Interview with Matthew Olivieri, CEO at AdSemble

Matthew Olivieri

Matthew Olivieri

CEO at AdSemble, Inc.

Programmatic is a big technology trend at the moment, but many hurdles remain before you will truly see a solution that scales the way programmatic works for online advertising

On Digital Marketing Technology

MTS: Tell us a little bit about your role at AdSemble and how you got here
(what inspired you to found a digital OOH ad company).

I am the Founder & CEO. What inspired me to create AdSemble was the unique set of complexities, inefficiencies, and gross-fragmentation that was the digital OOH industry. To this day, 10 years after creating the company, I am still excited to jump out of bed everyday and continue to work towards solving this puzzle and make the space accessible to every small business in the world.

MTS: What are the technology trends, challenges, and developments that are going to impact OOH digital ads?

Programmatic is a big technology trend at the moment, but many hurdles remain before you will truly see a solution that scales the way programmatic works for online advertising. One of biggest of these challenges is that companies that operate these digital billboards had to go through a lot of city planning and permitting to have the privilege to operate a sign and given the signs’ massive appeal, and the legal risks these operators face should something deemed inappropriate make its way onto the sign. The owners demand the ability to oversee every transaction and advertiser. This is vastly different than online programmatic whereby ads can just be dynamically and automatically served w/o the website or blog owner’s permission per se.  At some point in the near future, a solution will emerge that provides that level of trust and peace of mind to the billboard operator and only then will you start to see the makings of programmatic start to lift off.

MTS: What do you see as the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?

Renewable sources of energy, such as digital billboards that can be powered by solar panels.

MTS: How does AdSemble enable customers to measure ROI for OOH ads?

We have forged the industry’s first-ever and now patent pending Digital Billboard Performance Report analytics that takes into account how many impressions each billboard is yielding alongside with factoring in for overages in “flips” or “plays,” based on whether or not a loop was sold out the week your ad was displayed across every location, regardless of billboard operator.

MTS: What startups are you watching/keen on right now?

Since AdSemble is a marketplace for the digital OOH industry, I’m highly interested in studying the traction of other marketplaces for other industries. I am also trying to get more into understanding crypto currencies.  Finally, anything that has to do with helping our environment interests me. 

MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?

We do a lot of self-promotion on the very digital billboards we sell (Would be foolish not to, right?)  In addition, we use Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads and LinkedIn Ads to advertise our platform. We also have an incredible PR Team that is successfully getting the company and myself more visibility in the media.

 MTS: Could you tell us about a standout digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success)

A big campaign we recently executed was for the San Jose Earthquakes Major League Soccer team. They launched a multi-month campaign through our marketplace across many different locations to promote individual games throughout their season.  They reported back to us seeing specific ticket sales lift for those games as a result of the widespread brand advertising on the digital billboards.

MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?

You must be able to spot all trends (In this case AI) and figure out how you can roll along with the change vs. trying to swim upstream.  For us, AI will provide increased customer response times, app bugs and the ability to better forecast various mechanisms critical to our business (both internal such as prioritization in hiring needs and external such as prioritizing what markets to penetrate). I am very much looking forward to having AdSemble be positioned to capitalize on positive changes AI will bring to the landscape.

This Is How I Work

MTS: One word that best describes how you work.


MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Slack, Trello, iPad, iPhone, Gmail, CRM

MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?

 Avoid physical meetings. Try to keep everything to email or Text.

MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)

 The Art of War (I know it’s cliché, but I have always heard that great business leaders read this book and I previously had yet to pick it up) – Generally speaking, I listen to everything on Audio (Audiobooks, etc.)

 MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

 Always go with your gut feeling

MTS: Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?

Research and prepare

MTS: Tag the one person whose answers to these questions you would love to read:

Elon Musk

MTS: Thank you Matthew! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.

Matthew Olivieri is founder and chief executive officer of AdSemble, the leading online marketplace where advertisers can name their own price for digital out of home campaigns.

Matthew first conceived of the idea for AdSemble while traveling abroad in 2006. At that juncture, many countries in Europe and Asia had embraced digital billboard advertising and had populated major traffic corridors with digital signage. Sensing a potential opening for innovation, Matthew returned stateside and immersed himself into the nascent digital OOH space. He soon discovered that most OOH media companies and advertisers worked directly with each other or through advertising agencies to sell, purchase and place digital OOH campaigns. Regardless of who bought and sold media to whom, the process was largely manual, relying on email, phone and even paper-based forms of communication and campaign management.

Within a few years, Matthew transformed his initial curiosity into AdSemble, the first online marketplace to bring together advertisers and digital out of home media companies. Launching first in San Francisco, AdSemble today connects advertisers and media providers in the New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago metropolitan areas.


Marketplace where you can bid for advertising on digital billboards.

We combine cutting-edge technology with exceptional customer service and expert advice to seamlessly connect advertisers across the globe with instant access to advertising space on digital outdoor displays.


About the MarTech Interview Series

The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.
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