In New York City, tech companies are shaping the future of advertising

May 25, 2017

Since the 1920s, the American advertising industry has made its headquarters in New York City, with the world’s largest agencies sprinkled along Madison Avenue. While advertising firms have long since expanded throughout Manhattan and into other boroughs, the industry is also evolving by way of technology.

Many of the tech companies that formed the original "Silicon Alley" made their names as pioneers in digital advertising, and many firms continue to thrive in the fast-growing adtech sector.

We spoke with three adtech leaders about their vision for the industry in New York, and how their companies are becoming a part of that movement. is a social media marketing platform that works with advertisers like eBay, BarkBox and JustFab to offer a full suite of campaign management tools, optimization algorithms and reporting integrations. We spoke with Amir Shub, GM, Americas.

How has being based in NYC helped Smartly grow as an adtech company?

New York has always been the epicenter of advertising for brand, creative, media and technology. Many of our e-commerce and agency customers are based here and the online marketing community is very active. We take pride in quickly adapting to customer feedback, and being close to our customers and partners allows to stay on pulse and continuously evolve our platform to fit the most advanced needs in this market.

What trends do you think you'll see in the adtech space over the next year?

This year will be all about working smarter to fuel advertising automation with data. When advertisers are able to automate manual tasks such as campaign creation and optimization, it leaves more room for strategic planning and staying up to date with the latest creative formats. Video as a format will continue to gain popularity across platforms, and advertisers are looking for ways to automate the creation of it.

How do you think NYC's adtech community will mature over the next five years?

Transparency, data and the ability to develop customer-first solutions will determine winners and losers in the adtech space over the next five years. Facebook and Google continue to dominate spend-wise — only adtech companies with significant value-add in those ecosystems will flourish. The adtech industry is ripe with fluff — companies that prioritize product development and automation will be successful in the long run.


Parsec is a Cost Per Second platform for mobile. The company prices media based on the amount of time that consumers choose to spend with politely interruptive ads. We spoke with Parsec CEO Marc Guldimann.

How has being based in NYC helped Parsec grow as an adtech company?

NYC is the largest advertising market in the world, so our proximity to clients has helped us. Our proximity to talent is also valuable — we’ve found a large pool of incredibly smart and talented people who understand the media business here.

What trends do you think you'll see in the adtech space over the next year?

We’ll see attention metrics. With viewability quickly becoming table-stakes, we’ll see increased emphasis on understanding if and for how long people pay attention to advertising. We’ll also see a change in identity. The news from Appnexus, Index Exchange, LiveIntent, OpenX and Rocket Fuel around a federated identity solution is exciting as it solves for the last remaining piece of the media puzzle: who is seeing an ad.

How do you think NYC's adtech community will mature over the next five years?

Creative and media will collide. Thirty years ago, media agencies were partitioned off from their creative homes, ostensibly to take advantage of economies of scale in media buying. Digital media has diminished the benefits of buying ad space in bulk while creating troves of data on engagement and outcomes. Data that can only be properly leveraged when creative and media decisions are made together.

Adtech will also become more simple and efficient. There’s too much friction between the consumer, publisher and advertiser in digital media today, with some estimates placing the "adtech tax" upwards of 50 percent. As the market adopts formats and metrics that are simpler and more consistent, we will likely see fees drop into the single digits.


ADstruc uses workflow automation software to deliver ease and efficiency for agencies that plan and buy out-of-home media in-house. The company leverages its technology to deliver audience-focused OOH campaigns for brands and agencies that require a strategic, full-service planning and buying solution. We spoke with ADstruc Strategic Partnerships Associate Pete Anderson to learn more.

How has being based in NYC helped ADstruc grow as an adtech company?

We've benefited greatly from being headquartered in the media and advertising capital of the world, within arm's reach of our top prospects and clients. It makes a huge difference to be able to take the subway to in-person meetings or, in many cases — like with our clients Havas Media and Glossier — simply to walk to their offices from our location in Soho. Being in New York has also put us in close contact with the world's best tech talent, which benefits us from a hiring perspective, as well as in developing partnerships with fellow NYC tech companies like LiveRamp, Foursquare, Mediaocean and others.

What trends do you think you'll see in the adtech space over the next year?

We're excited for adtech to continue to evolve beyond the realm of display and into other channels like direct mail and out-of-home. Along with other companies in the adtech space, we're helping bring programmatic principles to new mediums so that advertisers can apply the data- and automation-driven approach they've developed for digital advertising to every marketing channel.

How do you think NYC's adtech community will mature over the next five years?

We anticipate a measure of consolidation in the space as advertisers look to be able to take advantage of all the great technologies that have been developed recently in a more streamlined way. What this means is greater collaboration between tech companies, which should create innovation that carries over across fields and results in omnichannel efficiencies for brands.

Images via featured companies.

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