Blood, Sweat & CPMs Podcast: Episode 1

Welcome to the Blood, Sweat and CPMs Podcast presented by Freestar.

Our hosts, Jeff Kudishevich and Andy Forwark are here to add levity and provide helpful pointers for anyone navigating the world of Ad Tech. Each episode, they will go through the top threads from the Ad Operations Subreddit and give their take on each hot topic of the week. They will also interview thought leaders across the industry to get their perspective on what matters most to them. Follow along on our Blog for show notes and associated links to each episode. Enjoy!


Episode 1

Ashley Wheeler (Rubicon Project) on Customer Success | Resource Heavy Ads and Where Did the Money Go?

In the inaugural episode of the Freestar Blood Sweat and CPMs podcast, Jeff and Andy go through ad operations subreddit threads about Resource Heavy Ads in Chrome, and where the money goes in the programmatic ads funnel. They also interview Ashley Wheeler, Vice President of Seller Accounts at Rubicon Project about her philosophy on customer success in the ad tech industry and how she wrote a term paper to make her break into the industry.


Listen to the episode on Spotify, now!



About Our Guest



Ashley Wheeler is the VP of Publisher Accounts in North America at Rubicon Project. Ashley started her programmatic career at Rubicon six years ago, and in that time has seen the industry evolve and change dramatically. She and her team now work hand in hand with publishers to consult on monetization and yield strategies to power the premium content on the internet.

Find Ashley on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashley-font-wheeler-4a9094a/



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[00:00:04.560] 

For me, I’ve always found that if you care about your publisher’s business, you understand and try to put yourself in their shoes and do what you believe is the right thing for them, that’s how you build trust. That’s how you build partnerships.

[00:00:21.930] 

Welcome, welcome. Welcome to everyone out there listening to our lovely little podcast. I hope you’re having a fantastic day today, whatever day that might be that you’re listening to us in case you forgot where you clicked on. And I wouldn’t be surprised if you did. This is the Blood, Sweat and CPMs podcast. I’m your host, Jeff Codeshare. Hey, all you cool cats and kittens?

[00:00:43.980] 

I’m Andy forwork, as always, your co-host here on the Blood, Sweat and CPMs podcast. How are you doing today, Jeff?

[00:00:51.060] 

Thank you, Andy. I’m doing all right, man. it’s been a good week. We kind of joked the other day when we started that the start of the day saying and on this episode of Quarantine Weekly, another week of quarantine. And that sort of brought everybody’s mood down a little bit, but the reality is things are going well. Knock on wood. We’re very fortunate to be where we are. And I try not to forget that even when I’m having a hard day and just trying to stay positive and kind of take things day by day.

[00:01:31.080] 

How about yourself, how are you doing, Andy?

[00:01:33.070] 

Yeah, I remember you sending that message and thinking, wow, this is going to be another week.

[00:01:38.010] 

But, you know, as the weeks usually go, you know, they start off like Mondays normally start off even pre pandemic.

[00:01:47.910] 

So Monday, Monday, Monday is the first three days of the month. The CPMs are brutal. You’re looking for alcohol even if it’s nine a.m. and you try to figure out when am I going to get to Friday and then Friday, Friday that last week of the month, CPMs are just crushing it. You’re so thrilled. Money is just coming in hand over fist. You don’t have to deal with yourself. And then we and then we start all over again.

[00:02:17.370] 

OK? All right. All right, Andy, here’s a quick rundown of today’s episode. As usual, we have our credit add up threads of the week where we’re going to go over each thread together and sort of give our feedback. Then we have our special guest, Ashley Wheeler from Rubicon Project, who is going to speak to us all things, supply and client services.

[00:02:42.810] 

All right, Andy, now the moment of truth.

[00:02:45.240] 

Our time to break down the top reddit up adops threads of the week in case you don’t know, which I would imagine most don’t. I actually started the adops sub, read it in 2012  and it’s now somehow become one of the leading adops communities in the industry. What do you think, Andy? Yeah, it’s a great community. Happy to be a part of it. I’m excited for this segment to just run down all the different threads that we see over the weeks and give our opinions on it.

[00:03:13.590] 

Awesome. In the first thread we want to talk about is titled Protecting Against Resource Heavy Ads and Chrome. This has sort of been a more hot button item the last few days, so I’d love to get your take on it. When we were sort of looking at the data that Chrome provided here. I think the biggest highlight for me as far as like a business perspective is we’re really only talking about 0.3 percent of ads that were found to be sort of this heavy resource drain on the browser.

