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MediaTrends

How to Up-level the Quality of Your Supply in 2019

June 26, 2019 — by Pranjal Desai0

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Programmatic is central to nearly 40% of overall planning and execution of media buying by Asia-Pacific (APAC) marketers[1]. India specifically is the fastest-growing country for digital ad spend across the globe in 2019, with a 28% boost compared to last year[2].

It is this very rapid growth that has also created challenges in the ecosystem, including a supply chain riddled with fraud, intermediaries that add little value and uncertainty of the exact path to the impression. The internet as constructed was never intended to sensibly connect the diverse and complex technologies brought to bear by the myriad or adtech and martech constituents in our industry. In fact, most of the longstanding problems we’ve seen over the last few years – such as fraud and lack of transparency—have been caused by this complexity. From the core technology service providers to third-party data providers, advertisers are often unaware of how much spend is going to intermediary fees versus publishers.

However, the future is looking brighter. Select industry players are hard at work creating a more accountable, effective, trustworthy media supply chain from which all parties—marketers, publishers and consumers—can benefit. One of the ways that starts is through access to trusted, high-quality supply that is not blocked by partners that don’t add value.

How can marketers build the best supply strategy?

All of this means that the single most important thing a marketer can do when it comes to determining the best media strategy is ‘never assume’. With high levels of complexity across the supply chain, it is vital that marketers analyse their supply strategy and avoid making the wrong call. Marketers should build or buy specialist insights required for their brand-specific marketing campaign.

For many major brands, this means building a supply team to integrate their technology into the bidding stack. However, the expense and expertise required for this remains to be a challenge for many brands, which is why choosing the right media agency is so critical. The right agency can add real value as they can pool the demand of multiple advertisers in negotiating deals, provide deep industry expertise and negotiate vertical specific deals.

But it also means partnering with the right technology vendor. There are key things to look for:

  • Adoption of the IAB’s ads.txt initiative, which increases transparency by allowing publishers to publicly declare the companies they authorize to sell their digital inventory
  • Supply-path optimization to find the most direct path to the impression by removing intermediaries
  • A supply code of conduct that specifies behaviors that your vendor will and will not tolerate from its supply partners

In the end, the aim is to use the most optimal path to reach your user rather than hoping to find the user on specific supply sources. It is pertinent to have a holistic approach to a media supply strategy which can help everyone in the ecosystem—marketers, publishers and consumers alike —get the quality they deserve.

EducationTrends

The Talent Behind the Tech

May 30, 2019 — by MediaMath0

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Humans still matter in programmatic. In fact, people are increasingly becoming part of the consideration criteria for businesses shopping for a DSP and DMP. Sales and Service Criteria contribute to 20% of the overall purchase intention when considering a DSP and 24% when considering a DMP, according to Advertiser Perceptions.

We know how important it is to combine talent with tech to enable marketing to positively influence business goals. We wanted to introduce you to some of our own talent, the people helping our clients get the most out of their tech. Our Professional Services team is 200+ strong and includes a mix of diverse individuals from a range of backgrounds. The ProServe team spends its days servicing and working with people, from clients and partners to our Product and Sales teams, further proof that the need for the human touch in this crazy adtech work persists. Watch our video “The Talent Behind the Tech” to hear more from the experts who bring strategy, technical direction, campaign best practices, education and, ultimately, delight, to our clients and partners. Watch a clip below and visit here to see the full video.

PeopleTrends

Highlights from the 2019 APAC Leadership Forum

May 15, 2019 — by Priya Darshani0

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Following the success of our summits in NA and EMEA earlier this year, we launched our first MediaMath Leadership Forum in APAC this past March 27-29th. We gathered at the stunning Ritz Carlton resort at Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia with a stellar attendance of key leaders from partners, agencies and brands across Australia, Singapore, Korea, and the US.

The objective was to kick off an “unconference” that brings together senior thought leaders from across APAC in a relaxed setting to drive interactive learning about cross-regional opportunities and share perspectives around how we can collectively work towards transforming the marketing ecosystem for good, setting a forward-looking tone for 2019 and beyond.

