Kokai - The Trade Desk

Traders tout how Kokai is driving campaign success

Exactly one year since The Trade Desk announced its vision for Kokai, the demand-side platform welcomed clients and partners to its New York City office to share more about its latest — and most transformative — platform update, made available to clients in early June.

While over the last year the ad world voiced shared concerns around made-for-advertising websites, the value of user-generated content, and how to save journalism on the open internet (among other important topics), The Trade Desk was building and shipping new innovations aimed at making the industry stronger and the internet a better, easier place to buy media. Already, Kokai — The Trade Desk’s new UI — has yielded notable campaign results, as told by the traders who have been using our new tools.

Overall, campaigns in Kokai Beta saw improved KPI performance, with notable optimizations across the board. This includes a 24% drop in cost per unique reach, 36% lower cost per click (CPC), and a 34% reduction in cost per action (CPA), on average. While it’s clear our platform is driving results against a set of full-funnel KPIs, there are several key differentiators driving trader adoption, confidence, and success on the platform. For Katy Sokolowski, a lead associate account director in Denver, Colorado, “the ability to connect cross-funnel touchpoints helps influence transparency, as well as the effectiveness of media that’s run outside of just lower-funnel media buying.”

Robust reporting, available when it’s needed most

When it comes to understanding KPIs and gauging campaign success through reporting, nothing matters more to traders than proving the value of the media bought and the impact the campaigns had on the brand’s bottom line.

The updated platform is more streamlined, making these insights and reports easy to locate and readily available. For Ben Chardell, a lead associate trading director in Chicago, having this information upfront has been a game changer.

Headshot of Ben Chardell

“I can’t tell you how much time it's saved me, not needing to set up a specific report. I love that when you open a tile, your frequency distribution data is right there and changes depending on what your campaign goals are.”

Ben Chardell

Always-on AI drives relevance and results

Kokai is underscored by robust AI capabilities powering the performance of all campaigns on our platform. The AI architecture now enables more client inputs and value-based bid decisions. For London-based lead associate trading director Angela Breeze, the platform experience is like being in a race car, with the trader in the driver’s seat.

“You can service the parts of the car independently to maintain, optimize, and maximize performance, but the AI is the engine, and what fuels it is first-party data,” she shares.

There are various inputs that enable the platform AI to assess media impressions. One such input is relevance, a score that is derived from seed data — or data from your most ideal audience.

Kokai can now use information about your ideal customer to assess every single impression, and then buy against those impressions based on value. Breeze is already seeing incredible results for the campaigns she manages.

Headshot of Angela Breeze

“We had an entertainment brand that saw a 30% reduction in their CPM and a 50% to 60% improvement in their CPA across several different conversion points. I can’t wait for more clients to use it.”

Angela Breeze

When it comes to campaign decisions, less is more

Against a backdrop of ecosystem complexity, increased risk on certain corners of the internet, and seemingly endless decisions to make, Kokai is bringing the calm. “Kokai” is the Japanese word for “open waters,” after all.

For media buyers, optionality is important, but too much decision-making in terms of campaign setup and delivery can be paralyzing. Decision overload is quelled by the platform, with AI serving as your co-pilot as you make selections. The new UI offers a curated and simplified list of options, which means you can spend your time wisely, making smarter choices instead of being bogged down by endless decisions. Relevance is our secret to helping you simplify things enough to make those choices on the platform.

When a high-end hotel chain on the Las Vegas Strip wanted to drive engagement with high-rolling luxury purchasers, Kokai’s relevance capability helped steer the team’s decision-making to reach this niche audience. The hotel chain has the benefit of high brand affinity, so they typically use paid media to invest in engagement with narrower segments, which can be tricky.

Sokolowski, who manages the account, noted, “Sure, you have high-household-income segments, but where do you take it from there?”

Headshot of Katy Sokolowski

“We brought them the concept of seeds and leveraged their website pixel data for high-revenue bookings, and were able to show the relevance of two different strategies. This, quite frankly, blew their minds.”

Katy Sokolowski

The ability to set up campaigns in the planning phase and assess their relevance pre-flight is a game-changer for media buying as it can remove guesswork and provide traders with optimized choices.

Breeze’s clients in the U.K. had a similar experience. When faced with two campaign scenarios, a client was able to create targeting strategies in the platform and saw the relevance scores that were generated against their inputted seeds. Breeze says, “They were able to pick the campaign strategy with the highest relevance score according to their seed.” She adds, “This makes all the difference before you’ve even gone live.”

To learn more about all of the capabilities available to you through Kokai, check out a collection of articles and insights on The Resource Desk. Not yet a client with The Trade Desk? Contact us today to step into the future of media buying.

This information is provided solely for background and is not a representation or guarantee of any future performance.