MediaMath’s Predictions for 2019

December 10, 2018 — by MediaMath0


It’s hard to believe we are a little over 12 months away from the year 2020, the start of a new decade, a milestone year as we mark 20 years into the 21st century. With programmatic fully into adolescence, we expect to see the run-up to 2020 as a period to “Do Good, Better” (which happens to be one of our MediaMath values) as we learn our lessons from the GDPR, Cambridge Analytica, poor measurement and continual battles with fraud. From AI to identity, a few MediaMathers share their predictions for 2019 below.

Artificial intelligence

“From ‘omnichannel’ to ‘big data’ to ‘artificial intelligence,’ the buzzwords of corporate strategists, CEOs and marketing executives are once again making their cyclical ~5-year shift.  As ‘AI’ and its ingredients—machine learning, deep learning, facial recognition, natural language processing— become the words de rigueur of the next few years, we are going to continue to see Moore’s Law-like impacts of technological change.

What this means is that those companies who only talked the talk and did not walk the walk in terms of big data (and omnichannel) strategies are going to be left further behind at a quicker pace, as AI relies on big data.  And exacerbating this phenomenon will be the dearth of talent in analytics, engineers, big data and AI, which will lead to further and faster divergence between flourishing and collapsing companies.” — Laura Carrier, VP, Data & Measurement Strategy

“There will be a surge in the use of deep learning techniques by ad-tech companies in all aspects of marketing: customer ad response prediction, audience lookalike modeling, dynamic creative optimization, probabilistic identity tracking, fraud detection and optimal bidding. Deep learning models have been shown to be vulnerable to imperceptible perturbations in data that dupe models into making wrong predictions or classifications. With the growing reliance on large datasets, AI systems will need to guard against such attacks on data, and the savviest  advertisers will increasingly look into adversarial ML techniques to train models to be robust against such attacks.” — Prasad Chalasani, Chief Scientist

Connected TV

Whereas two to three years ago TV buyers were saying ‘talk to my digital buyers about connected TV,’ now both sides are saying we should be the ones to control this industry. There was about $10 billion dollars spent last year that’s forecasted to grow, and the industry hasn’t even reached full potential. We need to stop saying that this is the year of connected TV because we are already there. But we’re at a point where buyers are saying I want to be buying into connected TV and buying into addressable TV not as a value-add to their linear buy but as a distinct channel.” — Mike Fisher, VP/Head of Advanced TV & Video


“Mobile is not a channel anymore, but the channel of the other channels. Mobile is becoming the centerpiece of overall advertising spend, building the bridge between online and offline through location data ( DOOH, TV, audio, desktop, mobile). We expect a big consolidation of location data providers—they’ll partner with DSPs, TV and DOOH solutions to win market share. We also expect location data improvement of quality vs. quantity as the stakes for accuracy become high with attribution and we dig into the correlation between visits and sales. From a vertical perspective, location attribution will become especially interesting for CPGs, which don’t always have access to sales data, and for retailers as an additional down-funnel KPI for them to drive users to in-store purchase.” — Floriana Nicastro, Director, Mobile Product Solution

Data privacy

“We’ll see continued/increased scrutiny of major first-party data players’ privacy, security, anti-fraud, brand safety and election-related practices, with expansion of that scrutiny to third-party companies, and improved industry standards to proactively address these concerns, along with emerging technologies such as connected TV and IoT.” — Alice Lincoln, Vice President of Data Policy & Governance

“I expect browsers to continue attempting to represent consumer interest via privacy-restricted browsers that block third-party advertising, This tips the scales further in the direction of walled gardens, which can operate on the first party on self-contained advertising stacks, which makes it hard for advertisers to reach their target markets (without using three different siloed ad tech stacks), harder for the free and open Internet to continue operating on ad revenue and specifically hard for independent publishers to continue providing content (of ANY quality) back to consumers without charging subscription fees. This means 80 percent of browser use will default to blocking tracking and thus interest-based advertising.

