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Martech Edge Interview with Sivan Tafla, CEO and Co-Founder, Oraki

Martech Edge Interview with Sivan Tafla, CEO and Co-Founder, Oraki

advertising 2 Apr 2024

What's the story behind your journey to becoming CEO of Oraki?

Back in 1998, my path from finance to leading Oraki began. It was a journey sparked by a deep passion for technology and advertising. The adventure really kicked off when I founded Ad4ever, a pioneer in digital ads. Following its acquisition, I shifted to Oraki (formerly known as Total Media Solutions), a company my husband, Amitai Tafla, founded in 2005. As CEO, I embraced the era of programmatic advertising, focusing on empowering digital publishers and advertisers with innovative solutions. My tenure at Oraki has been all about fostering innovation, excellence, and a long-standing partnership with Google, aiming to significantly impact the digital advertising landscape.

Oraki has over 20 years of experience in the programmatic advertising space. What changes have you witnessed over the period in this dynamic landscape?

Over the last 20 years, the digital ad landscape has seen major changes, especially with the rise of programmatic advertising around 15 years ago. This revolutionized how ads are managed, enabling precise targeting and real-time adjustments, making processes more transparent and efficient. We've also adapted to the dominance of mobile, advanced data strategies, and a stronger emphasis on ad transparency and safety. Oraki, in partnership with Google, played a crucial role in introducing these innovations to publishers, establishing ourselves as experts in navigating and shaping this dynamic industry.

How does Oraki differentiate itself from other tech-based revenue management companies in the digital publishing sector?

Oraki sets itself apart by deeply focusing on helping publishers grow, not just through technology and revenue management but by building foundational strategies for their business. Unique in being one of only three Google Ad Manager 360 Resellers in EMEA, we offer more than just revenue optimization; we're about creating a robust digital strategy from the ground up. Our comprehensive knowledge of Google's tech together with our dedication to innovation and personalized consultation, positions us uniquely in the digital publishing world, ensuring our partners have everything they need to succeed.

Can you outline how Oraki collaborates with publishers to help them reach peak performance?

From our years working alongside Google, we've really gotten to know the ins and outs of what publishers and advertisers need. With Google Ad Manager 360, we've been able to craft some smart ways to cut through the clutter of ad tech, making things smoother for everyone involved. It's all about giving our partners the tools they need, so they can keep their focus on growing their business and hitting those high marks. We're here to handle the complicated bits, making sure they reach their peak performance with ease.

What advantages does being one of only nine Google-certified resellers worldwide offer clients seeking revenue management solutions?

Being one of just nine Google-certified resellers globally gives our clients a unique edge. It's not just about using Ad Manager 360; it's about owning it, creating a solid base for their business to grow on. We've got the Google seal of approval, which means our clients get nothing but top-tier support and insights, plus all the extra perks from Google, like special access to new features and dedicated support from the team at Oraki. It's a partnership that really sets them up for long-term success. 

How does Oraki stay ahead of the curve about technological advancements and digital publishing trends?

At Oraki, we're always learning and adapting, making sure we understand what's happening in the ad tech and digital publishing worlds. It's not just about keeping up; it's about really listening to what our publishers need and what partners like Google are saying. This way, we're not just reacting to changes; we're anticipating them, making sure we're ready for what's next. It's about being prepared for the future, together with our clients.

MarTech Edge Interview with Marie-Lou Penin, Head of Marketing, DanAds

MarTech Edge Interview with Marie-Lou Penin, Head of Marketing, DanAds

advertising 23 Jan 2024

Hello, Marie-Lou! Walk us through the milestones in your marketing career and how you arrived at the position of Head of Marketing at DanAds.

Before joining DanAds, my career was a global adventure in marketing, spanning various sectors like entertainment and technology and countries including France, the UK, and the UAE. This international exposure honed my ability to craft data-driven marketing campaigns that resonate across diverse cultural landscapes. My journey at DanAds began as a Marketing Activation Manager three years ago. Within this role, I leveraged my global experience to bring fresh perspectives, leading to significant growth and the expansion of our marketing strategies. A year ago, I was offered the role of Head of Marketing, a testament to my contributions and strategic vision for the company.

This past year, we’ve achieved remarkable milestones, such as hosting the world’s second Self-Serve Summit in New York, featuring giants like Disney, Paramount, TripAdvisor, and Google. Our recognition in Deloitte’s Sweden Technology Fast 50, winning the Product of the Year Award at NAB Show 2023, and also celebrating DanAds' 10th anniversary is proof of our growing ambitions and success.

How does DanAds’ self-serve ad technology function and enable publishers to take full control of their ad ecosystem?

DanAds’ self-serve ad technology functions as a powerful enabler for both advertisers and publishers, transforming the traditional advertising landscape. This technology allows advertisers to directly engage with trusted publishers at scale, streamlining the advertising process through automation. For traditional publishers, it represents a path to future-proof their advertising business.

By automating their ad operations, they can maintain existing revenue streams while increasing their margins. This is especially crucial for new types of publishers who possess substantial first-party data but lack scalable methods to capitalize on it. In domains like retail media, which are witnessing significant growth, our self-serve advertising solutions unlock new revenue potentials by efficiently utilizing this data.

Automation is at the core of what DanAds does. How does leveraging automation catapult the ad capabilities in terms of production, management, and revenue?

