Q&A: Ross Allan Fuels TrafficForce Engines

Q&A: Ross Allan Fuels TrafficForce Engines

Rev those engines, ad networks, because TrafficForce is ready to fuel that ROI with data-driven campaign optimization and machine learning.

In the driver’s seat is advertising manager Ross Allan, leveraging his sales and development team to keep the wheels spinning fast.

We offer a lot of unique features inside Traffic Force to help clients scale and balance their spend for he best ROI. Features like whitelists, auto ad optimization, conversion tracking and detailed analytics are good things to use to get the most out of your ad buys.

Backed by embedded AI devices, real-world testing and a neural network of adaptive innovations firing on all cylinders, TrafficForce strives to accelerate ad network success.

And they do so by wielding a blend of automated tech that cuts out the guesswork in identifying good traffic vs. bad traffic, not to mention a client-centered team of good listeners intent on meeting everyone’s communicated needs.

To get a first-hand view of the internet race track that TrafficForce has mastered, XBIZ hopped into the passenger’s seat with Allan, for this exclusive interview.

XBIZ: How has your role at TrafficForce evolved in the past 10 years?

Allan: When we started creating TrafficForce as a first class ad platform, my technical knowledge was terrible. I relied on others for development expertise on things like hosting requirements. I was building a system that I myself would use without knowing all the technical aspects underpinning it, because I came from a media buying/sales background.

That meant I needed to adapt quickly if I was going to turn TrafficForce into something better than what already existed, so I started to learn much more about the technical side of the platform.

My role has changed quite a bit as I became much more actively involved in designing features we put into the system. My original sales role has gradually transformed into more of an overall management and business development role during the eight years since we started TrafficForce.

XBIZ: What are your main responsibilities these days and how would you describe a “typical” workday?

Allan: I run all of the day-to-day operations of TrafficForce with my sales and development team. I split my day up organizationally. In the mornings, I usually work with my developers integrating new features, enhancing existing features or addressing any code fixes. Afternoons, I spend more time with clients, generating new business and working with the sales team.

It isn’t always that way — there are times when something urgent comes up and my whole day is thrown off, but I try to keep a balanced approach to running the platform and providing a culture behind it that leads toward stability, reliability and peace of mind for everyone.

XBIZ: What is your approach to managing TrafficForce employees and building an effective team?

Allan: I use a simple approach. Try your best every day to do better today than you did yesterday, and success follows.

Honest hard work is what our team is built upon. We have industry veterans working on TrafficForce who have all had successes of their own in previous roles, so we know the industry and we can help our clients get the best traffic available.

Our team works very well together, because we trust each other and know that everyone is giving their all to help make the entire team a success, and to help make all of our clients even more successful.

XBIZ: Give us your elevator pitch for convincing a potential client that partnering with TrafficForce is a good investment.

Allan: Our parent company has led at the forefront of the industry for more than 20 years. We always pay our bills on time, every time, with no drama and no hassle.

We don’t mess around with your business, we only work to help your business be as successful as it can be, based off more than two decades of experience managing our own.

TrafficForce team has a combined 50-plus years of experience on its team and will work hard every day to make you as much profit as we can.

XBIZ: How does the traffic market differ today compared to your early years at TrafficForce, and how have you pivoted accordingly to meet the latest demands?

Allan: When we first rolled TrafficForce out, mobile traffic was just starting to catch people’s eyes. No one really knew what to do with it, and now it’s the most valuable traffic a site operator has.

The market changes so fast, trends come and go, but the foundations are always the same. If you have good quality sites, you should be making good money with the traffic. It was really easy to get traffic back in 2010 organically, but today it’s a whole different ball game.

Google SERPs are harder to get, and keeping your users loyal and coming back is tricky with the amount of options available to them. We always work on finding good advertisers with quality products and we don’t overdo it with ads.

