Evaluating Ad Technology Partners


By now everyone has seen Terence Kawaja’s ad technology ecosystem slide. The irony of this visual is the technologies represented in the slide are supposed to make digital ad buyers lives easier and more efficient, yet understanding all these technologies and managing vendor relations can be a full time job.

So how do online advertisers evaluate all the technologies available?  Based on my conversations with hundreds of buyers over the past year, here are my recommendations on the top four evaluation criteria for finding a technology partner that will help to scale your business.

1. Technology Past, Present and Future – It’s important to find a vendor with a history of successfully servicing large buyers and that understands your needs. You also want to work with a vendor who has a true technology that can grow with your business. And finally, find a vendor with an innovative roadmap and strong vision for the future of both the company and the industry. Make sure your vendor can communicate each of these stages clearly and provide as much detail and quantification as possible so you can stay ahead of the competition and ensure that you are set up for success down the road.

2. Current Client List –As a buyer, ask your technology vendor who they are working with, how long they have been working with each partner, and possibly the most important question, who is your longest standing partner?  This will help you to evaluate whether based on experience, the vendor is positioned to accommodate your needs.

3. Data Integrity – It’s important to work with a vendor who has a strong stance on data integrity. One question I am often asked is “will you reuse campaign data for other clients?” The answer is no. I find this point is sometimes overlooked but of paramount importance in the privacy-sensitive times we are living in.

4. Likeability, Credibility and Trustworthiness– At the end of the day, part of what technology buyers purchase is the sales rep and client services team. A colleague of mine always reminds me that in order to make a positive impact on our partners you need to be likeable, credible and trustworthy. Make sure you can trust that your team will be there for you when things are working well and more importantly, if and when challenges arise.

By reviewing these four simple questions with vendors, you can easily weed out those who have a true product and those who may make your day less efficient, rather than more.

– Steven Golus, VP Sales & Go-To Market, DataXu