I see the advertising industry finding ways around the blocking, technically, and I see privacy advocates litigating bad actors into submission. Ultimately, the way we continue to do business is by engaging industry and consumers with consent, to continue delivering free and open Internet, funded by advertising and by commerce. This is a global thing—it’ll be there next year, following Europe by just 12 months.” — John Slocum, VP, DMP


“Consent management companies, customer data platforms and data management platforms will continue to become critical components for managing the interaction of consumer preferences, personal information and pseudo-anonymous online identities.  With DoubleClick’s decision this year to stop populating the encrypted UserID field in DCM and DBM for consumers globally, marketers wanting to maximize campaign effectiveness and achieve maximum relevance for consumers must now explore alternative solutions in earnest.” — Ellie Windle, VP, Global Business Development


The Real State of Consumer-First and Omnichannel Marketing By the Numbers

December 6, 2018 — by MediaMath0


In September, we released Dream vs. Reality: The Real State of Consumer-First and Omnichannel Marketing, our research in partnership with Econsultancy that assessed the gap between marketers’ desire to deliver compelling, privacy-compliant experiences and what they’re actually doing in practice. Econsultancy surveyed more than 400 global marketers about everything from adtech and martech integration to AI and shared the results in a 36-page report. For anyone who hasn’t read the report or is short on time, we’ve distilled the main highlights into a one-page infographic we’ve released today.

Download the infographic to find out:

  • The gap between how many marketers see the importance of putting the consumer first and how many actually are
  • The benefits integrated tech could bring to marketing
  • The least important benefit of integrated tech, according to respondents


It Takes a Village to Take Down Ad Fraud Schemes

November 30, 2018 — by Daniel Sepulveda0


The global internet and the digital economy have created immense opportunity for advertisers and marketers to leverage economies of scale to help fund and fuel the development of digital services on the web and around the world.  We marry buyers of ad space to sellers, with billions of dollars transacted in the process every day.

But along with immense opportunity have come new threats.  In the process of building a global platform for innovation and wealth creation, we have constructed an economic target for criminal enterprises to infiltrate, and they have taken advantage of it.  This week, we saw American law enforcement, in cooperation with the private sector and law enforcement abroad, take the first significant step to signaling that the jig is up.

After two years of investigation, the Department of Justice announced its first significant takedown of two global criminal ad fraud schemes.  Those schemes used servers and malware to violate the security of millions of computers and trick advertisers into buying access to non-existent consumers on fake websites.  In the process, they stole $36 million dollars from legitimate businesses.

Multiple individuals were charged and taken into custody abroad.  Domains and servers were seized.  And those schemes have been shut down.  This is more than good news. It signals the increased maturation of the global digital economy both as a tool for crime and as a focus for law enforcement in its efforts to deter abuse of access to a global, open internet.

As societies and jurisdictions around the world grapple with a borderless internet, accessible to the law-abiding and criminal alike, there are important lessons to take away from this case.

First, a communal interest in eliminating fraud allows for industry cooperation.  MediaMath was just one of a group of about 30 advertising technology companies that worked with the DoJ to help them understand how the programmatic advertising system works and where and how to capture illegal activity.  Ad fraud threatens advertiser trust in the digital economy, in programmatic advertising and in consumer faith in the legitimacy of the system as a whole.  It is in all of our interests to cooperate to end it, because none of us alone can do it.  And none of us want to be part of financing criminal enterprises.

Second, we learned that law enforcement needs private-sector expertise and information to enforce the law.  The expertise of the DoJ and the FBI’s cybersecurity teams is growing exponentially.  But as the operators of the private networks and systems over which fraud is executed, the industry has insight and access to information that law enforcement does not.

And third, we learned that law enforcement has to be able to cooperate across borders to stop crime on a borderless internet.  The internet is global, and cooperation must be global to work. The list of cooperating law enforcement agencies and entities involved in this takedown ranged from Malaysia to the United Kingdom.

We take the global internet for granted.  We shouldn’t.  The only way it will continue to grow and thrive is if we can all trust in its security and governance.  Our industry can and should support funding the development of skills and capacity-building related to cyber security for law enforcement at home and abroad.  We welcome continued cooperation with law enforcement at home and thank them for their service.


What’s on Agencies’ Minds When it Comes to Consumer-First and Omnichannel Marketing?

