Founded in Amsterdam in 2012, JustPremium pioneered high impact advertising in Europe for nine years before being acquired last August by US contextual-first ad tech company, GumGum. Here, JustPremium founder and CEO Eric Visser, now GumGum President of EMEA, talks about the merger of contextual and creative, the importance of a ‘mindset matrix’ and the combined company’s plans for worldwide dominion.
Mobile Marketing: What are the roots of JustPremium, and how did we get here?
Eric Visser: I’m an entrepreneur, I saw the rise of programmatic advertising and I wanted to build a programmatic solution to bring the best, most creative advertising formats to the market. We know that creativity in ads is ultimately the most important success factor for a campaign. 50 per cent of a campaign’s success lies in the creative itself, compared to 25 per cent in the placement – where it’s being delivered – followed by the data to target the right user.
So we built a platform to trade high impact rich media units and we grew it across the world, first in Europe then in the US. We never raised funds or got investors onboard, we did it on our own strengths. But last year we were looking for the next step in the journey of the company, and it became apparent that was either about raising funds or finding ourselves an attractive partner that could complement the tech stack we have, or the geos we are active in, but either way to be a similar kind of company to us.
MM: How did you match with GumGum?
EV: In the US we are a small player – we have about 20 people based in NY, LA and Miami, and in that market we were competing against a few others, amongst which was GumGum. The two companies are very similar, but the difference lies in GumGum’s focus on contextual advertising and the fact that they generally operate in different markets to us, so we have very little overlap.
My dream with JustPremium originally was to have global dominance, to be a true global company. Now as a standalone company, I ultimately didn't have the opportunity to do that, but with GumGum we do. So that's what excites me – really achieving that ambition of being a true global player, being part of something bigger. We're blending their contextual data with our creativity and delivering it to the best publishers in the world, and that combination is driving ROAS for advertisers.
MM: You talk about the need for digital advertising to adopt a ‘mindset matrix’ of creative, context and consumer attention – can you give us the background to that?
EV: Of course. For an advertiser you need to have a person’s attention if you are going to drive ROAS. And in order to drive attention, you need to have great creative. In order for great creative to resonate, it needs to be delivered to the right person. But how do you find the right person? Is it that the right person has seen your brand previously or has been on your page? Or is it a person that is in a particular mindset when they’re watching content online?
I have a one-year-old daughter, and every morning she wakes up and wants to watch a YouTube movie in bed – every day it's the same movie. And every day when I start the movie on my device, she gets an ad and guess what – that ad is targeted to me. It's not targeted to her. And sure, YouTube doesn't know that she's watching, but YouTube does know that it’s a children’s movie. So why are they serving me ads for a trip to the Bahamas, instead of serving an ad that is related to the content being watched?
Now that's the power of contextual advertising. If you target people when they're in the right mindset, with the right creative, that will drive attention and that attention will drive ROAS. This is what GumGum is calling the Mindset Matrix, and it’s our blueprint for the future of digital advertising. We believe that when creative, context, and attention can work together, advertisers will be able to deliver engaging and effective ad campaigns without the use of personal data.
MM: How do you see 2022 shaping up for you as the new combined company beds in?
EV: First of all, the first step is integrating the businesses into each other. In Q2, JustPremium will dissolve as a brand and everything will be under the GumGum brand name. The two platforms will be integrated, and the GumGum contextual solution will be blended with our JustPremium formats giving one joint offering in the European market. This is just the beginning – as we start to grow our presence in Europe, our goal will continue to expand into new markets across Europe and the world as well.
MM: And from a marketer’s perspective, what does a united JustPremium/GumGum bring that hasn’t been available before?
EV: Right now, advertisers are grappling with two things: finding a way to grab people’s attention in a world where they are being bombarded by advertisements; and the second is figuring out how they will deliver digital ads to the right people without the use of personal data or the cookie.
GumGum’s combined offering with JustPremium gives advertisers a proven and future-proof solution that allows them to deliver the right ad, in the right environment, and ultimately to the right person.
The future of digital advertising won’t be about basing targeting on people’s past behaviours or browsing history. It will be about giving people the power to show advertisers what they are interested in and meeting people in the moment they are in. So that baby shower gift you bought three weeks ago won’t follow you around the internet anymore – ads for the perfect gift would appear while you are actually looking at an article of the top listed baby shower gifts and meet you in your greatest time of need.
We truly believe that this will be the best advertising solution for brands in the market. But a great solution is only great if you can roll it out across premium publishers in every market. So if you're a Unilever or a Procter & Gamble, you don't want to be limited just to the Netherlands, you want to be able to run across Europe or across the world. So that's one thing: bringing true scale to our advertising solution, having more inventory available in more markets than we are in today.
The other thing comes back again to the Mindset Matrix. Prior to the acquisition, we could say to an advertiser: “Listen, we can give you the best creative that's out there in the market.” Now we can say: “We can give you the best creative, and we can deliver it to people that are in the right mindset to look at your creative, to respond and to engage with it. And guess what, we can also optimise it for attention. If we see that it's not responding well on a particular page, and if it does better in another position, we can optimise it so we can drive more value to buyers in delivering the ad, measuring it and optimising it for attention.”
That’s a very powerful message.