[00:03:50.940] 

But I would love to get your sort of technical viewpoint on it. Yeah, so this is an interesting move here, if you don’t sum it up to 0.3 percent of ads, right.

[00:04:05.650] 

I think initially this kind of might scare people a little bit and thinking, oh, no, like now some ads are going to be blocked because we just have more resources in there. I think this is the point of this is these are kind of the egregious ads. I think a lot of times you’re going to see this with video or very heavy, maybe like a slideshow type unit, something that might be very image heavy. Right.

[00:04:31.430] 

It’s probably something that the average user is either annoyed with anyways or is maybe shutting their browser down, right?

[00:04:40.750] 

Oh, absolutely. I think we’ve all been in cases where if you look and if you’re in Chrome and you kind of see that in the top left of your tab, like where it’s still spinning, that usually indicates that there’s something that got hung up or something is still processing and basically using your local computer to process that. Right. So everything that you view in your browser, your computer is the resource for it. So if you think about mobile and we have a lot of these heavy ads that might get through on mobile that could really like your phone might get hot or your battery is just going to die something like that quicker.

[00:05:20.710] 

And I guess what’s what’s your perspective like from the you know, this is my website. This is how I make my living.

[00:05:30.460] 

How dare you chrome game do these things like where I guess where you kind of see publishers coming down. Do you think ultimately the publisher base is just like, yeah, this is great, I’m happy Chrome is sort of policing some of these displays or or or advertisers for me. Or do you sort of think that people will feel like this is just yet another thing that Chrome is doing that’s sort of pushing the envelope of just being a utility for people and sort of policing what goes on on my site?

[00:06:16.010] 

Yeah, I think I think different people are going to have different perspectives. I kind of see both sides of it, but I kind of feel like I fall on the side of I don’t want maybe if Chrome wants to give me an option to do this and I haven’t looked through to see if there’s a way to not do this. But I think that it does present a particular issue, especially when you’re trying to work with many ad networks and not just Google alone.

[00:06:46.070] 

This really can benefit Google alone because, you know, if you’re a buyer and you go in and upload your creative, they can reject the creative for already not meeting these. Sure. These thresholds.

[00:07:01.880] 

So we’re talking about Krul or Google ADEX and buying through there. You probably already have some of this measurement happening and they might be rejecting it or I don’t know, because I’m not on that side. But it is interesting and I think the bigger problem is now going to be with all the other networks and do they have checks in? And some of them might. And I think you can also think about your add quality partner that you work with.

[00:07:28.490] 

So most of the partners, such as Confiance or Ad Lightening have ways of, you know, we work with both ad lightning and can find things we do.

[00:07:40.160] 

And they both have options for us to monitor or we can block anything that meets this. So I think one of the strategies that we’re looking at doing is if we see something based on this criteria, then we can block it with our ad quality partner, hopefully before Chrome is blocking it. I’m not sure of the technicality there, but if we can do that, then we can submit another auction and hopefully fill that with an ad that will meet the requirements.

[00:08:11.280] 

Sure.

[00:08:12.110] 

Well, I appreciate your perspective on that. And the next thread is entitled Where Did The Money Go? On average for every one British pound spent? An advertiser in the study says that the publisher makes about half of that. So the way I look at this is the users talking about supply path optimization. Another spot, another acronym of the day. So the study that they’re that they’re talking about here was from deju day, essentially showing that, hey, four for a dollar spent, there’s going to be money going to the SSP, money going to the DSP.

[00:09:05.060] 

Sort of many, many mouths to feed, and I do think that it’s something that as CPMs get more competitive as the year goes on, maybe people will not spend as much time thinking about in the latter half of the year, but at a time where CPMs are definitely softer than we’d expect, this is probably something that a lot of people are thinking about front and center. What’s your sort of take on this many mouths to feed? Where did the money go?

[00:09:43.190] 

Yeah.

[00:09:43.580] 

So I think this has been going on. I mean, this has been going on for a long time. And right now is a time where, you know, we’re going to identify it a little bit more because we’re kind of trying to dig to the bottom during this whole pandemic of, you know, a lot of the advertisers spend is down. But I think this is.

[00:10:05.370] 

You know, when you put it out like this one user commented here and they basically gave you a scenario, right?

[00:10:13.590] 

So agency gets 15 percent, DSP takes 15 to 30 percent, and then the SSP takes 15 to 30 percent. And then the pup gets rest. Right. And on average, about half is what they’re saying. Does it? I mean, it seems inefficient, but I think this is the world we live in and it has been going on quite a bit.

