Interviewing entrepreneurs in China: Ad tech in China is reshaping the online landscape

China Paradigm interviewed Shimi Azar, the general manager of Spotad, a unique provider of ad tech in China, to learn everything behind the rising ad tech in China which is redefining online advertising in China.

Shimi Azar, an expert in online advertising in China and a tech expert

Born and raised in Israel, Shimi Azar completed his Master’s Degree in East Asian studies at the Hebrew University in 2011. After discovering his vast interests in China, Shimi exchanged to Peking University for only one semester but ended up staying in China for over 10 years.

After graduation, Shimi worked as the process manager at Lionbridge, a global software and professional service company. At the same time, he also assisted the Embassy of Israel in Beijing with its social media strategies, during which he observed the fast-growing online advertising in China and started to shift his focus.

In 2016, he joined Spotad, a digital platform providing advanced ad tech in China, and leveraged his experience and skills to create compelling digital strategies for clients on the ad exchanges in China and help the company develop its business territory in online advertising in China.

ad tech in China
[Shimi Azar, the general manager of Spotad, a fast-growing startup providing online ad tech in China]

Spotad: Using advanced ad tech in China to simplify the harsh world of online advertising in China

Back in 2015, when Shimi was still helping the Embassy of Israel with its online platforms, he discovered that international corporates were facing difficulties adapting to the unique world of online advertising in China. Approached by Spotad, an Israeli startup specialized in online ad tech in China; he decided to challenge himself by entering an industry that is completely unfamiliar to him.

online advertising in China
[Spotad, an Israeli revolutionary provider of online ad tech in China]

When talking about the history of the firm, Shimi said that, in the beginning, the company was only creating different kinds of online ads in China for clients. But later on, they realized that the profits were not from creating online advertising in China, but from serving them. “This is where we started working on building our own ad tech in China,” said Shimi.

Holding the mission of making online advertising in China easier for international corporates, Spotad has successfully developed its unique system with advanced ad tech in China, which combines big data, machine learning, and A.I. all together to help clients buy space.

“Now everything in our ad tech in China is automated, which means people no longer need to sit and buy the online ads in China manually,” said Shimi, proudly.

How the rising ad tech in China redefines the industry

In order to maximize exposure with online ads, brands need to occupy as many places as possible on the big ad exchanges in China with billions of daily impressions, such as Baidu, Tencent, etc. However, not all of the ad exchanges in China are useful for clients. Therefore, the top priority for Shimi and his team is to identify and reach the targeted audience for clients.

“This is where our ad tech in China kicks in. We use the data to see if the user who opens the online ad is the one we want to display for,” explained Shimi.

Through the unique IDFA code of each digital device, Spotad is able to tag the Chinese online users with their location, preferences, and online behaviors and create tailor-made digital strategies for clients to reach their targeted audience via online advertising.

“The ad tech in China is proprietary to us in terms of database inventory,” said Shimi, “We don’t know who the users are, but we can tell where you live, what phone you are using. This kind of information allows us to identify the targeted audience.”

The differences between online advertising in China and the West

Unlike American or European clients who are willing to spend enough money for good results of online advertising, Chinese brands want to see immediate results with low budgets, which spawns the birth of fake ads in China. A lot of ad companies pretend to display online advertising in China, but once the Chinese online users click on them, the ad will redirect them to something else. “It is not easy to avoid them, but you still can,” said Shimi.

To tackle this problem for clients, Spotad utilizes ad tech to scan the ad space they get from the suppliers and ensure the viewability of their online advertising in China. Moreover, Spotad chooses only to work with ad exchanges like Baidu and Tencent, who have their own internal ad tech in China to detect problems with the traffic.

The future of online advertising lies in E-commerce

In the past decade, foreign investors always looked at online advertising in China with distrust because of the prevalence of fake ads. However, witnessing the fast-growing E-commerce in China, they found that online advertising cannot be ignored anymore.

“Today, E-commerce in China has reached the West. They are doing a lot of similar, even maybe more than the West,” said Shimi.

Way back in 2007, 5 years ahead of Amazon, Alibaba Group, the leading E-commerce group in China, has already launched its own online ad exchange in China. With its voluminous data gathered from its Chinese online users, big players, such as Alibaba and JD, are able to target Chinese online users very precisely based on their search history.

“E-commerce in China is trying to innovate, and the West is copying from the online advertising in China,” concluded Shimi, “We already reached the future.”


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