PubMatic: Ensuring Privacy Standards, Meeting Consumer and Industry Needs

BOBA Conversation between PubMatic’s Senior Marketing Manager Belinda Smith and PubMatic’s VP of Mobile, Bob Walczak

PubMatic, along with AdTruth and TRUSTe, introduced an innovative privacy technology solution at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity on June 20, 2013. The technology pairing is the brainchild of PubMatic’s Bob Walczak, born from Bob’s prior experiences in the industry, and from recognizing the importance of meeting consumer demand for transparent digital privacy choices.

 

Q: Tell us a little about your background in the industry.

BW: I was the founder and CEO of Ringleader Digital from 2005 until June of 2011. Ringleader was a mobile ad-server and mediation platform, with a device identification technology called Media Stamp. It was a powerful technology which allowed you to uniquely and persistently identify any device regardless of cookie capabilities. We were offering it to the marketplace as an advantage for targeting and analytics on our platform and for other platforms.

 

Q: In your time in the industry, how have you seen concerns about privacy develop?

BW: I founded Ringleader at age 25, and though I knew about the privacy issues surrounding cookies, I didn’t get a full education on privacy until Media Stamp had become widely used across the market by top publishers and brands. Media Stamp was a first of its kind identification technology, launched in 2008 as an alternative to cookies, since they don’t work consistently on mobile devices. This wide adoption led to us being served with a privacy lawsuit in 2010. We weren’t doing anything illicit with the technology, but the suit stemmed from the lack of privacy guidelines governing the use of alternative identification technology. Had I known then what I know now, I would have proactively sought an industry wide solution to these privacy challenges.

 

Q: What was the biggest lesson learned?

BW:  Fast forward to me joining PubMatic; device identification is still a fragmented market. My view was if we were going to enter this market, and do it in the right way, we needed to be the leaders in advocating for an open solution for the industry to protect consumer privacy and provide them with persistent privacy options.

The Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) has now produced an excellent set of privacy guidelines, and a framework to honor consumer privacy choices. While these guidelines address the rules around protecting consumer privacy they don’t offer a real world technology solution that instructs how a company should pair a privacy systems with any identification system.


Q: So why are you working with other technology companies on these solutions?

BW: We are doing this for multiple reasons. The first is technical. It’s the combination of the approaches being implemented by AdTruth and TRUSTe that allow us to achieve the privacy technology solution. However, the solution we built is modular meaning any privacy system or identification technology that meets the DAA requirements can be implemented in place of TRUSTe or AdTruth.

The concept behind our work with AdTruth and TRUSTe is to pair a device identification system that allows publishers to serve relevant content to users, with a  privacy system that gives transparency and privacy choices to the consumer. The key is that the privacy system has to be deterministic; meaning that if that user has opted out their privacy choice will be honored 100% of the time. The identification technology can be either deterministic or probabilistic. Putting these two systems together is the technology solution that we are advocating for.

The second reason, which I feel is the more important one, is that taking consumer privacy seriously must be an industry wide effort. Without broad support from multiple vendors, what we are doing here isn’t going to achieve much. Ultimately, we want consumers to be comfortable with how privacy standards are implemented.


Q: How does leading this effort fit with PubMatic’s goals?

BW: At PubMatic we serve premium publishers. We need to ensure that we are protecting both the publisher and the consumer in the course of doing business. This is not only about the trust that we have with our clients, but it is also about the trust that these brands have built with their customers. Based on my experience I believe the right thing to do here is to lead by example; ensuring we do it in an open, honest, and inviting way that brings everyone on board.

Enriching Mobile, Embracing Data

A blog post by Frederic Prigent, Country Manager, FR, PubMatic

fpIt feels like we’ve been talking about Mobile for infinity in the online advertising landscape, with both concerns and great excitement. Every year technology platforms announce new outstanding systems created to enhance mobile advertising, building solutions to remove apprehensions around Mobile Tracking and Targeting. However, it still remains in the back of everyone’s mind, and as 2013 ends a successful first quarter, we reflect back at the discussions and debates we’ve all been swept up in around Mobile. How can we target without Cookies? How can we drive loyal users and measure performance? How can we ensure mobile devices are all tracked to the same standards?

All these anxieties around mobile all come down to one factor: lack of data. Unlike desktop, mobile presents a new challenge for technology partners to collate enough data to ensure both advertisers and publishers can trade premium impressions and not compromise the user experience. Collecting data for mobile is a different process to what we all know so well with desktop. Without cookies, we have to draw data from other offerings within the mobile environment; Geo, age, device type, carrier and so on. These pockets of data then have to extract a wide range of user related parameters which in result will add value to impressions.

PubMatic has recently launched a new set of Data Enrichment products, built to relieve all concerns around mobile, and enhance the buy and sell of digital media. Our mobile product package provides the opportunity to optimise data, by layering over 30 parameters of 3rd party data, and 20 fields of 1st part data values onto every impression. Applying these extensive parameters will enrich the value of every mobile and tablet impression passed through our platform, adding significant value to media where needed. Priding ourselves and our expertise within our market, we have recognised the trends within programmatic trading, and we know that enhanced, enriched data can more than double or triple the value of inventory. We saw mobile paid impressions experience an unprecedented growth of 1425% between Q1 and Q4 in 2012, emphasising that programmatic selling is becoming an increasingly viable way for publishers to monetize their mobile inventory.

