Coull news

We did it! Coull at Do It Day

We did it! Coull at Do It Day

The Drum’s ‘Do It Day’ is all about using marketing to destigmatise mental health. Many people from agencies, technology companies and publishers gathered their creative ideas to produce six different advertising campaigns for six different charities. Amongst those people were Coull’s Product Manager Ben Sonnex and Coull’s Marketing Executive, Naomi Sandercock.

YoungMinds team - The Drum Do it Day 2017

Naomi and her group were working with the YoungMinds charity, a charity that aims to help raise awareness of mental health among young children. Their campaign ‘Take20’ encourages parents to take 20 minutes a week to do an activity with their children. This time can be used to talk to their child about how they’re feeling, whilst doing something that they both enjoy. Whatever the activity, having regular conversations in a relaxed space can help parents to provide reassurance and support from a young age.

They launched the campaign by taking their own advice and taking 20 minutes to have a football game in Regent’s Park and inviting members of the public to also ‘take20’. The campaign has caught the attention of the media and has already been covered by Huffington PostThe Metro and The Sunday Mirror (being printed this week).

Naomi said: “It’s been such a great experience, our group and everyone from Youngminds has worked together so well and now we have something really amazing to show for it. It feels really good to give my time and skills for such a great cause, I really hope this campaign lives on and spreads the important message: it’s time to make time.”

The Mix ad - The Drum Do it Day

The Mix was the charity that Ben and his group created a campaign for. The Mix aims to provide mental health support for under 25s. A study by The Mix found that three in four under 25s believe they are misrepresented in the news media. Based on this research, the campaign ‘In The Mix’, set out to disrupt the negative news agenda by creating a different 6 o’clock news bulletin, produced with young people, for young people.

YouTube stars, Niki and Sammy, presented the show and made appearances on Sky News on the lead up to the 6pm bulletin. Not only this, the team did a Kiss FM takeover for an hour on Launch Day and called in favours to secure advertising space on huge outdoor billboards in London. They promoted their first bulletin with a mysterious message: ‘Done with Fake News? Something Real is Coming…16/11/17 – 6pm’.

This campaign was voted the winning Do It Day campaign by the judges and will now provide a lasting legacy for The Mix with fortnightly ‘In The Mix’ shows.

Ben said: “I feel privileged to have contributed to the winning ‘In the Mix’ campaign and super proud to have been a part of The Drum’s Do it Day. What all the teams achieved in just over 5 weeks was quite incredible and experiencing first hand the challenges Coull’s agency partners tackle day-by-day was inspiring. I’m grateful I’ve had the chance to support an amazing charity and work with a very talented group of people, some of whom went above and beyond to make ‘In the Mix’ a success.”

You can read about all of the Do It Day campaigns here.

Posted by Naomi Sandercock in Coull news
5 things Dmexco 2017 taught me

5 things Dmexco 2017 taught me

Coull at Dmexco 2017

Dmexco may not be in Mexico… but you will still have a great time. Left to right: Elle (UniLad), Me – Naomi (Coull), Jordan (UniLad), Dan (Coull)

Dmexco, not ‘Dmexico’. It’s not actually related to the sunny beaches of Mexico at all, I found out earlier this year (to my dismay). Swap sand with the streets of Cologne. Replace palm trees with hundreds of exhibitors. Change up the sunshine for the unpredictable, autumnal weather of Cologne. Keep about the same levels of alcohol… and you have Dmexco.

Though, I quickly realised Dmexco (The Digital Marketing Exposition & Conference) would not disappoint. It’s one of the biggest digital marketing conferences in the world, it hosts over 40,000 visitors and more than 500 top speakers impart their knowledge. As a first timer to the conference, here are the 5 things I learnt from Dmexco 2017…

Koelnmesse, the venue for Dmexco

Koelnmesse, the venue for Dmexco

  1. The digital advertising industry is much bigger than you think

It’s easy to forget the sheer size of the online marketing world until you step into Koelnmesse, the colossal trade fair hall. The halls are packed full to the brim with marketing experts and bright and bold booths trying to lure you in. Over 40,000 people attended the event this year…and that’s only a small percentage of the whole industry!

  1. Video, video…and more video

Phrases like “pivot to video” have been thrown around a lot in the past year. And let’s face it, people love visual content, it’s simple to consume, it’s creative and it’s exciting.