We won’t work with sites that are just banner farms, and we research our publishers to keep the inventory quality high — which in turn keeps advertisers happy and money coming in for everyone.

Our principles have always been the same since day one. We have to work smarter than ever to stay ahead of the bad operators that come and go while we continue to build market share in an ethical, sustainable manner.

XBIZ: What kind of hardware and high-tech innovations power TrafficForce?

Allan: One of the cooler things we’ve worked on in recent years is machine learning. An area in particular, is our campaign optimization, which is a continually growing feature that we offer to advertisers. I don’t want to give away too much, but I’m sure the competition is working on the same approach for these added features.

We’ve employed embedded AI devices that are smaller than my phone. Our systems are already data-heavy from both ends with real-world testing happening every time someone sees or clicks an ad. Letting a neural net learn from that data adds another layer to help us provide the best possible campaign optimization.

XBIZ: Discuss your data-driven approach to leveraging advanced targeting for long-term earnings.

Allan: Every month, we are providing more advanced data for our advertisers to analyze their campaigns and continually optimize for an even better ROI. Technological advancements allow us to automate a lot of what used to be guess work in buying traffic and identifying good traffic vs. bad traffic more efficiently.

Not all internet users are the same — an iPhone user is very different from an Android user, even the way in which they can view ads is different, so we provide options to set ad targeting based on the smallest user segment possible.

We put power in buyers’ hands and we give all the data needed to market their products to the user base that will buy it most. We always do all we can to avoid any waste on non-converting traffic, and there is almost always someone else who can buy that traffic effectively anyways.

Since we are so careful when allowing any publisher to become part of our ecosystem, on the buyer’s side it’s really all about matching the right traffic with the right advertiser.

On the publisher’s side, we make sure we are only working with quality sites capable of generating actual sales. Then, we show our sellers how much their traffic makes on a variety of targeting options, by allowing them to enhance their sites and squeeze even more usage out of their audience, to enhance ad revenue without infringing on user engagement or enjoyment of their sites.

XBIZ: How do you adapt to a client’s needs as they evolve over time, in terms of scalability?

Allan: We listen to them. It sounds simple, because it actually is simple. Clients know their product better than anyone, we don’t have to try and prove we are smarter than anyone. We listen to feedback, take it on board and try to offer good solutions to the many challenges that can come up when buying media.

We offer a lot of unique features inside TrafficForce to help clients scale and balance their spend for the best ROI. Features like whitelists, auto ad optimization, conversion tracking and detailed analytics are good things to use to get the most out of your ad buys. We also have the experience I talked about earlier too, and that comes in handy constantly!

XBIZ: Which of your newly added features have proven most popular?

Allan: In early 2018, we rolled out video streaming ads for publishers and advertisers. It’s been a massive success so far and volume on these ad placements is growing month over month.

Our publishers seem to like the non-intrusive way the ads operate. Advertisers love it because their product is put in front of real users’ eyes and they get 20 to 25 seconds to sell their product to the user. You can do a lot of creative things in a 20-second ad instead of a 300 by 250 banner ad that may or may not be viewed by consumers at all.

XBIZ: What’s next for TrafficForce in 2018 and beyond?

Allan: As an exclusive for XBIZ, we are now ready to announce that we are beta testing our SSP right now. SSP stands for Supply Side Platform and will work with DSPs and exchanges to generate more revenue for our publishers’ traffic.

Having this new system allows us to connect to DSPs via openRTB bidding and will maximize CPMs with a large volume of buyers. It gives publishers more control over their traffic, the cost of their traffic and how much they wish to sell to exchanges. It’s an exciting new technology for us and is showing signs of success in the early stages of testing. We’re still fine-tuning it as of right now but we expect to have it fully open to the market in August of 2018.

We have some other things simmering as well, but those will be announced after the SSP officially launches. TrafficForce is always working on what’s next, and it’s rarely one improvement at a time. Usually we have several upgrades in the works for our clients all at once.