Key topics discussed during the forum included future market trends and our product vision to support these needs, the future of people in programmatic, best practices around building a successful programmatic and data strategy and deep-dive roundtable sessions on identity, supply and AI moderated by MediaMath subject experts.

Knowing who your consumers are

The main focus areas essential for a thriving ad tech ecosystem are identity, supply chain management, the application of AI and ML and progressing the dream of true omnichannel outcomes and workflow. As an industry, we can identify devices as never before, while the number and types of devices are increasing at a record pace. Stable, persistent device IDs are core to achieving an accurate, anonymous digital representation of consumers. There are many challenges in bringing this to life, and some solutions exist, but it’s still a very siloed approach.

Creating a quality supply chain

Several factors have contributed to the complexity of the programmatic supply chain as the marketplace has matured. In recent years, transparency has been one major theme for the industry. Clients’ needs and sophistication may vary; some of them may want to look under the hood to see how the supply chain works while others are less concerned about it. A must-have for clients is super clean, performant supply for the best value, something we are working on at the behest of some of the biggest industry names like P&G. There is a need to understand that just because the walled-garden platforms are some of the most economical doesn’t mean the quality is the best. There is a continual challenge to balance price and quality, and often performance-based KPIs tend to push out discussions around either CPM or supply. We need to focus on business outcomes driving the conversation, combined with a transparent supply chain to drive better performance.

A is for AI, not automation

Many marketers still equate programmatic with automation, but automation alone does not guarantee the best business outcomes. In the data-rich world of modern marketing, optimal results require intelligent automation through machine learning (ML).  Fraud, privacy and transparency were all significant concerns/challenges raised at our summit. Whether or not AI and ML can help with better filters to help overcome this challenge is a question that remains unanswered.

And P is for people

While we have already addressed the hype in recent years around the need for AI in performing high-value advertising tasks, the next step is to be adaptable enough to apply it to almost any advertising campaign promptly. AI and automation will also help with talent management. With the rapid growth of the industry, we have really and truly stressed the talent pool. Finding the talent that has programmatic experience and retaining them is a challenge. AI and automation will relieve some of this pressure as the industry continues to grow. It will allow the talent pool in aggregate to mature and strengthen by taking care of the operational tasks, and this benefits all of us. The future of people in advertising means working on more strategic functions vs. repetitive jobs.

There is not and will not be one ideal digital marketing talent ecosystem. It will depend on the brand, the business objectives, the size and the geographical presence. It can be any combination of in-house, agency or consultancy if we ensure alignment on strategy, incentives, goals, communication channels, knowledge management and enablement and the best solution to maximise ROI with a level of effort that is optimal across those involved.

We are excited to help our clients and their partners tackle these opportunities in the year ahead, working to benefit marketers, agencies, publishers and consumers with a better advertising ecosystem that creates wonderful experiences

Click here to watch the recap video from the summit.

Trends

Amplifying the Call for a New Media Supply Chain

May 6, 2019 — by Joe Zawadzki0

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I recently re-read Marc Pritchard’s powerful call for a new media supply chain that “levels the playing field and operates in a way that is clean, efficient, accountable and properly moderated for everyone involved.”

The marketing community tends to be reading the same tea leaves, but P&G’s voice often galvanizes industry to act because of its position in the market. The timing of Pritchard’s speech could not be more opportune from my point of view—we signaled our commitment to re-building our industry with greater quality, transparency, control and privacy when we announced our last round of financing last year.

The current digital supply chain is failing both advertisers and publishers, much less consumers. But not even P&G, with all its advertising might, can right the ship alone. And they are just one side of the solution—publishers are ready for this work as well. It will take a motivated and united alliance of leading marketers and agencies, working with the right tech companies and the right publishers, with the right values and purpose, to build this new production line.

Here’s what needs to be done.

