It’s Time for Digital Advertising to Get Serious About Blockchain

May 29, 2018 — by Joe Zawadzki0


Now is the time. Why?

Despite its great successes and its enduring promise, digital marketing remains plagued by fundamental challenges. In too many instances, advertisers lack transparency, discrepancies arise among stakeholders, inventory fails to meet quality standards, and/or a noisy minority of bad actors exploits internet infrastructure weaknesses to siphon unearned value from the ecosystem. At the same time, consumers are increasingly aware of the privacy implications and economic value inherent in the digital data they generate, and they’re demanding to participate in the commercialization of that data. Prudent stewardship of consumer trust has never been more critical.

Built properly, with all stakeholders in mind, a digital marketing technology layer that embodies permanence, trust, and transparency—the fundamental features of blockchain and related technologies—will enable us finally to overcome these longstanding challenges.

And it holds the promise to do far more. It can:

  • expand the universe of meaningful business outcomes we can manage and measure against;
  • increase the efficiency, simplicity, and effectiveness of marketing execution; and
  • streamline campaign accounting and payment, with new, flexible financing solutions.


We’ve seen many cycles of adtech innovation through the years. We want to do better than has been done in the past by doing this together, from the ground up:

  • The optimal solution will mix big and small; innovative, purpose-built startups must partner with trusted, enterprise-grade companies to build with scale in mind.
  • The optimal solution will engage the entire value chain. We must accommodate the diversity of constituents in our industry while enshrining the common standards and principles that ensure its vitality.
  • The optimal solution will leverage existing industry associations to coordinate efforts and achieve scale. (Compare, for example, the adoption of DAA’s AdChoices or IAB’s ads.txt to purely commercial attempts to define industry standards—we win when we work together.)

What are we building?

Today, MathCapital and MediaMath’s Strategic Business Development team announce the first investment in an incubated business, Underscore CLT, which has set out to develop a new, foundational technology for digital marketing based on cryptographic ledger technology (aka blockchain). Underscore CLT will grow in three phases:

  • In Phase 1, Underscore CLT will work in concert with marketers, publishers, demand- and supply-side platforms, agencies, industry associations, and technology providers to (a) scope industry-wide applications and (b) create the alliance of stakeholders that will deliver those solutions.
  • In Phase 2, this Underscore CLT alliance will develop its infrastructure technology layer and test it at scale across foundational partners.
  • In Phase 3, the Underscore CLT alliance will deliver the new foundation upon which we will all build digital marketing’s bright future.

Who is leading the effort?

MediaMath has tapped serial entrepreneur Isaac Lidsky to launch Underscore CLT as its President. Lidsky is one of the original adtech founders. After graduating with honors from Harvard at age 19 with a degree in mathematics and computer science, he and I founded [x+1] together in 1999. While at [x+1], Lidsky was among the first in the industry to develop software to target and customize digital marketing real-time. ([x+1] was acquired by Rocket Fuel, then Sizmek.)

Fascinated by the burgeoning field of “cyberlaw,” when Lidsky left [x+1] he returned to Harvard to attend law school, graduating magna cum laude and serving as Editor of the Harvard Law Review and as the first student named a Fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. After law school, Lidsky served as an appellate litigator for the U.S. Department of Justice and as a Law Clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In 2011, Lidsky returned to his entrepreneurial technology roots. With the U.S. housing market stagnating at a historic low, Lidsky correctly predicted that its inevitable recovery would demand a far more efficient construction model to succeed. He purchased a small, struggling residential construction subcontractor and led the development of a proprietary suite of logistics and ERM software to transform it. His reinvented construction services company grew more than tenfold in its first five years, and today it boasts revenues in excess of $250 million.

Lidsky is an accomplished thought leader on topics such as entrepreneurship and leadership. His book, “Eyes Wide Open,” is a New York Times bestseller, and his main-stage TED Talk was viewed more than a million times in its first 20 days. He has delivered lectures to dozens of corporations and organizations around the world, including Accenture, Cisco, FedEx, Forrester Research, Microsoft, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, Raytheon, Red Ventures, and Verizon. Lidsky has been featured in numerous national media, including Forbes, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, U.S. News & World Report, 60 Minutes, and Voice of America.

