MadHive Deal Gives Google A Leg Up In The Cloud Wars

As data assumes a greater place in the advertising universe, a skirmish of sorts has broken out among the major cloud storage companies—Google GOOG and Amazon AMZN in particular—to win the hearts and minds of the advertising and media community.

I say skirmish because given the massive size of Google and Amazon’s cloud storage businesses, the amount of revenue they will get from advertisers and publishers is relatively small.

But in a battle for dominance, every win counts and so the battle lines have been drawn.

Google inadvertently intensified the migration of advertising data to the cloud by its decision to (eventually) do away with cookies, the digital trackers that allow brands to gather information on consumers as they traveled around the web.

While there will be short term pain, overall this is a positive development, since cookies were in many ways like TV’s Nielsen ratings: a currency everyone agreed on because an industry had grown up around it and there was no other option, but a currency that many people suspected was far less accurate than it appeared to be.

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The demise of cookies will force brands to begin collecting more of their own first party data and then finding ways—cloud-based ways—to ensure that data is privacy compliant and can then be matched, in a privacy compliant manner, with customer data from publishers and programmers.

The Rise Of The Clean Room

Data matching takes place on a cloud-based platform that is known as a “clean room.” Clean rooms provide a way to ensure that data from the advertiser, data from the publisher and data from third parties can be compared and matched in a way that ensures neither side actually sees the other side’s data unless there is a match. This is critical as it ensures privacy compliance.

The more advertisers and their agencies come to rely on these clean room environments, the more money will be at stake, and if one of the giants can take a clear lead in this area, it will give them a slight leg up over the competition.

$100 Million Is A Big Deal

That is why Google must be very happy about a recent deal brokered by the consulting firm SADA that will see ad tech pioneers MadHive doubling last year’s initial $50 million in Google’s cloud-based solutions. This brings MadHive’s total investment to $100 million, making it one of the biggest Google Cloud deals in adtech to date.

MadHive has long been one of the most innovative players in the space, rolling out machine learning and cryptography-based solutions to address industry problems like fraud and privacy. 

Today, MadHive is a leader in infrastructure-as-a-service enterprise software, focused on accelerating local OTT (over the top TV, also known as “CTV”) reach extension with major broadcasters like Fox, Scripps and TEGNA’s Premion. 

By doubling its investment in Google Cloud, MadHive will strengthen its ability to deliver:

Baked in fraud detection and prevention: While fraud is considered to be largely a problem for digital advertisers, it’s becoming a real issue on OTT as well. MadHive has been a leader in helping to detect and prevent fraud, and the deal will allow them to expand this capability.

Advanced targeting capabilities that fully comply with GDPR and CCPA privacy regulations. As global privacy laws expand, advertisers need to ensure that the solutions they implement stay within the boundaries of these new regulations . MadHive offers cloud-based solutions that help ensure compliance while respecting consumer’s right to privacy.

Simplified, full-stack software that removes unnecessary middlemen and their fees. When I first met MadHive CEO Adam Helfgott many years ago, I was impressed by his understanding of how brands were being forced to pay an “ad tax” because of all the middlemen involved in digital advertising and his commitment to eliminating that sort of costly system on OTT. Cloud-based solutions help to simplify transactions and thus eliminate costly middlemen.

Interoperability across various screens and channels, including digital out of home, digital audio, display, and more. Consumers don’t just watch TV or just watch videos online—they move across all available channels with great frequency. The ability to understand their behavior across all these screens and channels allows for better targeting and an end to “overtargeting” consumers based on their demographics.

“Over the past year, MadHive has been in a period of hyper-growth as broadcasters and brands adopt our technology to power their cross-channel advertising efforts,” said Adam Helfgott, CEO at MadHive. “This increased investment in SADA and Google Cloud will allow MadHive to create an even stronger infrastructure that allows for lightning-speed insights and campaign optimizations, while solving widespread industry problems like fraud, transparency, privacy and interoperability for our clients.”

Creating solutions for advertisers and publishers will be key for cloud computing services in the years ahead. The issue now is around getting traction, about scoring the most high profile wins up front so that the industry has you pegged as the front runner. 

While it is still way too soon to declare a winner, Google’s deal with MadHive indicates that they have the know-how to get the job done.

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