Today, advertising has gone beyond traditional dissemination through television, billboards, radio, magazines, newspaper, and circulars. Digital devices have opened up new avenues for brands, marketers, and companies to more effectively reach their audiences.
Ad tech, short for advertising technology, is an umbrella term used to cover the software and digital tools that make it possible to reach and engage highly targeted audiences at just the right time.
Below is a selection of names of ad tech start-up companies or platforms, many of them built right in River + Wolf’s hometown – New York City.
Morning Brew is a digital media company that offers a daily email newsletter focused on business news and the latest updates in the world of finance, technology, and current affairs.
Founded in 2015, the company founders – Alex Lieberman and Austin Rief – wanted an accessible way to deliver news and insights that was also fun, inclusive, and enjoyable for readers.
“Brew” is a verb to describe the development or evolution of something, such as a situation, plan, or idea. Furthermore, “brew” can also be used to describe someone or something causing trouble or stirring up controversy. Since headlines are often full of drama or conflict, this complements the company’s mission.
Moreover, “brew” evokes a sense of something fresh, reflecting the media outlet’s approach to creating and delivering new content five mornings a week. And finally, the name reflects the tradition of reading the paper over breakfast, a cup of coffee in hand.
Tip: Food and drink can be a great source for naming. When using this approach, try to find words, like “brew”, that have multiple meanings and test how well those associations stack up against your product or company. If the connection is forced, keep looking. But when associations are natural, as is the case with Morning Brew, you know you’ve got a winner on your hand.
Seismic is a software company whose platform helps sales and marketing teams create, manage, and deliver personalized content to their customers at every stage of the buying process.
The word, “seismic”, relates to earthquakes, and refers to the vibrations or waves that are produced by the movement of the earth’s crust, transforming landscapes and terrain. It’s often used to describe an event or phenomenon that is related to earthquakes, such as seismic activity, or shockwaves.
In a broader sense, the term, “seismic”, is also used to describe a significant event or change that transforms the political, economic, or cultural landscape (for example, the First World War, which had an earth-shattering effect upon all three).
In industry, using “seismic” conveys the idea of a powerful force that shakes up the status quo. Within the context of this company, this name points to the platform’s ability to disrupt the way business operates and engages with its customers.
Tip: When possible, find names that can easily lend themselves to thematic extensions. Playing with those extensions can further tie a name to your marketing materials. For example, in this case, words such as “plate shift” or “ground-breaking” could nicely tie back to the name, Seismic.
Online course creation and teaching site, Teachable, was founded in 2013 by UC Berkeley graduate, Ankur Nagpal. Its original name was Fedora; however, in 2015, the online platform rebranded as Teachable. This new name better conveyed the company’s mission to empower and encourage knowledge sharing. The name references the idea that those who are able to learn are “teachable”.
Tip: When developing names, try finding words with multiple layers of meaning. This is a compact way of pointing to the many attributes of your company or product.
For any company dealing with multiple moving parts, smooth and flowing connections are crucial. For this reason, Fluent is a great name choice as etymologically it derives from the Latin fluente (relaxed) and flumen (river).
TIP: Most people associate the word fluent with speaking a language well; however, it also pertains to flowing and easy movement and style. When developing names, it is recommended to look for words less obviously connected to the business or offering. Naming a language school Fluent is too obvious; it is unique, however, for ad tech.
Like many platforms in the ad tech space, Signpost is all about connecting customers and brands, whether through bringing local businesses to new customers or providing opportunities for customers to connect with each other through product reviews. Instead of using a word that conveys connection, Signpost took a different route, suggesting that their platform is like a giant signpost that helps brands and businesses find each other.
TIP: When naming, try working with themes that have not been overused. The idea of wayfinding is a refreshing conceptual change from the more commonly used idea of connection for companies and platforms that link brands and customers together.
Captivate is a digital video network that provides news and entertainment content to upscale professionals in premiere office towers throughout the US and Canada. As a name, it works on two levels: it speaks to the idea of a captive audience, and, in its past participle form, (captivated), plays to the idea of attracting and holding attention.
Tip: You hit naming gold when you find a word with multiple definitions that convey different aspects of your product or business. The more relevant meanings in a word, the richer the storytelling possibilities.