November 26, 2018 — by MediaMath0


Compared to marketers, agencies are both planning to spend more on technology and less satisfied with their current technology, our research in partnership with Econsultancy shows.

In September, we released the report Dream vs Reality: The State of Consumer-First and Omnichannel Marketing, based on a global survey of more than 400 digital marketing professionals. Seventeen percent of the respondents were from agencies involved with media planning and buying.

The findings show a chasm between agencies and marketers on several fronts, including point solutions, the benefits of DSPs and perceived ad efficiency.

Agencies less satisfied with tech

Most marketers and agencies are spending more on tech this year, but agencies are significantly less sanguine than their marketer peers. For instance, while 63% of advertisers believe that advertising and marketing technologies are insufficiently integrated, 96% of agencies and technology providers believe that to be the case.

It’s possible that agencies have higher standards than marketers in this regard. When asked which layers of their marketing stack are most integrated and where they are planning to integrate in the future, 40% of advertisers said marketing technology followed by data management. Agencies agreed with those two options in lower proportions, but a quarter of agency respondents answered, “None of the above.” Only 10% of agencies saw their clients’ earned media technology as integrated versus 25% for advertisers.

The GDPR affects agencies less

The GDPR, the sweeping data privacy regulations the EU put into place this year, is having “some impact” on marketing practices for 82% of advertisers and 86% of agencies, according to the report. But marketers were nearly twice as likely as agencies and adtech vendors (39% to 20%) to say GDPR had a “strong impact” on them.

Ad efficiency and objectives

The other big differences between how advertisers and agencies responded to the survey were related to ad efficiency and ad objectives.

Ad efficiency was cited as a top priority for 59% of advertisers and 76% of agencies. Meanwhile, advertisers gave similar weight to the importance of customer acquisition (56%), brand awareness (54%) and revenue growth (54%). But agencies and technology providers leaned towards the increased revenues (79%) and new customers (73%) as the overriding considerations.

The takeaway

For both agencies and advertisers, the report exposed a yawning gap between tech’s promise and its reality. Surmounting that gap means not only changing practices, but changing attitudes as well and eradicating the notion of seeing consumers as a means to an end. There is an opportunity now for agencies and marketers to unite the industry around new standards and to look at a new way to create advertising that respects the consumer and which consumers will love rather than merely tolerate. Marketers, agencies and tech providers can work together to achieve this vision.


Blockchain Has Lots of Promise, But It’s Still in its Infancy

November 21, 2018 — by MediaMath0


“Is it just buzz?” That’s the question Erich Wasserman, co-founder, head of strategic business development at MediaMath used to open an Advertising Week session on blockchain. The answer, from panelists Isaac Lidsky, founder/CEO of Underscore CLT, a blockchain company MediaMath incubated, and Chad Andrews, global solutions leader for advertising and blockchain at IBM, was an emphatic “No.”

Unlike other overhyped technologies, blockchain has some compelling real-world uses. Andrews said blockchain can revolutionize the supply chain by offering a trusted, common version of truth. For instance, a single container of flowers traveling from Madagascar to Rotterdam could have 200 pieces of paper from 30 organizations attached to it. IBM has since digitized the process.

What blew Andrews’ mind was that the World Trade Organization estimates that if the practice was used worldwide, it could raise the world’s GDP by 5%. “Did you say that’s a $3 trillion use case?” Andrews asked.

Blockchain isn’t just for shipping. The idea of providing a final, immutable record has appeal for many industries, including advertising. Lidsky said that blockchain can be used to enforce the rules between buyers and sellers of advertising “and also guarantee that they’re talking to who they think they’re talking to and that they’re buying what they think they’re buying.”

Lidsky added that blockchain isn’t another layer of technology or complexity but a wholesale change. “At this point, it represents an opportunity to change the way business is done,” he said.

Andrews cautioned though that the industry must work harder before it achieves that vision. “If you expect an infant to ride a bike, you’re going to be disappointed,” he said.