PubMatic now has the capability to accept and offer a wide variety of options when tracking across mobile, providing four substantial solutions:

  1. We can accept and extract user data such as Unique User ID, Location (both latitude and longitude), Country, State, City, DOB, Ethnicity, Gender, Carrier etc. Location data in particular can allow advertisers to target specific users across all screens and work creatively to suit each device.
  2. We also have the ability to target campaigns against device, having the capability to reach Feature Phones, Smart Phones, Tablets, Video support, Pointing methods and so on. This proficiency will detect a variety of screen resolutions, shape and size offering a scope of platforms in which to engage with.
  3. PubMatic is now able to detect the carrier per device, which in affect takes the IP address from the user as the input, and sends to the carrier engine. This will encourage carrier parameters such as connection type – cellular/wifi.
  4. Having assembled all data parameters mentioned above, we can map all 1st party data into our API, enabling our demand partners to qualify and easily ingest.

PubMatic’s mobile offering has been implemented to ease the trading of media across all screens, whilst offering great value and uncompromising the user experience. With our new and exciting Data Enriching offering, we can now begin to discard all previous concerns around mobile, and begin looking across all devices.

Private Marketplace Adoption: IDG UK Study

IDG UK Brand

IDG UK is the UK’s leading technology media company with the largest tech media and marketing solutions portfolio in the country.

Programmatic Trading is the buzz word for 2013. Many publishers are showing interest in adopting this more efficient way of trading but often lack the support to do so. Concerns in the market are rife, and it can often seem discouraging when the knowledge behind the technology isn’t there. And to confuse matters, Private Marketplaces (PMPs) have entered the programmatic scene, leading to even more mystification and fears on the publisher side.

However with their granular transparency PMPs give the reins back to publishers, allowing greater control over pricing and powering direct sellers with information on the practices and preferences of their best clients.

A recent PMP success story for PubMatic started when it partnered with IDG UK (International Data Group UK) towards the end of last year to help drive IDG UK’s offering into the programmatic spectrum.

IDG UK is a global technology network bringing together over 280 million technology buyers in 97 countries. IDG UK chose PubMatic as their Strategic Selling Partner to enable its programmatic offering to market for their B2B and B2C properties, such as ComputerworldUK, Macworld, PCAdvisor and DigitalArtsOnline.

Like many of our other clients, IDG UK needed to partner with a trusted technology platform to lead their programmatic trading adoption and help them drive their direct sales into the opportunities around Private Marketplaces.

Key factors for any client, when moving into the PMP environment, are to gain deep control over their digital assets with heightened transparency and the ability to adjust floor prices when needed. The feeling of having the chance to be ‘hands on’ within the programmatic landscape is often needed by the publisher to allow them control and transparency when dealing with their inventory.

IDG UK was quick to realise the benefit of embracing programmatic trading and taking ownership over how and to whom its impressions were traded programmatically. As part of its overall digital strategy, IDG UK’s media services director Dan Shaw quickly identified the need for a specialist to lead their programmatic trading and adoption within their direct sales teams.

“Everywhere you look there are very bullish forecasts about how much the programmatic space will grow. We wanted to make sure we were as close to the market as we could be. And we also wanted to be one of the first Publishers having the conversations agencies wanted to have. A dedicated sales resource has given us the opportunity to do both of these things; we recognised the need to have someone actively talking with all demand partners (and someone who could spend time with Pubmatic) so they really understood the opportunities and could feedback to the overall business,” said Shaw.

By appointing Rob Bradley to work with PubMatic’s EMEA Director of Advertiser Solutions, Duncan Chamberlain, Dan Shaw ensured IDG had a dedicated sales lead to partner with PubMatic.

This enabled the direct sales business to work alongside the Agency Trading Desks whilst complimenting each other rather than cannibalising the sales efforts which led to increased revenues.

Programmatic buying and PMPs equip IDG UK with the capability to control the pricing of inventory by advertiser or segment whilst maintaining direct relationships with buyers and controlling ad quality. This was previously not possible with network relationships.

Throughout 2013, IDG UK will continue to focus on PMPs, extracting higher CPMs and approaching more trading desks, segmenting audiences further with the addition of 1st and 3rd party data.

By funnelling more agency spend into programmatic, IDG UK will gain greater control on pricing via guaranteed spends across its premium/audience rich inventory.

“As a premium publisher it is imperative we have control over the CPMs and spend we receive from our core clients via Programmatic Trading. An initial block list led a sales strategy to approach agency teams and trading desks to set up PMPs, with clients we gain direct bookings from and use trading desks. Although the overall PMP market is not as advanced as we would like we have seen great success with some of those implemented. Our SSP PubMatic has been a very valuable asset in setting up this new revenue stream.

“The next few months will see us arranging more PMPs with various demand partners and keep a close eye on their success and impact against direct sales. We see them as a core progression towards Premium RTB. In fact I am already experiencing conversations regarding branding campaigns with higher CPMs than the usual direct response we are used to via RTB,” Bradley said.

Concerned over Private Marketplaces? No need to be.

Why a Private Marketplace strategy

Why a Private Marketplace strategy?