Quality

Pritchard says that P&G will “invest in places where brands are proven safe, where the content is known and controlled and where there is third-party measurement, auditing and accountability.”

We get it. By focusing on partners with aligned values, we reward those that are working for better outcomes for marketers, publishers and consumers. We’ve already taken proactive steps on behalf of our clients as a class to ensure our supply-side partners truly add value, such as having better access to fraud-free supply. The supply chain code of conduct that our industry must enforce and uphold includes:

  • Actively monitoring for auction games and other behaviors that are not in brands’ best interest like unnecessary fees, and not buying from supply providers that violate this;
  • Shaping supply to work for brands by using supply-path optimization (SPO) to find the cleanest, most direct and performant pathways to the underlying impression. We must reduce unnecessary intermediaries by enabling our inventory to be obtained in two or fewer “hops” or connection points to the actual inventory source;
  • Increasing transparency and lowering costs, passing value back to the marketer; and
  • Rewarding publishers that do it right with greater investment, and better yield.

Independence

With the fragility of the Google ID, Facebook’s measurement discrepancies and new formats and channels without the same standards as “legacy digital”—television, out of home, audio—brands and agencies need partners capable of supporting off-platform and cross-platform measurement. The success of their marketing, their ability to build a stable marketing organization, infrastructure and process depends on it.

Brands and agencies deserve and should increasingly demand a scaled, open, integrated DMP and DSP, free from the conflict of interest and privacy concerns associated with owning a media platform that collects and processes sensitive and personally identifiable information for purposes not necessary for advertising. We can and must unify data with privacy-friendly, GDPR-compliant marketing solutions. The data relationships belong to brands, and they should be viewed and analyzed within analytics products or exported to them at the event level—keyed off pseudonymous user IDs—for their own analysis.

Privacy

The industry must share P&G’s commitment to consumer privacy in law and, most importantly, in practice. Like P&G, we have been working with the Privacy for America coalition. We recognize that the GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act strongly signal the desire of policymakers to put consumers first and update law for the digital age. We will work to honor the letter and the spirit of these laws, but believe that one set of strong standards would be better than a patchwork of state laws of varying quality. We wait with anticipation to see how Congress responds to the Privacy for America proposal, to determine if it is the right fit for better protecting consumers from harm while delineating for industry which practices are reasonable or not in the digital economy without favoring and further concentrating market power in the hands of a few.

Control

Marketers deserve better accountability and outcomes from their advertising. We know that one of the ways in which marketers have aspired to the latter in recent years is through “in-housing” technology ownership and changing up their relationships with agencies. Yet, we see day in and day out the importance of brands’ partners in acting as trusted advisors that manage media-buying operations and bring new approaches and ideas to foster stronger brand outcomes.

We believe that increasingly brands will adopt a model of “triangulation” in which the brand, agency and tech partner each has an important seat at the table in driving strategy and operations. We see it as less about wrestling control away from one entity and more, as Pritchard puts it, about “discerning what work should be done [in house] versus what work should be done externally.”

What’s next?

The above is going to take a lot of work. We have to fix attribution so that marketers know not just that their campaigns are working, but how well and where. We have to improve the creative experience because interruptive advertising’s days are numbered. We have to actually use artificial intelligence to fuel machine learning.  And we have to change legacy organizational designs and incentives for marketers to pursue not impressions driven but quality of outcomes. After we have done all that, won some trust, proven to marketers and their consumers that their data and money are being well spent and secure, then we can build a better digital world.

The foundations are there. We’ve modernized the technical integrations and recrafted commercial relationships so they better align with marketer business goals and are transparent for all parties and respectful of their interests including, and especially, consumers.

Pritchard and his CMO peers will demand an addressable supply chain—the ability to recognize one’s customers and prospects consistently across devices, over time, across the globe. We are working to ensure that our identity solution enables that supply chain, where brand relationship data with consumers can go in, come back out and respect the digital dignity of the human beings involved throughout.

