Apr 14, 2015

Customer spotlight – engage:BDR reduces latency for advertisers and publishers

Ansley Kilgore

engage:BDR logoAs a digital advertising company that began in 2009, engage:BDR is considered a pioneer in the adtech industry. With a fully managed solution as well as a standalone real-time bidding (RTB) platform, the company covers a broad spectrum of services for advertisers and publishers. By leveraging cross-device and cross-channel capabilities, engage:BDR can render static or dynamic ads, regardless of medium. The end result is that engage:BDR can choose the right ad for the right audience and drive marketing success for customers.

Why is engage:BDR unique?
Based in the heart of West Hollywood, engage:BDR is different from other technology startups in a few ways. First, the company began with no venture capital investment. While this gave the founders a certain amount of freedom, it also created strong motivation to be profitable from day one and keep operating costs low. In addition, while most adtech companies either match the right ad to the right audience, or serve the ad, engage:BDR does both. This requires a low-latency environment to accommodate their RTB exchange and ad platform.

Infrastructure challenges
Like most tech startups, when engage:BDR initially went into business they used Amazon Web Services (AWS) for their infrastructure needs. But around 2011, when the company started venturing into programmatic ad purchasing, their bandwidth usage costs grew exponentially. When their monthly bill suddenly skyrocketed to $80K, they began looking for a more cost-effective alternative. “AWS is easy, but once you start growing, the bandwidth will kill you,” said Kenneth Kwan, CTO.

Reduced latency
In an ad exchange, responses to bid requests need to take place within 75 milliseconds, and lower latency gives more leeway for ad purchasers to respond. After evaluating other solutions, engage:BDR chose Internap’s Performance IPTM service and Content Delivery Network (CDN). While the decision was initially driven by cost, engage:BDR has seen significantly lower latency since making the switch.

Content delivery
To efficiently serve the ads, engage:BDR leverages Internap’s CDN to deliver large files and assets. Serving the images can be bandwidth-intensive, and using a CDN is a more efficient method to accomplish this.

Adtech ecosystem
Additionally, Internap has locations near the major ad exchanges, including San Jose and Los Angeles. This allows engage:BDR to be part of an adtech ecosystem where close proximity of DSPs and SSPs further reduces latency for everyone with a seat on the ad exchange.

One of the metrics that engage:BDR tracks is queries per second, which includes all requests for ads and responses to bids. The company currently processes between 1.5 and 2 billion queries per day. With this staggering volume of requests, a cost-effective IP and CDN solution has a big impact on the bottom line and the efficiency of the ad network and RTB marketplace.

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Ansley Kilgore

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