The Midterm Elections and Adtech: Let’s Engage

November 16, 2018 — by Daniel Sepulveda0


I assume that most people who work in our sector worry about their country, kids and neighbors during elections. As it relates to work, they worry much more about product development and sale, client relationships, quarterly returns and a market strategy to win the future than they do about how politics and policy affect our prospects. But repercussions for us abound and they are not well understood due to the everyday pressures of running companies and competing in a complex marketplace.

We have to step up our engagement and better articulate and evolve our role in society and markets. We have to inform and assist policymakers in tackling governing challenges relatively new to them, from privacy to competition in digital markets to immigration. Doing so successfully is critical to our ability to continue to grow and thrive responsibly with the support and guidance of citizens, consumers and their representatives.

At MediaMath, we view our advocacy efforts on law and policy as a cooperative joint problem-solving exercise with policymakers. We do not reflexively oppose new law or regulation. Though we believe the ideas embedded in laws in Europe and California need modification and work, we do not attack their efforts to construct baseline rules for data use and protection. We fully understand that people all over the world are asking both market leaders and politicians to rise to the challenge of governing our digital society, and we want to be part of the solution.

Policymakers have struggled from the internet’s inception with everything from how it is changing the way we work and learn to the degree to which it can be leveraged to harm or help us. Constructing a set of policies, law and regulation to give people a sense of job security, consumer protection and control over their lives and information in the digital age is a central governing question for any serious politician. This new Congress and the coming presidential campaigns will struggle with these questions as well.

There are a number of hot takes on what the midterm elections mean for the tech sector at large as a matter of politics and policy. Axios’ David Mc Cabe wrote that “Tuesday’s midterm results will shake up the congressional committees responsible for keeping tabs on the tech industry, setting the stage for new legislation taking direct aim at companies like Google and Facebook.” Others agree with that analysis. Politico reports that both Democrats and Republicans will pursue new privacy legislation, though they say the chances of it passing are small due to bad blood between the parties and the upcoming focus on the next presidential election.

At MediaMath—and, I suspect, at most of the small and medium-sized tech companies that work in this space—we have nothing against Google and Facebook, nor are we their protectors. But as Congress considers bringing these giants to heel, we have to inform policymakers on how any shot taken at them through privacy law or other measures could inadvertently hit the smaller companies in adtech like ours and maybe even entrench the giants politicians seek to tame. Which isn’t to say that new law is not necessary. It’s only to say that it should be carefully constructed and incorporate the views of as many stakeholders as possible. And as Democrats take the House, we have to articulate the value of the advertising-supported internet for people with limited means to access services and information without having to dig into their pockets for a subscription for every website.

We listen for signals from consumers in the marketplace. One of the sources of signal is how their elected representatives express their views of what we do. Adtech is a subset of the larger technology sector and has a unique set of interests. Our business and industry are disproportionately dependent on access to the open internet and the data that is transmitted over it through digital devices from laptops to smartphones to smart TVs.

We can work with policymakers to construct privacy law that gives consumers greater control over their information, penalizes predatory or harmful practices and ensures that consumers are involved in an informed, fair value exchange for access to their data, time and attention. Beyond that, we can work with policymakers to ensure that the internet remains a tool for the small democratization of discourse and commerce. And, lastly, we can and should work to make the digital dividends we are reaping as a sector more accessible and inclusive of more of America. These midterms were not about us, but the new leadership will affect us. Let’s engage.


How Uber Started Making Ads People Love

November 13, 2018 — by MediaMath0


How does a brand with a large focus on mobile marketing drive transparency and incrementality on what is normally a very fraud-prone channel?

For Uber, it took changing its programmatic operating model to shift what its internal team, agency and tech partner were focused on to drive real outcomes for the brand. During AdWeek New York, Bennett Rosenblatt, programmatic display lead at Uber, sat down with Anna Grodecka-Grad, SVP, global head of professional services at MediaMath, to talk about this transformation in the session “How Uber Disrupted the Traditional Media Buying Model.”

In Uber’s case, the brand decided to transform its operations when it began to hit a saturation point with riders. “We’ve pivoted now to running reengagement as our No. 1 tactic for riders in North America,” said Rosenblatt. “Running static banners, hitting users with 20 or 30 ads a week just is not incremental for us.”

