IAB Europe’s New GDPR Transparency and Consent Framework – A Unique Opportunity for Publishers

April 17, 2018 — by Lewis Rothkopf0


The Tech Specs for the Transparency and Consent Framework are now live. We encourage publishers and their advertising partners to implement The Framework.

This post originally appeared on the IAB Europe blog. Read the full post here

MediaMath believes that the GDPR embraces one of our core beliefs: that respecting consumer privacy is a necessity and an opportunity, not an option or burden. Consumers have long been telling us—through opt-outs, ad blocking, and adoption of ad-free subscription services—that they are unhappy with the current state of advertising. This unhappiness stems from the perception that advertising is not balancing its capacity to provide engaging and informative content with the obligation to provide consumers with transparency about, and control over, their digital experience. For these reasons, the GDPR creates a valuable opportunity by encouraging advertisers to form more explicit relationships with consumers and provide advertising that they can feel good about, interact with in more meaningful ways, and trust.

Over the last 12 months, IAB Europe has developed a Transparency & Consent Framework (the Framework) in consultation with stakeholders across the industry which helps website operators become GDPR-ready. The Framework offers publishers new tools to provide transparency into the digital advertising ecosystem on which they rely to help monetise their service. Specifically, consumers are provided with clear information about data use by the publisher and its trusted partners. Another benefit for publishers is that they can collect higher rates from data-based buys, leading to increased revenue.

Additionally, the Framework offers the advertising ecosystem a common language by which to communicate consumer choices around the processing of their data for advertising and other purposes. The Framework is the best mechanism on the table today for advancing the ecosystem in a manner that benefits all stakeholders, including consumers.

Having been through a public consultation period which ended on 8 April, the final version of the Framework is set to launch mid-April 2018. (For more information and resources, visit the dedicated website here.) The registration process is now open for Vendors and Consent Management Providers to apply for approved status in the context of the Framework.


MediaMath Weighs in on eMarketer’s US Native Digital Display Advertising Forecast

April 13, 2018 — by Lauren Fritsky0

In the US, native advertising makes up more than half of all digital display spending, with spend to increase 31 over 2017. Nicole Perrin of eMarketer published her report US Native Digital Display Advertising Forecast this week and included commentary on the native landscape by Lewis Rothkopf, our general manager of media and growth channels. Here is what he had to say.

“It is relatively easy to execute sponsored links in the native programmatic context. It’s relatively easy to cross-pollinate different article pages with other stories you might find interesting,” said Lewis Rothkopf, general manager of media and growth channels at programmatic tech provider MediaMath. “It’s relatively hard to execute native interactive formats across the programmatic supply landscape, but there are companies that are doing it. It just requires quite a bit more innovation in how you take something that is bespoke-feeling and bespoke-looking and be able to address it just like any other addressable media. But there’s no question in my mind that that is where the future is.”


Cision and MediaMath Unite Paid AND Earned Media Through New Partnership

March 7, 2018 — by Greg Williams0


For years, MediaMath has championed the convergence of paid, owned and earned media as the marketer’s holy grail of enabling cohesive communication to consumers through every marketing touchpoint.  The possibility of that convergence lies in the integration of technology and math. While the connection between paid and owned has long been underway, there has been, up until now, a missed opportunity to tie earned media into the equation—not only to drive better marketing results, but also to reach consumers across every channel.

Today, I’m thrilled to announce MediaMath’s partnership with Cision (NYSE: CISN), the world’s leading provider of earned media software for public relations and marketing communications professionals.  Our partnership with Cision is built around the belief that the best way for marketers to engage their customers is through all media channels—paid, owned and earned—in a seamless, cohesive way.  It is this full view of the consumer that is core to our partnership.  Comms professionals who distribute their PR through Cision’s software will now be able to reach those same users through paid media strategies, amplify their earned content and derive insights to both grow those targeted audiences in size and scale and bring ROI accountability to external communications.

The partnership allows marketers to:

  • Optimize digital advertising with earned media audiences: Marketers get access to earned media audience data to inform how they make buying decisions in paid media to deliver relevant, engaging conversations with consumers across all channels, driving desired customer outcomes that lead to improved ROI.
  • Gain insight into omnichannel audience analytics: By bridging earned and paid media, marketers can now connect different marketing channels with attribution systems to effectively measure how consumers are interacting with each touchpoint across a campaign.
  • Amplify earned media with paid media tactics: Communications professionals can extend their earned media efforts with paid media tactics such as amplification of a press release or earned media pickup through paid channels, earned media retargeting or guaranteed news views.