Once we have an addressable and accountable supply chain, what should we do with it? It would be the perfect environment for deep attribution to the true business goals of marketers. It would mean replacing media proxies that treat impressions as commodities for data-driven campaigns and relationships as the ingredients to true business outcomes—sales in the moment and over time.

In order to make sense of the volume of impressions and insights, we simply must use math—sophisticated AI/ML that harnesses the billions of real-time connections that take place every day and turns them into results. Our long-standing capabilities in allowing sophisticated marketers to bring their own—or IBM Watson’s—attribution, optimization and data science find their best expression on top of this modernized supply chain.

Over the last three quarters, our team has been working with our supply partners, clients and industry trade associations to do our part in creating an aligned ecosystem built on principles and values that we can manifest in code. The purpose of the work we have started to create a more accountable, addressable supply chain is to make good advertising—benefiting people as consumers, and the companies and causes they support.

I will be a loud voice on these issues and put our company’s decade-long legacy of leadership and innovation behind my words as we pledge an even deeper commitment to creating, in the words of Mr. Pritchard, “a new media supply chain that is both a force for growth and a force for good.”

DataTrends

5 Steps to Improving Multicultural Marketing Campaigns

April 23, 2019 — by Daniel Sepulveda0

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This byline originally appeared on Chief Marketer.

Consumers’ needs and wants are often ephemeral, and borderless transactions are continually evolving and thriving, which makes it essential for marketers to consider the multicultural dimensions of their campaigns.

Techniques like programmatic marketing enable marketers to quickly personalize advertising for audiences, helping to build trust, relevancy and meaningful connections. Of course, a crucial part of this is considering the needs and interests of the communities you want to connect with, and making sure your communications are inclusive and positive.

Here are five key tips to consider.

      1. Know what your customers want

Before developing creative assets and marketing messaging, it’s key to know the features, functions and benefits that are most important to your target audience. Don’t rely on instinct. Leverage your existing market research or invest in some to analyze which product attributes are most and least important in driving product choice for the people and communities you want to reach. To understand these differences, marketers should explore running a conjoint analysis to determine how features, functions and benefits are prioritized at a cultural level. Depending on your level of statistical experience, there are many guides available online, from academic through to more general.

      2. Properly allocate budget

By performing marketing segmentation analyses, marketers can determine how to split their campaign budget wisely. For example, in knowing what your audience wants, marketers can then take things a step further to run a cluster analysis, which is a statistical approach that groups people together based on distinct similarities. For instance, the variables of culture, city and per-capita income could be introduced to project the revenue opportunity, thus guiding budget. Based on the cluster, a brand may see that City A weights higher on cultural groups 1, 2 and 3; these have a typical per capita of $X. Clustering doesn’t necessarily require statistical programming, as it can be run from Microsoft Excel, and is a good option for brands that are not able to run advanced analytics such as marketing mix modeling.

      3. Use contextual targeting

Contextual targeting aligns brand messaging with ad and consumer experiences, and is a great campaign set-up tactic. For example, by marrying target language with keywords and interest topics, as well as competitor terms, you can maximize the chances of reaching someone, with relevance, who is exhibiting high intent to interact with, or purchase from, the brand.

     4. Consider behavioral nuances as part of set-up

Consider how behaviors differ across cultures. Suppose that you want to reach cultural audiences across Europe. Consider how “pay days” differ country to country. Some locations pay salaries weekly, some bi-weekly (or fortnightly) and others, monthly. As a result, you should consider your campaign’s pacing, potentially increasing spend around salary days. In the same way, lifestyle is something else to consider as a factor when setting up your day-parting rules for marketing across cultures. Research shows that “wake-up time” is typically the same but “go-to-sleep time” differs, with countries in Asia typically going to bed later.

When thinking about reaching cultures in your local market, consider how they share information in their communities and how they will share and experience your brand. Be mindful of topics that are important to these cultures. Pew Research is a great resource” As with reaching cultures across borders, pacing and day parting also play into this space, in addition to ensuring that the right creative imagery and messaging are used. Don’t simply use the same creative, opting to change only the text. This won’t resonate, and it will seem transparent.

