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Introducing The Trade Desk Edge Academy

April 6, 2020
by Jeff Green – Chief Executive Officer, Founder & Chairman

The world will never be the same. Neither will your company, nor your brand.

Today, The Trade Desk is launching a new platform for advertisers and their agencies. It’s called Edge Academy.

2020 is a year that everything changes. Staying connected is harder at a moment when most of the world is restricted from most local travel. Millions cannot go to the office. Most of Europe and North America is working from home. Much of Asia, the same.

This social and professional distancing is having a major impact across all industries, including advertising.

Seven years ago, in 2013, we started a program called Trading Academy. At the time, the way media buyers were taking and placing orders was starting to look more like the role of a data-driven trader. And we wanted to help the transition. So we put together a program to educate the media buying teams of ad agencies on the nuances of programmatic ad buying. We invited many of the best industry experts and spared no cost in production quality, filming most of it in Hollywood studios with industry crews. It was never about selling The Trade Desk — we designed the program specifically to educate the world about the burgeoning field of data-driven advertising.

It worked.

Over the last seven years, more than 11,000 people have received valuable professional certifications. Half of those were in 2019 and 2020. It’s been called the most successful programmatic education resource available. Accredited universities have incorporated it into their curriculum, and industry associations in the US, EU, and China have adopted or endorsed the program.

What we’ve noticed, though, is that many of the people who have enrolled and been certified in the last year have been different from the thousands before. They weren’t just agency media buyers. Some were college students. Some were professionals changing careers. Some were seasoned executives at brands or agencies.

And those trends have only become more exaggerated in recent weeks. At a moment like this, when budgets are streamlined, sometimes a lot, everyone has to do more with less. And that means we all have to follow the data. Marketers have to go to what is measurable and comparable.

Today, understanding and learning data-driven advertising (a.k.a. programmatic advertising) is a must for every brand, marketer, and agency employee. From the bottom to the top of the organization, everyone needs to be fluent in these concepts.

That’s why, after a year of production, this week we are launching a bigger program and casting a wider net on programmatic education. We will continue to educate the world’s best media buyers, but we’re also providing resources for every role or level in a brand or agency. Because this is about more than trading, this is no longer the Trading Academy. It’s called The Trade Desk Edge Academy. It’s for anyone who cares to understand data-driven advertising.

To be clear, we never sought to make money on this education platform. But we have always charged for it, for two reasons: one, to make certain people valued it, and two, to try to recoup the expensive cost of production. But that all changed a few weeks ago.

Over the past several months, millions have lost their jobs. Many marketers are feeling the pressures of the economic consequences of a global pandemic — while personally managing the life changes that come with this kind of once-in-a-lifetime disruption. Over the next few months, millions more around the world will lose their jobs. Some of them will be marketers. Some will be from agencies.

For the rest of 2020, Edge is free. Anyone can sign up here.

This is only the start. We’ll continue to add to it. Later this year we’ll launch Edge China with content shot in Shanghai for advertisers in China. We plan to keep updating the content constantly so marketers and agencies can respond to global opportunity. Here’s why we’re doing this. Many have asked for us to waive the fees to refresh certifications so they can find new jobs. We want to help those who are transitioning.

But even more important, as the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats. Right now, the global economy needs a jump start. A healthy economy is how we pay for everything — including health care. Advertising fuels growth, and growth fuels advertising. We have to get the fly wheel spinning again. To help, the world needs more data-driven everything, including advertising. If we do more with less, the world become more efficient. If we get rid of the portion of advertising that is annoying or ineffective, we can use that money on other things. The only way to do that is with data-driven choices.

We believe that by providing agencies, brands, and consumers with the resources they need to navigate data-driven advertising successfully, we can create a better media ecosystem that works for everyone, and that can be an engine of economic growth.

Just like most things in life, a solid education is required to do anything that makes an impact.

Together we can create a better open internet.

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