With its next generation of real time bidding technology, Beeswax allows buyers to get a full bidding stack in the cloud in a more efficient and cost-effective way than building their own. The company extends the metaphor in its messaging, describing their BaaS platform as “secure cells”.
Tip: When using a metaphor, dig beyond the surface of the metaphor and see if you can find a more specific and unique word. Beeswax, which is formed by wax-producing glands in the worker bee’s abdominal segments, is a more specific way of conveying the idea of individualized cells than a hive metaphor.
Cake’s SaaS platform is composed of three distinct components that provide insights for marketers trying to optimize digital campaigns. Rather than going for the “transparency” theme, Cake chose to focus on its layered services. Note: Cake was recently acquired by Constellation software.
Tip: Whenever possible, avoid overused tropes or metaphors. In the wine space, for example, Cake is common—e.g. Layer Cake, Cakebread Cellars, and so on. However, it is still unusual for technology. As a metaphor, the name does a good job of capturing the notion of multiple services all in one place.
Working with leading brands, labels, and agencies F Sharp creates experiences that connect to consumers around all forms of audio content, from spoken word to music. Using the name of a musical note is a very original approach for an ad tech company focused on sound. The word “sharp” also speaks to clarity, brilliance, and intelligence. The name gains additional resonance as F Sharp is also the name of a multi-paradigmatic programming language.
Tip: When developing names, avoid the obvious. Look deeper into an area of interest—in this case music–to find things that have not been widely used as brand names. Played-out music terminology like Allegro and Con Brio would be far less memorable than F Sharp.
Suzy is an on-demand consumer insights platform that connects businesses directly to their target audience to get real-time feedback on large and small business decision. And though using personal names has been a naming trend for some time, most who go this route gravitate towards names that are edgy, odd, or cool.
Tip: If using a well-known style in naming, push hard to find a new tonality. In opting for a friendly, playful tonality, Suzy stands apart from hyper-cool or odd human names like Casper, Alfred, and Siri.
Taboola finds and engages over one billion relevant users across premium publishers at massive scale. It is the powerhouse behind the content suggestions that appear at the foot of many web articles. This fresh name derives from the Levantine vegetarian salad “Tabbouleh”.
Tip: If you are going to name an enterprise after a food, dig deeper into the pantry. Fruit names have been a trend in the tech space since Apple, but salads? Not so much. Taboola also gets a nod for their phonetic spelling. While generally we prefer natural spellings, phonetic spelling makes sense with foreign words.
Movable Ink is a platform that makes it possible for marketers to liberate their data from silos for the purpose of automatically generating intelligent creative with millions of unique variations that run for endless moments across email, the web, and beyond. The name is a reference to moveable type, an invention that made it possible to mass produce books which formerly had been copied by hand.
Tip: When looking for names for new platforms or technologies, dive deep into the history books to find unique ideas. The history of books and printing–the chief form of communication prior to the internet–is a rich resource for finding names that, with a tweak or two, can yield interesting names for new and emerging technology companies.
Realeyes is a London-based platform that employs advanced AI and computer vision to measure the emotions and attention levels of consumers as they watch content. This simple name works well, as it focuses on the real eyes of real consumers.
Tip: In Ad tech naming, as in other industries, there is a tendency to prefer single, extant word. These names can often be hard to trademark. A good double word name can be just as strong or even stronger than a single word name.
Oomph Advertising helps news and media organizations convert their advertisers’ print ads into rich, engaging media ads for tablet/mobile, mobile web and video. As Oomph sounds like a burst of energy, it is just right for company that gives zip, zing, and pizazz to print ads.
Tip: When developing names, think about onomatopoeia – a poetic term meaning the naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it (such as buzz or fizz). A name with strong sonic qualities like Oomph, can be fun to stay and very memorable.
A world leader in proximity engagement, Thinaire makes it possible for marketers to use video, print, and physical display units as springboards for proximity marketing campaigns that deliver the right mobile experiences to the right consumer and at the right time. The company’s unusual name points that idea as it conveys the idea of something magically appearing, as if “out of thin air”.
Tip: Commonly used expressions – in whole or in part – can be great sources for naming inspiration. In this case, the name derives from the phrase “out of thin air”. This captures the idea of something unexpectedly and dramatically showing up – as if from nowhere.