Ambiance, a new advertising solution from Belfast-based startup, Sophia, hopes to solve banner blindness without touching cookies, keywords, preferences or any other personal data.

Sophia’s e-commerce solution, which has over 50 years of research and development and 17 worldwide patents behind it, scans the publisher’s page it appears on, then digests and analyses the content before selecting relevant products for the reader in real time.

The technology ensures the products are displayed in relevant parts of the article too, with thought given to ensure they do not detract from a reader’s overall experience of the publisher’s website.

Non-intrusive advertising

Previously a professor of Belfast University, Dr David Patterson, CEO of Sophia and inventor of Ambiance, is familiar with the problem publishers face in finding an effective cure for banner blindness.

“This has been a very challenging time for online publishers. A poor legacy experience with underperforming and often intrusive approaches to advertising has led to an ad blindness effect,” Patterson said.

“For example, if I asked what the last ad you saw online was, could you remember? The consequence of this is a poor site experience for readers and an under monetisation of content.”

Long-tail benefit

Clickthrough rates for Ambiance have been 50 times greater than the current industry standard and such is the success of the ad tech that it is said to have attracted the most VC funding for a company of its kind in Ireland.

Brands not only benefit from Ambiance’s support for mobile and desktop, there is also the added extra that consumers are able to browse more long tail products in a contextually relevant environment, according to Patterson.

“Ambiance also provides e-tailers an extremely cost effective way to promote their entire product catalogue, ensuring consumers can even discover long tail products and accelerating commerce.”