MarTech Interview with Sara Luckow, Sr. Director, Strategic Marketing & Research at Channel Factory

Sara Luckow, Sr. Director, Strategic Marketing & Research at Channel Factory shares a few tips on ad and adtech best practices in this quick catch-up:


Welcome to this MarTech Series chat Sara, tell us more about yourself and your journey in B2B – Tech?

Sure! I graduated from the University of Missouri’s journalism program with a degree in Strategic Communication, and not long after got the opportunity to work in Los Angeles in digital media planning for TV and Theatrical clients such as Lionsgate, Fox, and NBC. 

Through these experiences, I was able to buy and run a lot of campaigns on YouTube (teasers, trailer launches, “now in theaters” video ads), which made for a smooth career transition to an adtech firm with a focus in helping clients find the most brand suitable content for their ads on YouTube; I know the space and am happy to share our solutions and knowledge with others. There is so much data available that it’s beneficial to have experts guide decision-making about the ad buys brands are making in a fully transparent way. When clients succeed is when we succeed, and it’s a collaborative way of elevating the industry as a whole.

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We’d love to hear a few insights/observations from some of your recent research on what is keeping brands from capitalizing on online ad / online marketing ROI today?

Remembering that their target audience is diverse and can watch a lot of different types of content (for example, we’re marketers and I don’t only watch marketing videos). But advertisers need to do a deep dive into what placements (channels, videos, URLs) they are running on, to make the best educated decision for their brand in terms of content is working well for them or not as it relates to engagement, ROI, etc. This can often change, even within a larger brand and its sub-brands like automotive and CPG. For example, an ad for an SUV may have a high conversion rate in automotive content, but the cost per conversion is really expensive. Evaluate the other places where the conversion rate may be lower, but the net volume of conversion is higher and the cost is less – let’s say in outdoor/camping content. Brand suitability doesn’t mean “100% aligned to the brand vertical,” it means “what makes the most business sense for the brand vertical.”

In a crowded marketplace it is crucial for advertisers and marketers to not only create relevant experiences but to identify what each type of segment really wants more of, how can advertisers and marketers capitalize on how they collect this data through various sources?

In this age of social media and connectivity, what audiences want can change often. Brands should have a core identity of what they want to offer, make sure they’re doing that well, tailor the message for the nuances of each advertising channel, and then establish how much of their efforts are going to be spent on test-and-learn and expanding revenue streams.

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A big part of this is doing surveys and focus groups to see where the gaps and overlaps currently exist in the consumer wants and needs that the brand can help provide solutions for. Sometimes a gap can be bridged with an innovative idea, but sometimes it won’t make sense and that’s okay – put the focus on where brands can be successful. Getting that first- party data is key as the shift away from using cookies happens. 

Brands have to make sure that the consumer want + advertising channel and content are aligned. For example, watching Dr. Pimple Popper on YouTube grew so much in popularity that TLC picked it up as an original show. People clearly can’t look away from a great zit video, but most advertisers likely shouldn’t surround that content or create custom brand programs integrating zits. 

As marketing and advertising trends change, what will it take for B2B marketers and advertisers to stay on top of their game and top of their martech/adtech stack?

Invest in martech/adtech stacks that allow for flexibility and quick changes, enabling campaigns to keep up with changes in public trends. B2B marketers and advertisers’ goal should be helping brands become aware of the various options available and levers to pull, but make getting to a decision simple. If you overengineer a solution to an ask or challenge, is the time spent worth the bottom line ROI? Aim for bespoke – but streamlined!

Some last thoughts, takeaways, business tips and best practices before we wrap up!

Innovation grows by constantly asking – how is this going to make lives better and people happier? Whether it’s coworkers, clients, brand consumers, or the general public as a whole, brands and advertisers need to remember that the tech is there to service the human experience at its core.

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Channel Factory is a global technology and data platform that maximizes both performance efficiency and contextual suitability, delivering contextual performance for advertisers on YouTube. Channel Factory’s technology platform, ViewIQ, analyzes all YouTube channels and videos to ensure ads run on brand suitable and contextually relevant content. Channel Factory maximizes performance for advertisers on YouTube through managed service or self-service dynamic whitelists & blacklists, easily implemented through DV360 or Google Ads. 

Sara Luckow is the Sr. Director, Strategic Marketing & Research at Channel Factory

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