Prior to this partnership, comms professionals were not able to measure and attribute business results for their earned media efforts.  From this day forward, marketers will be empowered to solve this ROI challenge and leverage earned audiences to drive holistic profiles of customers that can be activated in an integrated, omnichannel program.

There will be much more to come in the following months as we scale and innovate further towards the vision of complete addressability to enable marketers to connect with their best customers across all touchpoints.  Stay tuned for more!


How We Can Use the End of Little Things to Maximize Unique Value of Publishers

March 5, 2018 — by Lewis Rothkopf0


Like many throughout the industry, I was disappointed last week to learn of the demise of LittleThings, a great publisher that derived much of its growth from content that its users shared on Facebook. It’s always sad to see people lose their jobs, and for good content to go away. But based on conversations I’ve had with publishers over the last week, this one seemed to hit particularly hard. Perhaps it was because LittleThings, which didn’t take venture funding, had seemed to have cracked the formula for building a sustainable content business that wasn’t overly beholden to the idiosyncrasies of a single distribution platform.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.

Blaming Facebook for the publisher’s unhappy ending, by the way, isn’t the right answer – after all, it’s their platform, their algorithm, their walled garden. Their rules. Rather than trying to ride the next algorithmic wave (as part of any walled garden), publishers and app developers should instead take steps to maximize their own, unique value:

  • The consumer comes first. Without a meaningful and positive relationship with readers, viewers or listeners, content owners may be able to draft off of distribution platforms’ growth, but the traffic generated will be illusory or, at best, temporary. Monetizing content with advertising should seek to enrich, entertain, educate, inform and excite – never to annoy.
  • Optimize ad environments toward shared outcomes. Just as consumers deserve fair value in exchange for their attention and data, marketers should get a chance to tell their story in high-quality environments, using their own data and their measurement. Sharing information with buyers, like historical performance of the ad unit, or metadata about the user session, will improve valuation decisions and help ensure that each impression opportunity is maximized.
  • Embrace shared identity. As consumers move back-and-forth between different devices more so than ever before, addressing them with relevant and useful marketing messages based upon their position in the purchase funnel has become table-stakes. To do so most effectively, marketers need a signal that informs anonymous, privacy-guarded and deterministic identity. For all but the very largest of publishers, particularly those without user login requirements, building their own identity map may be impractical or even impossible. So shared identity platforms that aren’t owned by any single corporate interest are an ideal way to replicate the walled gardens’ logged-in user advantage.
  • Be paranoid about purchased traffic. Although the industry has made great strides towards the reduction of invalid traffic and counterfeit domains, the problem still exists. We’ve seen that in almost all cases of IVT, the impacted publisher at some point purchased traffic. Thinking about our own business, our zero-tolerance policy on fraud means that we don’t pay for suspicious traffic when we find it and, in severe cases, we discontinue access to the impacted supplier. Publishers should be extremely cautious about buying traffic, and should implement ads.txt if they’ve not already done so.

As we saw with this week’s news, publishers and app developers face a difficult balancing act: growing their audiences without becoming overly-reliant on a distribution platform with its own evolving interests or on purchased traffic that is highly prone to fraud; monetizing their content while protecting their brand and experiences; and competing for advertising dollars with much larger adversaries. By working more collaboratively with the buy side toward shared goals, publishers will be able to stand on their own, and continue to produce the content that consumers love.


Pandora Debuts Programmatic Audio Ads

February 20, 2018 — by Amarita Bansal0


This article originally appears on AdAge

Pandora said Tuesday that it will now offer its audio inventory programmatically through popular demand-side platforms such as MediaMath, The Trade Desk and AdsWizz.

Pandora is the last of the three major digital music streaming platforms to offer audio ads through automation, but the company says it brings a significantly larger audience to the table. The move also comes at a time when digital audio is capturing more ad dollars compared to previous years.

Through the first six months of 2017, digital audio grew 42 percent year-over-year to $603 million, and of that, $448 million came from mobile, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s latest digital ad revenue report.

Chris Record, VP or revenue operations at Pandora, says about 85 percent of Pandora’s purchased inventory comes from mobile.

