Andy Goldstein brings 23 years of financial experience to help support and scale Purch’s progressive publishing model 

NEW YORK, December 15, 2016 – Purch, a digital publisher that connects content to commerce, today announced the appointment of Andy Goldstein as Chief Financial Officer. Andy will bring strategic and financial leadership to Purch’s growing business, managing and optimizing the company’s diversified revenue streams.

“Purch’s diverse business model, recurring relationships with marketing partners, and the development of its member-based revenue streams make it arguably one of the most progressive digital publishers operating today,” said Greg Mason, CEO at Purch. “Andy’s varied experiences and capabilities will bring fresh insights to build upon Purch’s strong growth, profitability, and will further the evolution of our next-generation publishing model.”

Most recently, Andy served as executive vice president and CFO of the New Jersey Devils,Philadelphia 76ers and the Prudential Center Arena. He comes to Purch with 23 years of experience across the media and sports/entertainment industries and is skilled in managing strategic finance and accounting for private equity portfolio companies and  operating divisions of public companies ranging from $100MM to $2B in total revenue. Andy has held positions as EVP/CFO at InterMedia Outdoors, Inc., VP/CFO at Primedia Inc., and Director of Business Affairs at Sesame Street.com.

“Purch has many qualities that attracted me to it -  great content, commitment to users, scale -  but none more appealing than its unique and progressive publishing model, underpinned by its ambitious outlook on the future of content and commerce,” said Goldstein. “The company’s investments in developing its own Publishing Technology stack and other technology-enabled services are far beyond what others in the space are doing.  I look forward to driving increased profitability and accelerating growth for this innovative company.”

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Content marketing company Purch has partnered with Index Exchange for a new server-to-server integration for video header bidding, a tie-up it hopes will it maximize monetization opportunities while still not detracting from consumer experiences.

The integration will allow Purch to simultaneously auction banner and video ads with unlimited demand sources without adding any extra latency on the page, according to the pair.

Purch claims the development will ultimately improve transparency and competition, as many advocates of header bidding argue that adoption of the technology can help them open up to demand from third-party ad exchanges, thus reduce their reliance of the internet’s dominant ad stack (ie Google’s DoubleClick), thus reduce their reliance on ‘waterfalling‘.

However, detractors of the technology maintain that opening up to multiple sources of advertiser demand in real-time (ie when the publishers’ ad stack has to listen to multiple bids on an ad impression while a webpage loads) can negatively impact the user experience over latency issues.

However, both Index Exchange and Purch maintain they have found a means of striking a balance, with Andre Baden-Semper, vice president of sales and marketing for Europe at Purch, forecasting that the partnership will produce at 30-50% increase in advertising yield.

“One of the biggest challenges to publishers is to balance greater monetisation with a positive user experience. At Purch, we’ve always put the interests of the user first,” he said. “Instead of taking the more common approach to video header bidding, we’ve invested in building our own solution to connect to multiple exchanges via server-to-server connections, which is inherently faster and leads to a better experience for our users.”

Shael Fryer, vice president of enterprise at Index Exchange, added: “While we’re almost a full decade into the era of programmatic for display, innovation in the programmatic video supply chain has lagged behind, often still widely reliant on the waterfall model.

“In the case of Purch, we’re witnessing a level of innovation not yet seen in typical publisher video monetization models. Purch is ensuring they are maximising their transparency within the bidding landscape which will ultimately garner a better ROI.”

Read more: http://www.thedrum.com/news/2016/12/14/purch-partners-with-index-exchange-new-chapter-video-header-bidding

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Publishers don’t have an easy ride; and with so much to navigate in a constantly changing digital environment, the challenges they face become greater and more pronounced. How can publishers win in a world where Facebook and mobile apps seem to rule the roost? ExchangeWire speak with Phil Barrett (pictured below), SVP & GM, Purch, about where publishers should place their focus to achieve success in the long term.

ExchangeWire: How should publishers approach their relationships with walled gardens, such as Facebook? Are they working for or against publishers?

With approximately 40% of mobile app time spent on Facebook, publishers must access that audience, but they need to do so cautiously and strategically. While Facebook is certainly an effective vehicle to help drive users to publishers’ sites, becoming too reliant on a third party for traffic can be risky – just look at what happened to Buzzfeed when Facebook changed their algorithm.

In quantifying ROI within these walled gardens, publishers must figure out how to make their business model and revenue lines fit into Facebook’s platform and then compare it against the right metrics. For example, at Purch, we separately analyse our mobile and desktop engagement results. We’ve found that comparing results from Facebook Instant Articles to Google AMP and mobile web, for instance, helps us make informed decisions on where to invest in each platform.

