the in-image advertising category, it’s only fitting we’d be first to make this premium inventory available to brands programmatically.

Speaking at the AdAge Digital Conference in San Francisco, GumGum CEO Ophir Tanz outlined our new capabilities and Adweek published this article about how we’ve partnered with Xaxis to make in-image advertising available programmatically for the first time. You can read the full text of the press release here. In the coming weeks we’ll be making additional partnership announcements.

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This is an important milestone for GumGum and demonstrates our ability to walk in step with the ever-changing advertising industry landscape in order to best serve our advertiser and publisher partners. Equally important, it provides a small glimpse into what we think the future of advertising may look like as data and economic efficiency continue to inform media buying decisions.

Above all, what excites us most about our new programmatic capabilities is the huge untapped opportunity it represents for our advertisers. For the first time, advertisers on our platform will be able to combine the benefits of in-image with the power of their audience targeting data and the efficiency of programmatic.

We think this is a tremendous leap forward for premium programmatic and we look forward to working with our clients and partners to capitalize on the opportunity this represents for brands.

If you’d like to learn more about how to transact with GumGum programmatically, email programmatic@gumgum.com or visit the contact page on our site. We’d love to discuss it with you!