Rivals Spotify and iHeartRadio began offering audio ads through programmatic late last year, but Pandora claims it can reach more users than either of its competitors. Pandora has some 92 million monthly active users on its platform, according to ComScore, while Spotify has 89 million. IHeartRadio, meanwhile, has roughly 30 million.

Record says that competitors like Spotify have users that mainly pay for music. ‘We are differentiated through scale,” he says.

Meanwhile, car manufacturer Volkswagen is among “six or 10” launch partners, Pandora says.

“Cars and music both have a way of eliciting an emotional connection,” Jim Zabel, senior VP of marketing at Volkswagen, said in an emailed statement to Ad Age. “We’re always looking to effectively reach driving consumers in ways that move them while maintaining scale in a brand-safe environment.”

The Volkswagen campaign was facilitated by PHD, an Omnicom Media Group agency and Volkswagen’s media agency of record, Pandora says.

Although Pandora already offers its audio inventory “programmatically” through broadcast planning and buying platforms MediaOcean and Strata, those are mainly used by broadcast buyers, the company says. Through its recent integration with outfits like The Trade Desk, though, the company will be able to sell its audio ads in similar fashion to how it sells video or display with agencies.

Still, despite Pandora’s broader reach, marketers appear more interested in advertising on Spotify.

According to a series of studies published by RBC Capital Markets in partnership with Ad Age, marketers were most interested in advertising on Instagram (64 percent), followed by Amazon (43 percent) and then Spotify (40 percent). Pandora was not ranked.


Why I Joined MediaMath

February 16, 2018 — by Carlos Sandrea0


I joined MediaMath in early 2018 after a one-year sabbatical. It was great. The perfect time to decompress, build stronger bonds with my loved ones, and reflect on my life accomplishments. Unfortunately, good things always come in short supply, and a few months in, a question kept creeping in my head: what was my next career move?

Thus, I started looking for a new job. Between the kid’s soccer practice, and the piano recitals, I developed criteria to evaluate job opportunities:

1) I wanted a company on growth mode, global focus, and with a clear and attainable vision.
2) I wanted to be part of a product organization. While I was not necessarily looking to be a product manager, I wanted to leverage my experience in this area.
3) Lastly, I wanted a company with a smart, solid and diverse team of leaders and peers. I wanted a company with people I could have fun with, learn from, and value what I could bring.

Fast forward to late 2017 when I get a call from a recruiter working on behalf of MediaMath. While MediaMath checked most my boxes, one was still unclear: what’s the team like? How did they operate, and what kind of work environment would I expect from them? The answers to these questions came surprisingly fast.

Over the course of several weeks, I interviewed both in person and over the phone with many people at MediaMath. Everyone I met were really friendly but at the same time they didn’t mince words. There was a common trait among them, a drive. They knew what they wanted, and more importantly, they knew what they needed help with. And while they didn’t always have answers to my questions, they were always open and humble. And boy, do they move fast. Soon enough, and in the midst of the holiday season, I had a verbal offer, which I gladly accepted.

So, to answer your question. Why did I join MediaMath? The quick answer: its people.

Looking for a new job is never easy. A friend once told me that finding a job is like buying a car. You research the car you want, you test drive it, you may even get the best deal, and chances are…you’re buying it! But in the end, you’ll never know whether or not you bought a lemon until you have it for a while. To me, it is the people you work and spend so much time with that makes all the difference at work. Five weeks in, I am glad to report that things are going very, very well.

No surprises, no regrets.


What You Need to Know Today to Take Your Marketing Into the Future

February 12, 2018 — by Amarita Bansal0


This article originally appeared in Advertising Week 360 for AdWeek LATAM. 

Be sure to check out Erich Wasserman, Co-Founder & Head of Strategic Business Development at MediaMath, who will be speaking at #AWLATAM on Tuesday, 13 February in Mexico City. 

Programmatic has come a long way since its beginnings in 2007. Now that we’re more than 10 years in, data-driven marketing is transforming the way advertisers sell and buy media today. From what used to be considered ‘remnant’ inventory, programmatic now activates predictive audiences to power one-to-one conversations and closes the loop between measurement and optimization through powerful machine learning algorithms, in real-time. But despite our advancements in technology, our media ecosystem is still fragmented. Whether it’s a lack of integration across systems or services organized into siloes, we’re left with a patchwork of data and channels that are, collectively, a mess, 10 years later. In fact, 57 percent of marketers are stuck inside this patchwork and admit their marketing infrastructure is siloed by channel, not well-integrated or lacking entirely.