On the second day of Dmexco, Facebook’s Vice President of Global Marketing Solutions, Carolyn Everson, was on a panel about ‘Video: Connecting People, Reshaping Marketing’. She said, “Most recently, what we’re seeing is the consumption of videos…78%-90% of mobile traffic will be driven by video. Every time we estimate video consumption on our platform, we underestimate it. What we’re seeing is a really exciting opportunity for marketers to reach consumers in many different formats of video, in the form that they love, which is sight, sound and motion.”

  1. AI and VR are both pretty cool, but they still have a long way to go

The two buzzwords in the industry for this year…AI and VR. More and more technology is being developed to mirror human interactions. Artificial intelligence has taken the form of chatbots and voice search, so it’s like talking to human instead of a machine. Also, Virtual Reality has meant more immersive experiences, particularly through VR headsets. As exciting as these both are, they’re still seen as entertainment and it will be a while until they’re integrated into everyday life.

  1. It’s easy to get caught up in the buzz, but don’t forget about the real issues

There’s a certain buzz you get when you’re at Dmexco because there’s so much going on: thousands of people networking, hundreds of exhibitors, new innovations to see, talks to hear…I could go on. It’s very easy to see how you could get caught up in the Dmexco whirlwind and forget about the serious stuff. But it’s important not to ignore the problems in the industry. The main themes this year were GDPR, ad blocking and brand safety.

Here are the key takeaways from the discussions I heard:

  • The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is being enforced in May 2018. It brings Europe under one privacy law. And although there are penalties, “it’s not all bad news”, said Acxiom’s European Privacy Officer, Dr Sachiko Scheuing in the ‘Preparing for GDPR: Embracing the Inevitable Regulations’ debate at Dmexco. She said, “GDPR is a great success. Now we’re talking about the obsolescence of opt-in. Opt-in made the consumers accountable, so without improving any privacy, you’re doing nothing else but putting the responsibility to the wrong side. GDPR puts that in the right context and I really welcome that.”

  • Ad blocking should encourage businesses to be more creative to engage the consumer, not annoy them. Advertising works best when it gives users space, chooses the moment and excites the consumer.

  • P&G’s Marc Pritchard called for all companies to follow a set of standards including MRC accreditation and brand safety guarantees in the Dmexco keynote: ‘A Wake-Up Call’. He said, ”2017 isn’t over yet but it’s sounded several wake up calls for the marketing world. The reality is, in 2017 the bloom came off the rose for digital media. The reason is the substantial waste in what has become a murky, non-transparent, even fraudulent, media supply chain. If we all raise the bar and transform ourselves, we can accelerate market growth that will lift all of us and will especially benefit consumers.”

  1. Not all freebies are created equal

The Dmexco experience isn’t complete until you get a weird freebie. If you really wanted to, you could walk away with a suitcase full of weird and wonderful freebies. Of course, you have the classic squishy stress balls and branded notepads and pens. However, I find the unconventional ones much more interesting.

Here are some of the weird freebies I saw:

  • Bright orange flip flops

  • A high vis jacket

  • Many fidget spinners

  • Shower caps

  • Plasters

  • Mini shower speaker

  • Grow a plant (in a can)

  • Berocca, Alka seltzer and tea bag selection

Tweet us your best and worst Dmexco freebie: @Coull

So, until next year Cologne…

Cologne cathedral - Dmexco 2017

Cologne Cathedral

Posted by Naomi Sandercock in Coull news
Coull reflect on the year and prepare for the winter ahead…

Coull reflect on the year and prepare for the winter ahead…

Coull escaped the office in early September for a team event, co-sponsored by Sphere Digital Recruitment. The day’s focus was not only about company updates but self-reflection and team building (and of course, some drinks to help with that #FridayFeeling).

Coull team day - self-reflection & preparation

Sphere’s James Everett and Coull’s Managing Director, Dan Ginns led a discussion around the Tuckman theory. In brief, it’s a theory that helps identify development within teams. Although this theory is over 50 years old, it’s still just as relevant today.

There are four main stages of growth: forming, storming, norming and performing.

Tuckman's team development model - Coull team day

The team were asked to plot themselves and their teams on the graph, however, there isn’t a ‘right’ or a ‘wrong’ answer. The Tuckman theory is used to help define different stages in business so that the team can identify where they are and where they want to be.

Self-reflection is crucial in all walks of life. It’s important to recognise both weaknesses and strengths. If we can only see weaknesses, this leads to little self-belief and full potential can’t be reached. On the other hand, if all we can see is our strengths and triumphs, this can lead us to fall into our own traps.