At the core of DanAds is automation, which elevates the capabilities of ad production, management, and revenue generation. Leveraging automation means publishers can manage their ad business more efficiently, reducing the time and resources spent on manual ad operations. This leads to faster ad production and deployment, allowing publishers to respond quickly to market changes and client needs. Also, automation leads to the scalability of products that enhance targeting and personalization capabilities. Leading to more effective campaigns and increased advertiser satisfaction.

In terms of revenue, automation also enables publishers to optimize and scale their internal workflow. Ensuring both publisher and advertiser get the most out of their ad spend. This efficiency not only boosts their revenue but also attracts a wider range of advertisers seeking streamlined, effective ad solutions.

DanAds’ automation technology empowers publishers to take full control of their ad ecosystem, transforming their operations into more profitable, responsive, scalable, and future-proof entities.

Could you share your go-to inbound marketing approach, and how do you implement tailored strategies to cater to different pain points in a buying group, driving them toward the funnel?

In our inbound marketing approach, we focus on understanding the distinct pain points of each buying group member. This involves creating detailed buyer personas and tailoring content to meet their specific needs. We leverage various channels to ensure our message reaches the right audience and use marketing automation (Hubspot) for personalized lead nurturing. 

Together with the commercial team, we regularly refine our strategies using feedback to remain effective, steering prospects on a tailored journey to the sales funnel, and establishing enduring customer relationships. It's truly a team effort.

With clients like TripAdvisor, Rogers Sports & Media, Nine, and Philips, how do you ensure that DanAds’ brand voice and messaging cater to the diverse needs of such prominent brands?

At DanAds, being client-centric means we really tune into each client's unique needs, shaping our brand voice and messaging to resonate just right with them. We stay agile, adapting to new technologies and shifts in advertiser behavior. Our approach involves market research and competitive intelligence, allowing us to tailor our offerings to suit the specific needs of these brands. We recognize that each client values different aspects of our product, from its superior quality to the comprehensive post-sale support we provide. 

To meet these needs, we have developed a range of initiatives, such as hosting our annual event to foster a self-serve community and conducting private educational webinars. These are designed not only to support our clients on their self-serve and automation journey but also to position DanAds as more than just a technology provider.

How do you leverage data to inform your strategies and decision-making? Can you share an instance where data-driven insights unprecedentedly transformed the project outcomes?

Data plays a critical role in shaping our strategies and decision-making at DanAds. We rely on a data-driven approach to understand market trends, customer behaviors, and campaign performance. By analyzing this data, we can make informed decisions that align with our business objectives and customer needs.

We had this great moment when data really changed the game in a campaign we did for SMBs and SMEs on our client's platforms. The initial strategy was broad, with the primary objective being to understand what resonates with these segments in order to drive revenue. This involved creating specific products, considering the potential for differentiation (or lack thereof) in their current media sales strategies, and introducing new features and pricing to build the ideal platform for advertisers.

After analyzing engagement data, we discovered that a specific subset of these groups was responding more positively to a pilot program, including incentives and considering seasonality. We then realigned their marketing and sales strategies to focus on their most relevant segments, significantly increasing engagement and conversion rates.

Where is the self-serve ad space heading? How does DanAds plan to incorporate the evolving market requirements into its platform to sustain and advance its industry position?

The advertising space is rapidly evolving, with a growing emphasis on automation, personalization, and data-driven decision-making. As these trends continue, we anticipate a surge in demand for more sophisticated and user-friendly self-serve platforms.

At DanAds, we are committed to staying ahead of these trends. We plan to incorporate evolving market requirements into our platforms by continuously enhancing our automation capabilities, integrating advanced data analytics for better targeting and personalization, and ensuring our platforms remain intuitive and accessible.

In times of recession, we see more and more publishers making sure they keep existing ad revenues intact. So, migrating existing direct ad revenues into a self-serve solution enables them to ensure revenues are kept with higher margins due to automation. No matter the ad budget, the transactional cost of using self-serve technology is the same.

We’re also focusing on expanding our AI capabilities in our Creative Builder to help our clients and their advertisers. Our goal is to ensure that DanAds not only adapts to the changing landscape but also plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of advertising. By doing so, we aim to sustain and advance our position as a leader in the industry.

MarTech Edge Interview with Deborah Kilpatrick, Co-Founder & VP Marketing, SourceKnowledge

MarTech Edge Interview with Deborah Kilpatrick, Co-Founder & VP Marketing, SourceKnowledge

advertising 9 Jan 2024

Welcome, Deborah! Could you elaborate on your journey of running your own SEO & SEM consulting business, dSide Marketing? In what ways did this experience enable you to co-found SourceKnowledge? 

Having started my career working at a search engine, it was a natural transition for me to take the skills I had developed there to help companies efficiently run their online marketing campaigns and create search engine-friendly websites. It was a very rewarding time for me to see tangible results for clients and get them excited about online advertising.

As the VP of Marketing since inception, how have you shaped the marketing scene at SourceKnowledge? How do your role and the company’s dynamics differ now from 2009?

SourceKnowledge is constantly adapting to meet the changing needs of the market. We are in a fast-paced industry that is always changing — from acquisitions to data laws, as well as decisions that Google makes.