But here’s the good news…we can clean it up!

The size of the LATAM programmatic market is growing progressively – LATAM alone will have 68 percent smartphone penetration by 2020, second only to APAC. As the market grows, how will the level of technological sophistication impact the industry in years to come?

Now more than ever, brands want and need greater control of their media supply. More consumers are blocking ads than ever; 3 in 10 consumers will block ads in 2018. Ads have often been placed next to offensive media, showing up on content that doesn’t align with the brand’s core values. In a vast and convoluted media ecosystem, marketers have struggled to have full transparency from both partners and agencies–and, subsequently, to deliver a better brand experience.

How do we solve for this? It starts with measuring marketing goals the right way. Ten years ago we would define customers with simple proxy metrics, like clicks. But this doesn’t get you to your true business outcome and can spur issues like fraud because…bots can click! If it’s a marketer’s goal to get more clicks, it often leads to cheaper clicks. And if there’s a need for more volume of cheap clicks, it’s more likely ads will be placed next to offensive media and essentially undermine brands. So while you’re pushing down quality to be able to afford reach, what you’re really getting is fraudulent clicks from a bunch of bots. Transformation is a process but if marketers have the capabilities to access the very best media placements at scale, they’ll be able to optimize spend and move away from clicks to an ROI metric that proves actual value for the business.

In addition, marketers need to understand that the average consumer is on four or more devices on any given day. An omnichannel demand-side platform integrated with a demand-side platform with an identity management layer underneath is the most effective way to create customer-centric marketing across every channel. Adopting technology that will consolidate all media marketing onto a single platform and, as a result, give consumers a more consistent, personalized message from their favorite brands across their desktop, mobile or iPad while will drive better consumer experiences and better marketer outcomes.

Looking into the future, artificial intelligence (AI) will be one of the next major technological advances that will impact the consumer experience. With AI, companies can learn from their interactions with customers and use that data to supply consumers with even more relevant advertising. And, unstructured data like mood and weather can be used to add more variables to the bidding process. In addition, AI-driven ad creatives will be the next-generation version of dynamic creative optimization to deliver things like interactive ad units. Using AI to further optimize digital ad spending is the next step marketers are taking to make ads less intrusive and more customer-centric as we head into the next 10 years of programmatic.

Eventually, anything that’s addressable will be touched or influenced through programmatic technologies. We’re at a point where we can optimize across display, mobile, social, and, in 10 years’ time or less, drones, wearables, VR, AR and IoT will be added to the mix. But before that happens, we need the right goals, technology and data to get us there.

The future is indeed, now.


GDPR Is A Force For Good: MediaMath’s Zawadzki

February 2, 2018 — by Amarita Bansal0


This video originally appears on Beet.TV.

Looming new European legislation governing how global companies track and process consumer personal data seem to pose a big challenge to the new-wave of pumped-up ad-tech practitioners.

But one boss at the centre of the ad targeting boom thinks the so-called “GDPR”, whose final compliance deadline comes this May, is a force for good that will help clean up ad practices and put consumers in a better relationship with marketers.

“Advertising has not done a very good job of advertising itself,” MediaMath CEO Joe Zawadzki says in this video interview with Beet.TV. “I think GDPR is this wonderful opportunity for the industry to basically say, ‘Let’s make all of those things that we’re doing explicit’.”

New measures in the GDPR, which passed in 2016, include:

  • tighter consent conditions for the collection of citizens’ data.
  • consumers can instruct companies to stop processing their data.
  • automated decision-making and profiling decisions must be made clear.
  • consumers can request decisioning by automated processes be stopped and handled by a human instead.
  • they have the right to request an explanation of automated decision-making.
  • they can request free access, rectification and deletion of data.

And the rules must be followed by any global company processing EU citizens’ data, with penalties of up to 4% of global turnover.

But Zawadzki sees the positives. “What is exciting about it, I think, is having an explicit relationship with the end-consumer,” he says.

“Let’s have a consumer Bill of Rights. Let’s be true consumer advocates and let’s use this as some mode of force to not just do it for the EU, but to use this and decide that what makes sense for a global business is to have a global set of standards.”

Views of executives interviewed for Beet.TV’s GDPR series range everywhere from “not much” to “world-changing”.

Almost two years after GDPR was implemented, we have variously heard views that many businesses remain underprepared, many ad-tech investors remain in the dark, that GDPR could have little impact and that it will fundamentally re-shape digital advertising.

