The Value of Proprietary Technology

We salute all of the developers and tech companies out there creating new, innovative tools to deliver advertising online. Our technology stack is robust, and we regularly add new functionality to it when beneficial to our clients.

That kind of agility is important, because it feels like new advertising technology comes online every day. Sometimes, that technology can create real short-term advantages for the technology proprietor and their clients. For example, a popular platform on which advertising was previously forbidden might start allowing advertising for a select group of brands over a limited period of time before making the service more widely available. However short-lived, the advantage for those selected brands is significant. A captive audience that is not used to seeing ads in the platform tends to be more open to messaging. However, that type of situation is relatively uncommon.

Instead, what we see happen most often is that companies will do one of two things. They will use similar proprietary technologies to each other, or they will white-label another company’s technology and call it their own. When either occurs, the tech usually undergoes heavy productization, branding, marketing, and is, ultimately, sold as “unique.” This creates a really confusing landscape for marketers. It’s unnecessarily difficult to decipher what really adds value versus what just happens to enjoy the benefit of strong marketing and effective salespeople. To cut through the noise, the FiveFifty team takes a lot of calls from technology vendors, reads a lot of industry news, and talks to a lot of our peers in order to understand what actually works for them.

Sharing this second-hand information is useful as the first step in the screening process. Once we identify technology that warrants some real consideration, we test and measure it ourselves to determine if there is any incremental value for our clients. Sometimes, there is! Sometimes, there is not. We strive to find tools for our clients that we can operate on a self-serve basis. That allows us to run the tests and evaluate them, objectively and without spin. FiveFifty looks for unique partnerships on the targeting and inventory side that we can integrate into our trading platforms, but we don’t attempt to repackage these combinations as “proprietary” or something that requires a tremendous amount of upkeep to maintain.

Our unique technology stack has been developed through years executing campaigns on behalf of our clients, for whom we identify, test and then onboard the best technology available for each particular project. Once that technology proves its value and earns a place in our marketing technology stack, it becomes available for all of our clients. Outside of this, we focus our development efforts around analytics and trying to help our clients use our various platforms and technology to better understand what kind of data their campaign can offer and how it should affect their business decisions.