Interact 2018: Video Interview with Wil Schobeiri, Chief Technology Officer, MediaMath

August 3, 2018 — by MediaMath0


Held in Milan, Italy on May 23rd and 24th, IAB Europe’s annual conference Interact included conversations about the GDPR, which went into effect a day later on May 25th. While at the event, our Chief Technology Officer Wil Schobeiri was interviewed about IAB Europe’s Transparency & Consent Framework, which he played a role in designing as a board member on the IAB Tech Lab. Watch his full interview below. 


More Ads Aren’t the Solution—Better Ads Are

August 2, 2018 — by MediaMath0


Marketing budgets are rising, but 46 percent of marketers say consumers’ intolerance of ads is a key barrier to their success, a new report says.

Dentsu Aegis Network polled 1,000 marketing CMOs in 10 countries for the survey. The findings showed that such execs were planning to counter increasing ad blindness with more ads. We think they should consider making their ads better instead.

Snapshot of CMO thinking in 2018

Sixty percent of marketers expect budgets to rise. Some 43 percent plan for increases of 5 percent or more. Those in the auto, financial services and tech industries feel the most confident.

Budgets in those industries increase some in spite of—or maybe because—of consumers’ increasing ad intolerance. The report cited the “creeping realization” that consumers don’t really want to see ads—at least, not in their traditional form.

This realization is fueling a desire to personalize ads. Some 29 percent cited “the ability to use data to reach real people rather than proxies or customer segments” as their biggest opportunity. Marketers also saw opportunities with artificial intelligence and blockchain.

Our take

For us at MediaMath, this latest research confirms that our assumptions about the market have been correct. We strongly believe that:

  • AI is more than just the latest hot industry trend. It’s a means to perform calculations using huge amounts of data that lets marketers target ads better. AI can take into account consumer emotions and a deep analysis of content to improve messaging.
  • Blockchain will bring more accountability and transparency to digital marketing, and we are stoked about our work with Underscore CLT on this front.
  • Personalization is the key to challenging ad intolerance. But in a multi-channel world, personalization requires a consistent identity solution. We are leading the charge with open identity.
  • A “consumer-first” approach will change how consumers view advertising. Giving consumers transparency into how their data is used will give them control over the ads they see. More relevant ads equal a better experience.

This is an exciting time for our industry. Technologies that can greatly improve consumers’ ad experiences are within our grasp. The improvement in that experience will be a net positive for marketers and consumers.


Tech & Talent: Four Models for Managing the Evolution of Your Programmatic Media

July 31, 2018 — by MediaMath0


Let’s just call out the elephant in the room: everywhere we look, the term “in-housing” is cropping up. It generally connotes something brands equate with triumph and agencies with losing business. In its purest definition, in-housing describes the transition from agency-led media buying to the brand being in partial or full control of activation. Somewhere along the way, the industry has started applying the term to brands giving the old heave-ho to their agency partners for reasons surrounding lack of transparency, hidden fees and mistrust over whether the brand’s best interests were being considered. Brand marketers are also facing more pressure from the top to deliver ROI, especially as they increasingly amass more share of technology budget.   

While the role of a media agency will change over time as the ecosystem evolves and technology improves, there are significant benefits to strategic involvement of external partners. The operational complexity of media buying makes the scaled and specialized workforce of an agency a requirement for many brands. Institutional knowledge also benefits the agency’s clients. External partners see more scenarios across more brands and industries than an in-housed team, and they can make parallels from those experiences to a given brand’s situation to correct problems and find incremental gains.  

Today, we have launched the playbook “Tech & Talent: Four Models for Managing the Evolution of Your Programmatic Media” to help you discover your operating model for success in the world of paid marketing—and most of the models we present actually involve your agency partners.

Find your operating model “type” and how to secure the resources to get you there 

Download this guide to learn: 

  • Why brands are re-evaluating their media-buying models   
  • What operating model is right for your brand 
  • Where to find help if a change in model is in order  



Why Consumers Love Opt-in Video

July 26, 2018 — by Floriana Nicastro0


In today’s media environment, attention is a valuable and increasingly scarce commodity. Consumers are exposed to up to 10,000 brand messages a day and switch screens as much as 21 times an hour. The average attention span is eight seconds.

In that light, asking a consumer to sit through a 30-second video ad is asking a lot. Consumers know this, which is why they are more open to the idea if they get something in return.

That’s the gist of some new research MediaMath recently conducted with the Mobile Marketing Association and OpenX in a report titled “The Consumer Engagement Crossroads: Getting consumers to opt in, before they opt-out.” The TL:DR version: most consumers prefer opt-in video ads, which reward them for their time and attention. Marketers who aren’t using the format widely might consider expanding their use.

