Employee Spotlight: Hee Dong Jung

heedongHee Dong Jung, SW Engineer – Tech Lead 

Responsibilities at Drawbridge:
I am a tech lead software engineer in the online server part of the platform team. My team members and I manage online servers that can process all of our ad requests and handle impressions, clicks, and conversions generated as a result of the ad serving. We develop various features into these servers to help both external customers and internal needs. In addition, we manage the servers so that they are reliable and scalable. We also research on many open source frameworks like Kafka, Memcached, CouchBase, protobuf, etc., and apply to our online servers if needed.

Background: After finishing my Master’s Degree in computer science at UIUC, I joined Yahoo! as a software engineer. Hadoop framework and big data processing got my interest when I learned them at Yahoo!, and I always wanted to work at a startup in Silicon Valley at some point in my life. Drawbridge not only satisfies both categories, but the company had a clear idea of what to do with the big data when other start-ups were still trying to figure out what to do with it.

Interests Outside of Drawbridge: I enjoy playing and watching basketball. I play basketball at least once every week. I also love to travel and try to go to places I haven’t been whenever I find time. I also try to stay up to date on sports and tech news.

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Cross-Device Advertising Myth #3: Login Data is the Holy Grail of Online Identity

Drawbridge CEO Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan recently busted five myths about cross-device advertising. We’re expanding on her presentation in this five-part series of blog posts.


Myth #3: Login Data is the Holy Grail of Online Identity

Why Does This Myth Persist?
Marketers know that consumers use a mix of devices throughout their days, but they often think that the only way to reach these audiences across devices is to rely on a solution that uses login or registration data that’s tied to personal identity. Marketers want to reach consumers on multiple devices, and they assume that it’s easiest, most accurate, and most scalable to do so through large deterministic solutions. We can see that marketers think this is the ideal approach simply by looking at where their money goes. Facebook is one example of a platform that relies on login data, and the company’s advertising revenues continue to climb with no signs of slowing.


Marketers clearly continue to pour money into reaching registered users, and on the surface, this makes sense. Logins and registrations provide this connection. But this isn’t the only way to accurately reach a large section of the population.

Here’s the Truth…
Predictive technology can not only solve for cross-device identity, but the scale and accuracy is similar to that of solutions that rely on login or registration data. Plus, predictive tools can do this in a less invasive fashion, using only non-permanent, user-resettable identifiers (such as cookies or device IDs) to make these connections.

How Do We Know?
scaleDrawbridge approaches cross-device consumer reach in a probabilistic, or predictive, fashion. By observing a variety of event logs, including ad requests, and correlating those attributes, Drawbridge can make predictions about consumers and their devices. Today Drawbridge has a reach of more than one billion consumers across more than three billion devices, and the accuracy of the predictive model has been validated against third-party login data to be 87% accurate. Even when looking at monthly active unique users, a probabilistic solution such as Drawbridge’s has a reach that is in the running with the better-known deterministic providers, and at comparable accuracy.

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Drawbridge Adds Connected TV Capabilities; Consumer Graph Hits 3 Billion Devices!

Connected TV Graphic Moved TV-01

Today Drawbridge announced the addition of Connected TVs to the Connected Consumer Graph, enabling programmatic execution across smart TVs and set-top streaming devices, including Roku, Xbox, and Apple TV devices, as well as Samsung and Sony Smart TVs.

“We’re completely flipping the paradigm of how TV advertising has traditionally worked by bringing cross-device reach to connected televisions,” said Drawbridge VP of Product Management Rahul Bafna. “Instead of showing a TV commercial and waiting to gauge audience interest from purchases and other offline metrics, we have the ability to reach audiences that we know are relevant based on device ownership, demographic, brand affinity, lifestyle, interest, and other data inferred from usage across devices. Plus advertisers can finally understand how reach on television influences consumers’ actions on other devices.”

The story was covered exclusively by TechCrunch, which noted Drawbridge’s accomplishments and mindset: “[Drawbridge Founder & CEO] Sivaramakrishnan also pointed to the fact that Drawbridge’s device graph now includes more than 3 billion devices that are connected to 1 billion users, and she argued that her company’s approach, which doesn’t use user login data, is taking ‘the moral high ground’ because it’s ‘keeping the separation of church and state — consumer privacy is kept sacrosanct.’