A key survival factor in this landscape is to be very attentive to the shifting sands in the industry as a whole while also listening to our advertisers and publishers and continually striving to innovate with our tech to bring them the very best solutions.

My role in the company has shifted in the last 5 years from an operational marketing role to more in product development and working closely with internal stakeholders to provide solutions for managing publishers and advertisers as well as the tools we develop for them.

Could you shed light on your recent launch, SourceKnowledge Domain Targeting, and explain how this programmatic affiliate is bringing about transformative changes for advertisers and publishers?

SourceKnowledge’s programmatic affiliate solution empowers advertisers and retailers to purchase high-converting traffic and enables publishers to sell their inventory — all programmatically.

Historically, affiliate and lower-funnel traffic has only been available to be bought manually through a platform or an API. SourceKnowledge Domain Targeting programmatic affiliate solutions streamline the approach to affiliate marketing, maximizing campaign performance and efficiency.

This model allows advertisers to make programmatic buys based on their RoAS or CPA goals. The platform is designed to prioritize these goals through its SmartBidder™ Technology and will not spend beyond them.

Conversely, if a publisher’s minimum bid rate is not met, SourceKnowledge encourages publishers to set up a Fallback URL, allowing them to send their inventory to a different platform so they don’t miss an opportunity to monetize their content.

In what ways does the SmartBidder™ technology empower advertisers to acquire traffic at scale and without risks, all while aligning with their Return on Ad Spend (RoAS) and Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) objectives?

Our SmartBidder™ technology detects and rewards converting traffic in real-time, ensuring that our publishers are well compensated for their performance. This auto-optimization solution spends the advertiser’s budget based on performance. If the campaign target is not being met, the campaign automatically gets throttled so as to not spend to underperform. As a result, advertisers can acquire traffic in a risk-free way while staying in line with their KPIs.

Congratulations on SourceKnowledge’s recent recognition on the 2023 Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50™. What factors do you believe contribute to this success?

Our team at SourceKnowledge is one of the best in the industry. We are collaborative and innovative and are able to shift quickly to meet new requirements and opportunities.

With an office in Montreal and a global client base, how do you adapt your brand and communications strategy to effectively resonate with such a diverse audience?

We know exactly who our audience is for both advertisers and publishers. Advertisers who understand their attribution model and aren’t scared of the open web flourish in our platform and drive excellent RoAS. Publishers who know that they have the power to control the yield on their page and open their sites to different monetization platforms, including CPC platforms, do very well with us. We speak directly to these two groups through our marketing channels (trade shows, blogs, LinkedIn, and direct sales).

What, in your opinion, are the imminent challenges and trends in the open web digital advertising space? How is SourceKnowledge positioning itself for these approaching developments?

Data compliance is the biggest challenge on the open web. It’s not insurmountable, but it requires a clear understanding of the terms of engagement and being a responsible corporate citizen. Our recent acquisition by mrge has brought us a lot of experience with GDPR, since mrge is based in Europe.

MarTech Edge Interview with Bartosz Bielecki, Chief Marketing Officer, Zeropark

MarTech Edge Interview with Bartosz Bielecki, Chief Marketing Officer, Zeropark

advertising 2 Jan 2024

Welcome, Bartosz! You worked your way up from being a content marketer to serving as the CMO at Zeropark. Please share with us the backstory of this incredible journey.

Thank you for having me! I was hired by Commerce Media Tech (then Codewise) back in 2017 to take care of organic marketing activities for one of its key products – Zeropark. I had a background in developing content marketing at a couple of tech startups, and Zeropark had ambitions of launching a blog to drive organic audiences. Before I joined, the marketing strategy was pretty much limited to appearances at industry shows. My first month into the new job – the person who hired me and was overseeing marketing for Zeropark left the company to take on a VP of Marketing role elsewhere, putting me on the spot to lead all Zeropark marketing efforts. After successfully launching the blog, I got a chance to build my own content team and gradually step into other areas of marketing that were overlooked before. So, on top of the content team, over time, I’ve expanded the marketing team to cover more areas, like partnerships, product marketing, events, branding, lead gen, and lifecycle marketing. All those efforts supported the growth of Zeropark and our entire company, leading up to its acquisition by Team Internet Group (then CentralNic Group), a public company listed on the London Stock Exchange. Having solidified myself as an effective marketing leader, I was eventually promoted to the CMO position, which also covered some other products from the online marketing part of the group. Today, I’m in charge of marketing and business development teams for the performance marketing division at Team Internet Group.

According to you, what are the significant developments in the consumer market, and to what extent does commerce media play a key role in driving these developments?

The way consumers shop online has changed dramatically over the past few years. There are many new platforms consumers go to to look up products, for example, Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) platforms. Google is no longer the only place to be when it comes to swaying consumers your way. People tend to look for products directly where they can buy them, finance them, or save some money on them - so marketplaces, BNPLs, or even coupon sites. With the abundance of platforms, brand experiences are much more disconnected and fragmented than they used to be. It’s posing a challenge for marketers to stay on top of their funnels and sustain a cost-effective advertising strategy. Commerce media is here to address that problem. It’s all advertising that’s strategically placed to drive new sales to brands while making it clear where in the funnel a given consumer is – from the exploration stage (search advertising), through evaluation (ads on price or product comparison sites), to purchase (retail media, ads on coupon sites or BNPLs). Commerce media enables marketers to stay relevant and catch up with consumer trends while ensuring their advertising spend remains effective, as the ads are shown where the real purchasing decisions happen.

