Eric Yang is the CEO of Black Bag Advertising, a company that does everything from ROI analysis to social and mobile marketing to digital media planning and buying. The company even has an arm in angel investing so they can keep an eye on the pipeline for upcoming innovative tech for their clients. So far, Black Bag has invested in 10 pre-series A startups, most of which have now received venture capital funding. Self-described as being “at the pulse of new technologies,” Eric is extremely well-connected in the tech, media and advertising fields. He was nice enough to catch up for an interview on his thoughts about where the industry is headed and the most exciting announcements for ad:tech SF 2012.
What are your predictions for the best ideas to roll out at ad:tech this year?
My prediction is that we’ll see a lot of DSPs (demand-side platforms). Last year there were a lot of exchanges popping up. There was a surge in audience profiling and segmentation and using offline data to better target using display advertising. I bet we’ll see even more of those companies attending those conferences now because they’ve gotten funding and can afford to go to ad:tech. This year, the themes will be attribution modeling and data analytics companies that take this audience segmentation one step further. Because online tracking is possible, we now have the ability to do better regression analysis and determine the appropriate media mix. In the last six to eight months, I’ve been hearing how companies are wondering about how the display impact works and how much money they should spend in certain media channels.
Do you know any promising start ups attending that audiences should keep an eye on?
Some of the big guys like Dataxu will be there [presenting “Alphabet Soup: Best Practices for Using DSPs, ATDs, and RTB”]. I’m also looking at MaxPoint Interactive, a cookie list solution company [presenting “Online Video Case Studies: What Works, What to Avoid”]. MaxPoint is very unique; they’ve taken the U.S. and broken it into 34,000 digital neighborhoods. Historically, you’ve been able to target people by DMA or ZIP code. If you live in the Bay Area and you wanted to target certain demographics, instead of targeting the entire DMA of SF you could target particular individuals—a certain age, race, gender, etc— who live in the Mission. MaxPoint has also data from drug stores so they can see who has diabetes or other health needs and then target people that way. Adometry is another great company [presenting “Beyond the Last Ad: Better Decisions Through Better Attribution”]. In general, there will be a lot of CPA, optimization and affiliate companies.
Are there any speakers you think will present a particularly enlightening speech?
I’m excited to see the Director of Social Media from Walgreens as I want to see how retailers are using social media [acting at ad:tech as a Marketing Master]. I’m also going to check out SpotXchange. Pandora’s always interesting [presenting at “Digital Killed the Radio Star: How Pandora, Spotify, Turntable.fm and TastemakerX Are Shaping the Future of Advertising”], as is Bing [see Bing's booth], Menlo Ventures [presenting “The Next Big Idea: VCs Weigh in on Their Big Bets for the Future”] and Mark Silva at Anthem Worldwide [presenting “SoLoMo: The Revolutionary New Convergence of Social + Local + Mobile"].
What do you think the best innovations in social and mobile will be in 2012?
In terms of product, social and mobile display, the industry is currently very fragmented. We have separate social agencies, media agencies and mobile agencies so I’m hoping this year a lot of these smaller independent agencies will merge together. Clients are asking for very different tactics nowadays — more of a holistic package — so there’s room for a new, full-service digital agency to emerge and take the reigns.
What do you think entrepreneurs should focus their energy on right now? Do you see any areas in the digital realm that could be improved?
Attribution modeling is a big thing. It’s very complicated and I’ve been wondering if there is a space to create a company for clients who are not spending $10 million or don’t have the human resources to implement something that will take six months. Call it an “attribution lite” version if you will. I think if AdStack could create that, that would be cool [see AdStack in Innovation Alley].
Improving upon data management platforms would also be great. Taking clients’ data, doing audience segmentation and tying that in with buying media efficiently - that would be something interesting.
This article is part of Allvoices’ series on ad:tech, the largest digital marketing and technology conferences and expositions. Check out allvoices.com/adtech for more of Allvoices’ ad:tech San Francisco event coverage. This series is supported by ad:tech.