The same goes for businesses and company culture. It’s very easy to notice only strengths or only weaknesses. Yes, there’s always room for improvement, but there’s also a time to celebrate.

At Coull, we know how significant it is to be self-critical, especially if we want to grow as a business. More importantly, we know how to celebrate achievements (and throw a good party!).

Coull company day - self-reflection & preparation

What did we learn?

  • Self-reflection leads to success

  • Not everyone plotted themselves in the same place on the graph – this means we can support each other and work together as a team

  • Not to concentrate too much on KPIs (they only represents a small margin of people), instead we should think about brand uplift and awareness

  • Data insights are important to back up marketing and sales claims

What are our priorities?

  • Continuing to innovate in the video space

  • Always aiming to add value for publishers, advertisers and audiences

  • Case studies and data insights

  • Identifying industry trends and adapting our roadmap to fit

  • Creating a self-serve model for our technology (SaaS)

Where is the industry going?

  • Video…and more video!

  • Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

  • A focus on better ads/ad formats and fighting against ad blocking

  • Anti-fraud and brand safety are just as important

One achievement, in particular, is how far we’ve come as a team – in this year alone.

Since May, we’ve had many key hires.

Meet the new Coull team members…

Dan – Managing Director

Azad – Programmatic Demand Sales Director

Alice – Demand Account Manager

Alex – Agency Sales Director

Toby –  Developer

Harry – Supply Account Manager

(and me) Naomi – Marketing Executive

Coull new hires

And now, for the run-up to Christmas, Coull are prepared for the winter ahead…
Winter is coming - Coull prepare for the winter ahead
Posted by Naomi Sandercock in Coull news
Coull are heading to Dmexco

Coull are heading to Dmexco

It’s less than a month until people from all over the globe gather in Cologne for the Dmexco conference.

It’s set to be a great place to network, share ideas and discuss the future of the advertising and digital world. Over 50,000 people and 1,000 exhibitors from the digital marketing industry will be there. Not only that, hundreds of speakers will be imparting their knowledge; the impressive line up include: P&G’s Marc Pritchard, Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey and Chris Cox, the CPO at Facebook.

At Coull, we like to think ourselves as the video overlay ad specialists. We are a Bristol born technology company, with teams in the heart of Bristol, London and the US. Six members of our team will be there to meet new people, chat about Coull and discuss the future of video and advertising.

If you’re curious about what we do or would like to work with us, come and say hello or organise a meeting with us!

Posted by Naomi Sandercock in Coull news
One idea, countless battles: Coull’s journey against ad fraud

One idea, countless battles: Coull’s journey against ad fraud

Coull's journey against ad fraudCreativity at the heart

Born out of the vibrant streets of Bristol, Coull has always had creativity at the heart of the business. Coull’s founders had a vision of making online video advertising an engaging and interactive experience. The idea was brewing away in the background since 2005, but the online video world was still growing and adapting. High-speed internet hadn’t appeared and many different video formats made things more complicated.

Skip forward a few years to 2007, YouTube had grown to over 50 million users and high-speed internet had arrived. Families were able to watch a cat play the piano, a dog surfing and someone biting Charlie’s finger, from the comfort of their own homes. It was revolutionary and people couldn’t get enough. The popularity of video content shot up and the creators wanted a way to profit from it.

Cue Coull. 2008 was our founding year and although we’ve come a long way since then, it was always about our love affair with video.


Programmatic arrived like a whirlwind in 2013. By connecting everyone and allowing quicker, more efficient sales, it sounded like a dream. Caught up in the vortex of the programmatic online world, Coull started out with an ad network model. We were integrating with leading programmatic platforms to enable delivery of interest-based, targeted advertising at a global scale.

One problem: ad fraud

All of the innovations emerging from the humble office in Bristol were exciting, but there was one big problem with the online ad industry: fraud. The regulation of crime, particularly ad fraud, couldn’t keep up with the digital world.

But Coull was prepared. We were producing our own in-house anti-fraud technology in the background for some time. Such as domain and IP filters, URL detection and implementing the IAB’s VPAID specification.

As anticipated, the talk about fraud in the media increased and some shocking figures flagged up. Behind the scenes, fraudsters had been on a crime shopping spree and cost the industry billions each year.

We quickly realised that, although ad networks were great for connecting us, the business model was a doomed one. It was undifferentiated and arbitraged inventory, combined with a justifiable loss of trust from buyers resulting in an inevitable race to the bottom. More importantly, it didn’t represent our original vision to be unique and think outside the box.