How does Zeropark serve as an all-in-one commerce media platform for global brands, seamlessly integrating performance marketing and advertising technology?

Zeropark is a commerce media network that enables brands to drive incremental sales. We work with publishers that bring us high-intent consumers and are incremental to most brands’ traditional marketing playbook (think Google or Meta). We have direct deals with companies like Klarna or Don’tPayFull to cover the bottom of the funnel and ensure that brands working with us see conversion rates that often go beyond 3-4x of what they get with their “traditional” advertising channels. We also cooperate with publishers like Microsoft, Yahoo!, or Opera to offer their most converting ad placements to our clients.

Additionally, another product of Commerce Media Tech, Voluum, brings our clients a state-of-the-art ad tracking solution to further ensure their large ad investments are well-optimized and as cost-effective as they get.

How do you tailor marketing strategies for distinct brands such as Zeropark, NewProgrammatic, Voluum, and Adrenalads within the Commerce Media Tech portfolio?

We’ve recently decided to rebrand from Codewise to Commerce Media Tech (we’re also using this name for the entire performance division of the Team Internet Group), and there’s a reason for it. We want to unify all our brands’ strategies to double down on the commerce media market. Zeropark and NewProgrammatic (our media buying agency) were the first to get their feet wet in that market, and now we want other brands to follow. There’s still a lot to learn, pretty much for every player, as the market is still quite new.

Our marketing strategy is designed to get our business development representatives right in front of retail brands and agencies, as well as affiliate networks. Be it trade shows, inbound content marketing actions, or lead generation through partners – our goal is to sign high-value IOs with the world’s biggest brands, and this requires our day-to-day marketing to focus on sales enablement rather than driving sales on its own.

How uniquely have you spearheaded the marketing initiatives at Zeropark, contributing to its consistent acknowledgment in the FT1000 Europe’s Fastest Growing Companies?

Above all, these accolades are a result of the incredible drive and agility of all teams and Commerce Media Tech. We’re quick on our feet when it comes to making adjustments to the strategy when we see a need, and thanks to the in-house development teams, we can bring products to the market fast. Marketing’s role in that is to observe the market trends and apply strategy changes as we go. We’re testing a lot; for example, we’ve adjusted our sales pitch multiple times this year. If we fail, we fail fast, learn our lessons, and improve.

How do you plan to further solidify Zeropark’s market position in the rapidly expanding performance marketing industry in the next five years?

2023 was the first year for Zeropark, where we fully focused on commerce media. We’ve already made some adjustments in our sales strategy for 2024 based on the intel we’ve collected over this year. We’ll double down on our partnership marketing tactics to get more advertisers on board and prove our incremental value to them. We’ll continue improving the experience our publishers get, with the goal of providing the most seamless integration on the market. We’ll also start building brand awareness of Commerce Media Tech itself on the road to securing the reputation of one of the market’s key players.

Given the versatility of your roles and responsibilities, how do you consistently ensure peak performance and deliver your best across various aspects of your work?

I think there are two main aspects to be considered here:

First, delegation. It still can get overwhelming at times, but the more you develop your team leaders, the more confidently you can delegate things to them. I spent a couple of years working very closely with my direct reports to ensure some things don’t need to go through me anymore, giving me time to deliver my best where I’m needed most.

Second, constantly looking for new challenges and getting outside of my comfort zone. Early in the year, I took the opportunity to take over the Business Development and Key Account teams. Since then, I’ve been learning something new about our business almost every day, giving me new ideas to get excited about and work on.

MarTech Edge Interview with Justin Hansen, Co-Founder & COO, Media Tradecraft

MarTech Edge Interview with Justin Hansen, Co-Founder & COO, Media Tradecraft

advertising 20 Dec 2023

Welcome, Justin! Could you provide an overview of your journey leading to the founding of Media Tradecraft? What challenges did you encounter in the process of establishing a next-generation media services firm?

It all began when I applied for a part-time job at Intermarkets while studying for my graduate degree in the Washington area. After graduating, I was fortunate to secure a full-time position as a yield analyst. My journey continued as I transitioned my data skills into ad operations, eventually leading to my role as the director of ad operations at Intermarkets.

During this time, Erik Requidan and I noticed a significant shift in how ad management firms were interacting with publishers. We saw an opportunity to create a better solution for both larger media companies and independent publishers, so we decided to take the leap and start Media Tradecraft in 2019.

What sets Media Tradecraft apart is its unique ability to construct fully customized revenue solutions for publishers through personalized, one-on-one service — something no one else in the industry provides. These bespoke strategies and one-to-one collaborations with publisher partners drive better results and, ultimately, more revenue for them. This approach requires more attention and work, but it allows Media Tradecraft to work with some of the world’s most well-recognized media companies.

Of course, starting our own company came with its fair share of challenges. Managing explosive growth has been one of the biggest hurdles. We have to stay true to our vision and principles, which sometimes means saying ‘no’ more often than ‘yes’ to potential partnerships with publishers. We also need to constantly hire to ensure we maintain a high level of customer service.

Looking back, I see that the journey has been an incredible one, filled with both triumphs and challenges. It’s been an exciting and rewarding experience, and I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve created and the recognition we’ve received from the industry.