The clear favorite

The study found that 80 percent of consumers are so dissatisfied with digital advertising that they’re considering ad blockers. That’s largely because the ads they’re seeing are irrelevant. Some 67 percent of respondents said the mobile ads they see are never relevant to them or are not relevant very often. When those mobile ads are relevant, they work very well. Sixty percent have clicked on a mobile ad, and some 20 percent of consumers say they bought something in the last week because they saw a mobile ad.

But not all mobile video ads are created equal. While only 12 percent of consumers said interstitial ads are very good and 19 percent said the same of pre-roll, 30 percent liked opt-in ads. Though marketers don’t use opt-in ads as much as the other formats, nine out of 10 agree it provides a better consumer experience than other ad formats; 80 percent say it offers a better ROI.

Why opt-in ads work so well

Opt-in ads originated in gaming. Usually, consumers opted to watch an ad in exchange for a reward or unlocking a new level. Its applications transcend that category, though. Consumers calculate that their time and attention is worth something. As is the case with their personal data, many are fine with trading their attention to get something in return. The research showed that more than 50 percent of consumers would be willing to watch ads up to 60 seconds long for discounts from retailers, premium video content and more. Some 77 percent of consumers would watch a 30-second ad to get a discount from a retailer.

Opt-in ads work so well because they give consumers control. By using the format, marketers communicate to consumers that they recognize that their time is important. The format is a rare win-win in the current media environment that both marketers and consumers find amenable. Combined with effective targeting, consumers may find such ads not only tolerable, but welcome.


California’s Privacy Law a Commendable Step Toward National Standard

July 24, 2018 — by MediaMath0


This byline originally appeared on The Hill and was co-authored by Danny Sepulveda, VP of Government Relations for MediaMath, and Dipayan Ghosh, a fellow at the Shorenstein Center at the Harvard Kennedy School who served as technology and economic policy advisor in the Obama White House, and until recently worked on privacy and public policy at Facebook.

California has passed a baseline consumer privacy law called the California Consumer Privacy Act — the first ever to make it into statute in any American state. The politics triggering this development were intriguing: a real estate developer seized on the public sentiments induced by the Cambridge Analytica incident and took on Silicon Valley’s titans, funding a $3 million campaign for a ballot initiative to legislate sweeping new privacy reforms.

Boxed in by the popularity of the initiative, internet-based and internet-dependent companies – which are most affected by privacy legislation because their business models are premised on access to personal data — were forced to accept the reality that some form of privacy legislation would pass. Thereafter, California lawmakers worked feverishly to construct a bill that could be more workable for businesses than the ballot initiative but which would still protect individual privacy. The law was negotiated, written, and passed in a previously unimaginable period of just seven days.

It is frustrating that such an important law was developed in such a short period of time; situations like these can result in unintended consequences, loopholes, or lax protections for consumers. It will have implications for all Americans; most companies would rather adopt the most protective standard rather than create one system for Californians and a separate one for everyone else. Congress can and should build on it in a thoughtful way at the federal level.

The promise of the internet and the digital economy is its power to democratize commerce and discourse. That power, however, is largely dependent on the ability to provide internet-based services in exchange for targeted advertising. That’s what makes these services free and widely used. But this model necessitates corporate access to people’s information. What the California law gets right is that this access should be transparent and consistent with a consumer’s preferences and permission; that establishes a dynamic that forces companies to be explicit in the exchange of value with the consumer.

Key provisions in the California bill that represent progress include, first, its stipulation that everyone should have the right to know who is collecting and using their information and for what specific purpose. It also affords people the right to object to the sale or distribution of their information. Third, residents will have the right to object to any specific party’s stewardship of their data as it travels through the digital ecosystem. And lastly, residents will have the right to demand access to information that commercial actors hold on them — and demand its deletion if they wish.

It is also critical to note that the California law recognizes that nothing is free. Ad-supported commercial service providers have rights too, including the right to monetize the provision of those of services. If a consumer is going to exercise his or her right to deny that monetization through interest-based advertising, that decision should not be penalized but neither should it be rewarded. The California law posits that a service provider cannot deny a service on the basis of a consent choice – but that it can also make up the monetization lost through some other form of compensation. This is a key recognition in the law that deserves further analysis on how best to execute on the principle in question.

But Congress needs to act because the California law does not incorporate some key ideas that have been presented in prior deliberations. For example, the OECD privacy principles and prior efforts at legislation in the United States, including the bipartisan Kerry-McCain Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011 and the Obama administration’s Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, are all useful guides for constructing new law and building on the California benchmark.