Dedicated team

First and foremost, at Coull, we pride ourselves on being a technology company. We have a dedicated team, many of whom are developers, and a fresh minded approach. This has lead to building and launching the Coull Platform. Our Platform consists of the Coull SSP, Coull Exchange and distinct Coull advertising formats, which are all self-built to fit Coull’s vision.

With us, publishers can earn revenue without spamming their content, advertisers can benefit from effective formats and users don’t get overloaded by ads. Not only this, we have a very comprehensive compliance process paired with a strong company ethos in combatting fraud.

We’ve invested in and improved our proprietary technology to ensure anti-fraud and brand safety. Applying our technology, we have a dedicated compliance team and partnerships with industry-leading verification vendors. Using their audit results, our true URL detection product and IP filters, we can effectively fight domain spoofing, bot fraud and build trust among our partners.


But we aren’t stopping there. Viewability is of paramount importance. We currently measure viewability through our partners, but we have additional plans to improve our business. Using our technology expertise, in combination with our measurement partners, we expect to build our own viewable inventory marketplaces.

Regulation and transparency

Unfortunately, the internet won’t ever be fraud-free. Even recently, the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) estimate that ad fraud is likely to exceed $50 billion by 2025. Much like a game of whack-a-mole, as soon as one source of fraud is stamped out, another three pop up. But by having our own technology and platform, regulation is a lot simpler for us and being transparent with partners is easier.

After nine years of a bumpy rollercoaster ride in the online advertising industry, we’re now proud to say we’ve come a long way, keeping our founder’s vision alive and continuing to aspire. We have a strong ethos on ad fraud and are always trying to be transparent, educate and work with partners to tackle ad fraud together.

Find out more about fighting ad fraud by reading our last blog post: “Combatting ad fraud on the wild, wild, web“.

Posted by Naomi Sandercock in Coull news
Combatting ad fraud on the wild wild web

Combatting ad fraud on the wild wild web

ad fraud infographicFilms are made about drug cartels and stories are told of famous bank heists. But why aren’t we talking about one of the biggest organised crimes in the world: online ad fraud? It’s not as dramatic as other crime stories, but the elusiveness of digital fraud is one of the many reasons it’s not stopping. And we think it’s worth talking about.

By 2025, the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) estimate that ad fraud is likely to exceed $50 billion, making it second only to the drugs trade in terms of income. The web is turning into the wild west; every advertiser, publisher and adtech company for themselves. Ad fraud is relentless and jeopardising free online content.

But not to worry, there’s a new sheriff in town.

Coull has come a long way since our humble beginnings, we quickly realised how huge ad fraud was and we had to change this. Since then, we have been trying to tackle fraud in the wild wild web.

First of all, what should we all be looking for?

Automated traffic: Otherwise known as non-human traffic (NHT), it is the most common form of ad fraud. These bots can come from software applications which run automated tasks over the internet to simulate human activity.

Invalid traffic: Traffic running through a domain being undesirable, this does not mean the domain itself is bad and therefore would not require blocking. However, the source of the traffic needs to be found and removed.

Ghost sites: Ghost sites are made to resemble real websites, but have no value and instead host a multitude of advertisements.

Proxy traffic: A proxy allows anonymous access to the internet and can browse the internet without leaving a footprint. This means all ad requests will go through a proxy, so for those monitoring the requests, the only thing visible is the proxy – there’s no way to know who’s behind it.

Spoofing: A malicious party impersonates another device (or user) on a network in order to show ad requests from more reputable sources.

Ad injection: The ad is loaded by ad injection software, often bundled with other software like games and toolbars. This artificially inflates the number of ads on a page and can lead to a negative user experience.

With a free and open internet dependant on ad revenues, it’s important that the entire chain works together to ultimately strike out the risk of ad fraud.

Here’s Coull’s advice and ethos:


Being able to be completely open and honest with everyone in the industry means that, things like invalid traffic and ghost sites are easier to detect. Without transparency, it’s like finding a needle in a haystack…in the dark.

Coull strives to be a transparent and trusted company to work with. Which is why we’ve put a huge amount of time, effort and investment into eradicating invalid traffic from our platform.


We don’t have to tackle this crime alone, using the best third-party vendors to verify traffic is much more effective. At Coull, we work with MRC accredited third-party verification tools to track all inventory and act accordingly.

Also, we have our very own fraud detecting hero, Nicola, Coull’s compliance manager. Every day, Nicola manually scans traffic and domains to cut out the pesky bots and *inappropriate* websites. This enables us to have a multi-level process targeting ad fraud and eliminating it from our platform.

