Abakus: A Prelude to the New Age Marketing

Alex Saldanha, CEO & Co-founder To many marketers, capturing the opinion, behavior, and impact of marketing strategies on customers is a serious challenge, which requires days and even months of in-depth analysis. Successful marketers are imagined to be Freud, sitting at the head of a couch and solemnly listening to many customers as they express what truly stimulates their desire for a product or a service available in the market. However, with the growth of technology and advent of new-age digital marketing concepts facilitated by the rise of cloud computing, Big Data analytics, social and mobile platforms, marketers today need not rely on complex Freudian theories to reach customers and achieve desired return on investment (ROI). “As displayed by Red Bull and Felix Baumgartner, we live in a time where marketers are going to the edge of space to promote a product,” says Alex Saldanha, CEO and Co-founder, Abakus, an Emeryville, CA-based provider of marketing attribution and optimization software.

Known for its catch phrase, ‘It’s time to work smarter not harder’, Abakus expounds the same philosophy to drive marketers to look beyond the outdated Market Mix Modeling (MMM), while assigning budgets to media channels. “There are a plethora of choices to explore and marketers can leverage new channels, in new ways, to reach consumers who are engaging with content across multiple mediums and devices. Yet, there still exists a shortage of technology that accurately measures and helps optimize marketing spend,” apprises Saldanha. As a result, a significant number of digital marketing organizations depend on flawed single touch point methodologies to measure the value of marketing or rely on data scientists and consultants for marketing analytics. “Abakus aims to replace the conventional marketing model building techniques with its accurate, scalable software solution to measure and optimize marketing resources,” he extols, recollecting the first stages of software development at Abakus.

Addressing Marketing Loopholes with Software

In 2010, Saldanha created a technology research and development project using advanced mathematics to determine the aftermath of inaccurate marketing measurement and optimization. His project revealed the positive impact of applying economic game theory in marketing measurement and optimization. “This finding served as an interesting gateway for the new software development in the consecutive years,” says Saldanha. The software platform released by Abakus such as the attribution engine software, real-time web-based UI, external data integration and configuration platform were developed with the intention of delivering scalable and real-time attribution engine. These were further improved to render clients an intuitive web-based application that gives access to marketing insights.
“We have begun to vest more attention on delivering a complete portfolio of enterprise solutions. This includes integration with external data sources, ETL data transformation libraries, cost data automation and custom reporting configuration,” he says. The constant software iteration and development at Abakus are carried out with the goal to solve marketers’ problems. “This attribute of our company is the driving force behind its uninterrupted growth over the years and the zeal to add value to customers’ businesses,” Saldanha remarks. In addition, the company gives advertisers both prescriptive and descriptive analytics to help them carry out a suitable course of action as well as keep a measure of their existing activity.

Game Theory and Marketing Attribution

In the realm of marketing, the opinion and insights of different stakeholders—advertising agencies, media buying agencies and providers of advertisement technology platform play a significant role in the identification of strategies for better marketing measurement and optimization. In simple parlance, this technique, also known as game theory, evaluates the contribution of each marketing and media element like ad placements, search keyword, or email messages in influencing customers to visit a particular site and indulge in product purchases. Abakus mapped the same formulation to its patented marketing attribution system, which uses large volume of user level data to analyze all digital marketing channels.

"As a fast-growing company the most valuable resource that we have is time"

Abakus is one of the very few companies to have combined granular user level offline marketing data— TV, direct mail and SMS—into its marketing attribution system. This ensures customers’ data are compiled in a single venue, giving them a holistic view on the components that are working and make decisions to boost their digital performance without needing additional tags or pixels. “Clients are sometimes unaware of changes that should be reflected in their existing marketing strategies and its implications. Abakus delivers prediction using the same game theory based framework to address this need,” claims Saldanha.

The software system can be customized as per clients’ brand, products, geographical location, and user segments. The software also carries out dynamic calculations of external factors, unmeasured marketing, and incremental impact of seasonality. The solution’s interactive, predictive optimization dashboard helps the task of optimizing campaigns more easily and offers real-time results to make timely marketing results via user interface. “Our marketing attribution software conducts advanced segmentation to assess which form of marketing is reaching customer segments and also compute incremental contribution of all marketing elements simultaneously,” adds Saldanha.

These distinct features of the marketing attribution software add credence to the company’s close association with leading technology providers.
Abakus leverages on its partnership with attribution sellers and OEMs such as iProspect and Sizmek to enhance its solution functionalities. “iProspect introduces Abakus as a solution to a potential customer while, Sizmek integrates our technology into their advanced attribution and data offering,” says Saldanha. In addition, Sizmek white labels Abakus’ user interface and brands the solution under its name to offer advanced attribution platform.

Guaranteeing Client Success

A myriad of organizations including Starwood Hotels Group and leading agency Mediacom, have witnessed multitudinous changes in their business by implementing Abakus’s marketing attribution software. In one instance, a renowned e-Commerce customer used the software to gain clear insights on the impacts of their multiple online marketing channels. Through leveraging Abakus software, the client saw in a matter of five weeks a nearly 50 percent reduction in cost per order and almost 83 percent increase in converters.

The success stories of the customers stand as a testament to the functionality of Abakus’s marketing attribution software and the firms’ business culture. “At Abakus, we focus on three core principles; understanding customers’ business, automating processes, and helping clients realize value for their business,” Saldanha beams. “We believe in understanding customers’ businesses and imparting them the relevant knowledge. The firm’s major differentiating factor is its ability to simplify and speed up repetitive tasks through automation. “Internally we also take automation seriously. As a fast-growing company the most valuable resource that we have is time,” he adds.

The work culture of Abakus is the truest representation of an ideal environment that is conducive for the growth and enhancement from both customer and business standpoint. “We are strong promoters of the talent in our teams and deeply acknowledge contributions from our partners to highlight the opportunities for improvement,” Saldanha asserts.

Any opportunity to improve our internal processes is regarded with the same importance as delivering a seamless experience to our clients

With the combination of technology and talented workforce, Abakus already has the winning formula to forge ahead in the vast domain of marketing. “Whilst Abakus is an agile, early stage company, we are lucky to have the knowledge resources and skills brought in by our talented workforce,” Saldanha ascertains. The company is en route to achieve heights by leveraging experience from all digital media sectors from clients, agencies and multiple SAAS businesses.


Emeryville, CA

Alex Saldanha, CEO & Co-founder

A provider of software system for marketing attribution and optimization