Future Proofing Ad Tech’s Real-time Data Platform Demands

Srini Srinivasan
Founder and Chief Technology Officer
December 14, 2021|4 min read

The Ad Tech industry is one of the most aggressive adopters of cutting-edge technologies. It was Aerospike’s first successful beachhead market more than a decade ago, and the Ad Tech industry paved the way for many of the real-time data business operations that are now commonplace across everything from banking to fraud detection.

With the rise of digital platforms, the Ad Tech industry is once again in a renaissance and garnering significant investment, innovation and attention. There’s an insatiable appetite for more data at an ever-increasing scale. Ad Tech platforms race to buy, sell, and serve hundreds of billions, even trillions of ads per day to the right customers. The extreme scale of data use and throughput requires elastic capacity and predictable, linear, sub-millisecond performance—all unique advantages of the Aerospike real-time data platform.

These market developments are creating a lot of Ad Tech industry momentum for Aerospike and our community of partners and customers. Last month, we unveiled Aerospike for Ad Tech on AWS. AdExchanger just profiled Aerospike’s success in “data obsessed” Ad Tech, highlighting our work with AppNexus/Xandr, FreeWheel and The Trade Desk. And today, we announced that Criteo is using Aerospike to match an advertiser’s content with an internet user’s interests. And the numbers are staggering. 950 billion times a day, Criteo is responding in just 50 milliseconds to place ad content in just the right places. Adding to the story, Criteo is doing this while reducing its server count by 80 percent per year, which means a cost savings of millions of dollars and dramatically less CO2 emissions.

One of the key elements of Criteo’s selection of Aerospike is the “future proof” nature of our real-time data platform. If Criteo’s data requirements doubled tomorrow it still would need less than a quarter of the servers it needed with its previous open-source legacy NoSQL solution. In most instances, re-platforming is exhausting and expensive, but not here. The move will meet all the intense speed and scale needs of Ad Tech and still save millions. It’s a classic example of the value of the Aerospike real-time data platform, proven in our most recent petabyte benchmark and time and time again with customers’ experiences.

Real-time Data at Scale Helps Reinvent Identity and Unlock Opportunity

As we look ahead at future demands in Ad Tech, there are two significant changes just around the corner: the end of cookies in 2022, and widespread privacy regulations. For decades, Ad Tech companies have been able to easily fetch identity and other information directly from cookies. And with more than 70 percent of the world’s population protected by some form of privacy regulations, Ad Tech needs to adjust quickly to new targeting strategies to continue serving intense demand for accurate, in-the-moment advertising.

To future-proof Ad Tech platforms for these privacy changes, real-time data platforms again play a critical role. As identity becomes less of a fixed or known data point, Ad Tech and other industries need to instantly analyze a massive swath of data, look for patterns and extrapolate a likely persona for targeting. In real-time, Ad Tech needs to find patterns that target individuals based on attributes or behaviors other than a cookied identity. And powerful features like cross-datacenter replication allow for intricate, privacy-based management of international data zones to meet unique industry or geography requirements, without impacting performance or reliability.

The opportunity for Ad Tech goes far beyond just replacing traditional forms of identity practices or simply meeting the current compliance mandates. Once you start unlocking new identity patterns in real time, new opportunities for targeting, promotion and engagement emerge. All of that instant pattern matching unlocks new targeting possibilities derived from the intersections of behaviors.

For example, you can target a whole group of individuals based on a common pattern, maybe watching a game at the same time, or some communal online behavior, and then target a shared interest or start conversations on those interests. Advertising can tap into common consciousness, what’s happening in an exact moment, and make an appropriate, accurate offer. Going beyond individuals, companies can target a moment that matters for a networked group with common interests, actions or needs. This provides a finer target to hit and ultimately more efficient spend and results.

No one can predict everything that’s going to happen in technology. But it’s safe to bet that data-driven strategies, massive scale and the need for highly interoperable data platforms that can change with the times will be here to stay and continue to deliver business innovation that drives success in competitive industries.