Programmatic Trading is the buzz word for 2013. Many publishers are showing interest in adopting this more efficient way of trading but often lack the support to do so. Concerns in the market are rife, and it can often seem discouraging when the knowledge behind the technology isn’t there. And to confuse matters, Private Marketplaces (PMPs) have entered the programmatic scene, leading to even more mystification and fears on the publisher side.

However with their granular transparency PMPs give the reins back to publishers, allowing greater control over pricing and powering direct sellers with information on the practices and preferences of their best clients.

A recent PMP success story for PubMatic started when it partnered with IDG UK (International Data Group UK) towards the end of last year to help drive IDG UK’s offering into the programmatic spectrum.

IDG UK is a global technology network bringing together over 280 million technology buyers in 97 countries. IDG UK chose PubMatic as their Strategic Selling Partner to enable its programmatic offering to market for their B2B and B2C properties, such as ComputerworldUK, Macworld, PCAdvisor and DigitalArtsOnline.

Like many of our other clients, IDG UK needed to partner with a trusted technology platform to lead their programmatic trading adoption and help them drive their direct sales into the opportunities around Private Marketplaces.

Key factors for any client, when moving into the PMP environment, are to gain deep control over their digital assets with heightened transparency and the ability to adjust floor prices when needed. The feeling of having the chance to be ‘hands on’ within the programmatic landscape is often needed by the publisher to allow them control and transparency when dealing with their inventory.

IDG UK was quick to realise the benefit of embracing programmatic trading and taking ownership over how and to whom its impressions were traded programmatically. As part of its overall digital strategy, IDG UK’s media services director Dan Shaw quickly identified the need for a specialist to lead their programmatic trading and adoption within their direct sales teams.

“Everywhere you look there are very bullish forecasts about how much the programmatic space will grow. We wanted to make sure we were as close to the market as we could be. And we also wanted to be one of the first Publishers having the conversations agencies wanted to have. A dedicated sales resource has given us the opportunity to do both of these things; we recognised the need to have someone actively talking with all demand partners (and someone who could spend time with Pubmatic) so they really understood the opportunities and could feedback to the overall business,” said Shaw.

By appointing Rob Bradley to work with PubMatic’s EMEA Director of Advertiser Solutions, Duncan Chamberlain, Dan Shaw ensured IDG had a dedicated sales lead to partner with PubMatic.

This enabled the direct sales business to work alongside the Agency Trading Desks whilst complimenting each other rather than cannibalising the sales efforts which led to increased revenues.

Programmatic buying and PMPs equip IDG UK with the capability to control the pricing of inventory by advertiser or segment whilst maintaining direct relationships with buyers and controlling ad quality. This was previously not possible with network relationships.

Throughout 2013, IDG UK will continue to focus on PMPs, extracting higher CPMs and approaching more trading desks, segmenting audiences further with the addition of 1st and 3rd party data.

By funnelling more agency spend into programmatic, IDG UK will gain greater control on pricing via guaranteed spends across its premium/audience rich inventory.

“As a premium publisher it is imperative we have control over the CPMs and spend we receive from our core clients via Programmatic Trading. An initial block list led a sales strategy to approach agency teams and trading desks to set up PMPs, with clients we gain direct bookings from and use trading desks. Although the overall PMP market is not as advanced as we would like we have seen great success with some of those implemented. Our SSP PubMatic has been a very valuable asset in setting up this new revenue stream.

“The next few months will see us arranging more PMPs with various demand partners and keep a close eye on their success and impact against direct sales. We see them as a core progression towards Premium RTB. In fact I am already experiencing conversations regarding branding campaigns with higher CPMs than the usual direct response we are used to via RTB,” Bradley said.

A Conversation with Andy Monfried, Founder and CEO, Lotame

Lotame Video

Your company generates mountains of data. But you need a way to turn this mountain into a goldmine.

 

I sat down today with Lotame’s Founder and CEO Andy Monfried to discuss the recent integration between the partners and how they are uncovering audience data to make publishers’ business much more transparent.

 

Rich Sobel (RS): We’re really excited about this partnership, and what it means to put two premium businesses together. When we first started conversations about this, some time ago, what clicked for you?

Andy Monfried (AM): The tremendous footprint that PubMatic has, and the unbelievable supply opportunity that you guys are tasked with and responsible for. I saw it not only as an asset but also as a unique challenge.

 

RS: You have been very publisher-focused since the beginning, in terms of helping them manage their data. In our world, we have a number of clients who could be considered marketers as well, who require the same support for their data management.

AM: Our visions are aligned in that respect. Many of our products allow the sharing of data from a publisher point-of-view to a marketer point-of-view, all from the click of a mouse. So if you choose to share your first party data on a permission basis with a marketer, we enable that function. The movement of data, quickly, easily and seamlessly is what I believe makes the plumbing of our DMP a key differentiator.

As far as what’s trending, whether its mobile, CRM, RTB, or transactions, we’re seeing an explosion of data sharing across our ecosystem.

 

RS: The programmatic experience is about finding the user you’re looking for.

AM: I totally agree—I think that marketers will learn to bring a small portion of their CRM data to large publishers who can then model it out across their first party inventory. And that’s a benefit for everyone. PubMatic sits at the center of a lot of those transactions, and can enable that type of transaction.