Media Tradecraft specializes in bespoke digital advertising and monetization services for media companies. How does the company approach crafting custom ad strategies to meet the diverse needs of its customers?

Our approach begins with taking the time to understand the unique business goals, challenges, and audience of our clients, the publishers. This is a critical step because it allows us to build ad strategies aligned with their specific needs.

We firmly believe that each website should be distinct, and therefore, a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t suitable. Our team works diligently to ensure that the strategies we create are tailored to the individual publisher, optimizing all incremental revenue opportunities and maximizing the website’s true potential.

To stay ahead in this dynamic industry, we strongly emphasize being ahead of the latest developments and innovations. This ensures that our strategies are not only custom but also at the cutting edge of the industry, empowering our clients to remain competitive and relevant in the ever-changing digital ecosystem.

Can you elaborate on your approach to operational planning and execution as the COO of Media Tradecraft? How do you ensure your initiatives align with the overall business objectives?

First and foremost, maintaining close relationships with our publishers is paramount. We make it a priority to thoroughly understand their unique goals and requirements, which allows us to tailor our work accordingly to help meet these goals. Regular communication is a cornerstone of this relationship, and we conduct biweekly calls and meetings with our publishers to keep the lines of communication open.

Additionally, as COO of Media Tradecraft, I believe that clear and consistent communication within our internal teams is crucial. To ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards our common goals, we over-communicate with our development and operations teams. This means sharing not only the “what” but also the “why” behind our initiatives. It ensures that all team members are aligned and understand the bigger picture of what we want to deliver for our publishers.

You’ve mentioned yourself as being “obsessed with ensuring publisher success.” Could you share an example of a challenging situation you encountered while working on behalf of a publisher and how you navigated it to succeed?

In the realm of adtech, challenges are a daily occurrence because the industry evolves at such a rapid pace, with constant changes and disruptions. One particularly challenging situation that stands out was the early days of our own company, Media Tradecraft. It was an exciting time, but just a few months after our launch, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, which profoundly impacted the entire media industry, resulting in massive declines.

In the end, through our hard work and custom strategies, many of our publishers experienced record revenue years despite the market’s severe downturn and overall industry depression. We were able to create new, unique approaches that maximized the value of every user and improved revenue even when CPMs were considerably deflated.

That experience reinforced our commitment to developing strategies that can weather the storms of the ever-evolving adtech landscape, and it remains a testament to our dedication to helping our publishers thrive.

How do you and your team stay agile in adapting strategies to overcome new obstacles and capitalize on emerging opportunities?

Staying agile and adaptable in our approach to overcoming new obstacles and seizing emerging opportunities is vital to what we do at Media Tradecraft. Our ability to do this is based on several factors: our diverse portfolio of publishers, extensive industry network, and a culture of testing.

We work with a vast array of publishers across different verticals, content types, backgrounds, and business goals. This diversity helps us adapt to various challenges. By drawing from our experiences with a wide range of publishers, we’re able to create truly customized and unique strategies. This also means that the strategies we develop are versatile and can be tailored to suit the specific needs of each publisher.

Maintaining strong relationships with various stakeholders in the digital advertising ecosystem, such as DSPs, SSPs, publishers, and more, is another key element of our agility. These connections enable us to stay at the forefront of emerging changes within the industry. By leveraging our network, we quickly adapt our strategies to align with the latest industry trends and opportunities.

At Media Tradecraft, we have a strong focus on testing. This means we are not afraid to experiment with new partnerships, ideas, and strategies. By testing and evaluating these new approaches, we can quickly identify what works and what doesn’t. This culture of experimentation and data-driven decision-making allows us to be responsive to changing conditions and refine our strategies based on real-world results.

Media Tradecraft has empowered publishers to garner over $245 million in revenue. Can you provide insights into how the company’s services contribute to such substantial revenue growth for your clients’ sites?

Our approach to achieving this impressive revenue growth is rooted in a deep understanding of each individual publisher’s or media group’s goals, needs, and specific requests. We firmly believe there is no cookie-cutter solution when it comes to this work, and tailoring our strategies to the unique circumstances of each publisher is crucial.

We don’t stop at bespoke solutions. We develop creative ideas, business practices, and data infrastructures that are designed to propel our clients’ revenue to new heights. These innovative solutions help our publishers stand out in a competitive digital landscape.

Media Tradecraft has been recognized as a Programmatic Power Player and has won several awards for its ad operations and consulting. How do these accolades reflect your dedication and expertise?

These accolades reflect everyone on our team’s collective hard work and commitment. What makes these awards particularly meaningful is the fact that professionals within our industry are the ones judging, voting, and deciding on the winners. This recognition from our peers and experts in the industry underscores the high regard and respect we’ve earned through our hard work.

While these awards are certainly a source of pride for us, the most meaningful feedback comes from our publisher partners. Their continued trust in our expertise is the ultimate award.

MarTech Edge Interview with Adam Malone, President & Co-Founder, Screenverse

MarTech Edge Interview with Adam Malone, President & Co-Founder, Screenverse

advertising 5 Dec 2023

Welcome, Adam! What was the initial inspiration that led to the creation of Screenverse?

