TechBytes with Sandro Catanzaro, Chief Innovation Officer, dataxu

TechBytes with Sandro Catanzaro, Chief Innovation Officer, dataxu
TechBytes with Sandro Catanzaro, Chief Innovation Officer, dataxu

Tell us about your role at dataxu and the team/technology you handle.

I am Co-Founder of dataxu and also its Chief Innovation Officer. In this capacity, I oversee our TV and media business, on both the buy- and sell-side. My team is responsible for bringing our TV and media solutions to market, from pre-sale to customer integration and all the steps in between.

dataxu is uniquely positioned to meet both advertiser and publisher needs around advanced TV, so it’s an exciting time to be leading charge in a very hot market.

How do you keep sane in the overtly insane OTT and AdTech ecosystem?

It’s certainly an explosive time for advanced TV, from all angles. I’m genuinely excited about applying the digital expertise dataxu has built over the past 10 years to this burgeoning industry, and the prospect of making the viewing experience a more powerful tool for marketers, and more relevant to viewers. Nothing is impossible with enough coffee!

What’s your benchmark in making OTT the go-to-market technology for AdTech customers?

TV is a great medium for brands, full stop. I’m talking to a lot of people who view TV as only linear, and CTV inventory as some other, undefined thing. It’s not 1 it’s all TV. Ask a consumer who streamed “Dancing with the Stars” last night what they watched; it’s all TV. They may use a different remote control, but a consumer immersed in a viewing experience is no less immersed in CTV. Moreover, given that in many cases, CTV ad pods are shorter and non-skippable, you could argue consumers are more likely to receive the message presented by the advertiser.

Marketers and agencies are adopting this view and redistributing budgets, covering the entire TV ecosystem, taking advantage of reaching consumers through a very effective channel, at a discount from its actual value. Plus, consumer exposure to OTT ads can be measured and attributed in ways marketers never dreamed of when dealing only with live linear. So, OTT is really moving the needle from an ROI standpoint.

How do you see the latest Viacom-Pluto TV deal impacting the video advertising industry?

This is indicative of a smart, large media conglomerate investing in a place (Pluto’s CTV reach) to which consumers are migrating. As TV evolves, we will see more of this transition, which will hit a tipping point and happen all at once in the medium horizon. Big media companies will continue partnering with those with streaming and digital expertise, so those large media companies can remain competitive in this highly dynamic world.

Such type of investment could be thought of as a defensive move, but it is also a great strategic move, because each consumer who moves from linear to CTV can be better monetized. CTV consumers are more engaged with the ad messages and less saturated because of shorter ad pods. Lower ad loads drive better consumer satisfaction and lower churn, lower tune-out.

What is the state of AI and Data Science in Advertising Technology? How do you enable technologies to benefit from your advanced expertise in innovations?

AI and Data Science continue to open up avenues for marketers. It enables campaign automation, thus reducing the repetitive work of investment adjustment, it enables better targeting selection, reducing the amount of trial and error for selecting audiences. A more personalized experience to consumers makes them more receptive to ad messages, which feel more like interesting advice, as opposed to intrusive and useless interruptions.

In a perfect world, AI would select ads for the 3-5 things you should be thinking of buying this week and give a compelling and informative argument tuned to your learning style as a consumer.

Tell us more about your work in the field of Data Unification, Management and Activation at dataxu. How much of it is managed by automated algorithms?

We have a technology called OneView, which allows marketers and media owners to forget about the complex underlying plumbing, and do marketing as it was originally thought of.

Marketing was about reaching “the consumers I want to reach” (my audience), in the “context I want to be” (fully transparent across all the ever-changing channels and modalities of sight, sound and motion), “just enough times” (unified frequency control). And because I set and forget, I want an accurate projection of what the platform can do (forecasting of effective reach at target frequency).

As with every simple value proposition, there are underlying systems that enable this orchestration to be automated, real-time, fully cross-device and with frequency control; with data across multiple segmentation datasets, including first-party and third-party sourced ones; involving behavioral segmentation, fully informed understanding of the consumer.

While we are very proud of having the most advanced technology in the market, its value is in making marketers effective, and their lives easy.

Tell us about the product roadmap you have designed for dataxu in 2019-2020. Which technology providers could better leverage your products?

dataxu was born with the idea of making marketing easy, simple and effective by leveraging science and data. Over the years, our roadmap has been driven by expanding the scope of the solution.

Our most recent work expands the solution reach further into linear TV, enabling advertisers to find de-duplicated reach on their specific advanced audience, through a combination of linear TV, connected TV and addressable TV. The solution provides advertising agencies with a plan they can use to maximize reach, no matter if their consumer is watching linear TV or is moving into the advanced TV world.

In that sense, it makes the promise of a simpler world for marketers, “I want to reach my audience, and do it just enough times, through select premium content.”

What are the opportunities and risks you foresee in the way Big Data is shaping AdTech landscape for 2020-2025? How do you prepare for these disruptions?

We are certainly keeping an eye out on the evolving privacy landscape. We were at the forefront of ensuring GDPR compliance and are keeping a close eye on what’s happening in the US and the rest of the world. Privacy and informed consent can exist in harmony. It’s just a matter of how we get there so it feels right and fair to everyone. As consumers are keenly aware of how they are marketed to, and care about the brands and services they align themselves with, I think we’ll see people maintain loyalty to a group of core brands and services, which will allow those brands and services to develop trusted relationships, complete with more in-depth data available to them.

Tell us about your predictions on the OTT and Programmatic Advertising landscape for the next two years. Which start-up ideas and companies are you keenly following in this regard?

We’ll see linear viewing continue to decline as viewers continue to shift viewing habits and embrace streaming, but that decline will see a floor. Mostly, people will watch TV in several ways. Within the next 12-24 months, marketers will catch up with this new reality and will align their budgets in order to reach their audiences where they are consuming media. I think we’ll see media budgets moving into a 20 percent allocation against OTT inventory, a shift that has been building for some time now.

Chief Innovation Officer at dataxu, Sandro Catanzaro is experienced in bringing companies to successful liquidity events; from business model formulation to actual implementation of the plan.

dataxu logo

In 2009, dataxu® was founded on the premise that data science could help make marketing better. Not just more efficient for agencies and their advertiser clients, but also more personalized and more engaging for consumers.

In 2019, dataxu remains a software company whose products help successful marketing professionals like you use data to improve advertising.

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