[00:10:35.040] 

And one is going to start. And what I wanted to ask you was you mentioned this is the world that we live in and this is sort of what we take as just the way things are.

[00:10:50.590] 

Do you see a world where it isn’t this way, where it’s not OK, you get 15 percent, you get 15 percent, you get 15 percent, and I’ll take what’s left over.

[00:11:03.610] 

It’s a good question. And I think the only like the closest thing you can get to that is maybe if you’re doing direct sales and if you’re doing direct sales and also building the creative in-house and, you know, serving the ad and getting the all to the sites. So if it definitely could be a possibility, but you’ve got to be large enough for the advertiser first to buy with you. And advertisers are generally going through an agency. So maybe that piece is a little bit out there to be taken out of it.

[00:11:37.510] 

But then also, like the DSP is like the reason the DSP exists is because we’re in this programmatic buying world. We wanted things to be automated. You have the DSP doesn’t have to exist necessarily if you’re doing a direct sale or what they do agencies. And then we’ll also use observing companies as well, indirect because they’re using that to monitor and check for discrepancies, make sure that we’re delivering what we’re delivering so they have a way to check it.

[00:12:12.340] 

So, yeah, it’s one of those things where I think there’s always going to be a cut.

[00:12:17.020] 

There’s always going to be a margin for somebody when you’re doing business a little off the top huh andy? A little bit off the top, you know, for the one percent out there. Sure. All right. Next up, ADEX CTR is higher than Ad Sense CTR, but adex effective CPM or E CPM earnings are lower than eight cents effective CPM or learn or earnings.

[00:12:45.760] 

We kind of read through this. A user posted a lot of good information and good questions here. To sort of sum up the thread here. We’re looking at ADEX versus Ad sense. The user compared random page views instead of session based comparison. So first off, we’d always recommend if you’re going to do any kind of split testing to do that on the session, you want to make sure you actually have the user for the whole journey on your site.

[00:13:17.470] 

And similarly, making sure that both versions or multiple versions of the testing are seeing that user through the full journey. The other things that we are sort of talking about and was on the Ad Sense Hardcoded versus ADEX and the ad server, the user here is looking at CTR and sort of saying, hey, cars CTR with ADEX, but CPM is lower with ADEX.

[00:13:45.940] 

Well, so the one thing that I thought I’d make a point on here is that, you know, if you’re running ad sense hardcoded, it’s such a quicker round trip. I don’t know what the magic is that they have on their side.

[00:14:01.180] 

But you get an ad back and in probably milliseconds, obviously, there’s no header bidding. This isn’t a header bidding set up we’re talking about here. He’s or users saying tags versus ad sense tags versus GAM with adex line items and assuming he doesn’t have anything else running in here.

[00:14:27.500] 

Andy, does it feel like every week we are having an argument about ADEX versus Ad sense. somewhat? It’s very topical recently here at the company?

[00:14:40.430] 

Well, just I wouldn’t even say recently, I think. I mean, for the last eight years, I feel like it’s sort of always kind of comes up talking, oh, sure, what should I do? Should I run both? Should I run one or the other? Should I run them at random? Should I run one hardcoded versus the other linked? Get some help on this Google. Can we get some guidance on and maybe maybe we just need to be more vocal about it, but there’s got to be some.

[00:15:18.510] 

Some reasoning right at times where? And I think this user is probably getting to a conclusion that we’ve gotten to. Many different ways at different times right there looking at CTR versus CPM will look at. Share a voice and fill our coverage and just try to make heads or tails of the data and sort of just scratching our heads going, well, this is what it should be doing. But it’s not doing that. It’s sort of behaving in a different way.

[00:15:54.870] 

And then you get into, well, are there floors in ADEX? Are there custom blocks or there advertisers being blocked or are URLs being blocked that are being passed over to both systems? Are there more advertisers in ADEX and therefore you should be more competition and that sort of thing? And I think we end up just scratching our heads and going, well, let’s do what’s best right now.

[00:16:24.990] 

Yeah. And you hear about changing setups all the time. And we’re going to test this and we’re going to test that. You know, it would I don’t see a world where you’d have to run ad sense or adex. I would hope that you could get the same performance from both. Clearly, that’s not the case all the time. But yeah, I mean, it is interesting and I would love to hear from, you know, Google, how that how that really works.

