Since launching in 2008, iPinYou has positioned itself as a go-to demand side platform for any international brand looking to enter China. Being entrenched in programmatic since its inception has given the company a unique, broad-spanning view of what’s gone wrong in the market, what’s on the mend, and what the future is looking like.
On 31 July in Guangzhou, China, the industry got a glance of that future, putting their full force of programmatic and AI-focused products and services on display in a bespoke event in partnership with Campaign Asia-Pacific. “Brands are expecting AI and big data to make a big impact in advertising. They’re relying on the technology to make more decisions in digital marketing,” said Grace Huang, CEO at iPinYou. She went on, “When it comes to defining audience or brand positioning, CMOs used to rely on conditional research, but now they can rely on AI technology and the data available in the market to make much smarter and much quicker decisions.”
The decisions themselves are more or less the same: how to manage CRM, defining targets, etc. but the way in which they go about setting forth their strategy is rapidly changing. It’s also becoming easier to see how these decisions affect results, “One of our clients actually hired a data scientist in the marketing department. The composition of marketing departments is shifting completely,” said Huang.
Wang Yu, product director and product manager of Marketing Intelligence Platform (MIP) spoke at the event, telling of clients that were perhaps heading in the opposite direction. Specifically, a brand that was “still using brand-analysis and decision-making tools from more than ten years ago, revolving around the NPS (net promoter score). Still using simple telephone surveys to evaluate whether the score is improving or not every month through consumer recommendations.” Yu explained, “They can only do research by phone. They are sitting on a mountain of data, but there is no good tool to extract the data to produce real value.”
Filling a new role
This gap between tech and strategy has presented a perfect opportunity for iPinYou to make its mark on the industry by forming its own DMP. But the road to useful, marketable DMPs has been a rocky one. “There was quite a first wave of DMPs in China, most which actually ended in failure in 2015 and 2016,” said Huang, “In response, we’re approaching our DMP in a very pragmatic way. We’ve put AI technology behind it to help brands make smarter decisions, it’s not just an IT product.”
Making good on their claims, iPinYou recently launched MIP, an innovative marketing cloud product that includes a DMP, product concept testing and content intelligence management. The platform is fully connected to iPinYou’s programmatic ecosystem, so audience segments can be immediately activated through their joint trading platform.
Huang said of MIP, “For any brands that are used to use Google to reach China, a lot of them have shifted to our platform. Our system has the functionality to enable international brands here: retargeting strategy, video strategy, LBS targeting, these three things also really put us at an advantage.”
Looking to the future, Huang sees iPinYou’s products and services developing in tandem with the market. There’s talk of an MIP-based tool to identify brand positioning, another to aid in creative optimization and management, all spurred by the proliferation of AI. “We’re going to continue to let brands take control of our environment. We want to position ourselves with AI-enabled business decisions, not just AI-enabled marketing decisions,” said Huang.