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Employee Spotlight: Amit Mahale

amitAmit Mahale, Software Engineer

Responsibilities at Drawbridge:
I am currently working as a Software Engineer with the data team here. I work on the reporting and analytics system which processes billions of requests each day and acts as the backbone for billing, attribution, and machine-learning systems.

In the past year, I have worked on multiple projects to scale the backend system to handle 4X previous request volume. Most recently I worked on our new cross-device attribution system.

Background: After completing my masters in CS, I jumped into the ad-tech space. Prior to Drawbridge, I worked at Jumptap and Millennial Media. The advertising dataset and the application of big data technologies makes me feel excited to be in this space.

I was looking to work for a Silicon Valley startup when I decided to move from Boston, and Drawbridge felt like a perfect match because of the early entry in cross-device advertising.

Interests Outside of Drawbridge: Apart from watching movies and documentaries and reading novels, I am currently excited about the advancement of wearables and smart device space and I like to spend time reading about that. I also enjoy spending some quiet time at Shoreline Park during the weekends.

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Employee Spotlight: Henry Chen

Henry ChenHenry ”The Ops Guy” Chen

Responsibilities at Drawbridge: I lead the Tech Ops team at Drawbridge. My team is responsible for all production infrastructure and IT. We work with lots of open-source technology and constantly improve on system automation.

With a small team, we manage infrastructure in three data centers; hosting a platform infrastructure serving 200K+ queries per second and three Hadoop clusters with 1PB+ of storage capacity and 3K+ CPU of computing capacity.

Background: I spent eight years with a previous startup (acquired), then Yahoo!, then Proofpoint (IPO’d), and have been with Drawbridge for almost three years.

While at Yahoo!, I led the effort to design and deploy the next generation of the Display Advertising serving platform and a self-serve Inventory Management System. After learning about online advertising at Yahoo!, Drawbridge’s vision to solve the cross-device problem made complete sense. I was working on my MBA when Drawbridge called, but I felt it was a real exciting opportunity I couldn’t pass up. It’s fascinating to see what our data scientists are solving each day!

Interests Outside of Drawbridge: When I want to be active, I enjoy exploring trails with my mountain bike. When I want something to relax me, yet frustrate me at the same time, I take up golf.  Working at a startup, sleep is never enough… so I’m definitely interested in that.

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Cross-Device Advertising Myth #2: Multi-Device Equals Cross-Device

Drawbridge CEO Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan recently busted five myths about cross-device advertising. We’re expanding on her presentation in this five-part series of blog posts.

Myth #2: Multi-Device Equals Cross-Device

Multi-Device Insertion Order

Why Does This Myth Persist?
Does this image look familiar? Most Insertion Orders specify spend on mobile, desktop and tablet – a multi-device campaign. Because there are a lot of buzzwords in the industry today – multi-device, cross-device, cross-screen, omnichannel – there’s confusion between these terms, and most people assume they are one and the same. Our industry has admittedly not done a great job defining and differentiating these terms. Until now…

Here’s the Truth…
A campaign that randomly happens to hit the same consumer on different devices doesn’t make it a cross-device campaign. Allocating spend in multiple channels is different that deliberately reaching consumer across devices.

How Do We Know?
Cross-device advertising enables a multitude of targeting options that “multi-device” campaigns could never dream of. In addition to retargeting users from desktop to mobile, or mobile to desktop, or even mobile web to mobile app, cross-device identity allows advertisers to run more interesting campaigns, such as conquesting campaigns that target users of a specific product or service. Location-based campaigns can serve ads on desktop based on where that consumer was earlier with their mobile phone, and can tell advertisers how online ads affect offline behavior. Sequential messaging allows advertisers to tell a story that guides a consumer to a conversion event, even as the consumer switches devices. With “multi-device” campaigns, advertisers are lucky to hit the same consumer twice – let alone deliver advanced campaigns.

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Employee Spotlight: Sanjay Agarwal

Sanjay Agarwal, Director of Engineering

Responsibilities at Drawbridge: I manage platform engineering. My team is responsible for building core systems, such as ad servers to process incoming ad requests, and Hadoop-based batch-processing systems for reporting, targeting, and plumbing for our cross-device graph.

We have adopted a wide array of open-source technologies and have had great success with this approach. Drawbridge’s technology stack contains Hadoop (CDH5), Kafka, Java, Spring, Hibernate, CouchBase, and MySQL as main components.

One notable accomplishment of the team’s work is our low latency ad servers. We process up to 200,000 queries per second with an average response time for each request of less than 20 milliseconds!