We have introduced our Traffic Quality Assurance program. This helps publisher partners reach the required quality and to help our advertisers buy media with confidence.

No double standards

Much like the wild west, online advertising doesn’t have many set rules, turning the internet into a western shootout – fraudulent traffic coming from every direction. One way to stop fraud is by measuring genuine ad impressions and true viewability.

Although industry bodies like the International Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) are setting guidelines, not everyone follows them. There are a huge number of ad tech vendors running their own measurement of these standards. This means each vendor’s results will be different, affecting expected CPMs, creating a lack of expected inventory and mistrust.

Coull has been working on pre-bid viewability technology. We can detect where the ad unit is on the page before it’s served. This enables advertisers to decide what inventory to purchase based on whether their ad would likely be in view. The biggest advantage is that this minimizes wasted ad spend, giving demand partners real-time data to help them make the best buying decision.


Coull’s queen of compliance, Nicola says, “Educating people about the different types of fraud is one of the most important things at the moment. Unfortunately, law enforcement is still behind on tackling ad fraud, so we need to learn how to defend ourselves.” So that means, helping publishers recognise any fraudulent traffic and the different forms it comes in. Also, helping buyers achieve an efficient and valuable return on campaigns by evading traps and not buying blind.

Direct partnerships

With the hundreds of partners, networks and exchanges out there it makes it easier for fraud to creep in. Whereas, having direct partnerships can eliminate the risk. According to Integral Ad Science, nearly 9% of digital ads delivered via programmatic channels are fraudulent, compared with only 2% of ads delivered through direct deals with publishers.

Coull cut out the middlemen by hosting our own exchange, connecting demand partners directly to publishers’ ad servers. And our formats, OverStream and DoubleUp are direct publisher integrations, for a simpler environment.

What now?Coull ad fraud checklist

Many companies are working on anti-fraud techniques, particularly the buy side. However, this year will hopefully see more supply side and exchange take the lead.

Publishers: Fraudulent activity can compromise your business model and can damage the brand’s reputation. You need to be able to identify the different forms of invalid traffic and be transparent about inventory.

Advertisers: Fake views on your online campaign is wasting money and creates inaccurate data about the ad’s performance. Make sure you know exactly what inventory you’re buying to protect brand image and have a more valuable return on campaigns.

Ad tech suppliers: If fraud is being hosted by your technology, you’ll be liable for refunds to your advertisers and their agencies – and may even be removed from media plans. Work on keeping up standards and abiding by guidelines. Also, direct relationships with partners result in more trust and transparency.  

It’s all about teamwork and education to banish the fraud cowboys from the wild wild web, for good.

Posted by Naomi Sandercock in Coull news

The Mobile Series – Coull are interviewed by PubNative

To kick-start our series on mobile video advertising, we were interviewed by native mobile advertising SSP PubNative. Michelle talks about the current mobile landscape and its opportunities. She also addresses industry issues and where Coull fits into the future of mobile video advertising. In our follow up, you’ll learn all about native mobile advertising from PubNative themselves.

Thanks to the team at PubNative for this story.

PubNative and Coull - mobile advertising










Following Native Insights #4 in which we spoke to digital marketers Cyberclick, this time we are tackling the video ad space with Michelle Bommer from Coull.

The British company are a video ad platform for advertisers and media companies. For more info on video, you can also read our guide on what you need to know about native video on mobile.

Can you introduce Coull and what you do?

We’re a young, talented team building the next generation video advertising platform. We work with publishers to classify, filter and monetize their video inventory. Advertisers work with us for a direct route to our unique video inventory, used for engaging ad campaigns.

We have some awesome, unique propositions. Such as, our exclusive in-video overlay ad format which is really powerful, especially when combined with our pre-roll. This gives advertisers the opportunity for deeper engagement, brand uplift and audience data.

The really exciting thing about Coull right now is that we are cleaning up the programmatic marketplace. By being more transparent, it’s becoming a safer, more efficient and profitable digital ecosystem. We’re building a sustainable digital exchange from within our own technology stack.

We’re redefining what ‘quality’ inventory is. For our partners, quality means being able to buy video inventory that’s brand safe, viewable and human. We also provide RTB feedback and have a dedicated team to optimize campaigns.

How much of a difference is there between desktop and mobile video advertising?