   5. Optimize budget based on log data

Check browser language data by exploring user logs and event logs. Where, for example, a multicultural campaign is in two languages (say, Spanish and English) and the data shows that 80% of traffic is using a Spanish browser language setting, re-calibrate the budget to meet the skew. Drive people to the Spanish creative and, therefore, the Spanish landing page. Also use this opportunity to evaluate if you need additional creative.

PeopleTrends

4A’s Decisions 2020: To Be a Better Partner, You Must Partner Better

April 9, 2019 — by Lars Feely0

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We heard the call for agencies to “evolve” at Decisions 2020 two weeks ago (and in the media coverage around it), just as we’ve heard it from Marc Pritchard and other industry leaders in recent years. We know our agency partners must be exhausted over their growing “To-Do” list of things to improve upon—be more transparent, deep-dive into data and insights, give up and just go home because all brands are just going to in-house eventually anyway.

Phew. It’s a lot.

Here’s the thing—just as brands need the right consultative partners across the spectrum, so do agencies. This stuff ain’t easy—the technical part of it, new tools, new channels, plus keeping on top of industry shifts, privacy laws, consolidation. We all need help. We need each other.

To our agency friends, we’re asking to help us help you.

Almost a year ago, we started building a new Global Partnerships team focused on accelerating the success of our key partnerships to achieve client outcomes. “Partnerships” can mean many things, but in our world, it focuses on our relationships with agencies whom we sell both to and with like Havas, major business channels through which we sell our technology, such as IBM, and consultancies like McKinsey. Across these groups, we aim to continue to provide solutions around data, identity, supply and optimization and build bespoke, joint products to drive outcomes for their client base, just as we do for our brand clients.

And what about this whole in-housing thing? Funny you ask, because we put out a whole playbook on it nine months ago. As a technology company that serves both brands and agencies, we know that “full” in-housing is currently uncommon and tough to accomplish. The operational complexity of media buying often makes the scaled and specialized workforce of an agency a requirement, and institutional knowledge also benefits the agency’s clients. In fact, we have identified four models for brands that want to take more control of their tech, and agencies play a major role in three of the four. One of those three models is what we like to call a “triangulation” (or “Happy Commune” in our playbook) in which brand + agency + tech partner have an equal seat at the table in driving strategy and operations.

And more research is on the way. We are excited that our very own Head of Global Partnerships Jim Sink was interviewed for a whitepaper the 4A’s and 614 Group are putting out on programmatic best practices later this quarter. We anticipate that this paper will share critical insights on the interplay between tech and talent and how brands and agencies can best partner to drive success.

To recap:

  • Yes, agencies have a lot of work to do, but they can get by with a little help from their friends
  • In-housing is happening, but not without the help of agencies
  • Inform yourself with the latest insights and research from industry subject matter experts to guide your partnership approach

Partner on, friends.

PeopleTrends

Stop, Collaborate and Bid Shade: Two-Way Communication Crucial for DSPs and SSPs

March 18, 2019 — by MediaMath0

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As every major exchange has switched to first-price auction, in which the winner pays precisely the amount that he or she bid, bid shading is being used more and more as a technique to avoid paying too much. Our MediaMath Product Lead Sara Skrmetti was interviewed by AdExchanger last week on our take on the practice. Skrmetti drove home the point that MediaMath wants both DSPs and SSPs to take a collaborative approach to bid shading.

“Two-way data sharing [will] make both shading solutions smarter and complementary,” she said. “If we work separately and don’t inform one another’s approaches, we might end up negatively affecting advertisers’ performance, so this two-way communication is critical.”

As Skrmetti explained it, if an exchange aggressively bid shades when an advertiser wants a high win rate, the advertiser will be negatively impacted by that higher loss rate.

To find out more about our take on bid shading, download our whitepaper on the industry shift to first-price auctions.

