Big Data and Ad Tech: A Match Made In Heaven

By Gidon Ben-Zvi

3.9.2016 twitter linkedin facebook

Although some people think that advertising consists of a bunch of people sitting in a room brainstorming wildly, it is in fact driven by research.

Advertising technology, Ad Tech, has exploded over the last few years. Online advertising has grown in comparison to traditional ad campaigns as a result of it being data-driven, based on information drawn from users‘ internet activity about consumer preferences, website popularity and clicks per ad.

Up, Up and Away: New forecasts predict total US online display ad spending will reach $37.6 billion in 2019, up 90% from $19.8 billion in 2014.


Yet while companies glean a wealth of information about target markets and the behavior from their online activity, point-of-sale transactions, loyalty programs and public domain databases, accumulating data is not enough to gain a competitive edge. To do so, Big Data is being leveraged by corporations of all sizes.

As businesses realize the power of information to create successful marketing campaigns with real-time results, data is becoming an integral part of Ad Tech.

The growth of Ad Tech has been fueled by the development of retargeting and real time bidding (RTB).


Nearly 90% of online advertising expenditures operate on a targeted reach basis. Retargeting is perhaps one of the biggest changes to Ad Tech and has exploded in popularity over the last couple of years. It is a cookie-based technology that uses a simple Javascript code to anonymously ‘follow’ an audience all over the Web.

Four Steps to a Goldmine: Retargeting not only drives more conversions, it also retargets the hard earned visitors that have already been paid for via other traffic sources.

Using retargeting services can subsequently present a tailored ad for items an audience member had previously showed interest in but ultimately did not purchase. Retargeting tools even make it possible to display items that were viewed several months back but did not result in a purchase.

Cookie-based ad targeting is nothing new. What has changed is the level of invasiveness of these ads. Plus, with the help of Big Data, marketers are able to sketch a more detailed profile of their target customers. As a result, ad targeting is becoming more subtle.

Many businesses contract with third-party services to accomplish this, and those third-party services utilize Big Data techniques to gather information about a site’s visitors.

Real Time Bidding (RTB)

While retargeting is an effective way to reach previous visitors, this is just one option for defining a target audience. Aside from retargeting, advertisers using a real time bidding (RTB) platform can often target users by placement, demographic and device. Effective ad campaigns often use multiple forms of targeting to find the most profitable market segments.


Advantage, Ad Tech: The targeting and cost efficiency opportunities presented by RTB are making it a revolutionary force in the online advertising landscape.

RTB refers to the way display advertisements (banner ads) are purchased across the Internet. The real-time bidding takes place via ad exchanges that cater to thousands of websites with display inventory and thousands of marketers looking to place display ads. The marketers come to the door with mountains of data on individual Internet users.

A typical transaction triggers a bid request that can include various pieces of data such as the user’s demographic information, browsing history, location and the page being loaded. The request goes from the publisher to an ad exchange, which submits it and the accompanying data to multiple advertisers who automatically serves the ad impression of the highest bidder, on the page. This process is repeated for every ad slot on the page.

In Comes Big Data

Big Data is facilitating the kind of advanced analytics that are giving professionals the option to be more selective about paid online marketing efforts. Before spending money on Google AdWords or Facebook Ads, businesses want to first know that efforts will pay off.

Companies such as SQream Technologies are providing Big Data analytics software solutions (SQL) that enable Ad Tech companies to ingest huge amounts of data, process and analyze it, in real-time.

SQream’s ZBDB is a fully-managed ultra-fast analytics data warehouse as-a-service platform on the SoftLayer by IBM cloud. ZBDB enables AdTech companies to scale up and get real time analytics, keeping it cost-effective, hassle-free and secure.

ZBDB is a cloud solution that can also be implemented as a hybrid solution, when integrated with SQream DB – SQream’s on-premise solution.

Either way, SQream’s ability to handle petabytes of stored and online data in real-time, provides Ad Tech companies with the long awaited for technology that can leverage their competitive advantage in regards to buying, optimizing, and tracking all their existing media.


So is Big Data and Ad Tech a match made in heaven? With the tidal wave of information that can be converted into useful insights, today’s companies are pursuing ways to not only store massive amounts of data but to also lay the infrastructure required to perform analytics on it. The trouble is that the task is both time- and resource-intensive. For organizations that can’t afford to invest in servers and man hours to handle Big Data workloads, tapping into the cloud has become a valid alternative to maintaining a costly infrastructure.