 

RS: When you think about all the things that are necessary to make it all work, there’s the user component of it, and then the transaction part. So, there are a lot of complements across our platforms.

AM: Yes, there’s a natural symbiotic connection between what PubMatic excels at and what Lotame focuses on. We collect first party data in a unique way—Lotame allows you to write rules and capture events behind the scenes so the publisher doesn’t do any heavy lifting. A-synchronous data collection across user experiences is huge.

 

RS: The combination of multiple components in a single stream.

AM: Exactly. And that’s a key differentiator for us, how we do first party data collection. First party data is one of a publisher’s greatest assets—that’s why we put such an emphasis on getting the most from it. It’s not all equal.

 

RS: And you’re getting the smarter publishers. Not all SSPs are the same; different elements need to be taken into consideration. Both PubMatic and Lotame go the extra mile in terms of how we create unique technical solutions for our customers. PubMatic runs a truly unified auction across all buying methods – including guaranteed, direct sold campaigns – and the most advanced Private Marketplace solution, while Lotame has the most advanced and granular ways to collect and manage audience data. This brings us back to this partnership, which will impact the ecosystem in a major way. There’s so much competition out there, but there hasn’t been much collaboration.

AM: The ease of integration mitigates the amount of work and increases the results. The hard work comes from PubMatic and Lotame, rather than the publishers. Whether it’s data collection, categorization, targeting, optimization, and construction, these are all executed by Lotame and PubMatic service and support teams. One of the key goals of this partnership for me was to reduce the workload on publishers, and I believe our mutual clients already see the opportunity and value we bring together to them.

 

RS: We take a consultative approach to how we serve our clients, and you guys do something similar. There’s a lot of data crunching required — we act as a guide to help publishers by taking the work off their plate. For publishers who want to take the next step, and have seen the shifting sands to manage their share of wallet, there’s no other option than to engage in the programmatic, RTB-enabled world of media buying.

AM: It’s true. Publishers don’t have the extended resources to sit around and wait for the tasks they have to perform. So this partnership is the next step in making a publisher’s life easier and making assets more valued.

 

RS: As advertisers start to dictate terms more formally, using programmatic tools, publishers can face these changes by defining and leading a consortium. Scale matters, and publishers who are looking to compete for larger share of wallet have to find ways to expand their footprint. Data is one way to find more audience, and creating partnerships establishes premium pools of inventory to activate that data.

AM: Absolutely. We allow publishers to share data on a permission basis with each other to find their users across their partners. Data must be extensible, but publishers need the controls that we (Lotame and PubMatic) provide to make it brand safe.

 

RS: Integrity is important to us, and it’s important for us to work with premium businesses that feel the same way. Our customer relationships are more important than anything else. And we value this partnership, because we know that Lotame shares these values. On that note—what was the initial idea behind the partnership?

AM: We wanted to focus on ways we can increase value for publishers, by leveraging data, knowing that most major marketers and publishers are in the hunt for the right DMP for business. People work with DMPs and SSPs out of necessity—Lotame and PubMatic together come to the table with a more cohesive offering: this partnership.

We have similar visions for our companies, and at the end of the day, we both always hold the client at the highest regard for whatever their goals are.

In addition, PubMatic has a global footprint from which Lotame is very excited to benefit from. Data is important everywhere, and PubMatic’s experience and expertise in key local markets make this partnership very exciting.

##

 

Accelerating Growth in EMEA and APAC: a Q&A with Rob Jonas, VP and MD International

Rob Jonas, the new Vice President and Managing Director for EMEA and APAC, will lead international sales and help drive continued global expansion of the PubMatic platform.  He brings 15 years of experience developing high-growth technology companies in the EMEA, North America and the Asia-Pacific regions.  An alumni of InMobi, Google, Overture and Yahoo!, he has managed large regional customer relationships and contributed to the successful global expansion of these companies.

 

What will your experience with global brands like Yahoo! and Google bring to a developing company like PubMatic?

I’ve worked at both large global companies and start-ups like InMobi and hope to bring best practices from each. When you work with different global companies, you see that they approach international expansion very differently — some better than others. You have to make sure you understand the markets you are going into and recognise there is a huge amount of variation in how businesses work in Europe and in Asia.  One-size-fits-all is a recipe for failure; there are many nuances and differences across the markets. Secondly, you have to make sure you have experienced people who know the pitfalls to avoid.  Ten years ago it was difficult to create a team with adequate digital experience across multiple markets, but today there are more and more people that have that experience, enjoy the business and are passionate. Lastly, you need to have a clear strategy. Many businesses that launch in international markets with only people on the ground fail because they neither defined success nor created benchmarks to achieve it.

 

What is the biggest challenge for publishers globally today in terms of revenue generation?

There really are three challenges. First, is the speed of change versus ten years ago, which has created higher levels of complexity for operating businesses, servicing customers and managing competitive threats. Second is the multi-platform dimension coupled with the rise of mobile.  Even three years ago publishers were not focused on mobile — it was analysts talking about how important it was. Today, publishers are grappling with multi-platform content distribution and monetisation. Mobile usage adoption has caught many publishers by surprise.  Globalisation is the third factor.  Ten years ago, monetisation operated in local markets.  Today however, major players are finding that huge parts of their business come from outside their home market. Take UK news publisher The Daily Mail, a London-based publisher, which has attracted a large US following, making it the largest online news site in the world – even larger than the New York Times.  Two or three years ago, few people would have predicted that.  As a result, the traditional model of in-house sales teams selling to local advertisers has had to adapt.

