Digital advertising group Bidstack (LSE:BIDS) shot up 13.5pc higher to 14.8p on Wednesday after establishing an advisory committee, with some industry heavy hitters joining the company. Bidstack reports that this is a significant development for its long-term strategy, as the new talent helps the business realise its ambitious plan.
Bidstack, which has developed technology that inserts adverts into video games, said the committee will harness the talents of high profiles executive from the worlds of video games and digital advertising. These executives will use their experience in areas relevant to the firm’s growth to provide it with strategic input and direction and introduce the company potential customers and partners.
So far, two individuals have been appointed to the committee. The first of these is Joel Livesey, director of partnerships, EMEA, at major digital advertising business The Trade Desk. In this role, he oversees the company’s supply-side strategy and activation across EMEA, working with both local and global partners on strategic development. Livesey and his team work directly with many publishers and technology partners to ensure client needs are met across all major channels. He has also spent over a decade working on supply partnerships at businesses like AOL, Criteo, and AudienceScience, and regularly contribute thought leadership pieces to crucial trade publications.
Meanwhile Bidstack has also appointed Spotify’s Pete Beeney to the committee. Beeney has 17 years of experience in print, out-of-home, and e-commerce, and – most recently – has spent the last six years building and managing Spotify’s global partnership with advertising giant WPP. Before working at the music streaming service, Beeney contributed to the early-stage growth of independent British tailoring start-up A Suit That Fits.
Bidstack’s technology lets game developers monetise their titles further by integrating adverts into spaces that sit naturally within their games. The firm also allows advertising agencies and brands to maximise the efficiency of their adverts by using this space to target users based on variables like age, gender, and location while changing adverts in real time.
Since listing on AIM last September, Bidstack has been working to expand its sales team, product range, and customer base. When it entered the market, its adverts had been integrated into four games including Football Manager 18. Since then it has signed a contract with Codemasters to provide native in-game advertising for two of its titles – one of which is racing simulator DiRT Rally 2.0.
Last month, it also went live with its first full integration with a demand-side platform (DSP). The deal with Avocet Systems represented the first time its advertising inventory has been able to buy programmatically on a DSP. A DSP allows buyers of digital advertising space to purchase programmatically on one interface. This sort of arrangement enables Bidstack to take bids directly and control the price of its advertising space.
Wednesday’s update represents another milestone in the firm’s development. Critically, it follows the recent announcement of cloud-based video game streaming services by both Google and Microsoft. These services – which are called Google Stadia and Project xCloud – will be direct competitors to Sony’s existing PlayStation Store.
According to Bidstack’s CEO James Draper, the services represent the first signs that the video gaming industry is moving towards a streamed subscription model, akin to what Spotify created in the music industry. With this in mind, Bidstack’s engagement with Beeney, a key member of Spotify, and Livesey, a key player in the DSP market, represent something of a coup for the business. They also provide validation of the business’s plans to follow in the footsteps of Spotify and create a net new media category of in-game advertising.
As Draper puts it: ‘Spotify’s ad format was seen as “net-new” inventory and, initially, as an interesting challenge for DSPs to integrate, when Spotify’s advertising offering was launched. With Pete’s knowledge and understanding of how WPP could buy and report on that inventory, he was a logical appointment.
‘Joel is a leading light at one of the world’s best-known DSPs. We are looking to integrate Bidstack into major DSP platforms, given that’s where the majority of digital display advertising dollars are spent – so Joel’s advice and assistance will be of great benefit.’