There is one consensus – that GDPR is coming at the same time as a general movement toward people-based marketing, a tactic in which advertisers develop real, consensual relationships with consumers, rather that simply watching them from afar.

All that may be true, but GDPR is a policy instrument. Whilst Zawadzki is eager to adhere to it, he thinks a common technology infrastructure may be required, to underpin an ecosystem in which everyone sings from the same hymnsheet.

“Some of the things that we are missing are some true identity standards – in terms of the use of consumer data, what’s PI, what’s anonymized, what is the role of synonymous in these things,” he adds. “There’s some definitions that continue, I think, to require clarity. That may not, in fact, come pre-May.

“To actually create advertising that works, we have to create those technical specifications and maybe even those companies in order to manage that.”

To read the full article, click here. 


GDPR is Coming: Marketers Must Prioritize Transparency

February 1, 2018 — by Amarita Bansal0


This article originally appears on MarTech Series here.

We spoke to executives across the globe to identify the top challenges that marketers would face in 2018. The common message was — “It’s time to delight the customers. Dare or risk dropping out of the league.”

GDPR is Coming: Marketers Must Prioritize Transparency

Top business leaders from the data management industry have spoken to us on how GDPR would impact the ecosystem and customer experiences along the buyer’s journey. GDPR is definitely one of the top challenges for marketers in 2018.

Alice Lincoln, Vice President, Data Policy and Governance, MediaMath, said, “With GDPR set to take effect in May 2018, many companies are preparing to adjust their business processes and technology accordingly – especially marketers. In the new year, we’ll see the increased scrutiny of major 1P players’ privacy, security, anti-fraud, brand safety, and election-related practices (Facebook, Google, etc.)”

Alice continued, “This level of scrutiny will also extend to 3P companies, and improved industry standards will emerge to proactively address these concerns. There will also be continued momentum in terms of walled gardens’ evolution to provide marketers with transparency that resembles that of 3P companies. Further, we’ll see ongoing developments in improved industry-wide standards to accommodate emerging technologies, including connected TV and IoT.”

Read the full article here.


When Companies Combine More Quickly Than Their Ad Tech

January 2, 2018 — by Lewis Rothkopf0


What happens when the consolidation of media businesses—either through mergers and acquisitions or commercial partnerships—takes place far more quickly than that of those companies’ underlying ad technologies? You end up with multiple paths into what is now known as a single commercial entity, each with its own advantages, challenges and performance characteristics. The result is that our buying pathways into that media property can represent a spaghetti bowl of legacy brand supply access, a jarring difference from the single voice with which the new entity now speaks, at least publicly.

Because these kinds of consolidations and partnerships have become commonplace, this phenomenon underscores the need for “always-on” supply path optimization (SPO). While we know that different supply paths can often have differing performance attributes, and thus there is justification to maintain more than one authorized pathway to the user, each path should always be rational: each of our roads to that user should be prepared to defend its existence at any time. Unique access to supply is ideal, complementary access is sometimes useful and duplicative access is a problem.

To solve for this, we simply go back to our principles around supply path optimization:

  • Wherever practical, we want direct access to the underlying impression—that is to say, no intermediaries between the DSP and the user. Although there are some legitimate exceptions to that rule, being strict about this approach helps reduce fraud, improve performance and minimize the inefficiencies that come with unnecessary bid requests
  • Determining which is the best point of access when there are multiple legitimate paths can sometimes be tricky: often there won’t be a single best path but rather a small handful of acceptable routes. Potential factors here include differences in user match rates and in user session depth between otherwise like buying paths. In MediaMath’s case, our intelligence layer will determine which of those is appropriate for different marketer objectives and help make a valuation decision to meet those goals
  • Communication with the supplier is key. SPO is not something that can be solved with only a spreadsheet or only with automation. The supply source’s team should be able to provide insights about the planned future state of how they will merchandise their inventory, including which legacy paths will be deprecated. Working closely with that team can help promote stable and performant access to supply, and avoid unnecessary swings in volume or outcomes as the supplier rationalizes their buying onramps

Consolidation and partnerships among media and ad tech companies have been going on for a long time, and there’s no reason to think it won’t continue. By exercising good supply pathing principles, digging in and really understanding ideal routes to the user and working closely with the supplier, we can help our clients stay ahead of the curve and ensure that they are continuing to make the right valuation and buying decisions.