My co-founder, David Weinfeld, came to me with a very compelling idea for a business. He was then working at Vistar Media - a leading programmatic exchange for digital OOH media - and was responsible for the supply-side of the business. He was working with dozens of digital OOH media owners, many of whom were doing well in the exchange, but they were not actively marketing, selling, and optimizing their inventory to drive revenues within the Vistar marketplace.

David asked the pivotal question that would become our mission statement: “What if every Digital OOH network had a dedicated team who would actively manage, market, sell, and optimize for programmatic sales? How much better would they do?”

The success of Screenverse is inextricably linked to the growth and success of our media owner partners, and we are working every day to answer our founding question!

What main challenges and opportunities do you face in the DOOH advertising market?

As core digital media faces challenges from changing consumer appetites around privacy, app-tracking, and sentiment around the tradeoffs in social media, the market is opening to us. DOOH networks offer contextual and relevant access to both mass and targeted audiences. Our mission is to enhance planning and measurement, positioning our media partners as the go-to alternative for digital advertisers aiming to engage audiences in the physical world.

As the President of Screenverse, which business factions do you oversee, and how do you facilitate unity among various stakeholders?

Lead our finance, marketing, and supply-side partnerships. Alignment is paramount. The cornerstone of our cohesion lies in our core values:

  • Our customer’s success is our own.
  • Promise only what we can deliver.
  • The right thing is the right thing.
  • Build for the long term.

Viewing opportunities and decisions through the prism of these values makes even the toughest decisions a lot easier.

I’m also very focused on developing a strong company culture. As a close-knit team of 21, accessibility is a priority. Beyond our regular team meetings, I offer weekly Office Hours, where I lead discussions and answer questions about high-level business strategy, specific challenges or opportunities in the business, and we also make room to discuss human topics such as parenthood, our inspirations, our insomnias, and many other things.

How do Screenverse’s DOOH solutions help brands connect with their customers anywhere they go? What are the main features that make them stand out? 

Firstly, every partner network we collaborate with brings a distinct value for brands aiming to engage audiences at pivotal moments in relevant places. At Screenverse, we present marketers with a constellation of touchpoints across these networks. Our strength lies in crafting integrated campaigns elevating brand prominence, as well as honing in on tactics near the point of purchase.

We have worked hard over the years to curate a network of venue-types and market coverage so that advertisers can engage their audiences in many places and points of time throughout the day. Top-of-funnel, mid-, and lower-funnel opportunities exist all throughout Screenverse, and we love working with brands who see DOOH as an extension of their digital engagement strategy.

How do you leverage technology and data to optimize and measure the performance of your campaigns?

In our niche, our distinction lies in being programmatic-first. Our essence revolves around harnessing systems and data effectively.

We employ top-tier programmatic SSPs for media planning, packaging, and optimization. Complementing this, our dedicated five-member engineering team has developed inventory management, reporting, and pricing optimization tools to ensure our peak performance.

Data is pivotal for us. Our initial business investment was in licensing a dataset from, enhancing our grasp of traffic patterns and the audiences within our retail media network.

From the outset, our conviction has been that advertisers should trust the data underscoring the quality and value of our service. Upholding rigorous data standards is integral to embodying our four core values.

What are some of the best and most creative campaigns you have executed for or witnessed on Screenverse? 

There’s a particular satisfaction when advertisers instantly “get it.” Case in point: our interaction with a top pharmaceutical firm aiming to market an allergy medicine transitioning from prescription to over-the-counter (OTC). Witnessing Pursuant Health’s dual display screens – one broadcast, one touch-screen – in over 4,600 Walmart pharmacies, the client was visibly astounded.

More than mere visibility, the brand could strategically reach its audience right on the cusp of purchasing. Plus, we had the agility to release ads regionally, syncing with the progressive onset of the “allergy season” from east to west.

After implementing a four-question survey – with inputs from over 11,000 Walmart visitors – the data highlighted a striking 31.7% surge in brand awareness and an 18% spike in purchase intent among exposed groups compared to controls.

The most rewarding campaigns? Those where clients not only discover fresh strategies to connect with audiences tangibly but also invest earnestly in crafting contextually rich ads, capitalizing on proximity to purchase points or other distinctive attributes. And, of course, when the outcomes surpass all anticipations!

What type of organizational culture do you promote within Screenverse, and how does it contribute to the company’s overall success? 

At our core, we see ourselves as a startup: agile, driven, collaborative, and immensely proud of what we are building. Our primary aspiration is fostering individual growth, knowing full well that when our team thrives, so does the business. Our culture is based on mutual respect, empathy, and support for one another. Whether celebrating small milestones or major achievements, every victory counts.

Operating as a remote-first enterprise has its challenges and demands strategic planning to maintain cohesion and enthusiasm. We had a full-team retreat and strategic planning week in Montego Bay, Jamaica, this year. We celebrated our accomplishments in 2022 and set the tone for continued expansion this year. We encourage regular in-person check-ins for each department and regional outings for folks living in NYC and Chicago, where we have a nexus of employees. We do virtual holiday parties and other team-building events remotely as well. 

Last year, we actually bought the whole team Meta Quest 2 VR goggles and hosted a company party in the metaverse. Many of our teams will regularly meet in the metaverse to play minigolf, bowl, or challenge each other to a game in beat-saber!

What is the next big thing that Screenverse is developing? How will it change the game for DOOH advertising?

