Prediction Series 2019: Interview with Avinoam Rubinstain, CEO, my6sense

MarTechSeries
By: Sudipto Ghosh

Tell us about your role and journey into technology. What galvanized you to found my6sense?

I’m a serial entrepreneur who sold his last two startups to multinational corporations after disrupting existing markets. And that’s what we’re doing at my6sense. The native ad market is a closed market, with Google, Facebook, Outbrain, and Taboola forcing publishers to accept their solution exclusively.

My6sense is trying to disrupt the native ad market by innovating through openness and transparency to enable publishers to work with multiple native ad partners, units and business models, returning control to them and their marketers. And through Digital Intuition®, my6sense’s advanced Machine Learning algorithms and optimization engine, we’re realizing our technology-driven vision of enabling publishers to offer the right content/marketing message to the right users at the right time.

How is my6sense different from other native ad platforms?

What sets my6sense apart from other native ad platforms is the openness and transparency of our offering.

My6sense provides the only white label programmatic native ad platform offering multi-item native ad/content units, including recommendation widgets, in-feed, in-ad, and any other custom native ad units. Our publisher and marketer partners can mix units, knowing that the platform’s powerful AI and exchange technologies will optimize paid ads and organic content for the best performance and user experience. Therefore, our technology is able to offer users content which is both more relevant and more personal, enabling publishers and supply partners to generate greater revenue while marketers benefit from higher engagement rates.

Where other native ad solutions demand exclusivity, my6sense provides a completely open, white-label solution designed to optimize native ad and content units’ personalization, performance and engagement.

What are the core tenets of your technology model? How does my6sense add value to the programmatic AdTech landscape?

My6sense was founded as a technology solution, which enables finding relevant content and we have not strayed from this mission, constantly utilizing advances in technology, like Machine Learning and AI, in order to improve the efficacy of our offering.

My6sense’s personalization patents, one for ranking user interactions with content, and the other for matching content with user interests serve as the bedrock of our technology offering.

We add value as the only fully programmatic native exchange solution for multi-item native units, easily mixing a range of recommendation widgets, in-feed, in-ad and any other custom native ad and content units, all optimized for the best performance and user experience. We are also the first native ad platform to offer GeoEdge’s malvertising solution in OpenRTB, as part of the company’s proprietary Native Marketplace Platform technology.

You just won the Native Advertising Institute’s ‘Native Ad Platform of the Year’ award. What’s the significance of this win?

We’re honored and humbled to have won this award considering all of the strong technology companies operating in the native ad ecosystem. Winning this award validates my6sense’s strategy of innovating both through internally developed technology, like Digital Intuition®, our advanced Machine Learning algorithms and optimization engine, and through third-party technology. This made a strong year even stronger based on the new customers who signed up after the award was announced, and we’re expecting even stronger growth in 2019 and 2020.

How do you prepare for the highly disruptive digital advertising ecosystem?

With the market continuously evolving, we built our programmatic white-label native ad platform to be as open and inclusive as possible, enabling any supply and demand side configuration workable with my6sense. This means that we successfully partner with white-labeled native ad networks and exchanges, owned managed private exchanges for group publishers, and cross-network programmatically traded supply and demand. As a company with proprietary and patented AI technology, my6sense is poised to continue to innovate and disrupt the native advertising market.

What is the current state of ad transparency in the digital advertising industry?

During 2018, there has been a paradigm shift in transparency, quality, and privacy, driven by the industry-wide adoption of initiatives such as Ads.txt and OpenRTB, and we expect this positive trend to continue. Despite the improvements in industry practices, there is always more which can be done, and that is why we’re working with GeoEdge to ensure that the ads we run via OpenRTB are safe and non-malicious ads.

How much have business operations changed for publishers in the last few years?

Publishers are fighting a never-ending battle. First, they had to deal with the loss in revenue in the migration from print to desktop, and now they’re dealing with the movement from desktop to mobile, where there is even less room to run even smaller ads. Furthermore, publishers are also facing the challenge of their users experiencing content via social media, and the business has become more programmatic, giving publishers less control and transparency. My6sense enables publishers to take back control and increase transparency and efficiency as they increase their revenue margins.

To give publishers as many opportunities to generate revenue, my6sense offers a range of ad and content units, including recommendation widgets, in-feed, in-ad which can run with the publisher’s own customized ad and content units.

Which marketing and sales automation tools and technologies do you currently use?

My6sense’s Sales and Marketing team works with Salesforce and HubSpot.

What are your predictions for the most impactful disruptions in Marketing Operations for 2018-2020?

As strong as the growth in Marketing Automation has been over the last few years, I think that this trend will continue to accelerate, aided by Machine Learning technology, which will enable even enhanced creative development via Marketing Automation.

I’m also watching the developments in voice (see the next answer).

What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now?

Having worked on voice products earlier in my career after 3Com acquired the first company I founded, I have an affinity for voice. Therefore, I’m watching the development of voice-driven technologies such as Alexa and Siri, and I’m interested in how digital marketing will be impacted by voice/audio.

Could you tell us about an outstanding digital campaign? 

 No surprise… I really liked Amazon’s ‘Alexa loses her voice’ campaign which ran during the Super Bowl. Given the challenges around the technology, Amazon came up with a fun, funny and very human way to showcase Alexa.

How do you inspire your people to work with technology?

We are a technology company so we always leverage the most advanced technology from the cloud, like the Athena database, SPOTs auction, SVM software package, R software environment, to name a few.

One word that best describes how you work.

History. I’ve always enjoyed reading historical books, and in work, I like to analyze historical patterns, whether we’re talking about the performance of native ad campaigns or the patterns of the people who work for me. History definitely repeats itself, and there is a lot we can and should learn from (our) history.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

 Salesforce, Skype, Excel (yes, Excel – still very reliable)

 What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?

Ending my day by creating the ‘To Do’ list for tomorrow. It helps keep me on track and honest.

What are you currently reading?

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, which gives an excellent perspective of our current status as a society.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Trust your gut instinct. My gut instincts are usually based on extensive analysis and historical data, and they’ve rarely let me down.

Something you do better than others — the secret of your success?

Relying on analysis and historical data in order to make decisions grounded in reason. I’m an engineer by education and background, yet I know when to stop analyzing to make my decision. I don’t fall prey to analysis paralysis and rarely regret carefully thought out decisions.

Tag the one person (or more) in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:

Though he passed away a few years ago, I would have liked to read the answers of John McCarthy, the American computer scientist and cognitive scientist who was one of the founders of the discipline of Artificial Intelligence, a term he coined. John received the Turing Award for his contributions to AI as well as the United States National Medal of Science, among his many accolades.

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