PeopleTrends

MediaMath EMEA 2019 Summit: Key Takeaways

March 5, 2019 — by Fatimah Radiom0

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Last month, we hosted MediaMath’s second annual EMEA Client Summit in Iceland. We brought together our clients, partners and executives in a freezing cold, yet magical, setting,

Now that we’re back, and somewhat defrosted, here’s a summary of some key takeaways.

Bringing more transparency into the ecosystem

We heard multiple times from clients and MediaMath experts about the importance of the “T” word: transparency.

Digital marketing technologies have disrupted the market and changed the way we purchase media. Brands must have full transparency into their advertising spend to understand ad fees and to measure attribution accurately, the media buying process to ensure target audiences actually see ads designed for them and also visibility into customer insights and data, including how and where it is being used. There were frustrations shared by many clients with the closeness of the walled gardens. The consensus in the room was that data must be made available and shared internally across teams for interpretation. But who should lead this effort, and is it more of an educational issue, or do we simply need more government regulation or intervention?

The reality is, that we ALL play a role—brands, agencies, partners, publishers. The ecosystem is complex, with many players involved, but to get to a point of total transparency, we must all hold ourselves accountable.

Recognising and respecting the consumer

The “identity” roundtable discussion highlighted key challenges faced by marketers such as fragmented online identities. The result is a disconnected set of experiences for the consumer, and the tough task for marketers to truly create a unified experience across devices. With rising consumer demands over brand experiences and levels of personalisation, identity is a huge deal. To solve for fragmentation and disconnected experiences, clients expressed the need for more data-driven marketing, using the right data in the right ways to generate true value.

MediaMath’s Chief Product and Technology Officer Wilfried Schobeiri and our CEO Joe Zawadzki shared our vision for a consistent, open, portable approach to identity. We help marketers respect and prove relevance to consumers by enabling a single view of them as people, not devices, and an observed, not inferred, understanding of their behaviour. We do this with an identity graph that is deterministic for accuracy, with an option to activate probabilistic for scale. Clients can then leverage our MediaMath Audiences proprietary data asset to layer on attributes to consumers that are based on observed actions. This understanding of consumers is portable, able to be leveraged in other platforms beyond ours.

Balancing machine power with human expertise

Even when identity has been addressed, there are still challenges in knowing what to do with the data and insights. This was a dilemma raised by clients in the AI-themed roundtable discussion—when to use machines and when to use people to analyse the data?

Anna Grodecka-Grad, Chief Services Officer at MediaMath, delivered a thought-provoking keynote on this topic. With automation playing a significant role in driving efficiencies and speed, we will see a pivot from “media doers” to “media consultants.” There will be a need for more strategic, actionable expertise. AI will help to mature industry talent.

Other themes that came up around AI were that people’s definition of the term varies—the common understanding seemed to be “connectivity” and the ability to optimise projects and touchpoints. Concerns around data and how to evaluate the accuracy of your data, what to automate and how best to leverage insights were common challenges. On the measurement front, clients are at different stages of being able to attribute their marketing, and questions arose about the ability to measure frequency.

The future of programmatic/emerging channels

The most popular and well-attended session was “the future of programmatic.” With more accurate targeting, marketers are investing in channels like digital-out-of-home (DOOH) and addressable TV (learn more about the latter from a Beet.TV interview with Mike Fisher, our VP/Head of Advanced TV & Video).

Some discussions highlighted the key benefits of emerging channels such as enhanced creativity in the delivery of campaigns, increased efficiencies and the ability to create more visually appealing, meaningful and unique customer experiences. However, there were some common challenges flagged, which seemed to prevent more widespread adoption:

  • Supply & market forces: These solutions are not being made 100-percent available or feasible from the supply side (too little inventory, programmatic prices too high).
  • Internal politics: To whom does this budget belong? Which department? Legacy teams feel pressure not to give it to digital.
  • Measurement: How do marketers best assess KPIs once these channels are brought to digital activation?