There’s a big difference between the way audiences interact with video content depending on device. Metrics like Click-Through Rate (CTR) don’t work the same way on desktop and mobile. Also, audience behaviour across those interfaces is very different. For example, View-Through Rate would be more suitable for a mobile video ad campaign, because the video takes up most of the screen. However, on desktop, the video may only take up a portion of the screen, therefore, they’re competing for attention.

The big difference we’re seeing is that mobile is where desktop was 1 or 2 years ago. Programmatically it’s exploding, but in terms of measurement optimization, the industry isn’t there yet. There’s a lot of work to be done, but the potential for massive growth is undeniable. In terms of mobile’s capacity in programmatic – 2016 is the year of mobile!

What kind of demand are you seeing across the three formats of desktop, mobile and in-app for video ads? And how do you expect this to change?

Our network receives around 54 bn ad requests a month and it’s growing rapidly, mainly due to mobile. OverStream, our unique ad format combines pre-roll with branded in-video overlay in many devices, so we’re seeing demand across the spectrum.

The issue at the moment is that the majority of publishers still have VAST. It’s not until they adopt VPAID inventory that the scale is going to grow immensely.

For publishers, it’s a matter of investing in development work to make their content VAST compatible. Then once this investment is made, they’ll see a huge increase in CPMs. Mobile traffic is much easier and more effective to monetize.

How have you seen the mobile video landscape developing in recent years?

Mobile video used to be a big unknown for advertisers. They wanted to be in it but saw it as a black hole of spending without metrics. Now supply partners, such as ourselves, have provided support for brand and verification vendors. This allows advertisers to work out their campaign costs and buy with confidence.

In which circumstances do you think mobile video advertising is best suited?

Mobile video is another form of publisher inventory and it’s incredibly popular with audiences, especially millennials. There are plenty of statistics that show the massive growth and popularity in video. It’s only natural that advertising spend should shift with that trajectory.

According to a study from IAB last year, video is on the rise with 35% of respondents viewing content on mobile devices. Consumption was even higher in countries such as the US (50%), Canada (42%) and the UK (40%).

Video is the new storytelling medium. The only way mobile advertising wouldn’t be suited is if the inventory wasn’t brand safe, or was coming from a fraudulent source. That’s why, at Coull, we’re hot on transparency. Our dedicated compliance team detect viewability and fraud to ensure our inventory is brand safe. We believe publishers deserve to be paid for content and advertisers should buy quality inventory, so that’s what we facilitate with our platform.

We’re seeing fantastic performance in-app but, suitability wise, both in-app and mobile web have the potential to take video to that next level. It’s not a matter of mobile advertising not being suitable, it’s a matter of ensuring the format doesn’t disrupt the content. And that’s where we will see big changes in the coming months, with the development of new and engaging ad formats.

What kind of metrics are available for measuring user engagement with videos? What are the main mobile video KPIs?

Being able to measure engagement and campaign ROI requires data. There’s a reason data scientists are in high demand. It’s no longer acceptable to use the same metrics for standard digital and video advertising or to assume a floor price. The inventory is different and the user engages with it very differently. We now have metrics for mobile video such as View-Through Rate (VTR). VTR is much more indicative that CTR because it can report whether the content was watched all the way through, not just if it was clicked on.

It’s also important for advertisers to choose whether they buy click-to-play inventory. This inventory type gives a much better chance to measure engagement and viewability.

What kind of role is data playing in mobile video advertising?

Data enables advertisers to buy with confidence – confidence in user-targeting, category segmentation, and ensuring a brand safe and fraud-free environment.

When we’re talking specifically about mobile, there’s location data which can enable better targeting. But whilst it’s great that data is playing a big part in improving programmatic, we need to keep a high standard of this data. We need to ensure transparency and only collect non-identifiable data.

How do you expect the mobile video space to develop in the next few years?

Mobile video is only going to get more and more popular with people consuming video on the move, and while interacting with ‘omniscreens’. You no longer watch the TV without a second screen close at hand. So we expect to see full-length TV commercials purposed for mobile and more engaging formats to enter the space as the industry gets more creative in competing with ad blockers.

Ad fraud, transparency, viewability and brand safety, the big buzzwords in desktop advertising now will quickly need to be addressed on mobile as well. Native advertising will be one area that grows rapidly because, as a format, it’s already ahead of the game in regards to these issues.

Michelle Bommer from Coull

Michelle, Coull's Head of Adops








Michelle Bommer leads the Coull Ad Ops team from beautiful San Francisco, California. She delivers in-video overlay and pre-roll advertising campaigns across mobile and desktop inventory. She’s been an integral part of Coull’s growth due to her knowledge and experience with programmatic campaigns, yield optimization, and account management. She heads up a talented team of people who deliver the benefits of Coull’s proprietary tech.