In general, Rosenblatt said the brand was often looking for help in navigating the digital media ecosystem. MediaMath helped fill that void.

“MediaMath began to lean in and run those campaigns on our behalf and began to give us those in-house learnings, telling us what was working and what wasn’t,” said Rosenblatt. “And that was really valuable for us.”

The brand migrated to a strategy of in-game ads aimed at low-frequency riders that are likely to get a response. One unit, for instance, is aimed at San Francisco Uber riders and is a lookbook for the top five restaurants for Uber riders in the city.

“Even though we’re Uber and we have 18,000 employees, we don’t have the resources to go super-deep on every campaign. If you’re working with a partner, you should trust them.”


Tis the Season to Infuse Your Campaigns with the Right Holiday Data

November 12, 2018 — by Emera Trujillo0


The holiday season is fast approaching, which makes it the perfect time of year to focus on your audience strategy. As your creative team crafts holiday assets, aligning audiences that complement your business goals will ensure your marketing efforts yield great results throughout the season.

Already busy with holiday traffic on site and in-app? Maximize your learnings from recent purchases to reach those customers most likely to buy additional products and services. Marketing efforts that focus on increasing second orders can yield 1.8x increase in purchase frequency, driving significant ROI. Use browsing and conversion data to build audiences composed of people who have made recent purchases, but are still shopping for related products, and reach them with upsell messaging.

Building on the theme of leveraging signals from people who have made recent purchases, another way to extend the utility of your sales data are lookalike models. Powered by predictive modeling, lookalike audiences use key signals from your best customers to find people who exhibit similar interests and behaviors. Lookalike audiences can fuel prospecting efforts and lead to more efficient conversion KPIs. For instance, tactics driven by MediaMath Audiences lookalike models can yield 52% lower CPAs compared to traditional prospecting tactics.

If there’s one audience to make sure you reach during the holidays, it’s your highest-value prospects that have yet to convert. In retail or direct-to-consumer products, that means shoppers with high-value items in their carts that haven’t converted; in travel, that will be browsers who have visited a vacation package several times in the past week but haven’t booked; and in high-end consumer electronics, that audience will make multiple visits to a product details page but not complete a purchase. Whether you exclusion-target your site and app conversions or add logic to your audience segments to avoid converters, reaching these ready-to-purchase prospects is a cornerstone of every holiday audience strategy.

No site pixels or app tracking? Not a problem. Work with the data you do have—the people you’ve reached via recent or currently flighted campaign impression exposure and clicks on creatives. Further your reach by building an audience that has been exposed to at least one of your campaign impressions but hasn’t clicked on any of your creatives. These types of audiences—based on media exposure alone—can be effective tools to reach people at your ideal frequency, without risking creative fatigue. MediaMath Adaptive Segments let you set minimum and maximum frequencies at the creative level so you can automatically flight your creatives to the right audience at the right time.

Holiday campaigns are a great opportunity to make the most of your data and build audiences that drive real business outcomes.


ANA Masters of Marketing 2018—Illuminating a Path Forward for the Industry

November 8, 2018 — by Dan Rosenberg0


In our industry, the largest trade association is the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).  It brings together 25,000 brands that collectively spend $400 billion in marketing and advertising annually.  That’s big brains coupled with big budgets.  They also happen to be our clients and prospective clients, and when and where they gather, we go.

Recently, I attended the ANA Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando with our Managing Director for North America, Ross McNab, to listen and to learn.  Several themes emerged from the presentations and conversations at the conference that match up well with and will inform our own effort at MediaMath to deliver marketing everyone loves and enable our clients to reach, respect and engage consumers at scale programmatically.

The CMOs that gathered in Orlando have two jobs to do for their firms—contribute to growth and protect the brand.  How do you do that? The presentations and discussions highlighted several key steps in the formula: identify your purpose, put the consumer first, take control of your data and act as a force for good.

As ANA’s CEO Bob Liodice put it in stark terms, while there are marketers successfully executing on that formula—many of whom shared their experiences in Orlando—the industry as a whole is not delivering the growth their employers demand and that the American economy needs to thrive.