Valuable provisions from the previous efforts cited are that federal legislation should focus on encouraging privacy by design and sound data management practices without favoring one kind of data collector over another. And legislation should not imply that the exchange of data is inherently bad; it is not.

Instead, privacy is about offering the individual greater control and transparency into corporate practice. A legislative framework that encapsulates these ideas can help us retain what is good about the data-driven economy and simultaneously rein in malicious actors. And lastly, to preserve implementation flexibility and innovation, new law should establish a framework to enable self-regulatory programs certified by federal regulators to police corporate activities in accordance with legislated principles and requirements.

The goal should be to focus on outcomes rather than process and ensure that the consumer’s interests are placed at the center of the digital ecosystem. The California initiative spurred the California law and hopefully, the California law can spur us to transparent, inclusive and deliberate action at the federal level.


Connected TV Plays To Upper And Lower Funnel Metrics: MediaMath’s Fisher

July 20, 2018 — by MediaMath0


Mike Fisher joined MediaMath almost a year ago to head up our video and Advanced TV and video efforts. He recently sat down with to talk about the space and what MediaMath is doing to position itself to capitalize on these channels in the years to come. An excerpt from his interview is below.

While connected TV definitely is the “low-hanging fruit for what we’re doing at MediaMath today,” within three to five years all linear impressions will become one-to-one addressable and targetable through the rise of IP video, “so we want to be well positioned to be able to play in that space as well.”

MediaMath doesn’t buy or arbitrage TV inventory. Rather, it sees itself as the connection point between buyers and sellers, according to Fisher.

“We’ve curated our list of supply sources that we do most of our transactions with down to, say, the top twenty percent of supply sources that drive eighty percent of the meaningful impressions that marketers are looking for,” he says.

Those sources include five network groups and three big virtual MVPD services in a fraud-free environment. “We’re never more than one hop away from the end seller,” Fisher adds.

MediaMath’s pitch to traditional TV buyers is one of reach and frequency and how they can shift a portion of their spend “to the same inventory and the same viewer model and the same screen they know how to buy but doing it in a smarter, more measurable way.”

The company tells the same story to digital buyers but with a twist since they already know how to buy audiences, measurable impressions and retargeted campaigns. “For the first time, a digital buyer has the ability to transact on the biggest most trusted screen in the house in a way that they know how to do and in a way that fits into their business model.”


Ad Fraud is a Problem We Can Solve

July 12, 2018 — by Rahul Vasudev0


This article originally appeared on CMO Innovation

Ad fraud is a major concern in the media industry, being rated as anything between a mild annoyance to the very death knell of programmatic advertising, depending where one sits on the issue. And if you thought this was a programmatic issue, studies show that direct to publisher campaigns also have 12% fraudulent impressions.

In the Asia Pacific (APAC), this is increasingly a critical issue, as the region’s total digital marketing spend is expected to reach $61 billion this year. As the market grows, the need to keep ad fraud at bay remains even stronger, especially when two out of the top five countries targeted by fraud on mobile are right here in the Southeast Asian region – Singapore and Malaysia. As consumers in Southeast Asia spend more time on mobile than any other market, the issue of fraud prevention warrants increasingly more attention.

With advertisers globally expecting to lose $19 billion to fraudulent activities this year, platform providers are certainly taking this issue very seriously. Beyond financial losses, what is even more valuable and can’t be measured is the loss of trust within the industry, which makes it evident that we need to take serious steps to address this issue.

Everyone has a part to play

While regulatory bodies work on achieving a set of common operating standards, ad tech platforms have the power to get on board and make serious inroads into cleaning up the industry.

As part of the industry’s efforts to curb ad fraud, Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)’s ads.txt initiative, for example, gives content owners the power to deny access to fraudulent and spoofing sites. It is even more encouraging to see platform players jump on board and bolster antifraud suits with the addition of ads.txt across supply footprints.

Yet, adoption is still slow. For a publisher, removing part of the market is a potentially costly exercise and marketers ultimately want to reach as many potential customers as possible. The balance lies between a market that is more trustworthy and an industry that has much to gain from optimising buyer experiences.

Leverage data to clean up the ecosystem

At the same time, marketers need to have a strong company-wide position on what constitutes their programmatic strategy. It is incumbent upon marketers to understand exactly who they are targeting, know where to find those consumers and have a clearly defined set of high-quality, target inventory that matches their interests.

The knowledge of who the audience is, what they are interested in and what they’ve browsed recently is today radically enhanced by data from programmatic platforms. The same concept can then be applied to avoid fraudulent inventory, by leveraging algorithms that ensure an ad runs alongside authentic content that is most relevant to a brand and is being viewed by human consumers.