Publishers should recognise the value in the Facebook Network as it provides decent monetisation, generally speaking, but the real ROI will come from Audience Acquisition (ex: lead generation, email signups) and Direct (native and affiliate) within FIA. That’s where publishers will see the long-term value from walled gardens.

Has Facebook Instant Articles driven a positive benefit for publishers? What does success look like?

Facebook Instant Articles has driven a positive benefit for publishers in terms of traffic, but for ROI, it’s a trickier narrative. Publishers complain that walled gardens like FIA pose problems with monetisation because articles live on a siloed platform rather than on the publisher site itself. Success is being able to turn this onset of extra traffic into lifetime value. We’ve found that the more helpful our content proves to be to our audiences, the more likely they are to reward us with a second visit – and, ultimately, with their long-term loyalty.

Are publishers mobile-ready? How can they ensure they are maximising their mobile return?

Phil Barrett, SVP & GM, Purch

Mobile is quickly overtaking desktop, so publishers need to be mobile ready, whether they like it or not. One way publishers can maximise their mobile return is through a mobile app. According to the 2016 US Mobile App report from comScore, 60% of total digital time is now spent in mobile apps, which further validates why publishers need to have an app strategy. Apps establish customer trust by providing a high-value product or service that helps accomplish a task, be it reading an expert review, comparing two products, or pulling up the latest coupon. Not only do apps provide the context users are looking for, they also create a natural bridge between activities and commerce – i.e., being helpful while still potentially resulting in a sale. We’re building shopper services that are centred around creating high-utility apps that serve the user through the entire purchase funnel, from research to shopping cart. By integrating content and commerce within a closed-loop app, we’re serving customer’s needs while also monetising during the right mobile moment. This is just one example of how publishers can navigate the roadmap.

Should publishers be shifting focus from desktop to mobile? Is that where the opportunity lies?

The short answer is a resounding “yes”! For the past two years, the number of mobile web users has exceeded desktop use, representing a huge opportunity for publishers to reach mobile users. The ability for direct action on mobile engages users in a way that desktop can’t – think ‘click to call’ or ‘click to map’ options on store websites, which translates into a highly personal experience. Given that people are on-the-go and use mobile to pay bills, check email, and surf Facebook, it’s imperative that publishers reach consumers where they are.

Beyond that, is in-app monetisation the answer, or does mobile web drive value for publishers?

Whether it’s in-app monetisation or mobile web use in general, the value for publishers really comes from having quality content and understanding the consumer. Publishers must balance content with ads that are non-intrusive, personalised and helpful to consumers, because this will encourage a repeat user – and there are much greater monetisation opportunities down the road once the relationship and loyalty have been established. Understanding mobile content consumption helps publishers create a more complete image of the consumer and allows them to serve a user on multiple platforms (desktop, social, in-app, web targeting, and more). In this sense, it’s not about in-app or mobile web, but is about reaching consumers on multiple platforms and providing them with a helpful service that keeps them coming back.

How can publishers win with social media platforms more generally?

Of course, the first steps to winning with social media platforms are keeping a close eye on trends and investing in technologies to act on the most helpful ones (watch for chatbots and voice interfaces!), but that’s not the kicker. Publishers can really win by driving a unique value proposition.

Publishers aren’t going to be successful by blindly adding ads, affiliate links, and buy buttons to their articles on social. It’s more important to consider users’ needs and how you can best service and reach them… and then determine the monetisation strategy. Publishers should be thinking about how to seamlessly and contextually insert themselves in conversations that are already happening on social – and do so in a nonintrusive way. They should use social to discover user needs before they arise, and should interact with their audiences via social, whether it’s commenting on social posts, promptly responding to questions, or looking at what users are liking and sharing. This deepens the relationship with the consumer and creates long-term loyalty. That’s the real win.

Read more: https://www.exchangewire.com/blog/2016/12/09/publishers-need-ready-wether-like-not-qa-phil-barrett-svp-gm-purch/

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Purch, which first implemented header bidding three years ago, has moved on.The portfolio of product review and tech sites turned off most of its header bidders last month and moved to server-to-server integrations with the same partners.

Industrywide, server-to-server is considered a logical next step after header bidding. Amazon is moving server-to-server, and Google’s exchange bidding product is building server-to-server connections with partners.

“What’s great about header bidding is that it adds more demand sources and competition,” said Purch CTO John Potter. “What’s not good about it is that the entire process takes place on the user’s browser. Moving server-to-server, we get rid of all that back-and-forth on the client side and remove a lot of clutter and latency from the user’s page.”

To create its server-to-server connections, Purch used its own team of engineers to work with its ad tech partners on developing server-to-server connections.

