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Rubicon Project's Mari Kim Novak on Unifying Advertising Across All Platforms

Mari Kim Novak, Global CMO Rubicon Project, is in the center of the programmatic storm, overseeing a team that is charged with driving the adoption of a unified platform for advertising across all screens, devices and formats. "As CMO it's my job to make sure that buyers and sellers alike realize the power of our automated platform to execute against all levels of the marketing funnel," she says. 

Mari Kim has a deep and strong experience in the technical aspects of advertising sales with stints at Microsoft as their Global Head of Marketing, "I handled Microsoft's global marketing budget, industry outreach and sales enablement programs supporting brands including MSN, Xbox, Skype and Bing," she adds.

With programmatic being at once ubiquitous and still a bit mysterious, I asked her the following questions:

Charlene Weisler: What is your definition of programmatic? If there are more than one kind of programmatic can you tell me what they are?

Mari Kim Novak: Programmatic means the automation of ad buying and selling, based on data. Since its introduction, programmatic technology has radicalized the advertising industry. There are different kinds of programmatic advertising, yes. The first of these include Private Marketplace (PMP), which we'll get into later. Real Time Bidding (RTB), which is the real time buying and selling of ad impressions. Finally, Automated Guaranteed, which is the direct sale of reserved ad inventory. Ad buyers can use programmatic buying to fan ads across the web and then, mid-campaign, evaluate what's working best -- which geographies, times of day, audience segments, publishers -- to narrow their target accordingly, so they're paying only for highly effective ads. This is a radical change.

Charlene: What area of programmatic does Rubicon Project concentrate in?

Mari Kim: Rubicon Project offers a complete solution that allows buyers and sellers of advertising to achieve more effective results in an automated environment across all major inventory types, ad units and channels. Our technology enables the world's most respected publishers and application developers to monetize their business while also empowering buyers to target the exact audiences they seek as we reach approximately one billion consumers globally.  We look to continue our strong marketplace success, expand our global cross-company focus with our clients and ensure that we continue to invest in the right areas -- like mobile, where we are already one of the top three mobile exchanges in the world, and video. There are also tremendous programmatic opportunities in television and out-of-home, and we're already seizing on the early developments in those emerging market areas.

Charlene: What are the advantages of private marketplaces?

Mari Kim: For background, private marketplaces are invite-only Real Time Bidding Auctions. Meaning one publisher, or sometimes a select number of publishers, can invite a specific number of buyers to bid on that publisher's ad space or inventory. There are so many advantages for both buyers and sellers (brands and publishers) to leveraging a private marketplace. First and foremost, private marketplaces reduce many of the operational overheads that plague so much of this industry; essentially what makes display significantly less efficient than other media, including other digital channels. Private marketplaces make it more efficient for buyers but also allow sellers to fully leverage indirect sales channels. Because it's an exclusive auction, ultimately private marketplaces are making more premium placements.

Charlene: You recently quoted a Contexxt research study regarding the effectiveness of programmatic advertising. Can you tell me more about that?

Mari Kim:  Yes. Contexxt is a data firm that recently released a study that concluded that buying ads programmatically can increase return on investment by 20 percent and raise bottom line sales by 5 percent.  But you also need smart a thoughtful strategy with smart allocation across desktop, mobile and video. Brands that are thoughtful about their channel-specific investment are the ones that will maximize returns from their overall programmatic strategy. We at Rubicon Project believe that 1) the average brand should double its programmatic allocation, 2) advertisers should use private marketplaces to leverage first party data and 3) brands should be allocating for the future, especially in mobile and video.

This article first appeared in www.MediaBizBloggers.com

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