As noted by our Director of Emerging Channels Karen Chan in a blog post earlier this year, the best way to get started with new channels such as DOOH is to have the right expectations, creatives and supply strategy in addition to the right partners to help you achieve success with these emerging mediums across your multichannel campaigns.

The opportunity for media agencies to be consultative partners

Another interesting topic of conversation and debate was the role of media agencies.

Brands shared reasons why they are re-evaluating their media-buying models and which model seemed to work best for them. While the role of media agencies will change over time, the fireside chat with our agency clients felt there are significant benefits to strategic involvement of external partners in media buying. MediaMath experts recently authored a playbook “Tech & Talent: Four Models for Managing the Evolution of Your Programmatic Media” which suggests that a triangulation between the three will prove most effective over time.

As Joe stated in his fireside chat at the end of the event, MediaMath is committed to bringing accountability to the industry, and to helping our clients and partners create an environment that is aligned to their needs for brand health and growth. We look forward to welcoming you back in 2020, to see how the industry has evolved, to share what we have been doing about it and to hear your feedback on how we can continue to transform our solutions to meet these needs.

Watch highlights from the event below!

PeopleTrends

MediaMath and the 2019 IAB Leadership Conference: A Rewarding Experience

February 14, 2019 — by MediaMath0

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In a meeting with Joe Z this week at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting (ALM) in Phoenix, Arizona, one of our partners dated our relationship by saying, “Seven IABs ago…” It was said with humor, but the fact also communicates the importance of this particular gathering of the IAB and its members to our community. We date our progress and relationships to some degree by the passing of the conferences—and in an industry that moves at lightning speed, that’s saying something.

The IAB ALM was more than an opportunity for marathon meetings. First, it was a chance to recognize some of the great work being done in the industry, including here at MediaMath. Our peers commended our leadership across four areas:

  • A Service Excellence Award to Floriana Nicastro, Director, Mobile Product Strategy, for helping IAB establish a common framework for “5 Questions to Evaluate Your Identity Partners”
  • A Tech Lab Service Excellence Award to Charlie Simon, Director, Data Policy and Governance, for his work on the GDPR Commit Group
  • An Education Excellence Award to the New Marketing Institute
  • An Award for Overall Sales Excellence for a Small-to-Medium Sales Organization

It was like being Lady Gaga at the Grammys (which happened to be trending on Twitter at the same time we were live-tweeting the #IABALM opening).

But beyond the accolades, for which we were very humbled, we learned and grew ourselves. Conference speakers communicated the important message that we are in a new age of disruption on three fronts. First, direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands have come of age and are disrupting the markets in which they compete as well as the way in which businesses use data. Second, marketers are demanding to get and know more from the advertising and marketing technology that connects them to consumers. Third, privacy is no longer an issue for the legal department, it is an existential challenge that demands the ecosystem’s full attention.

DTC disruption

The main stage at the conference opened with IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg delivering a flawless and well-constructed presentation of the disruptors among us (check out the IAB 250 Report to discover the most important disruptor consumer brands in U.S. economy). He highlighted that DTC brands are growing in ways that outpace incumbents in their market and doing it using data and digital platforms as well as traditional physical infrastructure and linear television. For the programmatic world, these companies are relatively new to the scene, largely dependent on Facebook because it is easy and it is what they know, but they are seeking alternatives and seeing the benefits of trying out different digital paths to consumers. Over time, we believe they will become key demand-side actors in the space, and we aim to serve them.

After Randall’s speech, he welcomed to the stage the founders of the wildly successful DTC brand ThirdLove. Their presentation was interesting because of how data-enriched their service is and the story they tell about how ThirdLove came to be. First the data. It tells you things that are at first counter-intuitive. The brand’s primary customer is not in cities, and it’s not all millennials. The feedback from consumers drives the brand’s product development and sheds light on things ranging from the need for different color undergarments to reflect different skin tones to the importance of women over age 30 seeing themselves reflected in marketing.