Read the follow-up interview with PubNative here.

Posted by simonholliday in Coull news
Navigating Cannes Lions as an AdTech Company

Navigating Cannes Lions as an AdTech Company

Cannes Lions. Yachts, rosè, hors d’oeuvres and networking – lots of networking. This year we sent some of our finest team members (well, the ones with the biggest mouths) along to the festival for the very first time.

Cannes Lions Festival has long been about the creative side of media and advertising, but with the adtech industry playing an increasingly dominant role in this space, the festival has well and truly been taken over by us adtech folk. With media companies, agencies, brands and technology companies from all over the world in attendance, it’s an opportunity like no other to meet current and prospective clients and partners, all in one place, in one week, and in a beautiful setting that ultimately puts everyone in a jolly good mood!

To keep things simple, here are our pros and cons from our experience at Cannes Lions.


  • Topical focused events. There is a good selection of interesting and engaging events happening outside of the main Palais Des Festivals (for which you don’t need a pass). These took on formats such as the classic panel with Q&As and open discussion lunches. From what I saw, these events cover interesting and relevant topics of the moment, and don’t tend to take longer than an hour, which is just as well in the Cannes heat! For example, TubeMogul hosted a panel session with agency executives on the rooftop of JW Marriot, discussing what programmatic models are best for brands.

  • The jetèe of yachts. I must admit, I’m a yacht convert. Leading up to Cannes I had the idea that yacht events are pretentious and cheesy and didn’t really like the idea of Coull hosting our own. But you know what, they are pretty damn cool, and once you’re out there, it becomes the norm. I found that a lot of technology companies took up residence on their own yacht for the week, and hosted parties every evening. Boat hopping was without a doubt how we did most of our networking out there. Why? Relaxed atmosphere, free drinks and food in abundance, great scenery and plenty of space.

  • Everyone is feeling positive. This is not a one or two day conference hall packed with suits trying to fit in as many business deals as possible. It’s a week (give or take) of relaxed, informal relationship building in a fantastic place with the sun shining. It’s hard not to have a smile on your face. There’s an unmistakable vibe of positivity, excitement and genuine interest to meet new people and explore new opportunities. Get your lighters out.

  • Business gets done. Believe it or not, a lot of deals are made in Cannes, and a lot of strong relationships are built. Before the sun sets and the drinks are flowing, most people are in back-to-back meetings, taking full advantage of the opportunity to meet with people they usually only get to speak to over the phone.

  • Relationship building.  Tying in with the above point, Cannes Lions has proved invaluable to us in terms of building and strengthening relationships. The down-time and relaxed atmosphere takes away the pressure and the formality. This, dare I say it, feels more like making friends rather than forced partnerships.

  • Lions Innovation. If you want to step away from all the above, and do the seminar and talks thing, then you absolutely can. It was the first year for Lions Innovation, a two day event where the topics of data, technology and creativity come together to bring a line-up of inspiring sessions for those in the industry. For a full round-up on what happened during these two days, visit The Guardian, who have compiled a great hour-by-hour overview, full of photos and videos. One of my personal favourites from this event was #EMOTICANNES – an incredible digital installation


  • It’s easy to steer off course. To be quite frank, we’re all in danger of mistaking this work trip as a bit of a holiday, so it’s important that you keep your head screwed on. My tip? Devise a schedule before you go, that’s not too tight, and stick to it. Saying that, this festival experience can be very serendipitous, and you never know what may come out of a spontaneous decision, so don’t be too afraid to get caught in the moment!

  • It’s very broad. The festival as a whole covers a broad range of companies and topics and so there are thousands of people in attendance that aren’t relevant to your company. And aside from the adtech boats and focused events, everyone tends to hang out in the same places, so you need to be careful not to dilute your time there too much.

  • Productivity. It’s most likely that you’re sending some of your C-level execs out there – these really busy people at the heart of the business are taking a week out of the daily grind to focus on Cannes. However, I see this activity as the same thing as any other long-term marketing tactics. It’s about the end-goal. Which brings us on nicely to…

  • Everyone at the office hates you. It’s inevitable, they’re sat in the office and we’re in the French Riviera. We’re sorry, but not really.


  • Do your planning – make sure you book on to as many relevant events as possible before you go. Even if you don’t end up going to all of them, you need to have a rough schedule and be ‘in-the-know’.

