Ten years ago, I left Microsoft and launched The Trade Desk with Dave Pickles. At that time, we had a very strong sense of what we wanted to create, and the role we could play in the emerging ad-tech market.
Our mission, which remains true today, was to apply advanced technology to help fuel the broad diversity of media, voices and content on the open internet — including great journalism, amazing web experiences and this new golden era of television that we all get to experience every day.
When we first started a decade ago, major global advertisers were starting to demand an alternative to the emerging tech giants that were stamping their authority on media with a “walled garden” approach to content and data. Advertisers wanted to know what content they were supporting, how the market responded to their campaigns, and more transparency in advertising pricing and markets.
We saw an opportunity to build an open, competitive alternative to the walled gardens — to provide a data-driven approach to digital advertising which gives advertisers complete transparency and allows them to optimize their spend across the open internet.
Ten years in, the market is starting to gravitate to our way of thinking. Global brands want to drive maximum value from their digital ad campaigns by moving more spending to the open internet. They are tired of throwing their money into walled gardens that grade their own homework, providing little feedback on campaign effectiveness and what media they are supporting. Content providers increasingly crave data-driven advertising demand because they know it’s the best route to maximizing advertising yield on their content, so they can produce more of it. And consumers want a better ad experience, with fewer, more relevant ads.
With this progress, we are helping solve the enduring quid-pro-quo of the internet – how do we pay for all the great internet content with relevant advertising while improving the consumer experience? And just as important, how do we solve for that in a way that fuels the open internet of media and content, rather than an internet experience dominated and managed by a few tech giants?
Our mission has not changed over the last 10 years, even as we have grown from 2 people to more than 1,000 strong and launched one of the most successful IPOs of the decade.
As a company and as an industry, we need to do more. Consumer trust in relevant digital advertising, and advertiser trust in the transparency of the digital ad marketplace, will only drive market confidence and growth. And this, in turn, helps fuel the open internet.
That means continuing to clean up the content supply chain and improve transparency. It means applying emerging technology to drive advertising relevance while protecting consumer data and privacy. It means sharing more of our identity tools, providing greater control for consumers and more reliable, profitable revenue streams for great content.
Through our first decade, The Trade Desk has tried to lead the industry on these issues to drive Media for Humankind. As the majority of all advertising becomes digital over the next few years, the open internet is the only way we’ll fuel amazing media and content for the benefit of everyone – consumers, advertisers and content providers.
Read more from CMO Susan Vobejda on how Media for Humankind was brought to life.