Lidsky has returned home to adtech. Partnering with MediaMath and its industry partners, with Underscore CLT, Lidsky is determined to lead the development of a new technology infrastructure for digital marketing that will mitigate the industry’s longstanding structural challenges and deliver on its untapped promise.

* * *

We’re excited to keep you informed about this new project; please visit to learn more. We’re more excited to hear from you! To get involved or share your questions, comments, or suggestions, please contact Underscore CLT at (917) 521-6622 or info at underscoreclt dot com.


GDPR Impact on Programmatic Trading Blog Series: Approaches to Preparing for GDPR and the IAB Europe Transparency and Consent Framework

May 21, 2018 — by Charlie Simon0


This post originally appeared on the IAB Europe blog and is Part II of a series on GDPR.  Read Part I here. 

MediaMath has committed enormous resources to readying itself, and the industry, for the GDPR, which comes into force on Friday 25 May. While anticipated regulatory scrutiny plays a part in these efforts, it does not tell the whole story. Namely, that MediaMath believes in the spirit of the law, that Internet users have rights to better understand, and make informed decisions about, the use of their personal data. To that end, MediaMath’s Data Policy & Governance, Legal, Product, and Engineering teams are working cooperatively with partners and competitors, publishers and advertisers, to assess and address the GDPR’s requirements from administrative and technical standpoints. We have designed, built, and deployed products and services that help our clients comply with European regulations, while achieving successful marketing and business outcomes.

It is certainly true that every company in every industry that handles the personal data of Europeans has had a great deal of work to do. However, the advertising technology ecosystem has had more. MediaMath took on an industry leadership role early on, as chair of the IAB Europe’s Working Group on Consent, to bring together advertisers, publishers and technology providers to develop effective compliance solutions for the entire digital marketing industry, the result of which was the IAB Europe Transparency and Consent Framework (‘the Framework’). The Framework has been designed to offer all players in the advertising ecosystem a transparent and auditable chain of communication surrounding the use and processing of consumer data. We encourage both advertisers and publishers to adopt the Framework for the benefit of themselves and Industry.

Many see 25 May as a finish line, but the reality is that the day the GDPR comes into force is just the start. Businesses will need to continue adapting as data protection authorities, courts, and consumer advocates begin weighing in on what the GDPR means to them. And no one should forget about the ePrivacy Regulation just around the corner. I suspect this paradigm shift in the way personal data is regulated is not confined to Europe, that we will see a rapidly evolving regulatory landscape around the globe. Whatever may come, MediaMath will be ready, and will have benefitted tremendously from the technology its partners and IAB Europe have helped develop.


Marketing Mother’s Day Gifts

May 11, 2018 — by Zachary King0


This post is an excerpt from an article that originally ran on Campaign Asia.

In 2017, shoppers were expected to spend some $23.6 billion to celebrate Mother’s Day—a record high, up 10% from the year before. Closer to home, the spotlight is on the Internet economy, with Singapore’s e-commerce market expected to be worth S$7.5 billion by 2026 . For marketers and retailers, all eyes are on the prize as they look at digital campaigns to capitalise on upcoming celebrations and shopping holidays to drive sales targets.

However, the online playing field is like a busy household, with a lot going on. In this scenario, how can brands tailor their campaigns to cut through the clutter and effectively show their love for mom this Mother’s Day?

Know what she wants

Like the unconditional, all-knowing bond between mother and child, marketers should know their target audience and consumer preferences inside-out.

Building on insights pulled from consumer data, marketers can develop strategies based on predictions and buying behaviours. For example, past transactions and consumer data from the previous year can inform marketers on the types of gifts that are best-selling—be it spa packages, an afternoon lunch at a hotel, make-up products or flowers for mum. If a bouquet of pink carnations (symbolising a mother’s undying love) crossed the highest sales the past year, marketers can then invest more advertising dollars to target those who have shown an interest in purchasing them specifically.

With these insights, marketers can also create segments of Mother’s Day gift buyers, including last-minute shoppers, daughters, sons or husbands. To effectively close the sale, develop messages that speak to these audiences, such as offers including free shipping for last-minute flower deliveries.

Ultimately, knowing what she wants goes a long way in capturing consumer interest and showing Mom we care.