  • Book meetings with everyone you know that will be there. If the person in your company who usually deals directly with certain clients aren’t going, make sure that someone still meets them. Remember that you are representing your company, so knock it out of the park!

  • Make your schedule realistic and you’re more likely to stick to it. Too many late nights make early morning meetings difficult, so my tip would be to avoid committing to them in the first place.

  • Know what you want to get out of it. Are you predominately there for networking? Then maybe you don’t need a festival pass. Are you there to close deals? Go prepared and nurture those conversations in the lead up to the event.

  • Bring value home. Once you get passed the bitterness in the office, your colleagues will want to know what the company has got out of it. No matter how senior you are, you need to communicate this, so have that in mind.

Overall, #CannesLions was an invaluable experience for the Coull team and we’re all feeling very positive, despite the post-festival blues. We’ll see you there next year, hopefully with our own pretentious adtech yacht!

Posted by simonholliday in Coull news
We’re supporting Byte Night 2014

We’re supporting Byte Night 2014

On behalf of Coull I’m proud to announce that we are taking part in Byte Night 2014, a charity event dedicated to fundraising for Action for Children, with the specific aim of tackling the root causes of homelessness.

Byte Night was established 17 years ago by a number of technology companies, and culminates in a sponsored sleepout across eight locations across the UK. With Coull headquartered in Bristol, we’ve taken a seat on the board of the South West group and will be organizing a number of sponsored activities over the coming months to raise as much money as possible for this deserving charity. The South West sleep-out takes place outside the M-Shed on Friday 3 October.

We’re particularly passionate about Byte Night because all the funds raised in each region are distributed to frontline services in those areas, meaning we can make a difference to the people in our own community. If you’d like to find out more about Byte Night and how it supports Action for Children, why not take a look at the official website?

Here’s a taste of some of the fundraising activities we’ve got coming up:

Three Peaks Challenge: During September several of the Coull team will be digging out their maps, compasses and supportive footwear to tackle three mountains in 24 hours. Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon all need to be scaled and driven between in the allotted time.

Aden Forshaw Charity Shop Fortnight: July will see our esteemed CTO Aden Forshaw, well known for his sartorial elegance, leave his brogues, pastel shirts and tasteful chinos at home, instead dressing in a selection of charity shop clothing for the duration of this challenge. Aden hasn’t been seen in jeans and a t-shirt since mid-2005, and the level of intrigue to see what ‘casual Aden’ looks like has already generated generous pledges towards Byte Night.

Summer Bake-off: Last Christmas saw many of us take part in a seasonal bake-off, with a smorgasbord of tasty treats tantalising the tastebuds of the Coull team. During July we’re bringing tasty back, with the sale of all items going towards Byte Night. This event has previously created a fractious atmosphere at Coull HQ, with serious disagreements over rating methodologies. We’re hoping the philanthropic nature of this round will make it a better-natured affair.

Mario Kart Tournament: If there’s one thing guaranteed to get cash out of Coull employee pockets it’s the promise of being crowned Mario Kart Champion 2014. With over 6,000 races in the Nintendo Wii statbank this promises to be a high-quality tournament that will be taken very, very seriously.

If you would like to donate to Byte Night and support our fundraising activities you can do so via our fundraising page.

We’ll be sharing photo and video updates of all the activities as they happen on our Facebook page. So like us if you want to stay up to date.

Thanks for your support and let the games begin!

Posted by simonholliday in Coull news

Have a Mary Berry Christmas

This month the Coull team have donned their aprons and whipped out their whisks for the Christmas Bake Off. After a heavenly few weeks of sugar and carb overdoses we have counted the scores and are able to present to you our winner!

Bake Off King

Mat’s Utterly Nutterly Caramel Sponge completely won us over and so he has been crowned the 2013 Bake Off King!

But just to prove that the rest of us can bake, here are our runner ups.

2nd Place

Not only did my Tiramisu land second place, it received top marks for ‘taste’ too. A combination of coffee, liqueur and chocolate was always going to win over the hearts of the Coull team.

3rd place

Lisa’s Chocolate Orange Cupcakes got the top mark for ‘looks’ – who doesn’t like a bit of Christmas sparkle?

4th place

A tried and tested family classic, Sam’s Berry Pavalova had our taste buds jumping for joy, despite the zany appearance.

5th place

Kev’s plum and almond tart – enough said.

There were 12 other bakes; many delicious, and some questionable, but all get top marks for effort. (Unless you used ready-rolled pastry…)

Posted by simonholliday in Coull news