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What is State of Mind Targeting? Interview with Ted Dhanik



Ted Dhanik, CEO of engage:BDR, has worked in a range of Silicon Valley companies from Xoriant and NexTag  to LowerMyBills and MySpace. At MySpace he was involved with the social network's launch strategy and key marketing initiatives to build the brand, tastemaker-base and user-base through online and offline initiatives

His current company, founded in 2009, is in the programmatic space in display and video ad ecosystems. Ted explains, “We pioneered OutStream ad formats enabling publishers to monetize their non-Video content through the units. We auction an average of 5 BN daily Video opportunities across our RTB ecosystem, First-Impression Marketplace, and are currently inviting advertiser-direct demand partners (DSPs) to join via openRTB integrations.”

Charlene Weisler: What exactly is Outstream - how does it work.

Ted Dhanik: OutStream is the name for a video ad placement that is not followed or preceded by video content, often utilized by publishers who don't produce video content but want to provide video ad inventory. This can come in many forms- a player sliding in from a corner, floating at the bottom of the screen, or even showing up in the text of an article. These placements are designed to deploy only when in-view, so they help solve for two major industry problems by adding highly-viewable scale to a limited space.

Charlene: Is there a future for 30 second spots?

Ted: There is, but execution is key here- 30 second creatives are not ideal for a lot of digital inventory, but they can play a role in creating rich storytelling across devices. You don't want to run a 30 second creative in the middle of a newsfeed; 7 second spots are ideal here. That said, if you are showing a consumer a 7 second spot while they're browsing on mobile, and that user is very relevant to your campaign, they may be open to watching a 30 second spot when they get home, on a desktop computer. You might use this as an opportunity to share more information, tell a story, and create value for your highly targeted users, which can be effective in driving engagement.

Charlene: Is there a future for traditional television?

Ted: We do see smart TV as a huge area of growth that will take up some of the audience of traditional TV. Traditional TV isn't dying, but television networks and advertisers alike are going to have to learn how to take a holistic approach. Content creators will have to be savvy about a multi-screen approach- how do we keep users engaged on their device of choice, whether it be smart TV, on a computer, on a traditional TV- and advertisers will have to match that approach to reach a full audience, as well as learn the nuances of each device's audience.

Charlene: What data do you currently collect, use and find most important?

Ted Dhanik: We are not in the data management business but we do help our advertisers find the users they're looking for throughout the web. Our advertisers and demand partners tag users with our pixels to enable visibility of the users which they're looking to target. This allows us to present the appropriate users to the correct buyers at the time we see them, in real-time. Additionally, buyers may be leveraging a popular third-party data solution, like Bluekai/Oracle or Neustar; we are agnostic to data solutions, so we will work with any data providers our advertisers ask us to integrate with.

Charlene: Who is in your competitive set?

Ted: We find ourselves in a fairly unique space within the industry, since we offer solutions directly to advertisers, publishers, and platforms. Many companies we work with compete with us in one of those categories, but we are able to add value in another arena.

Charlene: Describe the different types of targeting you do.

Ted: We have quite the toolbox available to us. We offer contextual targeting (by keyword), content targeting, day and time parting, behavioral targeting, retargeting, geo-targeting down to precise points of latitude and longitude, offline targeting through a data-agnostic policy, and State-of-Mind targeting.

Charlene: What is state-of-mind targeting and how does that work?

Ted: State-of-Mind Targeting allows us to access the right person, at the right place, during the right time. Essentially, we overlay rich behavioral segments with precise geo-targeting of locations during very specific periods of time- so, for example, we might serve an Oscar Meyer ad to non-vegetarians only, who are attending a specific Dodger Game. 

Charlene: Is the ad ecosystem different from when you started in 2009? If so how?

Ted: Absolutely- this industry changes so rapidly. The introduction and adoption of programmatic has been the biggest change, and fostered the most other changes. It has really changed the way everyone does business- starting with what advertisers can expect in terms of measurement and execution, and trickling all the way to how publishers can grow their overall yield. Also, consumer behavior really changes the ecosystem. Consumers shifted to watching more video content online, and from that, a major shift happened across the ad industry. In 2009, display was a huge focus, but today, video is just as big, if not bigger. Lastly, today's ecosystem has the tools and interest to have extremely low tolerance for low quality from any point in the chain. That is a huge, driving force at present that was extremely nascent in 2009.

Charlene: Looking ahead the next 3-5 years, give me some predictions about how the media landscape will look.

Ted: I certainly predict cleanup in the space. There will be fewer players, as anyone who survives needs to add value, and there are so many players currently in the space solely focused on reselling inventory- which hurts publishers, advertisers, and users alike. 

Looking from a more consumer-focused perspective, I see personalization as a key area of growth- it's in incredible demand by advertisers. I think this will grow in sync with the ability to access users at many more points during their day-to-day. With the rise of IoT The Internet of Things), we will see some really holistic, creative executions utilizing growth in many areas- data, dynamic creative, new smart devices and more.


This article first appeared in www.Mediapost.com

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