Welcome to &THEN Preview, an inside look at LA and its booming adtech and martech scene that awaits you at &THEN in Los Angeles, October 16-18.
Los Angeles is quickly becoming a hotbed of adtech and martech genius and the hub for tech startups, with the city’s Silicon Beach becoming the third-largest tech hub in the world. This October, &THEN – the global marketing experience for those who practice the science of creativity – heads to LA to soak up data-driven marketing innovation. Over the next several months, DMA goes “up close” to introduce you to the leaders behind LA’s dynamic marketing scene.
This week DMA spoke with Trevor Testwuide, Co-Founder and CEO of the LA-based Conversion Logic, about what the city has offered his startup, why Silicon Beach has become a dominant startup hub and what he sees as the future for data-driven marketing.
What do you find surprises marketing executives outside of LA the most about what’s happening inside LA?
I think people are often surprised at how robust the martech/adtech community is here in LA. When you take a step back you see the big names such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and of course Snapchat are building a strong presence in LA, complemented by a fast-growing startup community. Looking at the advanced attribution category alone, we have Marketshare, Convertro and Conversion Logic all based here.
What are some examples of LA’s leadership in driving martech and adtech innovation?
LA has a truly bustling community across the adtech and martech spectrum. We have deep roots with companies like The Rubicon Project, The Trade Desk, Factual and many others who are helping transform the advertising landscape, integrating cloud, big data, all of those areas of explosive growth into the adtech ecosystem.
Silicon Beach is quickly becoming a dominant startup scene in the U.S. and globally. What’s the magic behind this growth?
There is a great community of tech talent, world-class educational institutions, and now financial support, with great local Venture Capital (VC) firms. With that combination, LA has the resources to be a tech powerhouse. In addition, LA is a great place to live, so that’s a big part of the sell when recruiting from the Bay Area, New York, or elsewhere.
Attribution has been the nemesis of omni-channel for many years and the channels and marketing methods keep growing. Has there been a breakthrough in attribution methodology? Why do so many companies still grapple with this?
I think one of the reasons that so many companies struggle with attribution is that so many vendors claim to do it. You really need to clearly identify what your goals are, how sophisticated you want to get, and go from there. There have been tremendous breakthroughs that allow us to go way beyond last-click, linear attribution, all of those old-school models into attribution that works with you and your business processes to measure performance in a way that is both cutting-edge on the data science front, but also meaningful and actionable to marketers. If you only need a basic model, that’s fine. But when you’re ready to get serious, you need to know where to go and what your options are.
With the overwhelming amount of data about customer activity, how can that be processed and made user-friendly to inform marketing strategy?
A lot of it is about how the data is presented. You can have the most accurate algorithms in the world, but if nobody can interpret them, it doesn’t do you any good. We really focus on serving up the right data, in the right way, so the media practitioner can get in and out in 5 minutes. Everybody’s busy, you need to digest this information, and take action on it.
At the same time, it’s important that that data is there if or when you need it. You don’t need to see all the data all the time, but you have the option of liberating it from the system for deeper analysis if necessary. It’s critical to have this balance.
Competitors in DMA’s 2015 Analytic Challenge found success in ensemble modeling – running two or more models and synthesizing the results. Why do you think the “ensemble method” is significant toward solving attribution concerns?
This is something we’re really passionate about. The move from single algorithmic models to the Ensemble Method is analogous to the shift from last-click to linear attribution. It’s just the next step up. One size doesn’t fit all. One algorithmic model can’t provide accurate attribution insights for every single use case or business process.
The beauty of the Ensemble Method is that it draws from the “wisdom of crowds” to provide more accurate info overall, but it also allows for customization based on your business model – if one algorithm doesn’t fit well, just weight its output less – you still don’t lose the power of the overall mechanism.
How would you say that being an LA-based startup has defined your growth? Do you feel the success of Conversion Logic is due to any opportunities you were offered as an LA company?
Absolutely. Our team is one of our biggest strengths, and we found them all here in LA. We have access to best-in-class talent without the insane competition from other tech hubs like New York or San Francisco, or even some of the growing communities like Austin or Denver. People either came here and grew up in the martech/adtech scene, or moved here because they love it here – either way, we’ve found incredible, world-class talent here that has really defined our ability to grow and thrive.
As you look at the LA tech scene in the coming year, what are you excited about?
All sorts of stuff. We frequently collaborate and partner with other LA-based companies. There is a strong sense that we’re all here to help each other, and that creates amazing opportunities and access to resources… people, funds, partnerships, you name it. I think that community is only going to continue to grow stronger and I’m super excited to see where it takes all of us.
Trevor Testwuide is Co-Founder and CEO of Conversion Logic, an intuitive cross-channel attribution platform AND an ambassador for DMA’s &THEN event in LA, October 16-18, 2016. Conversion Logic’s SaaS platform is designed for CMOs, brand leads and media practitioners who need to make fast and accurate decisions in managing their multi-channel media campaigns around the world. Conversion Logic investors include Rincon Venture Partners, Crosscut Ventures, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, TenOneTen, Founder Collective and Raptor Ventures. Conversion Logic is online at http://www.conversionlogic.com.