[00:16:58.430] 

Last up for us is just new ad units, the user here added a bunch of ad units to their page. There is now certain pages that go from six to 13 ad units, depending on the length of the article. They’re sort of asking about seeing ridiculously low CPMs on the old ad units, even if he’s trying to they’re trying to move them up on the page for higher viewability, but generally saying that these they’re seeing a decrease in CPMs.

[00:17:31.890] 

I think this all just goes back to traditional economics, supply and demand, knowing that, hey, if you’re adding significantly more impressions to the open markets than you were previously, there’s always going to be some decrease in CPMs no matter what. Right. So at some point, you had a finite number of impressions. Now that finite numbers increased significantly, there is going to be a little bit of a hit to assume where you’re not just going to add incremental revenue and not have an impact on the rest of the page.

[00:18:15.280] 

Yeah, and so there’s a couple of things that it is interesting that they’ve had new ad units, ridiculously low CPM, while they owed the audience that moved up and have higher viability, also experienced a decrease in CPM. I mean, there’s the way that we are right now that could just be part of pandemic numbers. But you’re right. I think any time you add more, first of all, you know those, those networks or any of your ad server needs to learn the patterns of traffic that’s going to be coming to your site and how those ad units affect differently, you know, maybe think of it like if you put a new product on the shelves at the store that no one knows about and then it catches on over this products over there, everybody goes

[00:19:07.490] 

And buys now is maybe like a good analogy for this of like you’ve got to give them some time and kind of see.

[00:19:14.850] 

And then the fact that you’re moving things around on the page, there’s cash that still exists. So some users are still going to get possibly the old setup. Maybe they don’t see the new ad tags very much based on user cashes, is what I’m specifically talking about.

[00:19:32.170] 

Sure. The other thing, too, that I think needs to be addressed that I don’t know if this user thought about when they’re talking about this was how long are those units on the site? How early are you looking at this drop and sort of having this mini meltdown? Was it just a day or two and sort of new inventory to be kind of understood by the market? The other part that I wanted it to end on as just using RPM. as the metric rather than CPM.

[00:20:06.580] 

Any time you add more inventory, whether it’s refresh impressions or new ad units to the page, there’s always going to be this drop in individual ad units. So how is the page R.P.M. doing overall versus what it was doing before?

[00:20:22.870] 

Yeah, that’s that’s true, because when you add more ad units. Right. That will take your CPM down maybe. But your RPM  will still be up there. Right. Right.

[00:20:35.500] 

And ultimately, if you’re looking to make more money by adding ad units to the page, obviously there’s some  art and some science there. But I think the part that you really need to focus on is, am I accomplishing that goal? Am I actually making more money now than I was before? And if you’re not, then certainly take a step back and sort of evaluate what’s going on.

[00:20:59.410] 

But I wouldn’t be ringing any alarms if day one or two I’m seeing a drop and even a week or two into it there again, there’s going to be time for the market to sort of evaluate the new inventory and understand how that’s doing relative to the rest of the site. Yeah, and also the other takeaway for me is they said they added between 6 and 13, depending on the length of the article, that might just be too many. Maybe even 6 is too many.

[00:21:32.650] 

If you start lower, you may see better results. Maybe the thing is here is to go back to a little bit less and see if that helps. But, you know, first of all, verify if you’re making more money overall and see how that RPM is for sure.

[00:21:49.570] 

All right, Andy. Well, I think we are all done on our Reddit thread investigations for the day. Well, that was a lot and a lot and a lot of thinking, so I’m glad to be done with that.

[00:22:05.650] 

Yeah, well, you don’t do enough of that at work. So I sort get you to think a little bit on the podcast.

[00:22:15.100] 

Well, I’d like to introduce our very special guest, Ashley Wheeler from Rubicon Project. Ashley is the VP of Publisher Accounts in North America at Rubicon Project. Ashley started her programmatic career at Rubicon six years ago and in that time has seen the industry evolve and change dramatically. She and her team now work hand in hand with publishers to consult on monetization and yield strategies to power the premium content on the Internet. Welcome, Ashley. Thank you.

[00:22:44.320] 

Yeah, thank you guys so much for having me. I’m thrilled to be chatting with you guys today. Awesome.

[00:22:48.910] 

Well, we’re going to go ahead and jump right in. So Ashley, for me, kind of the first thing I’d like to know is can you kind of talk through how you got into the ad tech space in the first place?

