On Marketing Technology
MTS: Tell us a bit about your role at Trust Metrics and how you got here.
I have been outspoken for many years about advertising fraud and the polluted advertising supply chain and how little was being done about it. I joined Trust Metrics to make a difference to help clean out the ecosystem by not letting the bad guys in, to begin with.
MTS: What are the technology trends, challenges, and developments that are going to impact brand safety for digital ads?
Every week we are hearing about a new one. The noise where it is the loudest is when Facebook or Google is involved but often these are not new challenges. With anything user generated, everyone should have their guard up. You can’t just take users or publishers at their word when they label their content as “premium” or “brand safe”. The more recent a-ha moment for the industry is fake news. Fake news is a by-product of Fake Publishing. These are the sites that continue to slip through the cracks because they are visited by humans, are viewable and for the most part considered safe. We have to stop thinking about “safe” as the barrier, we need to start buying based on quality and it will immediately help clean up the supply.
MTS: What do you see as the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?
Brands losing confidence in digital, more specifically programmatic. We need to reverse this trend or next year the Martech slide will see its first decline since inception.
MTS: Trust Metrics uses both machine and human analysis, how well does this scale?
We will certainly see. In brand safety, the missing part of the equation for most vendors is humans. You need another set of eyes when the machines notice activity. We are the only vendor to have addressed fake news prior to the election. It is because when a human would review the sites, they would notice an outrageous headline and follow up trying to confirm it is factual.
MTS: What startups are you watching/keen on right now?
I have been involved with a company called CUPS. They are tying the little coffee shops together to compete with the big ones. Anything like UBER or CUPS that allows the technology to enable the transaction to become more efficient will win.
MTS: Where do you fit in a marketers’ marketing stack?
We are considered the first layer of programmatic. We are a planning tool that helps curate the domains and apps that meet each brand’s specific criteria to make the rest of the stack work. I happen to think a lot of the providers on the martech side provide some amazing capabilities but if you get the inventory part wrong, it is all for naught. Think of us as using technology to reintroduce the idea of media planning back into the planning process.
MTS: Could you tell us about a standout digital campaign that you had?
I can name two but not share client names.
Agency wanted pharma advertiser to try programmatic. Pharma was nervous and was reluctant to try. Agency introduced us to the brand and with us as the planning layer they became comfortable, they are now spending in this channel with significant dollars.
The other was, its ok we don’t need you, we have a white list. We offered a free audit and showed them of the 4000 sites they had, we removed over 600 for a variety of reasons. We then added over 7000 sites to the list that met their criteria. They are now running more programmatic than ever.
MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?
We were born ready. From the beginning of time, our humans have fed the machine. AI in Brand Safety has become very important. Take for example some terms that are commonly found in fake news. We noticed that “crisis actors” was more commonly associated with fake news and conspiracy sites. A Human realized it and fed the machine this term that wasn’t’ considered important. Now the machine presents sites that have a high density of a variety of terms that have been identified by the humans.
This Is How I Work
MTS: One word that best describes how you work.
MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Spotify! I enjoy LinkedIn, it has become my industry news feed. (and sometimes good for math problems…)
MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
Inbox management. Use folders and stars.
MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
I just finished Magic Box Paradigm: A Framework for Startup Acquisitions by Ezra Roizen. I honestly don’t read as much anymore as I used too. I prefer the book rather than a reader when I do get the time.
MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
If you want something, you have to ask.
MTS: Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
Networking. Today’s junior person could be my boss tomorrow and anyone can be a future client is the way I approach, events, meetings, LinkedIn and life.
MTS: Tag the one person whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Bob Liodice of the ANA
MTS: Thank you Marc! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Marc is Senior Executive able to build and grow companies. Proactive and Relentless with expertise in building highly effective and efficient teams, products, and results.
Trust Metrics is a neutral information services company that serves as the digital measurement standard for publisher transparency, effectiveness, and quality.
There are more than 1 million web sites and 300+ ad networks and exchanges that together carry and sell billions of display advertisements every day. The combination of this extraordinary volume, complex and rapidly evolving technologies used to purchase and sell, and a very large number of publishers has created a marketplace that is filled with opportunity, but also one that has grown beyond human scale.
This scale and complexity has fundamentally eliminated much of an advertiser’s control over where ads are placed. Trust Metrics is a technology company that gives advertisers the ability to vet inventory quickly, accurately and before it’s bought.
Built specifically for the benefit of advertisers, Trust Metrics provides standardized or customized ratings and reviews of any site or page. These ratings are designed for easy application in any ad ops process; direct, through a network, or in RTB.
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.