Do you know the feeling of finally finding the right piece that prevented you from carrying on with the puzzle?
This is what the Eskimi and Fast River partnership felt like from the very beginning.
In early 2020, Fast River sought a programmatic partner to help the company beat the competition and deal with rising industry challenges.
After testing Eskimi, Sol Saltiel, the Founder and Managing Partner of Fast River, decided that he found a perfect match, which kickstarted a successful, ongoing relationship between the two brands aiming to maximize their clients' success.
Fast River is a Greek digital marketing tech hub founded in 2008. The company mainly focuses on content discovery and native advertising, works with programmatic advertising campaigns across platforms, and creates social media AR lenses and chatbots. Lately, Fast River has also been working on entering the metaverse, and it also has equity in a new DOOH start-up.
"I’m an advertising guy - I’ve been working in television production and advertising agencies since 1994," said Sol Saltiel. "Before creating Fast River in 2008, I was the Deputy General Manager of Publicis Groupe in Greece.
"As for Fast River, I shifted everything to digital around 2010. Now, we primarily focus and work with local and international media agencies, clients, and partners. We are now active in Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and recently started a joint venture in LATAM. In parallel, we have also started a new DOOH network for taxis in Athens with the company we’ve just founded together with other shareholders, Cabtivo. So, we’re constantly expanding our advertising channels."
As digital continues to evolve at a rapid pace, companies like Fast River are forced to face emerging challenges and adapt quickly if they want to stay at the forefront of their competition.
This is not always an easy walk, especially when some of those challenges are not directly related to industry.
Sol Saltiel identifies two main issues Fast River, and its clients currently face in advertising.
"War in Ukraine and the energy crisis come first. I’d say that this accounts for 50-60% of the problem. Then, in Greece this year, we have a double elections period in Spring and Autumn that will affect the market.
"Finally, another challenge that arises within our industry is fierce competition. We have a high number of vendors doing almost the same thing. Imagine 9 or 10 companies working on video, for instance, or 7-8 companies doing programmatic advertising. Everyone wants their piece of the pie."
Back in 2020, Sol Saltiel and the Fast River team decided to strengthen their advertising arsenal, which at that time consisted of native, native video, and native recommendations, by adding a programmatic solution to it.
"Due to the severe competition, we needed somebody to help us with programmatic. So, I started looking for a programmatic DSP.
"One of the Eskimi team members reached out and explained how the platform can help us meet our goals. To tell you the truth, I liked the approach, which was one of the main reasons I chose Eskimi."
Sol Saltiel highlights the team at Eskimi as one of the key benefits of working together.
"The product itself is very good – there’s always room for improvement, but all of us are trying to achieve excellence. What I value the most, though, is the team at Eskimi, people's willingness to help and improve the product, and their quality of work. And I put stress on AdOps."
Transparent reporting is another significant benefit that is valued not only by the Fast River team but also by the clients they’re working with.
"The process and the result – the whole platform, metrics, and reporting is key for us. The final report we present to our clients is amazing – everyone is always happy, and we only hear good words about it."
"And in terms of reach, it depends on timing in the Greek market. Sometimes it’s more than we could possibly expect; sometimes, we must overcome some struggles. But this is digital advertising! Publishers allocate placements to direct clients, so we, together with another few programmatic vendors compete for the rest of the traffic.
"But there are still many ideas for the future and goals that we want to achieve together with Eskimi, like working more on video advertising that could add up a lot to our mutual revenue. Or continually onboarding in-game vendors to offer clients more opportunities."
Before joining forces with Eskimi, Fast River had no programmatic revenue and started from zero. The key to this partnership was to bring value for both sides, growing together and offering the best programmatic experience to advertisers and agencies.
Sol Saltiel shared that the first year was challenging.
"It took some effort to adjust everything and get it going. But during the second year, with the proper modifications of personnel, tech solutions, commercial aspects, etc., we grew four times more compared to the previous year. And I’m happy to say that it looks like we’ll keep this pace going forward and can project even higher growth in the upcoming year."
For Eskimi, Fast River was the first agency worldwide to kickstart in-game advertising campaigns. Since then, it has grown significantly in Greece, resulting in about 18% of Fast River’s total revenue.
"As we’re onboarding new vendors, for this year, we project that in-game ad campaigns will account for more than 30% of total revenue, meaning that we really do have momentum together," said Sol Saltiel.