4 Steps for Executing True Omnichannel Experiences in Programmatic

May 10, 2018 — by Emma Williams0


This post originally appears on Martech Advisor.

Years ago, marketers’ media channels were highly specialized and siloed. And there was good reason for that. As new channels emerged, they needed to be tested and have standards and measurement applied to them that often varied from other channels. Plus, specific channels, like video, were often tied to certain types of campaigns, such as branding, which meant they sat in a specific budget. It was hard, back then, to approach programmatic in a way that was full-funnel and across channels.

But that’s all changed in 2018. There’s no longer a need to use disparate point solutions for each of your channels that prevent you from seeing the totality of your marketing investments, audiences or insights, or walled gardens that can’t fully share data or target relevant ads during the full lifecycle of a consumer. We now have consumers engaging with different channels across multiple devices (they can watch that video ad across the display or social, on desktop or mobile). And more importantly, we now have integrated technology that can manage, segment and activate your audiences in media across all channels at your disposal. This provides a more holistic view of your customers, a fluid budget and frequency capping and sequencing to avoid delivering annoying, repetitive, incessant ads. You can meet the audience where they are, interacting with them in the medium and message type that is most engaging to them to deliver true consumer-first experiences that they enjoy and that they have elected to engage with.

But how do you get started if you’ve never run a true omnichannel campaign before? We talk through four key areas and include actionable tips below.

Put Data First

Data is at the core of omnichannel marketing. Marketers use it to inform the customer journey, uncover brand-specific channel and audience insights, develop a more sophisticated and unified view of the consumer and understand how each channel influences the many points along the customer journey.

  • Clearly define and implement internal data ownership to ensure that you know where all your data sources live and which teams are responsible for them.
  • Clean, organize and centralize your first-party data to generate the information you need to determine which customer experiences move the needle most for your brand, at a segment level.
  • Understand where your gaps are so you can layer on second- and third-party data where appropriate, such as for prospecting efforts.

Reassess Your Goals

Clicks and impressions are out. ROAS and ROI are in. Marketers must identify specific business and marketing goals and use these to evaluate success across all channels.

  • Hold working sessions with channel experts, such as sales and the paid media team, to collaboratively define your unifying business goals, benchmarks and assess the impact of each channel.

Consumers expect—and deserve!—consistent, personalized brand experiences. Marketers who have embraced an omnichannel strategy tailor their creative execution and messaging to the individual, not simply to screen sizes or ad formats. It is essential to capture and maintain attention by telling each person a compelling story, and to engage in a meaningful way, at the right time.).

  • Carefully control your messaging and creative across all channels, aligning with your integrated marketing communication strategy: narrative, channel and placement.
  • Remember that the messaging for a new customer versus a lapsed customer, and across- versus an up-sell opportunity, is different.

Activate with Technology

Clean, centralized data. Check. Defined goals. Check. Aligned messaging and creative. Check. What comes next is the technology to execute. Your data management platforms (DMP) and demand-side platforms (DSP) are critical for activating and executing omnichannel strategies in real-time, reaching all desired customers, across devices. Having these technologies integrated with each other helps ensure that audience segments target omnichannel strategies by factors including demographics, exhibited behaviors and interests. Through these platforms, budgets, return on investment, engagement and reach can be maximized.

  • Consider audience overlaps when buying third-party data for “enrich” and prospecting marketing campaigns.
  • Reduce ad wastage by frequency capping.
  • Ensure that DSP and DMP partnerships are compatible and can satisfy any platform integrations required, with little to no data leakage.


Are Singapore Companies Prepared for the GDPR?

May 9, 2018 — by Lauren Fritsky0


Brands can now leverage data to understand what their customers are interested in, when they are most willing to buy, the likelihood of a purchase decision and the right time and place to deliver an ad. There is no doubt that the upcoming GDPR implementation will now prompt questions globally on how the digital advertising ecosystem is using data and will challenge the industry to evolve and adapt to the regulation.

The Business Times recently interviewed Alice Lincoln, our VP of data policy and governance, on what Singapore businesses should consider to prepare for the GDPR launch on May 25. Alice shared that, “As marketers in Singapore are looking to deliver more customer-centric, relevant and meaningful marketing experiences, data-driven marketing through the use of programmatic technology has risen in prominence. There is no doubt that the upcoming GDPR implementation will now prompt questions globally on how the digital advertising ecosystem is using data and will challenge the industry to evolve and adapt to the regulation.”