Background: My background is in advertising, data processing, platforms and highly scalable real-time systems. My passion for advertising and building something new and cool brought me to Drawbridge.

Interests Outside of Drawbridge: I love the outdoors – especially camping and hiking. I also enjoy playing tennis. I like to keep track of what’s going on in the Valley and the new problems people are trying to solve.

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Cross-Device Advertising Myth #1: Mobile Isn’t Targetable

Drawbridge CEO Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan recently busted five myths about cross-device advertising. We’re expanding on her presentation in this five-part series of blog posts.

Cross-Device Advertising Myth #1: Mobile Isn’t Targetable

Myth #1: Mobile Isn’t Targetable

Why Does This Myth Persist?
In meetings with brands and agencies, and on panels at industry events, we regularly hear that “mobile doesn’t have cookies,” meaning that those devices can’t be properly linked, their owners can’t be tracked across the web, and targeting isn’t accurate. Just check out these headlines from industry publications that perpetuate this myth:

In addition to this problem, there’s the issue that within smartphones, there are essentially two devices. Connecting mobile web browsers to mobile apps on one device is tough, let alone linking that device to tablets and desktops. In addition, iOS mobile devices block third-party cookies by default, which makes tracking on iPhones and iPads more difficult than on Android devices.

With all of these issues with tracking on mobile, it’s no wonder that the industry has been convinced that mobile devices aren’t targetable.

Here’s the Truth…
Marketers need to target consumers – not devices.

How Do We Know?
Cross-device consumer targeting drives mobile performance. By leveraging desktop data, mobile app behavior, and location – we can target and retarget users based on any number of dimensions from demographics to interests and intent. Drawbridge has connected over 1.1 billion consumers across 2.6 billion devices, and when we run a targeted campaign for an advertising partner, we’re optimizing towards the types of consumers that are likely to engage with the ad and ultimately convert. iPhones and Android tablets don’t convert – their owners do. So advertisers need to target the users, not the devices.

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Employee Spotlight: Obuli Krishnaraj V

obuliObuli Krishnaraj V, Software Engineer

Responsibilities at Drawbridge: I lead the Hadoop platform team, which is responsible for building profiles for each and every device based on historic actions. I am also responsible for Drawbridge’s reporting and conversion tracking platforms. I’ve been with Drawbridge for two years.

Background: I was part of the Search and Cloud Platforms group at Yahoo! for six years, and worked on Hadoop from its initial stage. I wanted to work at a start-up working on big data and Hadoop, and came across Drawbridge. From my experience at Yahoo!, I understand the difficulties that are present when trying to learn more about users based on their actions. This becomes even harder without personally identifiable information. I find the way that Drawbridge is trying to solve this with big data challenging and exciting.

Interests Outside of Drawbridge: I like going on long drives, reading science-fiction and fiction novels, and watching Tamil movies (one of the Indian languages spoken in my home state).

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Five Tips for Effective Cross-Device Advertising: #5 – Input Drives Output!

Drawbridge recently released the “Five Tips for Using Cross-Device Advertising Effectively” white paper, which detailed easy practices for maximizing the performance of cross-device campaigns. In this series of blog posts, we’ll dive deeper into each of the five tips.Tip #4 – Input Drives Output!

Aside from using campaign data to optimize on the fly during the course of your campaign, providing as much data as you can to your cross-device advertising platform partner up front will be beneficial for a number of reasons. Historical data from previous campaigns will give the Ad Operations team a head start in optimizing the campaign to reach your goals, and any first- or third-party customer data you have can be utilized for targeting or creating lookalike audience segments.

Campaigns run through Drawbridge are both machine-driven and manually optimized by account managers, and the more data provided to both the algorithm and the team, the more data there is to crunch to look for trends. If you don’t have data to provide, setting clear performance indicators and tracking towards them throughout the campaign will help you reach your goals, as the team and self-learning bidder will have a head-start in optimization.

In addition, sending post-conversion data will help your campaign in multiple ways. Drawbridge’s Connected Consumer Graph enables advertisers to see how ads served on one device influence behavior on other devices, including conversions that were previously unattributable. Providing post-conversion data also allows you to make more informed decisions in future campaigns. And arguably most importantly, inputting post-conversion data into the Drawbridge self-learning bidder, specifically customer lifetime value data, enables the bidder to target customers with similar qualities to your most valuable users.

Just remember – the better the input, the better the output!

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