Once Purch switched to server-to-server connections, it saw latency decrease by at least half a second. Revenue held steady, maintaining the gains Purch saw when it switched to header bidding.

While Purch rolled out server-to-server, Potter kept its header bidding partners live, but he soon turned those off.

“As we added more demand sources [server-to-server], we found the header bidders weren’t winning enough inventory to make it worthwhile,” Potter said.

With its custom solution, Purch is including not just banner ad demand sources server-side, but partners bidding on video ads or native placements. It works with 21 partners via server-to-server integrations.

Those partners see Purch’s inventory more reliably, because fewer of their bids time out, Potter said. Ads serve faster, improving viewability and wasted bids.

By building its own solution, Purch can see every scrap of bidding data, including both winning and losing bids, and the spread between them. Potter considers data key to publishers controlling their inventory and understanding its true value.

While Purch’s move to the server side made sense for the company, Potter doesn’t expect many other publishers will take the same path. For one, publishers must have enough scale to entice their ad tech partners to build their end of the connection. And most publishers don’t employ ad tech engineering teams to build these connections.

“Publishers will have to wait for someone to productize it for the most part,” Potter predicted. “I think this is going to be slower than header bidding because it’s harder to implement.”

That said, Potter says Google’s exchange bidding product could see swift adoption and publishers will realize the gains of speed that come with server-to-server connections.

“When exchange bidding is rolled out as a full-fledged product to people,” he said, “it will go quickly.”

Read more: https://adexchanger.com/publishers/purch-ditches-header-bidding-moves-server-server/

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GIFT-BUYING season has arrived, and you might as well save some money while you’re at it. Plenty of apps can help make you a smarter shopper.

It may seem obvious, but the Amazon app is an excellent tool to have on your phone as you peruse the offerings at your local mall.

The app’s product pages can provide information about an item that you may not learn from an in-store display, and if you prefer to order the item from Amazon instead of buying in the store, the app has a built-in product-recognition system. Simply hold the item in front of your phone’s camera and the app will show Amazon search results that match the product.

I often use Amazon’s app to compare prices and check customer reviews, which may help me decide what products to buy. But the app’s design is beginning to look a little dated, and the menus and interface can sometimes feel clunky and confusing. The app is free on iOS and Android.

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The Amazon app is a helpful tool while perusing the offerings in stores.

Clothing is a popular shopping category, and a number of apps can help you find just the right outfit for the right price. My favorite clothes shopping app that caters to high-end fashion is Farfetch. It focuses on luxury brands and designer labels, including many discounted items. When you sign up for a free account, you choose to shop for men or women and then are presented with a selected list of deals on many kinds of clothing.

From there, you can choose to filter items by designer or by criteria like “new in today” or “sales,” or you can search for specific items. The app has many images, making it easy to navigate various submenus for accessories or jewelry. You can swipe through the many photos on the screen once you have narrowed your search parameters.

When you find, say, a nice-looking pair of Jimmy Choos, you can tap to see more product details. Then you can check size information and the shipping policy, click the “order by phone” button or go to the website to type in any questions you have about the product before you buy it.

Farfetch is upfront about delivery and return policies, and in general it’s a breeze to use. The app is free on iOS and Android.

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The ASOS app, a photo-heavy online shopping app.

If you want to browse lower-price clothing, the ASOS app has you covered. Also a photo-centric online shopping app, ASOS features deals on clothing items that typically cost tens of dollars instead of hundreds. It, too, is free on iOS and Android.

ShopSavvy is a different kind of shopping app: It searches the internet constantly, looking for deals in different stores for various products, and then presents all the results as a news feed of deals. You can search for sales in different stores, including big retailers like Target, or scan a bar code or search for a particular product and then ask the app to check for an in-store deal on the item nearby.

You can even set up price-tracking alerts, so the app will let you know if the price of a particular item you are eyeing has gone down. This app is fun to use, and it could save you money. ShopSavvy is free on both iOS and Android.

Lastly, Purchx is an app with a mission similar to ShopSavvy’s: finding you good prices for items. But while ShopSavvy focuses on deals, Purchx also incorporates customer reviews, collecting them alongside information on current prices. If you are trying to decide between, say, two similar television sets, the data in Purchx can help inform your choice. Purchx isn’t the prettiest shopping app, but it works well and is free on iOS and Android.

Quick Call

Swaying is an iPhone video-making app with a twist: It uses a faux 3-D effect to let you see around an object in a video. It records a clip when you circle your phone around the object you want to capture, and in playback mode you rotate your phone to see around the item. Unusual and satisfying, Swaying is free on iOS.

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