Subscribers can read the full article here.


The Single View of the Customer is Coming, But it Will Take Time

May 7, 2018 — by Laura Carrier0


If you’ve been reading nothing but the ad trade press for the past few years, then you might assume that the industry has got the “single view of the customer” problem licked.

After all, pretty much every vendor and marketer talks about the idea of creating a data-based portrait of each customer and using it to inform marketing communications.

But the reality doesn’t match that perception. The average consumer still encounters advertising that does not speak to their needs or interests. It’s still common to see the same ads endlessly with no apparent thought given to frequency capping. Just to prove my point, I just visited a random YouTube video and saw an ad for Boost Mobile even though I’m not in the market for a prepaid cell phone and don’t think I will be anytime soon. This is not consumer-first marketing!

The reason for this gap between the real and the ideal is that moving to a single view of the customer is a slow, painstaking process, especially for legacy brands. In fact, we’re at the point now where, because of pricing and computing power, it’s often easier for a new brand to come in and stitch their data together to establish a single view of the customer than it is for an incumbent one.

We’re making progress

The industry has made a lot of progress in the last few years. The changes are apparent from the marketer’s point of view, but consumers are less apt to notice. It’s sort of like when you get new plumbing in your home. You know it’s there and that it’s much better, but few guests will notice or care.

In large part, brands are organizing and aggregating their data so it can be accessed and used in a holistic fashion. But, they face key challenges: some of that data is in a table-based format, and some is unstructured; data lives in separate silos today that often have different master customer identities; stitching together these silos is expensive and time-intensive; and, like plumbing, this is not a “sexy” project that gets customer attention, so it often gets underfunded. These are just some of the reasons why it’s difficult to connect the myriad customer touchpoints that come from a customer’s transactional and non-transactional behaviors. In 2018, many marketers are working on consolidating their data in this fashion.

Another major impediment to progress is walled gardens. While it’s easy to track an (anonymized) consumer’s action on the open web, walled gardens will not share . Ideally, a marketer would have a complete view of the consumer, but thanks to walled gardens, it’s more like up to 60 percent of the portrait is missing.

I think over time, marketers and third-party ad tech companies will put more pressure on walled gardens to share more data and find ways to connect the dots to help fill in that customer-centric portrait.

Advertising in 2027

In practical terms, the difference between our efforts today and those of 2027 will be that the consumer of 2027 will notice that there’s a single view of the customer. What does that mean? Imagine that you’re planning to take a trip to Raleigh, N.C., in the next week. In 2018, there’s a slim chance that marketers will know this about you. But in 2027, a week before such a trip, you could expect to see ads for restaurants in the area plus ads for local attractions and rental cars (if you haven’t booked ahead yet.)

As a consumer, you will not only tolerate such ads, you’ll expect them and factor them into your planning process. That’s the single view of het customer that we’ve been waiting for.


Monthly Roundup: Top 5 Most Popular Blog Posts for April

May 4, 2018 — by Lauren Fritsky0


Happy May! What was on the minds (and search history) of our MediaMath blog readers for the month of April? See below for a recap of the most read blog posts for the month.

  1. How Omnichannel Drives Business Results
  2. 18 Programmatic Trends for 2018
  3. Incrementality is the Best Way to Prove Your Advertising is Working. Here’s How to Measure It
  4. IAB Europe’s New GDPR Transparency and Consent Framework – A Unique Opportunity for Publishers
  5. Gathering with Purpose in a Time of Uncertainty: The Network Advertising Initiative 2018 Member Summit


IAB Singapore Rising Stars: Mediamath’s Marrah Africa on Dedicating a Career to Programmatic Education

April 24, 2018 — by Lauren Fritsky0


We are proud of Marrah Africa, Global Expansion Manager at MediaMath, for being recognized as one of the IAB Singapore Programmatic Committee’s Rising Stars. Read a bit about the honor below and the rest of the interview here.