Other examples include partnering up with either blacklist or whitelist providers, or a combination of the two, to prevent the buying of false inventory. For example, marketers can blacklist pornographic, gambling or piracy sites to ensure that their ads are not featured on such websites. On the other hand, whitelists allow advertisers to assess a page and its suitability before placing an ad, effectively minimising the risks of fraud.

Working with programmatic platforms and brand safety vendors, the more the ecosystem pulls in the same direction to curb fraud, the closer the market will come to be a safe place for marketers to project their brand image.

Chase the right goals

Additionally, it is increasingly apparent that inappropriate or irrelevant goal setting can lead to an increase in fraud for a campaign. It’s easy for a bot to mimic a click, generate non-human views to a video with high completion, and drive downloads of an application. However, it is extremely challenging for them to purchase something, or use the application. In essence, bots cannot drive true business outcomes.

The better marketers get at clearly linking media spend to business outcomes, the lower the chances of them getting caught up in the vicious web of ad fraud. This, of course, isn’t easy and requires a lot of effort, but the prize is well worth it.

Education – the way forward

The final piece of the puzzle is education for the ecosystem to understand and address this challenge. There is a need for stakeholders, such as brands, advertisers and agencies, to come together and push for the understanding of ad fraud. As marketers arm themselves with the necessary knowledge, they will then be able to question their agencies on the measures in place to tackle ad fraud.

Ultimately, a multi-faceted approach such as the deployment of ads.txt tools, well-defined metrics, education and ensuring a clean supply chain is the way forward to eliminate ad fraud.


Brands Moving Money In Response To Trust Crisis: eMarketer’s Ramsey

July 9, 2018 — by MediaMath0 interviewed Geoff Ramsey, chairman of marketing analysis company eMarketer, for our series on consumer-first marketing. An excerpt and the video are below. To see more in the series, visit this page

The last year has seen a perfect storm hit the marketing industry—brand safety concerns, agency strife, GDPR and Facebook’s data scandal.

In response, the industry is seeing a big movement of money, from platforms now deemed undesirable to alternative channels brands find more appealing.

So says Geoff Ramsey, chairman of marketing analysis company eMarketer.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Ramsey opines on some of the challenges which have kicked up in digital advertising—and charts how brands are changing strategy in response.

Eighty-three percent of display ads are bought programmatically today,” Ramsey says. “It gets you scale, it helps you do audience-based targeting. At the same time, brands end up seeing their ads in all kinds of unsavory places.

“What’s happening within programmatic is that marketers are saying, ‘No, we want to put more of our money in direct buys as opposed to real-time bidding’. They are starting to invest on websites where they know that it’s going to be a savory environment. Marketers are slowly, but surely, putting their money where their mouth is.”


Dentsu Aegis Group’s Seiler Ponders Real-Time Creative, Evolving Technologies

July 2, 2018 — by MediaMath0

GettyImages-690224006.jpg interviewed Matt Seiler, president, brand solutions at Dentsu Aegis Network’ at Cannes. An excerpt is below. To watch the rest of our series on consumer-first marketing, visit this page

There was no shortage of talk about data at the recent Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. But beyond the purpose of targeting people who are actually relevant to particular brands, “when you get to the right people, what happens?” asks Dentsu Aegis Network’s Matt Seiler.

In this interview with Beet.TV at the Festival, Seiler talks about the speed needed to deliver creative in real time and the utility of such technologies as artificial intelligence, artificial reality, virtual reality and blockchain.

On the issue of speed, there’s some catch-up needed between desire and reality, according to Seiler.

“Once you’re at the right person, what do you want to say to them and how much can you change that up to ensure that you’re getting the right message to the right person in…real time. And I pause on real time, because I think we as an industry talk about real time as if it were now and it’s way too big a lag,” says Seiler, who is President of Brand Solutions. “So I suspect that the accountability will get to individual behaviors and as close to the time that you wanted to solicit that behavior as possible.”

He believes that artificial intelligence has “been around kind of forever, but calling it AI has changed our perception of it. I think there’s an insecurity around machine learning that makes us think that people are going to become obsolete, and that obviously isn’t the case.”

To Seiler, machines should do things “that people are wasting an awful lot of time doing themselves” so that they are freed up to be much more creative. “It should be much more around the story rather than the technology that’s required in order to develop and or distribute that story,” Seiler says. “AI I think is going to be really helpful and really disruptive at the same time, because there are going to be jobs that are displaced by it, as there should be.”