TechBytes with Matt Trotta, GM, North America, Playbuzz

Matt Trotta

Matt Trotta
GM, North America, Playbuzz

We were moved by the significant disruptions in the market for user-generated content and storytelling platforms. To understand the true definition of ‘success’ for marketing technology platforms in this space, we interviewed Matt Trotta, GM, North America, Playbuzz.

Tell us about your journey and how you landed at Playbuzz?

The majority of my career has really taken place in the branded content space. Perhaps most notable is the 6.5 years I spent at BuzzFeed, where I saw the company grow from 30 to 1,300+ employees while expanding their digital advertising offerings. As SVP of Agency Strategy, I forged strategic partnerships with advertising partners to create shareable content online.

My time spent there was a great segue into my new role at storytelling platform Playbuzz. I recently joined the Disney-backed disruptor as GM of North America where I’ll be overseeing the company’s US sales, business development and operations. This includes the launch of first-to-market, interactive branded content solutions, and new avenues that enable publishers to drive revenue through engagement-based solutions.

What is agency strategy for media publishing companies and how will you apply it to your new role at Playbuzz?

With my agency-focused background in tow, coupled with Playbuzz’s high-performing solutions that I believe are the future of digital advertising – there are a few goals at the top of my to-do list.

  1. Continue positioning Playbuzz as a resource brand experts can rely on as the clay to mold their ideas and bring them to life.
  2. Convey the importance of meaningful storytelling to brands, while providing the means to accomplish just that.

What are the core differentiating factors that make Playbuzz’s solutions unique?

Playbuzz spent 5 years building up a network of 16K global publisher partners who utilize their tools to craft interactive editorial, getting to know their pain points and creating technology to solve them along the way.

This made the company’s dive into the branded content space a natural fit, as not only does Playbuzz provide interactive branded content solutions to drive engagement, shift perception, boost intent and increase awareness, it also boasts a distribution network to place those campaigns on, meaning brand partners can reach any target audience they desire.

Not to mention, an April 2018 Nielsen study, commissioned by Playbuzz, found that Playbuzz-powered branded stories attracted an average brand lift of 91%, performing in the top 10% of all Digital Brand Effect campaigns globally. It showed that these solutions also achieved 29X higher lifts in perception and 7X higher lifts in intent than the global norm.

What is your definition of success for Playbuzz’s partners?

Across the industry, what constitutes success has really changed. Clicks and views standalone have become meaningless and are now rightfully being measured alongside engagement-based metrics like engagements, dwell time, completion rates and more.

Publishes and brands must better understand if users had a meaningful content journey to be able to better understand their preferences.

For our publisher partners, I see success as utilizing Playbuzz branded content solutions to diversify their revenue in a manner that upholds a positive user experience. We match our branded campaigns with outlets whose audiences align with the campaign’s target audience, meaning readers are consuming paid-for, engaging content in contextual environments, rather than being forced to avoid irrelevant ad experiences that we have all grown accustomed to.

For our brand partners, I define success as being able to tell high-quality stories at scale that are personalized to the consumer and powerful enough to shift perception, boost intent, increase awareness, educate and more. Immersive storytelling tools are crucial in an unforgiving attention economy as they enable brands to create much deeper dialogues with audiences, and power content that achieves results high above industry standards.

What advice would you give to those in the industry?

Ask yourself, are you willing to pay more for higher-quality branded experiences that best tell your brand’s story, in which you simultaneously know more about the consumer’s journey while promoting a positive user experience?

Currently, it’s quite simple to purchase inexpensive digital ads against a highly targeted segment. While that might be a short-term solution, in the long-term, it doesn’t do much for you in regards to building a community of brand loyalists.

Set yourself apart by ensuring the experiences you invest in and distribute are ones of quality and depth, so you can form deeper relationships with your target audience and deliver storytelling at its finest.

What event are you attending next and why?

Up next for me is Advertising Week New York, where our Chief Storytelling Officer, Shachar Orren, is speaking on a panel alongside Loreal and COTY on “What Brands Must do to Engage Today’s Conscious Consumers.”

This event is a great place to mingle with peers and discuss not only the current happenings in the industry but what’s to come. It’s a moment to forge new partnerships and get real about what’s happening in this ever-changing environment.

Thanks for chatting with us, Matt.

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