Following the first rising star feature, the IAB Singapore Programmatic Committee continues its hunt for the industry’s brightest talents behind the technology. This series aims to find out how these passionate practitioners got started, the secrets behind their success and what they are doing to drive the industry forward.

Describing herself as an ad tech evangelist, Marrah Africa, NMI senior manager, training and certification APAC at Mediamath, developed a personal commitment to further programmatic education in the region.

Starting her programmatic career in Mediacom, Africa developed planning and operational process for programmatic adoption for P&G ASEAN, educating internal and client teams across six markets.

Africa believes that a successful marketer today must be both a scientist and an artist. At the heart of successful programmatic adoption is a solid foundation to turn theory into practice through relevant and thought-provoking education. Bridging businesses to the right solutions requires a strong establishment of “what’s in it for me?” and breaking down the complex jargons by speaking through the language of others.

Moving to Mediamath to lead their educational arm, Africa pioneered as the APAC lead for New Marketing Institute, an education program. She single-handedly developed and rolled out the program for the businesses across the region.

“As programmatic is still in its infant stage in most of the Southeast Asia countries, it’s crucial that we need someone like Marrah, who truly understands how programmatic works and the true benefits of programmatic and be able to transfer her knowledge to individuals at group-level. This is how we can grow programmatic together in the region,” shared Anna Chan, regional managing director, Asia of Amnet.

Mediamath and the New Marketing Institute will be one of the contributors to the IAB Singapore’s Adapt and Grow Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) for Programmatic Advertising. The programme, launched in partnership with the EDB & WSG, is developed to help meet the growing need for talent with programmatic advertising skill sets. We look forward to working with rising stars such as Africa at the forefront of the industry to develop the leaders of tomorrow.


How REA Group Uses Adtech to Deepen Customer Reach, Engagement

April 23, 2018 — by Lauren Fritsky0


Earlier this year, we released a case study on our work with REA Group to increase targeting accuracy and improve audience scale through a DSP+DMP implementation. Last week, interviewed Braden Clarke, who’s head of audience solutions and automated trading at REA Group, about their work with MediaMath. See an excerpt of the coverage below and read the full-length case study here.

REA Group’s Braden Clarke is laser-focused on audience management and automated trading and using the latest adtech and martech solutions to drive brand and direct response outcomes for buyers and sellers alike.

REA Group operates Australia’s property websites and real estate websites in Europe, Asia and the US. Clarke, who’s head of audience solutions and automated trading, is on a mission to deliver better customer experiences by pumping up engagement, and recently deployed MediaMath’s unified platform to enhance audience reach and engagement and deliver better outcomes.

MediaMath provides programmatic marketing technology including data management platforms, omni-channel DSP, audiences, supply and intelligence.

Since joining REA in 2009, Clarke has built out a programmatic operation that spans supply side as a publisher; and demand side as both a brand advertiser and independent trading desk.

Focused on activation of first-party data assets, REA’s Audience Solutions team creates opportunities for brands to reach a targeted, qualified property audience across both the site’s inventory and the broader Web. This includes solutions for REA brands across Australia and Asia, as well as bespoke executions for REA’s advertiser and agency partners.

Clarke said the adoption of the MediaMath solution delivers a couple of primary use cases, all centred around activating the company’s audience data.

It is using a combination of MediaMath DMP and DSP, and also using the Data Mining Console – which is  DMP’s advanced analytics product and part of the DMP that allows for mass audience segment generation.

“The first use case is for our own brand and marketing, the REA brand, to drive both the brand awareness and direct response outcomes for REA’s various product sets. So whether that be residential listings or our home loan products or commercial listings,” he explained. 

The second use case is around the commercialisation of audience insights. “How do we take what we know about property seekers and use those insights to drive value for our customers – whether those be real estate agents, property developers or banks and insurance or other company stakeholders?”

Overall, Clarke said optimising through adtech has resulted in cost efficiency thanks to accessing inventory effectively at great rates and great scale.

“One of the things that’s really important for us is to be really close to our data. The MediaMath platform allows us to integrate really closely with how the decision works and what users we’re going to targeting for advertising so we can onboard the insights that we can drive from our data science behavioural communications team to drive those better outcomes,” he said. 

Read the rest of the article here.


