Data+ Awards: LiveRail delivers detailed metrics on ad spending

Customers get the most from ad dollars with reams of metrics.

LiveRail provides a single interface to publishers so they can manage direct advertising campaigns and monetize their video content. It also provides video ad networks with a platform to manage and buy video advertising campaigns. It delivers more than 3 billion impressions each month.

Given such volume, the San Francisco-based company had a huge amount of data that it knew could provide insight into the effectiveness of these advertising efforts.

Company co-founder and CTO Andrei Dunca says LiveRail needed technology that could handle the volume of data, provide fast load speeds and reduce storage needs through compression. To do that, it built an analytics system based on Apache Hadoop Hive and Infobright Enterprise Edition.

Whenever LiveRail serves an ad, it tracks metrics, such as whether the commercial ran in full. LiveRail also compiles information for customers on when and how often particular ads appear on websites.

With such information, a company advertising a product can know how well a particular ad performs on different websites. That allows the advertiser to better target its ads to achieve higher engagement. Similarly, the publishers that run ads can use the information to make better decisions about ad placements, which in turn helps them attract and retain advertisers.

With the analytics system in place, LiveRail clients can access ad hoc reports or request more scheduled reports with more specific, and more complex, data sets. Dunca says that the data is crucial to LiveRail customers, which often use it to bill their own customers.

Forrester analyst Susan Bidel says drilling down into such data does indeed translate into better financial performance. Speaking generally, she says publishers have varying levels of appreciation for the value of such data, and those that use it get better returns.

"It better targets ads, reduces waste and increases revenue," she says.

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Pratt is a Computerworld contributing writer in Waltham, Mass. You can contact her at marykpratt@verizon.net.

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