Video advertising company Teads recently announced its results for 2017, reporting a revenue of $317 million, representing a 53% revenue growth year-on-year. 

Along with financial performance, the Altice-owned company has been striving towards improving transparency while encouraging emerging technologies such as AI and chatbots to innovate the video advertising experience.

As we begin the second quarter of 2018, PerformanceIN spoke to Emi Gal, Teads’ CMO and CEO of Teads Studio on the company’s recent performance and how it’s bringing innovation to the video advertising industry.

Concerns about transparency in video advertising are prevalent, where does Teads stand on the matter? 

Emi Gal: The issue of brand safety has become front of mind for advertisers. Brands are waking up to the fact that you cannot guarantee a brand safe environment around user-generated content. The problem is not a quick fix and persists as we move through 2018. To tackle this issue, the ad industry must work together to offer a safe environment for brands – this means supporting premium publishing and championing formats that respect the user.

Teads offers full transparency and provides comprehensive site lists for every single campaign we run. Furthermore, we work exclusively with publishers and do not sell any inventory that we haven’t contracted directly with a publisher. On top of that, we audit our inventory every day using DoubleVerify to ensure there is no fraudulent activity, and we have an always-on fraud check for every single impression we make available programmatically.

How has the arrival of Altice Group helped you to steer growth and bring innovation to the digital advertising industry?

EG: Becoming part of Altice has really enabled us to have strategic conversations at the most senior level with agencies as well as publishers and broadcasters. We are also working on a number of innovations in the TV space in partnership with Altice. Watch this space!

Last year saw you invest in emerging technologies (artificial intelligence, chatbots) to both personalise the advertising experience and generate results. What are your thoughts on advertisers integrating such tech to leverage data from video ad campaigns?

EG: This year, we have already taken exciting steps in the artificial intelligence [AI] and chatbot space, launching interactive chatbots embedded within outstream video adverts. These chatbots appear in the video asking questions aimed at identifying the user’s individual tastes and requirements. The chatbot then takes the consumer directly to purchase. Working together, this video/chatbot combo will cover the customer journey from seeing a product, all the way through to ordering and paying for it.

This year we continue to believe that AI will have a big impact on the way we buy, trade and create ads. We have continued to see strong adoption for our in-video AI-based chatbots, and we’re expanding our focus towards using AI to create ads in Augmented Reality. The next step will be the marriage of AI, voice and video. This means consumers asking the video ad for more information about a product using their microphone, not just typing.

Is there real substance to using AI technology in display advertising?

EG: Absolutely! Machine Learning [a branch of AI] has already been used in the advertising industry for targeting and DCO [dynamic creative optimisation]. We believe this year we will start seeing self-assembled video ads – video ads that are created, dynamically, using machine learning methods.

Google recently launched its ad-blocking version of Chrome. Are there any tips you can offer for publishers who run ads on websites to maintain ad revenue while also protecting the user experience?

The UK ad industry as a whole needs to make sure respectful advertising formats are available that will restore users’ trust in ads. As an industry, we need to stamp out ads that are invasive, that autoplay sound, that doesn’t put the user in control – as these are the formats that are driving the greatest ad blocker adoption.

If an ad is user-friendly, non-intrusive, interactive and personalised, we believe users will start embracing ads rather than trying to block them. Our chairman likes to say that “user experience is our religion”, and we certainly try to adhere to that.

Following a successful 12 months, what’s next in the pipeline for Teads?

EG: We have just announced that last year we generated $317 million in revenue and 53% growth. We plan to maintain this growth while trying to help our publishers generate more revenue and help our advertisers achieve their business objectives, all while ensuring consumers get a great user experience.

From a product standpoint, 2017 was the year outstream became mainstream, making up 52% of all online video spend. 2018 will see this continue, however, the display market remains an important avenue for brands. With users consuming massive amounts of content across multiple devices, a cross-screen approach should now be the norm. Teads’ solution enables advertisers to run sequential targeting campaigns across both display and video, within the same platform, building brand awareness through storytelling across multiple devices.