In the latest edition of Tapjoy Mobile Champions, we sat down with Harry Wilkins, Senior Analyst, Publisher Development, at MediaMath, to discuss all things programmatic, fraud prevention, the future of AI-based advertising, and the difficult choice between pizza and fish & chips. Check it out!
Tapjoy: Can you start by telling us a little about yourself, about MediaMath, and what you do there?
Harry Wilkins: I’ve now been at MediaMath for over a year, receiving the opportunity to join full-time after completing MediaMath’s Marketing Engineer Program (MEP). I studied Marketing, Advertising and Communications at University in the UK, joining MEP promptly after finishing my degree. My work here is focused primarily on our Curated Market, being the company’s proprietary premium supply product. Our mission is to always bring our advertisers the highest quality inventory with their marketer goals top-of-mind. In order to achieve this, we partner closely with publishers to carve out their offerings in a data-driven approach to create a mutually beneficial unity between the buy and sell side that is rare today in programmatic partnerships.
TJ: How is MediaMath different from other programmatic ad companies?
HW: Unfortunately I’m biased here, but I know that we’re always looking for the most innovative and efficient ways of doing things for our clients. Our combination of supply expertise, channel leadership teams, audience products, and client relationships makes MediaMath a truly unique company in the space. We also have free bagels and massages every week!
TJ: There’s a strong need for more transparency in the programmatic advertising ecosystem. What is MediaMath doing to help bring more transparency to the industry?
HW: I’m glad you ask! Since I joined the team back in 2016, transparency has been the quiet driving force of our mission when it comes to curating supply. With the launch of the Curated Market back in March of last year, and it’s policy to be as close to the supply source as possible, we were fortunate enough to be ahead of the surge of people looking for transparent, verified supply. This shift in smarter buying, as we all know, has been due to the adoption of Ads.txt in the ecosystem, a simple, yet effective, tool that has complimented the workflow within our team. Understanding that Ads.txt is not yet applicable to the in-app space, we do regular QA checks to ensure that all our inventory is 100% transparent and as close to the publisher as possible.
TJ: Fraud is another big concern for mobile advertisers. How can the industry work together to overcome fraud issues?
HW: Fraud is a big concern, it’s suspected to cost marketers $16.4 Billion (yes capital ‘B’) this year. Working together is definitely a huge part of overcoming fraud — it requires a proactive approach from individuals across the lumascape to monitor and shut-off any bad supply. Knowledge is the first step to having a successful anti-fraud workflow, so it is important to understand what fraud can look like from every perspective, and it’s also important to know what steps can be taken at each stage in the programmatic buying process and what is most effective. Ensure that everyone you work with is doing their part. The future looks bright, but we certainly can’t get complacent — there’s still a long way to go!
TJ: MediaMath is a big supporter of the ads.txt initiative. How do you see this effort helping to increase transparency and reduce fraud?
HW: Ads.txt has been the missing piece of the puzzle. If being used (MediaMath will have our bidders able to target Ads.txt verified inventory only) buyers will be empowered to buy strictly legitimate inventory. The absence of this tool has allowed bad players to smear the reputation of this industry, but with our bidders tuned to buy only verified supply such companies will be made redundant. Buyers will be buying what they paid for, publishers will see increased fill rates, and fraud will be reduced.
TJ: What does MediaMath look for in an ideal publishing partner?
HW: One who has knowledge in the previously mentioned points of Ads.txt and fraud, obviously. They have to be aligned with us on our goal for 100% transparency. Lastly, be down to clown at a happy hour.
TJ: MediaMath’s Curated Marketplace is among the largest programmatic marketplaces in the industry. What has been your approach to building the marketplace, and how do you see your role in bringing the industry into the future?
HW: The marketplace was built using a framework that uses the following principals: fully transparent supply, as close to the publisher as possible, zero fraud tolerance, verified paths, and privileged access.
TJ: What do you think will be the biggest change to AI-based advertising in the coming year?
HW: I think the most exciting things coming to RTB platforms are some of the emerging channels that we’re working with. We’ve already seen CTV be a huge hit for buyers, but to name a few others, we have Digital Out of Home (example of our own campaign), Advanced TV (Linear TV buying), Augmented and Virtual Reality.
TJ: In January, MediaMath CEO Joe Zawadzki announced that he would serve as partner of the new MathCapital fund, an early-stage VC fund supporting the next generation of marketing and advertising technology leaders. Can you tell us anything about what kind of companies MathCapital is looking to invest in?
HW: Anything that screams innovation and industry disruptable.
TJ: Tapjoy and MediaMath have a lot in common in that we both encourage advertisers to focus on real business outcomes rather than shallow metrics like ad impressions and user clicks. What do you tell people to get them to focus more on the metrics that matter most?
HW: The marketer’s customer is a consumer and it’s important to engage with them in a meaningful way, therefore it makes sense to use metrics that actually measure engagement. MediaMath believes that nurturing such engagement doesn’t just occur on one device, but that it actually a requires an omni-channel approach, reaching users across the multiple platforms that they care about. Our ConnectedID product supports tracking users across multiple devices to ensure that users are being reached across all devices at the right time. Having a suite of products like ConnectedID and the Curated Market, where we’ve partnered with Tapjoy, means that MediaMath customers are able to have state-of-the-art omni-channel targeting that can access users through the most premium supply channels.
TJ: And now for the really big question: New York-style pizza, or fish and chips from the UK?
HW: You’re right, this is the hardest question yet. I’ll have to say that the pizza here is delicious and perfect for any time of the day. However, you simply can’t beat a fish and chips on a Sunday evening by the seaside…
Thanks so much for chatting with us Harry — and stay tuned to the Tapjoy blog for more insights from Tapjoy Mobile Champions!