The Trade Desk Launches Solimar, Its Pitch For The Open Internet Vs. The Walled Gardens

the trade desk launches solimar its pitch for the open internet vs the walled gardensThe Trade Desk introduced its latest DSP dashboard, Solimar, on Wednesday, as well as a venture capital arm called TD7. The company’s first startup investment is in the ad-bidding software company Chalice Custom Algorithms.

Solimar consolidates The Trade Desk’s data marketplace for targeting and measurement into a single interface, with data onboarding and identity resolution built in as well. By bringing together data onboarding, targeting and measurement, The Trade Desk is trying to spur more brands to plan campaigns based on specific KPIs – for instance, Walmart or Home Depot store sales, Oracle sales data, Foursquare location data or Urban Science automotive data – instead of relying on clicks and CPMs.

“The conversation over the past year has been rooted in uncertainty and insecurity,” The Trade Desk VP of client development Amber Browne told AdExchanger. “It’s exciting for us to be able to shift the conversation a little bit, because we see a lot of a lot of opportunity in how we can help marketers meet this moment.”

The Trade Desk’s mid-July announcement of Solimar is important, Browne said, because it leaves marketers enough time to learn and onboard before October, when brands stop testing new things and focus on what they know works during the holiday season.

The Trade Desk is using the launch of Solimar to position itself as the ad-buying platform of the open internet during a moment of major change.

“There are two kinds of companies right now: those trying to control the open internet and those trying to enable it,” Jeff Green said about the advertising technology market during the event.

the trade desk launches solimar its pitch for the open internet vs the walled gardens

One of The Trade Desk’s most important advantages compared to walled gardens, according to Green, is that independent ad tech and the open internet allow marketers to choose their own measurement and conversion data, as opposed to relying on black box attribution methods that report sales or other campaign results without supporting data.

Green said Walmart had an “institutional epiphany” in the past couple years, to use its retail shopper data as a measurement data set without necessarily running its own siloed ad network. The Walmart data might attribute true sales lift for a campaign more effectively than clicks or reach estimates, even if the campaign isn’t bought on Walmart ad tech or targeted to Walmart customers.

This change in approach by major first-party data operators like Walmart could be important for the open internet, Green said. Some platforms have distorted the notion of privacy to mean practically no data-driven personalized ads. But he said The Trade Desk’s partnerships with the likes of Walmart, Home Depot and Blockgraph, a data onboarding service for TV ads backed by Comcast, Charter and ViacomCBS, show how first-party data can be used for programmatic, not just within walled gardens.

“Many big tech companies are using (privacy) as a sword and a shield,” Green said. “It’s important all of us acknowledge that that’s happening.”

TTD Tries VC

The Trade Desk’s investment in Chalice is another example of the company positioning as a voice of the open internet against walled gardens. Chalice CEO Heimlich is an outspoken antagonist of Google in particular. He pulled no punches in testimony to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights last September, when he called for Google to be forced to exit the ad exchange business if it won’t meet open standards.

Chalice initially pitched Green a few months ago regarding a potential personal investment in the startup, Heimlich told AdExchanger. Instead, his team heard back from TD7 – a reference to the $7 million seed investment that helped The Trade Desk achieve profitability – that The Trade Desk would close out the company’s round. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Math Capital, a VC firm backed by ad tech execs linked to MediaMath, also joined the round.

“It’s a brave decision by TD7 and Math Capital to support us,” Heimlich said.

Heimlich said it shows how some companies are “committed to interoperability and openness” for the industry, rather than purely as an advantage for their businesses.

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