For those of us from MediaMath in the audience, we saw a kindred spirit in the young DTC company. It is up against much larger competitors, taking risks, working as a force for good using its product to help women and girls around the world, and investing and reinvesting in its technology as a tool for driving value for customers and employees.

From digital video to digital identity

MediaMath also participated in two important panels at the conference. Mike Fisher, our passionate advocate for all things sight, sound, and motion, participated in a town hall with SpotX, CBS Interactive, Hulu and Sony Crackle about the future of connected TV and digital video. He broke down the need to address digital and linear differently: “Video is video, but getting the right video creative and using the right screen for the right message is what you have to do…screen size matters and engagement matters.”

While Mike was in one ballroom, Danny Sepulveda was in another communicating our passionate commitment to doing right by consumers and the ecosystem when it comes to privacy. Joined by luminaries in the business John Montgomery from Group M, Townsend Feehan from IAB Europe and Doug Miller from Verizon, the group agreed that the business needs to plan for the new California privacy law as if it will go into effect without changes while respectfully advocating for reasonable amendments to the law for the good of the ecosystem as a whole. The panel was ably moderated by the IAB’s man in Washington and an old friend of MediaMath’s David Grimaldi. The other message that the panel delivered was that the ecosystem needs to invest in, rally around and present a better way to design law that does right by consumers without distorting the data-driven economy in favor of one business model or at the cost of creating barriers to independent ad tech’s existence.

Where to from here

No single part of the ecosystem is independent from the others. We work to serve each other—publishers, marketers, agencies and tech providers alike—and when we do it well, information is not hoarded or trapped inside a garden—it is distributed and shared with respect for consumer privacy to serve their market needs. We at MediaMath are committed to that value exchange and are working hard to deliver it within the construct of a mature, responsive and respectful tech stack.

We also know that education plays a critical role in moving the industry forward. It’s fitting that NMI just celebrated its seventh birthday (seems to be our lucky number). Having had an opportunity to connect with industry colleagues and friends during the conference, there seemed to be shared enthusiasm for our commitment to education and the acknowledgment that this industry is complex and fast-moving. Creating a safe space in which to have bold conversations, recognizing where the learning gaps exist and designing a structured educational framework that drives adoption of new technologies and digital transformation are critical components.

Seven IABs from today, we will still be there, having constructed a digital path to consumers that is simple, scaled and accessible to brands, from those with pop-up stores and a quality product of any size to publishers with engaging platforms on which to reach consumers.

About Lauren Fritsky

Lauren is the Senior Director of Content at MediaMath, responsible for creating, executing against and managing the global, data-driven content strategy that informs key themes and messaging across paid, owned and earned. A native of the Jersey Shore, Lauren graduated from La Salle University in Philadelphia with an English degree that she has put to use as a print journalist, trade magazine editor, professional blogger and now content marketer. After a 3.5-year stint in Sydney, Australia and a 4.5-year stint in New York City, Lauren now lives in Phoenix with her husband and two children. She loves to travel, read true crime books and eat all the dark chocolate.

About Daniel Sepulveda

As VP for Global Government Relations, Danny Sepulveda joined MediaMath after spending two decades in public service, including work at the highest levels of the US government. In the Obama administration, Danny served as Ambassador and Deputy Assistant Secretary in the U.S. State Department under Secretary of State John Kerry, where he traveled the world working on high-level initiatives including cyber policy, digital economy, internet governance and human rights. Prior to that, he worked as a senior aide to three US Senators, including then Senators Barack Obama and John Kerry. Danny’s role at MediaMath is focused on shaping, implementing and communicating MediaMath’s policies and practices around the consumer value proposition, privacy protection and public policy.

Trends

2019 Programmatic Trends By the Numbers

January 31, 2019 — by MediaMath0

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Every year, MediaMath puts out global trends on the digital marketing space from around the globe. This year, we decided to try something a little different with our 2019 Programmatic Trends By the Numbers—an interactive infographic. Users can click into each region or country to see trends specific to that area and also watch some cool animations of the data. Click the graphic below to get started. We hope you enjoy the experience!