 

How would you compare global markets in terms of RTB adoption to the US? 

The U.S. is obviously well established but international markets are becoming more and more important. The UK is a crucial digital advertising market as publishers have more widely adopted the technology – it will be a leader in Europe for RTB growth and overall market size. Japan has caught up to most Western European markets and has the most potential to rival the U.S. in overall size in the next few years. Total RTB spending in Japan will grow from $47 million in 2011 to $1.1 billion in 2016. Beyond these, France and Germany will become critical in Europe. Both of these markets are conservative in adopting new advertising technologies, but once embraced, have the capability to grow very quickly. Australia, India and China will all contribute, with the latter having potential in the long term to be one of the largest RTB markets globally.

 

How can publishers overcome the current commoditisation of inventory that is often blamed on programmatic?

The first iteration of programmatic buying led to the commoditization of remnant inventory for publishers, which pushed down CPMs and yield.  It’s now a very different marketplace with companies like PubMatic offering sophisticated capabilities and platform functionality.  Now publishers can take inventory they may not be able to sell directly, layer in audience data and package it in ways they could not in the past. The publishing business is more complex now and requires technology to increase value from global audiences.

 

What’s your version of an elevator pitch for what PubMatic offers to publishers?

We’re solving critical problems:  How do you monetise your digital assets in an increasingly multi-platform and global marketplace? How do you use technology to increase value and complement your direct sales activities? PubMatic is at the nexus of two huge trends in digital advertising: the rise of programmatic buying and selling of inventory and the consolidation of platforms as users consume content across channels.

 

How do you see the demand side of the business?

I’m one of the big believers that the demand side will drive the ecosystem and will catalyse the marketplace.  Leading Agency Trading Desks project that programmatic buying revenue will amount to hundreds of millions of dollars within the next 24 months.  European publishers are expected to increase RTB budgets by 1000% in 2013.  With this in mind, PubMatic will continue to develop relationships between publisher customers and demand clients.

 

Unified optimization, or the idea of evaluating all inventory sold through a platform, is a pretty radical concept to a lot of publishers who want to continue to segregate inventory into direct sold and premium.  What’s the first step they need to take to better understand this concept?

By articulating our vision of growth, we are able to update publishers’ perceptions.  Once they are on board, many of their concerns disappear.  Our platform offers consultative, 24/7 support so our customers are able to maintain a solid understanding of the current state of the industry as well as prepare for future shifts.

 

Coming from a mobile network, what would you advise publishers to do to increase the value of their mobile inventory?

If you are a mobile publisher today, it’s a challenging market. Publishers need to educate advertisers on why they need to be focused on mobile and help them understand how to plan, buy and run campaigns.  We’re still having the dreaded “year of mobile” discussion — the market is still divided between performance / pay for download and brand advertisers.  We have more work to do on the creative level to unlock the potential of the platform.  We have to take into account the personalised nature of the device plus the data that is attached to it. Soon, we will get to a point where targeting will go beyond “male, 18 – 34, ABC1, in London” to intent context or intent-based targeting. We will be able to target someone about to go shopping, get on a plane or commute to work.  As an industry, we’re also developing enough experience around gaining user consent; surveys have confirmed that users will exchange consent for more valuable content and relevant advertising.  On mobile, there is so much potential for advertising and we are getting closer and closer to this every year.

 

What are your daily must-reads for business and pleasure?

I use Twitter to stay informed about industry news from outlets such as Business Insider, AllThingsDigital and TechCrunch. As I am relatively new to the programmatic sector, sites like ExchangeWire are also must-reads. In the mobile space, there are a handful of analysts who really understand the hype often associated with the mobile sector such as Ben Evans at Enders Analysis. Outside of work, I am a pretty active road cyclist and am usually checking on the latest European race on The Guardian or L’Equipe or what my network is up to on Instagram or Strava.

 

Why did you join PubMatic at this point in your career?

PubMatic predicted many of the trends that are coming to market and after coming in to contact with the company more than five years ago, now is the perfect time to help accelerate its plans in EMEA and the Asia-Pacific region. The speed of change, increase in cross-platform complexity and inexorable rise of programmatic buying is only going to increase in the next few years.  I am looking forward to working with the fantastic team at PubMatic during this next stage of growth.

Focus on the Audience

Or, How the IAB’s view of the advertising landscape leaves out the most important force in media & marketing: People

A blog post by Rich Sobel, Director of Product Marketing & Platform Strategy, PubMatic

As usual, the annual IAB meeting brought out the luminaries of publishing (and yes, there are more “rising stars,” this time for digital video) an update on viewability, big data vs. creative, lively discussions on native ads and the future of display.  For me, the biggest introduction was IAB’s updated view of the online advertising eco-system (http://www.iab.net/IABArena), a much simplified version of the fabled LUMA-scape of Terence Kawaja.