The Fortune 500 brands in America have now gone three years running with declining after-tax profits.  “This is an indictment on our industry,” he said. “It’s also a wake-up call for the leadership in our industry to enact the necessary change to drive better business and brand performance. Even small changes can make a powerful and lasting difference. A one-percent change in the underlying growth rate is worth, minimally, $500 billion over a three-year period for our industry.”

If the CMOs in the audience, in concert with companies like ours that put technology at their service, can take from the best of what they heard in Orlando and apply it to their operations, a one-percent change in the underlying growth rate is well within reach.

Trend 1:  Purpose

Susan Deering, eBay CMO, spoke about the purpose of her company and how it drives everything they do.  And though intuitively, you would think eBay’s purpose was to make technology available for people to use as a platform to sell and buy things, it isn’t.  She made clear that eBay’s purpose is to build trust between sellers and buyers.  Doing that and doing it well is what keeps people coming back.  Speakers from other companies, including, talked about the importance of authenticity and leveraging the delight their consumers received from using their product for its intended purpose of enabling a journey of personal discovery to drive a message that no actor could drive in a commercial.

This applies in both business-to-consumer and business-to-business contexts. Here at MediaMath, as both a marketer and a platform developer, we concentrate every day on our purpose to deliver marketing that everyone loves, and by everyone, we mean consumers, advertisers and all the contributors in between—agencies, publishers and technology providers.

Trend 2: Putting the Consumer First

Lou Paskalis from Bank of America put it best when he said, “Stop optimizing the ad.  Optimize the experience.  You only have so many opportunities.  First and foremost, make sure it’s a brand-safe environment, but understand the mindset of the consumer.”  When we hear that at MediaMath, what we hear is a desire from marketers to be able to put the consumer and his or her needs first and to build relationships with those consumers.  Marketers are not simply seeking impressions, they are seeking meaningful interactions.

Trend 3: Taking Control of Your Data

Terry Kawaja of LUMA Partners took to the stage to tell the tale of what direct-to-consumer brands are getting right that more traditional marketers are missing.  At the core is an enhanced ability to understand the consumer, an ability to identify him or her from point of contact to point of sale and beyond and the ability to build a relationship with them based on authentic engagement.  At MediaMath, we believe that a fundamental enabler to facilitate this kind of engagement at scale is a reimagined identity solution and we will be talking more about our approach on this front soon enough.  Together, we can deliver this by creating an open approach to identity across the digital economy, but it will only work if brands treat customers the way these direct-to-consumer brands are treating them, as members of a community.

Trend 4: Act as a Force for Good

P&G Chief Brand Officer Mark Pritchard brought to this year’s Masters of Marketing his persistent call for making marketing a force for good.  He is calling on the industry to engage and promote equality in diversity in hiring, opportunities and messaging.  And he is calling for the industry to promote environmentally-sustainable production.  And the industry is listening.  At MediaMath, through, we are doing our best to contribute as well, encouraging financial donations to causes, pro-bono marketing work for non-profits and encouraging our folks to engage in the communities where they live to act as a force for good.

In short, what we heard in Orlando is that the industry is ready to shape change, treat consumers like people, use data in responsible ways and engage the world outside of marketing in positive ways.  Good news all around—and we can’t wait to see and be part of the progress in the coming year and take stock of the change when the ANA Masters reconvenes next fall.


Lewis Rothkopf Weighs in on the Industry’s Digital Transformation for eMarketer

November 7, 2018 — by MediaMath0


At DMEXCO in September, eMarketer interviewed marketing and ad tech attendees, including our GM of Media and Growth Channels, Lewis Rothkopf, about how the industry is tracking against “digital transformation.” eMarketer has just released the compilation of these interviews, and the consensus is that while many in the ecosystem think they’re making gains, there is still a lot of work to be done. Our research with Econsultancy, released the same week as DMEXCO, found a similar sentiment—91 percent of the marketers surveyed know the value of putting the consumer first, but 51% don’t fully do so.  But the work has begun.

“We are at the halfway point of transformation,” Rothkopf told eMarketer. “Marketers have acknowledged that to be a marketer you need to be a digital marketer. And they understand what that means, what goes into it and laid a lot of the groundwork.”

Download the full publication here.