We’re thrilled to launch one of the US’s most expansive digital billboard networks, thanks to our alliance with the top-tier billboard software provider Apparatix. For the very first time, over 1,000 independently owned digital billboards nationwide are at advertisers’ fingertips. With an independent audit underway by PerView, we’re on the brink of revolutionizing the advertiser experience — enabling a one-click, uniform-priced access to digital billboards and their vast audiences.

What are your dreams and plans for Screenverse in the long run? How do you intend to grow and evolve your business?

We’re on a mission to become the leading programmatic DOOH sales business in the US and beyond! Our laser focus is on honing our sales machinery, encompassing the growth of our people, fortifying our systems, refining our data, and strengthening our partnerships.

We’ll know we are on the right track if each of our partners grows to become the leader in their category of media. We want our retail networks to be in the top echelon, our residential network to extend its category lead, and our urban panel networks to saturate every market they are in. We’ll know we are successful when our partners are successful.

We believe in the power and value of digital-out-of-home media. It is the only media where you can’t turn us off with an ad blocker or a subscription. It’s also the only media I’m aware of that has a high favorability rating among consumers. It’s beautiful. It’s impactful. Digital OOH is just scratching the surface of its potential, and the same goes for Screenverse!

MarTech Edge Interview with Jordi Capdevila Espitia, Global Head of Marketing, Seedtag

MarTech Edge Interview with Jordi Capdevila Espitia, Global Head of Marketing, Seedtag

advertising 31 Oct 2023

Welcome, Jordi! Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. Please share with us your career story, which led you to your current role as the Global Head of Marketing at Seedtag.

My experience comes from first solo managing marketing for small to medium-sized B2B businesses, all the way to eventually building entire teams at much larger companies. A combination of self-trial and error and learning from my teammates built up my career to the point where I am today, leading marketing at Seedtag, with 500+ employees and a global team of 30 people.

Can you provide an overview of Seedtag’s core contextual advertising solutions? How do these solutions allow brands to deliver exceptional ad experiences?

Seedtag was born 9 years ago with the vision of building a solution to reach people with a respectful and privacy-first approach. With that in mind, we trained Liz, our contextual AI technology, that leverages Deep Learning, Computer Vision, and Natural Language Processing capabilities that allow us to deliver ads on relevant websites that target suitable audiences in the open web, without the use of cookies.

We evolved from display advertising with a few formats to now more than 150 configurations, including video, in different placements along the editorial content of our premium publishers. Users are served with non-intrusive ads that correlate with their reading experience and interests.

What methods do you employ to identify and segment your target audience effectively? How does it contribute to enhanced reach & engagement?

We work closely with our Sales and Growth teams to understand who we are speaking with, day in and day out. We get to know the buyer personas and buying committees that are driving budgets toward our solution in order to educate and nurture them with the best content — getting them informed to make an informed decision when placing their digital advertising budgets and maximizing returns. I believe that this approach is the way to go when looking for long-term growth, greater engagement, and reach.

Seedtag recently launched the industry’s first generative AI capability for contextual dynamic creatives; could you share how this innovation enhances the creation and delivery of advertising content?

This is a key development for Seedtag in 2023 and the next step in our ability to modify creatives to better fit within the context of a page. We’re pioneering the use of generative AI in campaign creatives, which allows us to resonate with consumers even further and drive better results for our clients. With the ability to generate multiple versions of the same ad, brands can maximize their impact and adapt their original creatives to fit within a diverse range of contexts, delivering greater attention and brand outcomes for our customers.

How do you adapt your marketing strategies to changing consumer behaviors in the digital advertising space?

It is all about being proactive through consumer listening and trend watching to see where the industry is heading instead of continuously adapting to support the never-ending changes of our industry. We believe that collaborating with our customers and partners is the best way to set the pace of an industry and define the future of contextual advertising.

With the emphasis on cookie-free engagement, how does your contextual AI technology work to connect brands with consumer’s specific interests?

We possess the capability to construct an intricate network encompassing all the URLs that have been meticulously analyzed. This network, known as the Contextual Graph, serves as a powerful tool for matching topics and interests with the briefings of our customers. The result is a remarkable synergy, enabling us to strategically position ads in those specific topics, achieving greater affinity with the consumer’s interest.

Our innovative approach stands out as truly distinctive, transcending conventional categorization methods. We establish a direct connection by tying back every single interest to the consumer, getting informed in real-time with the right ad. This dynamic real-time connection ensures that our customers’ campaigns are equipped with the optimal advertisement, offering a highly personalized and effective marketing strategy.

How do you maintain a balance between delivering relevant advertising and respecting consumer’s privacy and preferences?

We prioritize user privacy by not storing personal data, a decision made from our core values of respecting the user. Our focus is solely on understanding the context of the content and respecting the anonymity of every user behind the screen. This allows us to deliver relevant ads that are seamlessly integrated within the right context, ensuring consumers have an even stronger engagement with brands. Therefore, we are all in within a privacy-first world.

How do you envision the future of contextual advertising, and what role does Seedtag aim to play in shaping this landscape?

Contextual is reaching beyond the open web to diverse channels where people seek information and entertainment. Each of these channels has a context that advertisers can tap into, all while maintaining a commitment to respectful engagement with consumers. We believe in harnessing the power of context to deliver value and relevance in every interaction, so I see Seedtag defining the future of contextual advertising and setting the standards for it.