The IAB has long complained, rightly, about the need for clearer value propositions for ad technology companies and I applaud their efforts to move from a messy, logo-ridden process flow to a more holistic vision.  It’s elegant, it’s aesthetic!  My gut reaction is that they missed something: people.  They’ve chosen brands as the central force.  So, yes, Randy, you’ve left out the human side of advertising.

While brands power media spending, the core is always the consumer.  Everything starts with a relationship. That relationship between the brand and the people who choose to engage with the brand (either through content or purchase activity) is paramount.  Content’s engagement with a consumer, and the entire audience created, is both the driver and the pinnacle of everything the content creator’s business is based on.

In our media ecosystem, with that human-centric core, everything comes down to data.

Data may have gotten big and can be valued in bits and bytes, but in the end, all data does is tell us something about people: how they engage and interact with media, and develop intent to take action in their lives.  Engagement, interaction, and intent are the foundational elements of understanding and responding to an audience.  That goes for both publishers and advertisers.  Data, used in the right way, is about making it all more personal:  the experience of media and the experience of advertising.  Publishers use data to inform their user experience and drive a more engaging and content-rich relationship with their audience, and advertising brands use data to develop products and drive consumer relationship with those products.   Retargeting is a straightforward example of a brand deploying data to re-engage people who have shown intent and offer them something of value.

Data provides the “why” in what we in advertising do as a business, and the relationship with the consumer is a value exchange.  In return for content and products, people provide data that indicates their engagement with that content and products.  The core value proposition of ad technology companies is to take the knowledge gained from the experience of a consumer and improve the next point of engagement.

Ad technology platforms, like PubMatic, provide the “how” to take data and apply it to make advertising more personal on a publisher’s media property.  A Private Marketplace allows publishers to apply their audience data in a direct sales environment without risking the open market commoditization of their data, and leverage the power of their audience relationship, blending the premium and programmatic sales channels without conflict.  It’s only one of the paths forward we see in a simplified ecosystem where people and their experiences with brands (both publishing and advertising) are increasingly personal, relevant and positive.  

As we attempt to explain the business we are in, we cannot forget that everything begins and ends with a consumer relationship.  We should be more focused on defining the problems we face and the solutions we provide than with creating a chart.  Let’s solve our customers’ problems and drive great experiences.

 

Devising Innovative Solutions to Drive Growth: a Q&A with CRO, Americas, Andrew Zeiger

Andrew Zeiger, the new Chief Revenue Officer of the Americas for PubMatic, brings 20 years of experience with top publishing companies like CNET, technology companies like the Geeknet and data companies like RichRelevance.  At PubMatic he will oversee revenue operations, strategic account development, and be responsible for devising innovative solutions to drive continued growth in North and South America.  He discussed the opportunities he sees for PubMatic clients and how he can help them meet their goals.

Why come to a company like PubMatic now?

Two reasons: PubMatic is filled with smart people and truly has a culture of innovation. PubMatic has already established leadership through innovation in an industry space that has sorely needed it as the pace of changing models and growing demand accelerates. As programmatic buying and selling become more important in the advertising ecosystem, I’m convinced that PubMatic will be the real-time engine that drives the industry forward for publishers and demand partners while creating a more useful consumer experience.

How did your background prepare you for your role at PubMatic?

I see this role as the culmination of my experience.  I started on the agency side and lived and breathed the whole buying process. Then I spent the better part of 20 years on the publishing side.  I understand what the publisher pain points are and the solutions that are needed.  One thing that has been a recurring theme in my career has been creating value for consumers and, consequently creating an environment that allows for a positive interaction between consumers and brands.  This is an important focus for PubMatic as we continue to create value for all constituencies in the marketing equation.

What is the biggest challenge for publishers today in terms of revenue generation?

Traditional publishers are still working on a model of a direct sales force exclusively representing their inventory.  While there will always be an important place for that, it simply does not scale to the extent that publishers and demand partners require in an increasingly fast paced environment requiring real-time decision making and execution. Most often publisher’s inventory is left underutilized and under valued.  What has been lacking in the rapidly changing world of programmatic sales are insights and innovations on both the publisher and demand sides.  They have to be able to understand the value of tier-two inventory.  When you become a data centric company – which is what all publishers have to develop expertise in – you unlock the value, increase revenue and improve results.  There has also been a total shift in terms of the speed that automation brings to the market.  We all know how hard it is to accurately predict and monetize spikes in inventory volume, but RTB can solve those issues.  Direct teams just cannot respond with the timing required in today’s market.

What excites you about programmatic buying and selling?

It’s bringing an intelligence and value to the consumer that is really difficult to do in a non-automated way. We can also accelerate a marketer’s time to market with technology solutions that match the right message to the right individual.  It’s positive for everyone involved.

Many publishers fear commoditization; how can you help them understand that RTB is not a race to the bottom?

PubMatic has done a great job on the data side.  They are bringing value to what has been considered remnant.  RTB is bringing intelligence to an unsorted mass of inventory.  For too long it’s been a price story as there was little visibility into what you were getting.  As recent data from PubMatic shows, RTB doubled CPMs over what publishers could get from ad networks in Q4.   Private Marketplaces – which offer huge benefits in terms of transparency — increased CPMs dramatically over traditional ad network buys.  Advertisers are coming on board as they are getting the quality inventory that’s just not identifiable in exchanges.   PubMatic does an excellent job of balancing the needs of both publishers and advertisers.

