Building a better ad tech eco-system with Clearcode

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Building a better ad tech eco-system with Clearcode
Building a better ad tech eco-system with Clearcode

"We want to build a better advertising eco-system," said Maciej Zawadziński, speaking to me by phone from Poland. "We've now reached a scale where we can make a difference, and help our customers to find ways to change the industry too."

Zawadziński, an enthusiastic advocate for ad tech innovation, is CEO of Wroclaw-based company Clearcode, creator of custom analytics and SaaS applications. Clearcode's place in the eco-system is itself somewhat complex. Unlike most of the marketing tech vendors we cover at The Hub, Clearcode doesn't have a signature product or suite of products. It's not selling a proprietary solution. Working alongside clients, Clearcode is developing ad tech products to meet specific needs.

"We have wide expertise," said Zawadziński. "We work on multiple products and approach problems from many different angles. Our business model is more a consultancy than a company which offers a product, but our core focus is advertising technology. Where we sit is that we're the company that helps other companies build their technology products and accelerate time to market."

Examples include software to help eCommerce companies recover revenue from customers who abandon the shopping cart (for Rejoiner); a platform to measure the effectiveness of TV advertising campaigns (for Clarivoy) and software to link hyperlocation data to mobile ad inventory. 

Zawadziński has been in the advertising industry for nine years. From working within an ad network which created its own technology, he moved on to co-found Clearcode in 2009. "Over the last seven years," he says, "a lot has changed, including the whole programmatic revolution. There are a lot of challenges for advertising." In particular, he cites the move away from cookie-based third party data to leveraging the value of first party data. Another change is the increased importance of video marketing. Zawadziński also predicts that native advertising will become more mainstream, and will be increasingly available within programmatic inventories.

"Analytics is a key part of what we do," Zawadziński says. "Whether it's visual, tabular--analytics is part of almost every project." He tells me he never would have thought nine years ago that advertisers would be dealing with the sheer quantities of data available today. "To tweak any advertising campaign," he says, "you need analytics." From the DSP perspective, analytics enables segmentation of audiences and helps clients optimize budget allocation when acquiring inventory. Better targeted campaigns are good not only for advertisers,  but for publishers and audiences.

Characteristic of Clearcode's approach is the push for MVPs--"minimum viable products"--although they have to spend time educating customers about the value of incremental development. Working with MVPs accelerates the release of solutions to early adopters, recognizing that tweaking will subsequent improvements will be needed. "The cloud helps a lot," compared with shipping in-house products said Zawadziński, who told me Clearcode releases the vast majority of its projects as SaaS applications.

It also helps Clearcode bring a start-up approach to technology to large enterprise clients. Indeed, its client base is composed largely of start-ups and enterprise companies willing to behave like start-ups when it comes to defining and developing their ad tech tool-kit. "Corporations," as Zawadziński said, prepared for a fast-moving  "prototype, MVP, reiterate" cycle.

Clearcode has been technology partner to around 50 start-ups and corporations

Perhaps surprisingly Clearcode mainly serves the US market. "We have some customers in western Europe," Zawadziński told me, but more than 90 percent are in the States where ad tech, he said, is "most exciting."

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