This interview is part of our new Blockchain In Advertising series, where we interview the world's leading thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between blockchain and advertising.
In this interview we speak with Charles Manning, CEO and founder of Kochava and XCHNG, to understand how his company is using blockchain to transform the advertising business, and what the future of the industry holds.
1. What’s the story behind Kochava? Why and how did you begin with XCHNG?
CM: Kochava Inc. is a provider of secure, real-time data solutions. We help customers establish identity, define and activate audiences, and measure and optimize all aspects of their marketing. Kochava provides enterprise brands with a consolidated Unified Audience Platform including data management and onboarding, cross-device configurable attribution, analytics, engagement, industry-leading fraud protection, and data enrichment. With a culture of customer-driven service and innovation, dedication to data security, and the most powerful tools in the ecosystem, Kochava is trusted by top brands to harness their data for growth.
In 2015, Charles Manning (Kochava CEO) was extremely intrigued by cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. As CEO of Kochava, a measurement company for connected devices, he saw how the technology applied to measurement and how it can improve the industry we serve. This intrigue was the impetus for (among other things) XCHNG. Kochava will be a first participant that uses and implement its services in XCHNG as a decentralized system for advertising buying and selling. This is an important fact that shows our support for the project and our mission to continue to serve customers who use Kochava
2. Please describe your use case and how you use blockchain:
CM: XCHNG is an open and unified blockchain-based framework for the digital advertising ecosystem. This network is comprised of the independent industry marketplace outside of the walled gardens (eg, Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc.). The XCHNG framework is centered around a common smart contract with an open blockchain implementation to persist transactional history and provide supporting utilities required for maximizing efficiency through the lifecycle of the Insertion Order (a means to purchase media).
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
CM: This framework is for all current parties within the digital advertising ecosystem (even competitors), and there will be a role for everyone to transition into while continuing to operate their business using current technology approaches for media transactions. We think of XCHNG as enabling today’s transactions running on tomorrow’s rails, with the benefits of increased transparency, security, and efficiency. At the end of the day this is very much an ecosystem play and unlike today, allowing a common set of rules to be used throughout the industry. We have a number of customers beginning to run pilots on XCHNG, but we are yet at a point where we can't disclose those customers, nor do we yet have enough time in the pilot to share results. We look forward to publicizing these projects in the coming quarters.
4. What other blockchain use cases in advertising are you excited about?
CM: Solving for identity. Fraud can’t totally be solved by implementing blockchain alone but tracking publisher identity along with governance will have a huge impact on fraud. Solving for identity at scale is something that this industry won’t see until this new technology is implemented. The digital advertising vertical has grown very quickly and essentially created an overlap in regards to bidding. In some cases marketers are competing with themselves by purchasing media on multiple platforms. Governance within a blockchain is something that can improve what we’re dealing with today. As an industry, we can all agree on certain aspects or actions that would be considered fraudulent. A click from an Android user installing an application on an iOS device shouldn’t ever be billed for or considered valid. In this example, that logic along with others could be built into a smart contract to enforce only true iOS installs vs. mismatched installs. Also by tracking identity, blockchain networks could include or exclude publishers or users that are creating issues or perpetrating fraud within the ecosystem.
5. Where will XCHNG be in 5 years?
CM: XCHNG paired with Kochava’s offering will be implemented across the industry and allowing efficiencies to happen within the digital supply chain at scale. Kochava isn’t charging money for anyone to leverage XCHNG which is why it will accelerate once the industry is comfortable with the change of landscape and sees the benefits of the emerging technology.
About Charles Manning
Charles Manning is the founder and CEO of Kochava, the leading mobile attribution analytics platform serving tier-one advertisers worldwide. For nearly 20 years, Charles has been creating technologies that use data for system optimization, ranging from business service management (BSM) to information technology (IT) to attribution analytics, and most recently blockchain. Charles began his career at Oracle, and later held executive and C-Level positions at M-Code, Managed Objects, and PLAYXPERT.
Prior to founding Kochava, Charles founded PLAYXPERT – which started as a gaming technology platform. After licensing the PLAYXPERT technology to Razer, Charles built a team that focused its time on building engagement platforms for entrepreneurs and agencies. Upon realizing that there were no standard platforms providing effective attribution or post-install analytics in mobile – Charles and his team built one, and Kochava was born. The Kochava technology is now integrated with more than 3,500 networks and publishers and is trusted by hundreds of brands including the biggest names in mobile gaming, news and media, and consumer goods.