There’s been a lot of discussion of programmatic premium.  How do you define it and what do you think publishers need to understand about it?

It’s early and we’re still getting the market used to the idea that the direct sale can be augmented with programmatic.   Advancements in programmatic premium such as Private Marketplaces have facilitated strategic direct deals to get more creative in their own time.  Everyone in the equation wins.

PubMatic’s ultimate goal is the concept of unified optimization:  using the platform to evaluate all inventory sales.  Yet, many publishers still fear the cannibalization of the high CPMs of their direct sales through such an approach.

We need to expose exactly what unified optimization means.  There are lots of reasons why publishers might want to allocate or do deals.  Unified optimization is being able to look at all inventory and allocate what you send to whom. What is the availability?  What are the pricing thresholds?  When you take the distinct use scenario and say this portion is only for direct, this is for programmatic, you ultimately leave money on the table. Unified optimization will ultimately be adopted as publishers realize that it will provide a marketplace intelligence that just wasn’t there and that is demanded by the changing way that advertisers want to buy media.


At PubMatic, you will also be selling to demand partners.  What do you think PubMatic brings them that they can’t get elsewhere?

Their focus has always been on premium publications. They stand for a high level of quality in the marketplace.  And the science and the algorithms are really strong. They’ve invested far more in engineering than many of their competitors.  They’ve also brought security measures and data protection that are critical to the health of the industry.

Mobile is the hot area of growth in digital advertising; how do you see PubMatic helping publishers increase revenue in this nascent area?

PubMatic is taking a holistic approach and providing the same tool set for mobile as for the online marketplace in general.  From the traditional screen, to tablets, to the new Windows machines that are crossing over – the same value proposition still exists.  Buyers will increasingly want cross-platform digital and PubMatic will be able to provide it.

You’ll be based in PubMatic’s Redwood City office.  We assume you will be doing lots of traveling.

I like and need to be in front of customers – it’s how a lot of great ideas and possibilities are fleshed out. Chief Revenue Officer is not a job done sitting behind a desk.  Besides, I grew up in New York but left 20 years ago. It will be great to be working with clients there and all over the country.

 

 

The Future of Programmatic: Think Big, Think Brands

By Paulina Klimenko, VP Business Development

I recently attended Digiday Exchange Summit in Miami and was thrilled to see that the concept of programmatic premium was right, front and center of the discussions on stage.  At PubMatic we’ve always known that there was a better future for publishers than getting trapped in the low CPMs and bad ads of the early days, and RFP and IO-based selling of the present. And now a collection of agency execs and brand marketers from companies like Kellogg’s and Mediabrands, and top publishers like Forbes and Weather Channel came together to talk about new areas programmatic is expanding into.

The general consensus was that the next wave of growth in programmatic buying will come from brand dollars rather than direct response and that programmatic has a healthy multi-platform future in mobile and video.  There was acknowledgement that RTB does not mean the replacement of a buyer-publisher relationship with technology, but instead it can enhance existing relationships through efficiency and transparency. Out goes a traditional RFP-based buying! As Ad.com’s Dave Jacobs, SVP Publisher Services said: “The biggest myth of RTB today is that the marketer will no longer want to talk to the publisher.” We’ve seen this through our own experience with clients, especially for Private Marketplaces.  Technology is the enabler, while people buying and selling are freed up to communicate about strategy over minutia.

In order to get those brand dollars to go programmatic, there are a few key things that have to happen:  transparency has to be increased, measurement needs to evolve beyond traditional CTR, publishers have to be able to exert control and RTB has to support non-standard ad units.. The transparency issue is an important one:  in a marketers’ surveyconducted by Adap.tv, 91% of brands and 89% agencies believe viewability will be standardized within the next 12 months and marketers will no longer  pay for ads that are not seen. I should note that comScore viewability metrics have been integrated into the PubMatic platform through PubLink, PubMatic’s enterprise app marketplace.

Video, a PubMatic initiative on our 2013 roadmap, is of course a hotly pursued format for brand marketers and has seen an explosive growth over the last few years. It is driven by growing video consumption on mobile and tablets, and growing video ad budgets which increased by 27% last year, and are expected to increase another 20% this year. Several panelists noted that video is about 12 months behind display in terms of programmatic sales. Video has a unique set of challenges that we don’t see in display. For us to see programmatic buying in video take off, we need to solve for the universal support across different formats and devices in the multi-device world; we need to develop a new set of measurements different from display (e.g., iGRP); and we need to achieve sufficient scale of inventory that has been scarce in the past. If we solve for these challenges, we can see programmatic sales in video grow from a single-digit percentages today to a meaningful share of total sales. Dan Masher, GM of Brightroll, a video  exchange, expects that within 12 months programmatic will be 15 – 20% of their business.

In a State of the Industry  panel, execs from Adap.tv, Horizon Media and The Weather Channel noted the current disconnect in agencies between those who buy digital video and those who buy TV although one is so often an extension of the other.  But, as the Digiday survey pointed out, 78% of agency execs think they’ll do buying and planning of TV and video together in the future. We look forward to the day when demand partners can go into a platform like ours and get that network spot, plus online, plus mobile, plus tablet.

