MarTech Interview with Sagi Gordon, CEO and Co-founder, SelectMedia

Regulatory and customer evolutions are impacting how the adtech market is shaping up; Sagi Gordon, CEO and Co-founder, SelectMedia shares a few thoughts in this chat with MarTech Series:

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Welcome to this MarTech Series chat Sagi. We’d love to hear more about your journey through the years, tell us more about SelectMedia and what inspired this platform?

I am an online video veteran, being a pioneer in this space since early 2007….I started my journey in Asia back in 2008, where I realized the echo system is empty from technology. The big US companies at the time focused on the North American territory to expand locally, and other regions were less in their focus. Still, I always thought Asia was an untouchable and incredible domain and started my voyage actually in India. The Indian government at the time invested tons of money in connecting the cities with fast internet, and I could see the rise of digital video consumption over there, following other countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, and China which their governments did the same as India. 

When my partner Udi Broyer and I started Selectmedia in Singapore, the inspiration was straightforward. We wanted to provide a top-notch technological solution to the Asian premium and large publishers focusing on SEA, HK+TW, and India. Our motivation was to help them manage their video assets and give them a reliable monetization solution to uplift their revenues and be more efficient in ad operation. I recall it was like climbing high mountains struggling with different cultures, language barriers, and business ways back then. Such a ride! We had to educate the publishers about programmatic and yield optimization and that Google is a great product, but there are other great and reliable inventions like ours being very persistent in reaching our goal. Lastly, since our inception, we have also set a target to protect both the brands and the publishers from malicious, fraudulent, or invalid traffic. This mission has since become an inseparable part of our services, which gain tremendous value by avoiding damages wrought by ad fraud. Last year SelectMedia was given the most substantial official TAG certification for brand safety and fraud, which is a huge step toward promoting our values in the industry. 

How have you been seeing global trends and innovations in adtech change the game for digital advertisers?

I think the most significant change that we’ve witnessed in the past couple of years is related to the online video dominion, especially CTV & OTT (and also mobile In-app) platforms which are on the rise in terms of viewers. A Lot of the growth in video ads is related to COVID-19 pandemic, which changed people’s way of life and led to more screen time and consumption of video content using the rise of digital TV’s. This has affected digital advertisers worldwide, and it is interesting to see it also in Asia, and we see marketers investing more in online digital video than ever before. Advertisers now have a new ray of possibilities when reaching the right audience and targeting specific content relevant to the user. Video advertising also changes the resulting focus from conversions to viewability and brand awareness. 

Can you share a few top trends that you see dominating the digital advertising and adtech space in 2022 and beyond?

I see a clear trend moving into the digital connected TV and mobile In-Apps that started in early 2020, firstly in Asia, and then I could see that move to Europe and then to the US. It impacts the industry, which is the strength of using the Video ads, but very interesting is seeing the rise of the ‘Outstream’ video format, which I believe will continue gaining momentum in the advertising ecosystem. Marketers are realizing more and more that video ads are more engaging, creative and can present compelling storytelling that captivates the audience. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic made a massive impact on the advertising world and, specifically, the online TV industry. The pandemic caused fast changes in customer behavior, leading to high consumption of online video content via a vast range of devices, including smart TV, and we’re seeing more leading marketers invest in ads served via CTV & OTT. It is also interesting to see the decrease in traditional TV budgets that are eaten by the online. 

What are some of the most common challenges faced by today’s B2B digital advertisers and can you share a few tips/best practices?

From my point of view, with the ad-tech domain growing so fast, marketers must be agile, being able to pivot very quickly and adapting to changes when competition arises.  

Marketers’ challenges in 2022 are related to data and knowing the customers. The first subject is privacy regulations, which are shifting away from third-party cookies, which will require a new advertising strategy, and I believe this will have a considerable impact on the industry (needless to say about the IOS negative impact on the online sector). The other one is “knowing the customers”. Marketers and B2B ad companies must learn more creatively to reach their target audience by identifying users’ behavior in the digital aspect and choosing the right platforms for their campaigns. With the growing number of available channels for advertising, there’s likely to be an increase in fraudulent traffic that companies have not yet encountered and will have to find new ways to battle. 

My tip to stay on the leading edge of your industry, be sure to keep your ears open at all times and make adjustments very quickly. This means understanding your target market and competition and observing the sources for any announcements, opportunities, or even potential threats to your company.

In your view, as adtech innovations make advertising more seamless and targeted, what should end users be doing to ensure they draw the most value from their ad technology while working on building a good customer experience?

End users and everyone involved in the ad tech industry need to be aware of new technologies, trends constantly, and platforms gaining popularity. Actually, in a high-speed changing world, you’ve got to always stay on your toes and look for the best ways to reach your audience following KPI’s (engagement and cost per transaction). The bottom line here is to do your research to keep users engaged by being involved in all the latest news, updates, and technologies in ad tech, in addition to embracing change and creativity.

Some last thoughts and adtech takeaways before we wrap up?

A lot of the topics we discussed involve the fast change and growth in digital ad tech, especially in the last couple of years following the pandemic. There’s no doubt we will see many regulation changes in 2022, and the pace at which things are moving in ad tech is the highest it’s ever been. I believe It’s all about adapting and keeping an open mind to modify. Marketers who aren’t quick to adopt new changes will usually be left behind. It will be fascinating to see how things evolve next year. I expect we’ll see many new ways for audience engagement and ad content that is more accurate and user-friendly than ever before, and I predict the cookies will (finally!) die…

SelectMedia - Crunchbase Company Profile & FundingFounded in 2012, SelectMedia, one of Asia’s largest video advertising companies, provides a holistic solution for publishers to manage their online business by granting access to their full-stack advertising technology. 

Sagi Gordon is the CEO and Co-founder, SelectMedia

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