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The Strengths and Limitations of GAFA’s AdTech

In SOPHOLA’s main business: consulting and outsourcing, we have been trying to solve marketing issues that are difficult to be solved with domestic available tech through our partnerships with AdScale (the Netherland), Longtail UX (Australia), and Markable (US). Today, I would like to write about the history of the way of creating our peculiar values through global tech partnerships.

■What Made Me Interested in Internet Industry: Amazon’s Recommendation Engine
While trying to find my first job back in 2010, I did not have any interest in mathematics(stats & probability). I never foresaw the rapidly glowing upside potential of internet businesses at all. lol However, in a job interview at an shoe shopping company-Locondo (previously Jade), the interviewer who later became my boss had talked about the famous recommendation engine developed by Amazon. This feature is to display the recommended items on Amazon webpages, based on the purchase histories of the end-users.

This recommendation engine feature is now very common, but it was only Amazon which has succeeded in differentiating from other competitors. During the interview, he asked me, “Can you guess what kind of algorithm is used for this recommendation engine?” Then, “Is it a sort of Association Analyses, a data-mining technique?” I answered. The technology and mathematical algorithms behind internet businesses made me decide to enter into this industry

■What Made Me Interested in Global Tech Startups: Rocket Fuel (US, DSP)
The people at Locondo used to use WebTrekk-a German Web Analytics tool and Efficient Frontier-an American bidding platform later acquired by Adobe besides Google’s products. Yet, I didn’t really care about these foreign tech because I used to blindly believe that the “Made-in-Japan” tech was competitive enough. lol

In the middle, I could experience the life-changing impact after knowing Rocket Fuel from US in 2012 at Adflex Communications, my 2nd company. Back then, the reserved-type-banner ads (called pure ads) were the main display ads. Basically, for the pure ads, the campaign starting/ending/period is fixed prior to the campaign start, so the impressions, clicks, and conversions are reviewed after the campaign. On the other hand, Rocket Fuel, DSP just requires the advertiser to set the target CPA and budget, then the ad campaign is automatically optimized for the target CPA. This is of course a DSP that allows the advertiser to change the setting anytime too. I still clearly remember how I reacted towards Rocket Fuel like “OMG, is there really such a magical platform???” Now that Google has a similar feature called “Smart Display Ads”, but there was no such Google’s feature 8 yeas ago.

Through this experience about Rocket Fuel, I’ve been paying attention to the new emerging tech created by global tech startup on the top of the world-leading platformers: GAFA(Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon). This is becoming a longer blog than expected, so I will continue to write about this topic next time:)

Masaki “Mark” Iino
Founder & CEO
SOPHOLA, Inc
P.S. I sometimes feel like having a Jiro’s ramen noodle:)