exclusive: interview with Zenya

The division between agencies and vendors is increasingly blurry in today’s digital advertising world. From “traditional” ad networks to retargeting platforms to RTB marketplaces, it can be challenging to pinpoint what a vendor specifically offers and if they’re a good fit for your brand. 

Kantar Media SRDS strives to help you understand the U.S. ad network and exchange ecosystem. The following Q&A is based on a candid conversation we had with Robin Simkins, General Manager of Zenya, a search retargeting company. 

Kantar Media SRDS: What does Zenya do?

Simkins: Zenya is a search retargeting company that allows advertisers to retarget display ads to consumers across the web, based on their unique search history. The database maintains more than 1 billion categorized keywords in over 415,000 categories used for retargeting purposes. Zenya reaches about 600 million user profiles (active Internet users that are tracked by their browsers) and I estimate that we see the average browser about 2,500 times per month. Further, Zenya accesses 400 billion impressions and more than 8 billion unique search events per month.

Kantar Media SRDS: Who does Zenya partner with to actually serve ads?

Simkins: Zenya partners with 14 different exchanges, including our own private exchange, which has first-right access to The partner exchanges include Google, AppNexus, Facebook Exchange, Microsoft Advertising Exchange, Admeld, Casale Media, RightMedia, OpenX, PubMatic, PulsePoint, Lijit, Rubicon Project, AudienceScience and Undertone.

Kantar Media SRDS: How did Zenya start?

Simkins: Zenya is wholly owned by, a meta search engine founded in 1999 by CEO Stephen Scarr. was launched to categorize the commercial Internet, which eventually led to the launch of Zenya, in order to use those categorized keywords for retargeting purposes.

Kantar Media SRDS: How is Zenya different from its competitors?

Simkins: Zenya's main differentiator is that we specialize in search keywords, intent and history, and that our search retargeting efforts are not exclusively cookie-reliant. Because of this, and because we store 30-day rolling histories of a browser's search activity, we have a larger pool than cookie-reliant DSPs and its gets around the problem of blocked or cleared cookies.

Zenya offers quick campaign ramp-ups since we are building off of pre-existing categorized keyword database. This database enables us to win the very next impression compared to competitors who may have to wait two weeks to get enough information for a particular cookie pool. That doesn’t mean that we don’t use cookies at all, however. Though we’re not reliant on cookies for retargeting, we use them for verification purposes.

Zenya is the largest categorized database of keywords available on the market. We have a greater scope to reach customers on related terms that no other provider can match. Our approach is critical for optimization because the client will quickly discover what is and isn’t working in the campaign on a keyword level.

Zenya uses a team of subject matter experts as well as a proprietary algorithm to categorize our keywords. We’re committed to accuracy and maintenance within the keyword tree. A doctor presides over the health keyword tree, a lawyer over law/legal and library scientists maintain the taxonomy.

Brand safety is also extremely important to Zenya. We offer clients full brand safety compliance with our complement exchange content policies. Every impression served is family-friendly, and we have an ever growing blacklist of inappropriate pages and domains applied to all campaigns. We commit to a 100% transparent domain and exchange list.

As a whole, scale and efficiency are the two hallmarks of Zenya’s turnkey process. We cover the entire implementation process in-house and our team will put a pixel on the client’s site as soon as the creative is ready. Our execution, continuous optimization and beautiful reporting make Zenya stand out.

Kantar Media SRDS: When in a buyer’s needs cycle is Zenya relevant?

Simkins: Any media buyer or planner interested in digital advertising or search should reach out to Zenya at the beginning of their planning process. If search is an “always-on” channel for you, we suggest adding retargeting because it can make your campaigns more effective. Conversely, if you employ flighted search campaigns, those that run for short, specific periods of time and may be related to a niche product or something seasonal, we encourage you to turn on the campaign about six weeks ahead of time and reach out to Zenya then as well. 

Kantar Media SRDS: Can you share an example of a successful client case study?  

Simkins: A brand in the security industry needed to drive leads and boost sales of its retail products and services. The client needed campaigns to target the unique needs of customers and supply an experience that matched their search intent. Using Zenya, the client gained focused campaigns for its products and services without sacrificing scale.

Zenya accessed 50,000+ relevant keywords to power the campaigns, connecting them with 8 billion available impressions every day. We optimized, isolating and promoting the individual keywords, driving efficient returns and removing underperformers. Finally, we reported on the results, giving insight into the most effective keywords, creative and landing pages for conversions. The Cost Per Lead was 95% lower than client’s benchmark and the Click Through Rate was 700% higher than client requirements.

Kantar Media SRDS: Who can users contact with questions?

Simkins: Please contact Sean Cahill with any questions at 312-477-7332

*Editor’s note: At the time this post was written, Zenya was a paid advertiser in the multimedia planning platform.

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