Becoming a Leader in Native Advertising

TripleLift's growth over the past two years has been nothing short of tremendous. For some context, here are some relevant data points:

  1. 2016 Q1 revenue was roughly equal to our 2014 total revenue
  2. In 2015, our revenue roughly doubled every quarter, which also follows rough seasonal trends where Q1 is the weakest and Q4 is the strongest, but standard seasonality was also heightened by the fact that we're growing
  3. We expect our Q2 revenue to exceed last year's Q4 by a significant margin. While we're at it, we expect our Q3 to be nearly, but not quite equal to, all of 2015 revenue.

Those are some lofty things to think about - and we've got a lot of hard work ahead of us to make that possible. That means hiring, onboarding, building product, and growing our customer base - and everyone has to keep kicking ass to make that happen. But it's definitely doable.

One of the biggest single factors working in our favor - and one of the reasons we have some confidence about these rather bullish numbers - is that most of the major DSPs (e.g. DBM / Google, The Trade Desk, and AppNexus) are building true support for native. This means that they're building a workflow for native into their UI, so anyone can easily buy TripleLift without leaving their DSP of choice.

The impact of DSPs building out support for native advertising in their UIs is hard to overstate. It means that every customer of these DSPs, meaning nearly every digital media buyer - can buy TripleLift programmatically with a simple, intuitive workflow that they're already used to. It also means that the prominence of native has grown to a level where the DSPs willing to invest significant engineering resources in a form of advertising that only a year ago, many questioned if it was a fad.

Soon, any programmatic buyer - when trafficking any campaign - will be able to run a native campaign alongside any other form of media. As long as they have the relatively simple set of assets required for TripleLift, they will be able to get started. Further in a single UI they can see the relative performance of native to standard display. This is, in some ways, a longstanding dream - that native is so fundamental to a media buy that it's just right there, next to everything else that's always been there. And it's actually happening. And we're one of the undisputed leaders in the space (see image below)

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There will always be managed service - and nothing about this impacts the existing cases for managed. But the roll-out of these UIs over the next 12-16 weeks will be a single change that may have a tremendous impact on our business. While no DSP has actually done this to date in a real, commercialized effort, and in a roll-out to all their clients, we're actively working with several large DSPs to start to do so. The joint Trade Desk / TripleLift webinar from last week is a great example of this effort. We don't know what exactly this will do to the market, and likely the first couple months will not see a major change - but the long term liquidity impacts have the potential to be tremendous.

Again, this is a brand-new development for us, so everything is guess-work at this time. Our financial model estimated a medium-term 3x growth in programmatic spend when a partner releases a native UI, but it could be significantly more. Expect to hear more about this topic in the coming months as we learn more.