Gathering with Purpose in a Time of Uncertainty: The Network Advertising Initiative 2018 Member Summit

April 19, 2018 — by MediaMath0


Last week, we had the pleasure of representing MediaMath at the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) Member Summit. The NAI staff did an incredible job of hosting and educating members of the ad tech ecosystem while facilitating thought-provoking dialogue. Despite new European regulations, and increased scrutiny of online advertising due to the ongoing Facebook/Cambridge Analytica story, we left the Summit with a clarity of purpose.  The NAI’s message was clear: the digital advertising industry must demonstrate to consumers and policymakers that we believe in what we do, recognize we can do better, and want to engage in a meaningful dialogue with policy advocates, Internet users and their elected representatives about data protection.

We had the privilege to participate in two panels.  One addressed consumer sentiment toward interest-based advertising.  We face a mandate to modernize and mature our technology and practices to ensure consumers’ digital dignity, preferences and experiences are upheld and improved. This mandate is the foundation of our Consumer-First vision, and we are implementing it throughout our products, partnerships and alliances. The message we are taking to policymakers is that we hear consumers, we know they want more transparency and control and we are working to provide them with it.

The other panel explored the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and adtech’s innovative response to it. MediaMath is working overtime with industry peers and competitors, as well as advertiser clients and publishers, to construct a transparency and choice framework, designed to address certain requirements of the GDPR. Importantly, doing so forces us to better digital advertising’s value proposition to consumers everywhere.

Throughout the day, we heard from other industry experts who discussed important legal, policy and technical issues, including the state of data protection and politics in the United States. The panelists emphasized that while legislation governing the digital economy is not imminent, attitudes may change following November’s midterm elections. Accordingly, now is not the time to wait and see; instead, we must seize this moment to educate legislators and their staffs in Washington, DC about our industry and the value we provide to consumers and content creators.

Our colleagues emphasized that ad tech and the digital economy could face more immediate threats from states’ well-intentioned desires to enact privacy protections where Congress has failed to act. Such regulations could make it much more difficult, if not impossible, for ad tech to continue supporting the free and open Internet we all love. A splintered digital economy is in no one’s interests, so the industry should work with Congress on comprehensive legislation that upholds consumers’ rights to privacy and security while meeting publishers’ need to monetize their content. Pressure from the states, combined with the GDPR’s long shadow, could push the federal government to think more seriously about what an American answer to Internet governance, including privacy rights and data protection standards, should look like.

We believe that the NAI is well positioned to lead our industry forward towards a fairer future for all participants. The NAI leadership, including its Board of Directors, of which MediaMath is a member, does not shy away from the challenges facing the industry. These are times that call for reflection, action, a sense of joint purpose and a commitment to do better by the consumer and better inform the public of our efforts. We at MediaMath will do what we can to contribute to a better future. We thank our friends at the NAI for letting us be a part of the team.


Cheri Bessellieu

Cheri Bessellieu is the Associate General Counsel, Privacy at MediaMath.She is responsible for ensuring MediaMath’s privacy and data protection compliance while enabling business innovation. As the global privacy landscape continues to evolve, Cheri regularly handles complex legal and policy issues surrounding data processing.She participates in domestic and international self-regulatory groups and is an IAPP Certified Information Privacy Professional.

Before joining MediaMath, Cheri spent time in private practice at Weil, Gotshal & Manges.She holds a JD from Fordham University School of Law and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Daniel Sepulveda

    As VP Government Relations, Danny Sepulveda joins MediaMath after spending the last decade at the highest levels of the US government. Prior to working in the Obama administration, Danny served as Ambassador, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the U.S. State Department under Secretary of State John Kerry, where he travelled the world working on high-level initiatives including cyber policy, digital economy, internet governance and human rights. Danny’s role is focused on shaping, implementing and communicating MediaMath’s policies and practices around the consumer value proposition, privacy protection and public policy.

    Charlie Simon

    Charlie Simon is the Policy and Product Privacy Manager at MediaMath. A DC native and veteran of self-regulatory and Silicon Valley data privacy efforts, Charlie leads MediaMath’s international engagement as Vice Chair of IAB Europe’s Transparency & Consent Framework.

    Charlie graduated from Oberlin College with a BA in Philosophy and has been an IAPP Certified Information Privacy Professional since 2011.