Day two closed out with an agency panel. Vik Kathuria, Managing Partner of GroupM/Mediacom stated that 10-15% of budgets are going to programmatic with a focus on getting brand dollars.  Brendan Moorcroft, CEO of Mediabrands, noted that programmatic is the biggest growth opportunity for his agency globally.  We couldn’t agree more.

 

The Opportunity of Mobile RTB for Publishers and Advertisers: Q & A with Mobile Sales Director, Heather Menery

Heather Menery, who has been working with agencies and brands to launch mobile campaigns for over seven years, is the new Director of Sales, Mobile, at PubMatic where she will be responsible for sales to both publishers and ad buyers.  Among her varied roles in mobile, Menery was sales director at Velti, a mobile marketing and advertising technology company, and a sales executive at Jumptap Mobile Ad Network. Heather shares what her experience in mobile has taught her and what she can bring to publishers and demand partners at PubMatic.

Q:  You’re one of the few mobile execs to have spent your entire career in mobile.  What do you think you learned about mobile as a marketing medium at your first job?

I am glad that I was first on the account management side at Enpocket, a mobile media company with mobile marketing services, before starting my sales career. I learned so much about the importance of client education, especially as it pertains to new media. In 2006, it was not just about educating the advertiser on why they should invest in mobile but also how to take those first steps to launch a mobile campaign. As the landscape is constantly changing, the education piece has not changed. Some of the first mobile buys I received from agencies were a result of continuous client education and proper expectation setting.

Q. What is the biggest consumer trend impacting mobile advertising right now?

Users are consuming more media than ever before. Because so much of this consumption is taking place on the mobile device, mobile can no longer be considered a “third screen.” We are a generation that thrives on multi-tasking and we are consuming media from different devices simultaneously or within seconds of each other. We watch TV, see a brand’s commercial, and immediately visit that brand’s site on our mobile device.  I love the cross-platform play as mobile stands out as the connective tissue for all forms of media vs. being labeled as a “third screen.” As we heard from many agencies at the recent Mobile Media Summit, companies that can target users cross-platform will impact mobile advertising in a big way.

Q.  What do you think is unique about mobile as an ad medium?

How personal our mobile device is. I do not share my phone with anyone, it’s become more important than my wallet. In some cases, it is my wallet. It’s the first thing I look at in the morning and often the last thing at night. Because it’s always with us, the location piece is essential. If publishers can pass us latitude and longitudinal data we can deliver much more effective targeting, which in turn makes the inventory more valuable. Even national retailers are using location to add relevance to their advertising and layering on daypart targeting. People do things at certain times of day and if you can reach them at the right moment with a localized message, it’s gold.

Q.  What do you think will most impact mobile ad spend which has been lagging compared to spend on other media.

Most of the time, mobile is still the last line item on a media planner’s media budget. There is still the need for continuous education, especially in such a fragmented space. There are new mobile companies popping up daily, new devices, new ad formats…taking a week vacation from reading about mobile trends means you’re already behind. The need for education is still prevalent.

But I believe the biggest challenge in mobile right now is the lack of standardized tracking, both at the mobile media display level and attributing this media to users’ post click actions.  The tried and true way of tracking on digital display is not working across mobile, which is very frustrating to advertisers. Combine lack of unified tracking with privacy concerns in a fragmented space that changes daily and you’ll understand why the investment isn’t there yet.

I’m confident that this industry is too smart to fail and we may all need to work together towards a universally accepted method of tracking that is privacy compliant.

Q.  You’ve been on the agency side. What are budgets like these days for mobile?

It depends. There are some brands with seven figure mobile budgets but average deal size at the campaign level can still average $25 – 50K per campaign.

Q.  What do publishers need to understand about mobile in terms of mobile advertising?

Your standard “desktop” site may look fantastic on the iPhone but publishers need to think beyond aesthetics and understand how users’ behavior is different on their smartphones vs. laptops and even tablets. A mobile optimized site is a must and the functionality and organization of your mobile site will differ from your desktop site. Take advantage of all the ad sizes mobile can deliver beyond just the standard banner i.e. rich media and video. The targeting you can offer advertisers will only make your inventory more valuable, especially if you can target based on a user’s location.

Q.  What is the greatest challenge for publishers about mobile advertising?  

That it’s a fragmented space and there’s always something new to learn. Advertisers and publishers share many of the same challenges, as I mentioned above. It goes back to education…there are a lot of nuances. That’s one of the reasons I think it’s so smart that PubMatic partnered with MobStac, which simplifies the process of optimizing content for any mobile device.  It’s one of the headaches that can now be solved through automation.

Q. What are the most important things you think PubMatic can do for publishers with mobile inventory?

Better understand their mobile assets and increase the value of their mobile inventory. Aggregate demand partners and continuously innovate to stay on top of market trends. I also would not downplay the service aspect.  At PubMatic, we provide insights into the bidding environment because we live and breathe it every day.  The mobile team is made up of true mobile experts who really understand RTB.  The reason I came here is that I see the promise of RTB for mobile.   I’ve been working at different mobile ad networks for some time and advertisers want to talk about RTB. I wanted to work at a company that really gets it.

—-

Have a question for Heather we haven’t covered here?  Leave a reply, question or comment below.