MarTech Edge Interview with Michael Grossi, Chief Executive Officer, Operative

MarTech Edge Interview with Michael Grossi, Chief Executive Officer, Operative

advertising 10 Oct 2023

Hey, Michael! It’s impressive that you’ve spent three decades in the telecom, media, and tech (TMT) sectors. Could you share your experiences and accomplishments from your time in this field?

My early career was in TMT strategy consulting, focusing heavily on telecom, specifically mobile, a booming technology on the heels of the dot com build-up. I helped leading companies like AT&T, Sprint, and Disney develop transformational growth strategies. Upon making Partner at Adventis, I joined Helio to help launch and commercialize many industry-first mobile products, including Google Maps, BuddyBeacon, YouTube, and MySpace Mobile. This was an exciting time as mobile and digital were converging, and new business models were being established.

The space grew very quickly, and I saw first-hand how to lead through high growth in complex situations. I led various functions like Sales, Marketing, IR, Strategy, Business Development, and Product. Since then, I have served as a CEO and Board Member for a number of technology companies. Many of the companies I have led were eventually acquired, which has given me great experience in reading the market and understanding how to differentiate in a competitive field. My experience has also shown that the most successful companies are ones that are laser-focused on providing highly innovative solutions that provide a differentiated customer experience.

You started your career as a Captain in the US Air Force. That’s amazing! How did your military experience shape your leadership and strategy skills in the civilian sector?

The military has many similarities to the business world but with more structure and, of course, a more urgent need to successfully accomplish the mission. Every detail matters, and doing your very best isn’t just about you but about your team and your larger mission.

My experience gave me a deep appreciation for teamwork and capable leadership. I also have seen the value of strong execution, helping teams accomplish goals faster and more successfully. I also deeply understand the need to have a strong financial foundation with a focus on profitability. In technology sectors, you need to take calculated risks, where you may succeed or fail. The key is to fail fast, learn from it, and improve next time.

How does Operative help media companies and publishers boost revenue by moving away from the old ratings-based approach to a results-driven, outcome-based strategy?

For years, media companies have been dealing with a combination of disconnected approaches. Many advertisers still use TV ratings to buy linear ad inventory. At the same time, digital, CTV, and FAST channels have introduced more outcome-based measurement opportunities. This divergence led Operative to introduce an order management system that unifies sales, inventory, and operations into a single platform. This dramatically streamlines complexity for media companies and allows them to get a holistic view of their work with a specific advertiser or agency across all media channels.

Now, brands are looking to go a step further. They want to buy using new outcome currencies across a publisher’s product catalog. And they need always-on access to the metrics, with normalized data, to more easily track attribution and outcomes. Having a unified platform makes this possible.

Operative is also built to work with media companies no matter what stage they are in. AOS is the first cloud-based revenue management system that works with a media company’s current technology, so companies don’t have to rip out old technology if they aren’t ready. They can choose to take a phased, modular approach, tackling their specific problem areas sequentially.

Can you share some insights into how you’ve tweaked the company’s business strategies and what tangible results these changes have brought about?

Operative has a number of solutions for media companies around the world. We provide software for linear, digital, and multi-channel media companies — large and small — and have over $60B of advertising flowing through our systems. However, I’ve focused the company on the future and our key growth opportunities, which are digital and streaming services. Operative AOS is cloud native and built to be open, providing the flexibility and scale that media companies need to process the enormous amount of data that digital channels throw off. At the same time, we have many industry-leading digital products like OperativeOne that power the order management systems for the largest streaming service providers like Hulu, Disney+, and Warner Brothers Discovery. We have products like STAQ that provide critical benchmarking data on ad buying trends. These products will continue to be an important part of our strategy.

Looking ahead, we are curious about your take on the upcoming trends and opportunities in media operations. How does Operative plan to seize these opportunities and stay ahead of the curve?

I am excited to share that we’ve recently announced a partnership with DanAds, creating the first cloud-based self-service workflow for publishers. Together with DanAds, we empower publishers to give their buyers direct access to their inventory directly in their order management system.

I believe this is a major part of the future, as more media buyers are asking for control and transparency over their media buying. The beauty of our offering is that publishers can give brands what they want while still maximizing their own yield.

Could you outline your future objectives and strategies for Operative?

Operative sits at the center of a media company’s revenue operation, and with that, we play a vital role in their growth and success. Our objective is to continue to deliver solutions that make it easier and more profitable for media companies to sell advertising. We’re expanding our cloud-based offering — for example, AOS now works for FAST. And we’re partnering with more companies across the industry to ensure that integrations are never a barrier to entry for our clients.

You’ve had your fair share of experience as a C-Suite executive across various brands. From your perspective, what do you believe are the key qualities that make someone a successful business leader?

Every leader has their own approach, and many styles have been proven successful. However, in my experience, there are some common factors. First, a successful leader assembles a great team. I know that the people on my team are experts in their field and have proven success that directly translates to the work we are doing at Operative. 

I like to focus on a few critical goals rather than running around fighting fires. Prioritization and focus help speed up growth and help with problem-solving and innovation. I also practice clear communication. Having a strong vision and communicating that vision helps keep everyone working toward a common goal.


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