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5 Questions with Skimlinks

February 5, 2016 — by Aruna Paramasivam

Welcome to the first edition of 5 Questions with…, a regular column where we interview some of MediaMath’s OPEN partners about their business, the industry and trends affecting marketers. First up is Skimlinks.

Mediamath became the first DSP to integrate Audiences By Skimlinks for data targeting this past December. It was exciting for both Skimlinks and MediaMath to spend the last few months working together to be first to offer this solution to the market. I recently had the opportunity to meet Alicia Navarro, CEO and Founder of Skimlinks, when she was visiting New York from London. In addition to having some fun doing the media rounds together for our press release, I also sat down with her to ask her the following questions to really learn more about her as well as her company.

1. You coined the term “comtent.” What do you feel is the next evolution of this trend?

Comtent is not a spelling mistake. It’s a new word we’re championing as a major trend that will reach mainstream in 2016. “Comtent” is a contraction of ‘commerce-related content,’ basically content about products, brands, shopping, retailers and can take the form of product reviews, gift guides, shopping guides, Get the Looks, deals and specials, product discovery and much, much more.

2. What are your best tips on how publishers can “optimize their content” in 2016?

So the best tips for publishers on optimizing their comtent in 2016 are about embracing a ‘comtent strategy,’ and more consciously think about how you weave commerce appropriately into your content. We recommend the hiring of Commerce Editors (or sometimes called ‘Merchandising Editors’) who are tasked with creating dedicated pieces of comtent, as well as ensuring traditional editorial content that features products has current shopping links in them and maintaining evergreen pieces of comtent with fresh material on the same URL. The publishers most successful with comtent are all employing these tips.

3. Can you give a few examples of some publishers you think are doing content well?

Publishers like Gawker Media (on Gizmodo and Lifehacker) are pioneers of ‘comtent,’ coming up with innovative editorial formats and team configurations to support the creation and optimization of comtent. Then you have publishers that are entirely comtent-oriented, such as Wirecutter, Refinery2 and GearPatrol, that prove it’s possible to create really engaging, original, beautiful content about products that monetizes well and that users adore and seek out.

4. You just launched “Audiences by Skimlinks” in November. Can you tell us a little more about the potential behind publishers who use this service?

At Skimlinks, we are really motivated by helping publishers be properly rewarded for the role their content plays in creating purchase intent. We’ve done this for many years with our well-known Skimlinks affiliate automation service, helping publishers easily earn revenue from affiliate marketing. But we wanted to do more for publishers and knew that the insights we collected as a result of running our core affiliate service could be leveraged to both better reward publishers and also help advertisers wanting to target their ads more effectively.

So Audiences by Skimlinks does this. It’s an audience data service available through MediaMath, but we also make the same segments available to large publishers directly via their DMP (currently offered via Lotame, BlueKai and Krux). In this way, publishers are able to use programmatic techniques on their own direct sold inventory, and also to better target content and native campaigns. Furthermore, we offer our publishers Audience Insights about the buying propensities of their audience, which guides their content strategy and helps with ad sales. The publishers that have opted into this service are excited about what this data can do for their business.

5. You’re a start-up founded and led by a woman. What are the opportunities and challenges facing women who want to launch their own start-ups?

As a Computing Science graduate, I’ve always been the only woman in the room (or one of few). To be honest, it’s never bothered me, I knew my stuff, I was good at what I did, and I have never experienced any issues. If anything, it’s been a blessing for me: in a crowded market or room, you want to stand out and be remembered, and being a minority helps with that. I’ve always found it easy to form relationships and to build great teams, which perhaps is an attribute [women] are stronger at in general. In anything in life, I believe, you choose to be a leader and winner, or you choose to be a victim, and if being a woman is the hardest thing I have to deal with in business, I’m really lucky. Running a business is hard generally, you have to be resourceful, tenacious, flexible, enterprising, smart…my gender has never really been an issue in business.

Aruna Paramasivam

Aruna Paramasivam is Head of Audience Partnerships at Mediamath. She is a veteran of the ad tech world having worked at Yahoo, Interclick and AOL over the years. She is passionate about the constantly evolving industry and thrives on its fast pace. Her primary focus continues to be commercializing new, unique and exciting solutions to the marketplace. As a former management consultant, she additionally brings an extensive background in business development, strategy and operations. Aruna holds a bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering from Rutgers University and a graduate degree in Engineering Management from Drexel University.