Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Meet the DSP taking privacy, sustainability and transparency to new heights: Q&A with Giovanni Sollazzo

We talk to Giovanni Sollazzo, CEO of AIDEM, who explains why we need to move away from the ‘black box’ culture of the current advertising industry.

Welcome Giovanni. Please can you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to found AIDEM?

I’ve been in the industry for years, both on the sell side and the buy side. During that time, I noticed a real gap in the market. All the tools available for buying and planning ads were… well, let’s just say they needed fixing. The three main problems were that they:

  1. Weren’t able to perform the tasks that were expected of them – they were essentially broken
  2. Had a privacy problem – they were collecting a plethora of personal data without consent
  3. Racked up large hidden fees, reducing the effectiveness of the campaigns

Unfortunately, the only way to fix these problems was to go in and physically rebuild from scratch the technology that had been used in advertising for years. This wasn’t an easy task, but I wanted to build something robust – something that would stand the test of time.

My main goal was to create a tool that was accurate – not just based on guesswork – and didn’t rely on personal data. The consumer is at the core of advertising and I knew, at some point, the privacy issue would become a hot topic of contention. With AIDEM, advertisers don’t need to ask hundreds of different third parties to collect customer data. And this also means lower fees.

What three words would you use to describe AIDEM’s offering?

Privacy. Transparency. Sustainability.

Our main goal for AIDEM over the next year is to be recognised as the leading independent platform to buy digital advertising space, leading the way in the new trifecta of privacy, transparency, and sustainability. 

First, we don’t use personal data and are 100% cookie-free. Second, we have one of the lowest fees in the market – which we use to invest back into our technology to create the most innovative tool possible. You don’t need to trawl through lines of code to make sure everything is working. You can manage everything through one transaction within the marketplace. Third – our supply is carbon-zero, a first in the market.

What is AIDEM’s USP?

It’s the combination of all three values that make AIDEM unique. Privacy, transparency, and sustainability are all so-called selling points that, individually, constitute some of today’s well-known vendors. So there are whole companies focused on sustainable advertising, and so on. But our USP is that we blend all three into our offering.

Transparency is a key part of the digital media supply chain today. Can you explain how your DSP is more transparent than others?

The problem with the programmatic supply chain is that most of it is hidden behind what we call a ‘black box’. AIDEM’s DSP, however, is built in the open market, and is designed to bring publishers more revenue. A recent PwC/ISBA study showed that on average, publishers only receive 51% of advertiser spend, and 15% of that spend remains unaccounted for (what they refer to as the ‘unknown delta’).  

That’s why we’ve made it our mission to simplify the entire media buying process. We reduce the average 60% ad tech tax to 25%, doubling the working media that reach publishers. This is because we’ve essentially reverse-engineered the entire process of programmatic advertising so we connect advertisers directly to publishers – all without a middleman. In fact, we’ve recently been able to push publisher revenue up from 44 cents to 75 cents on the dollar. 

And can you tell us a bit more about what makes you sustainable?

If you take a look at the current advertising technology stack, hundreds of middlemen are connected with one another in order to trade, and for each auction that takes place, a huge amount of network connections happens, wasting a lot of energy.

So, the first thing we did at AIDEM was cut down those hundred connections down to just one: a single path between publishers and advertisers via our platform.

The second thing we did was reduce the quantity of data collected: we do not collect cookies, identities, browsing history; we only collect data about the content of the page where the auction is taking place which is more efficient and in turn ensures we’re privacy compliant.

The third thing we do is run our system on servers and cloud providers that have a carbon zero policy, so we’re using 100% renewable resources. This is a step up from the market standard of net-zero, where brands need to purchase carbon credit to offset their emissions: with AIDEM no carbon emissions happen in the first place.

And finally, why the name AIDEM?

It happened entirely by chance when my co-founder and I were on a call. We looked up at his phone on the screen, saw the word ‘MEDIA’ reflected backwards, and immediately knew it was a good fit. Here we were, on a mission to reverse-engineer the entire media industry, and now we have this cool story to tell. It also happened to include the initials ‘AI’, which is pretty fitting as we begin to leverage more advanced technology. And of course, when you flip MEDIA to AIDEM – the ‘A’ (for advertiser) remains at the core.