What does one year revolutionising ad tech teach you?

Jon Caines

July 6, 2023
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min read

This week we’re celebrating Jon Caines, our Head of Customer Success, as he completes his first year with Anonymised. So, in Jon’s honour, we are looking back at his first year at Anonymised and maybe more to his horror, all the lessons learned in one year of joining a startup.

What made you join Anonymised a year ago?

When the opportunity came to join Anonymised, I was intrigued. Simon Sinek's ‘Start With Why’ really resonated, as I was determined to find a company with a clear purpose which aligned with these values. After speaking with the founders, investors and the team it was clear that Anonymised fitted the bill and the decision to join was simple. 

Our unique technology enables us to determine the interests and intents of web browser users, without extracting personal data or sharing identifiers with the programmatic industry.

It’s a pretty cool thing to be a part of. 

What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt from being involved in ad tech this year?

Water under the bridge 

Before joining Anonymised, I cut my teeth at other start-ups, so I knew that one of the main strengths of start-ups is their ability to be agile and quick to respond to market changes. But in this case, the company was already forged with an understanding of where the market was heading and putting privacy regulation at its heart. 

Anonymised are a young team of disruptors, and that is still true to this day. Water under the bridge is one of the perspectives I bring, especially when you consider the pace and speed of a start-up: the need to be agile, learn quickly and take action before moving on to the next challenge. 

Getting stuck in

Like with any venture capital-backed business, we always have to execute efficiently, and indeed we are. Our client-facing team is small and multi-faceted, and we are fortunate to have a great engineering team, a compact business development team and a shared and passionate company ethos. We also have great clients and partners that enable us to repeatedly get to MVP and MPP stages. 

One of the key aspects of this is getting stuck in and supporting the team where they need it best. It allows us to be nimble and respond to our partner's needs much quicker than is possible in bigger organisations. 

The micro and macro

It is essential to have both a micro and macro view of each client and the industry. Our client's websites can be a complex mix of technology and partnerships, combined with a volatile industry space, due to regulations tightening and enforcement rising. Guiding our clients and educating the market with impartiality is a key and core deliverable, along with delivering a next-generation solution.

Overseas market maturity

The United States is further ahead on privacy than you would naturally assume. Agencies already have teams of privacy experts across their tech, media planning, and trading teams, plus publishers have embraced consent solutions for their EU and regulated-state-based traffic. As a relative newcomer to the industry it is encouraging to see this level of maturity in the market, and one less challenge in our mission to scale globally.

The value of managed service

Offering a managed service is not only key to scaling a programmatic business but also in the continuation of improving customer outcomes, both on the buy and the sell side. Despite there being a wealth of talent and capability in the market, outsourcing audience and deal curation, both for PMP and Open Exchange, is still an industry preference. We are delighted to offer managed curation; and judging by the initial campaign performance feedback, we are very capable of fulfilling this.

What do you see on the horizon and what will the shift be?

Advertising is the business model of free and open internet, but it’s clear that we need a new approach that does not turn people into a product. 

Having created a technology that enables businesses to keep the existing online advertising whilst staying fair, equal and compliant, Anonymised is unlike those legacy companies that were built to collect, share and enrich IDs and data. 

When I joined, the company was pushing boundaries and still struggling to articulate why the market needed to rethink the whole data-sharing paradigm. I’ve certainly seen things change in the last year, with much more awareness from publishers and advertisers; in that, we can’t just replace the cookie with something that works like the cookie. 

I think it is inevitable that we will continue to see a shift towards new advertising models, new targeting and measurement technologies. The removal of the 3PC from the industry is and will continue to force both sides of the industry to work together. We already see a shift to less open, premium advertising models: fewer IDs, more direct publisher-advertiser relationships, more programmatic deals, and more campaigns targeting a high-quality first-party inventory.

When the cookie does eventually drop out of Google, these trends will rapidly accelerate. That’s when scalable and sustainable solutions like Anonymised will play a major role in sustaining the market transition to the new reality. In the meantime, there’s a whole world of single-session audiences to supplant and Safari and Firefox cohorts to reach…

Want to find out more about how Jon and the Anonymised team can support you?

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