[00:22:58.090] 

How do any of us get here? So it’s actually it’s a funny, longish story. I started my career in sales at CBS Interactive. I was an English major. I kind of just fell into that role and there was there.

[00:23:13.150] 

That’s pretty typical, right? English, sales.

[00:23:15.630] 

English, History, I can write. It’s  so funny. People make fun of me because I still haven’t mastered the art of bullet points in emails. They’re like, you don’t need that.

[00:23:26.260] 

But so I started at CBS, met a lot of amazing people, there sales is sales. It wasn’t necessarily the thing that I loved doing. And CBS  is also a massive corporation, which is amazing. But at like twenty three, when my then boss went to a twenty five person startup, I was like, sure, I’m coming right along.

[00:23:49.390] 

So I followed him there and that was just such an eye opening experience to work for a company that small and then  to also shift.

[00:23:58.330] 

I had shifted at that point from more of a sales focus to a client services account focus, and I loved that. So when that little startup had run its course after about three years and I was in the market for it and sorry, Ashleu, was that startup also sort of ad tech related or.

[00:24:16.210] 

It was sort of ish, I guess you could say. But not not really.

[00:24:21.790] 

Not not like I when I started at programmatic, I had no clue what I was getting myself into.

[00:24:28.690] 

sounds about right huh Andy. I think that’s probably true for all of us.

[00:24:33.820] 

But so I had reached out actually to the guy who started the programmatic business at CBS, who I had been friends with, and I saw that he was the head of client services at Rubicon. I didn’t actually necessarily know what Rubicon was.

[00:24:46.150] 

All I cared was I wanted to stay in client services.

[00:24:49.190] 

So I remember like tricking and not tricking, but like, hey, let’s get a drink. And then he got there and I was like, so I need a job.

[00:24:55.870] 

And at the time it was for a director role at Rubicon and he’s like, Ashley, I love you.

[00:25:01.270] 

But this role is like a programmatic consultant and you know absolutely nothing about the programmatic industry.

[00:25:08.020] 

And I was like, Jeremy, I can learn, give me a chance. It’s like, OK, OK, fine.

[00:25:13.480] 

So why don’t you go do some research and then you write me an email that shows me that you’re going to be able to figure this out.

[00:25:19.360] 

So wow, bring back talk about pressure to look about the pressure. So bring back the English major into all of this. I start researching it and realize like there’s no way I’m going to be able to fit all of this into an email. So I wrote a seven page term paper with footnotes. Oh, wow.

[00:25:38.130] 

What? Yeah, I would like reference the IAB, all this stuff. And I was like.  Seven page.

[00:25:43.540] 

You literally wrote a novel.

[00:25:45.460] 

I did. a short a short story, a term paper.

[00:25:48.760] 

But I actually I’ve shared it with some of my coworkers. And, you know, it’s not so bad considering you didn’t know what you were talking about.

[00:25:56.800] 

What year was this, by the way? This was 2011.

[00:26:01.210] 

OK, not very different, right? Very technical. So. Yeah, yeah. But yeah, that’s how I got my job at Rubicon and I’ve been here ever since.

[00:26:12.850] 

And, you know, I still feel like I don’t know all that much about me and Andy.

[00:26:19.030] 

I think we need to start requiring new hires to write us a term paper to get hired. Yeah. Yeah. No that’s interesting.

[00:26:28.000] 

Well OK. Actually that’s, that’s funny. You know, 2011 kind of brings me back to I mean, that’s when I kind of started in all of this myself. 2011, fast forward. And now when you’re talking with your family, like, obviously your mom and dad probably know quite a bit now about what you do. But how do you what do you what do you tell them? OK, so, yeah, I mean, like what do you tell them that you do?

[00:26:52.480] 

And I you know, I hate leaning into this, but I do it because it’s just so much easier than the alternative, my go to is, hey, mom, you know those ads that follow you around the Internet and of course they all do. And that’s actually, you know, people are betting on you. That happens in real time.

[00:27:10.160] 

And that’s as far as I ever get, because then their minds are basically blown in the conversation. And they’re  lost.

[00:27:16.470] 

Yeah. Do they think it’s some sort of like bloodsport where, like, people are like waving around cash and going, all right, who’s going who’s got three to three bucks for that impression?

[00:27:25.490] 

Yeah, that or like privacy. Like what do you mean? What else do you know about me. I know nothing about you Mom. Just chill. But just kidding. We know everything.

[00:27:34.670] 

Yeah. Or when she’s really annoying you that’s what. Do you really want to know what your cookies say. That’s awesome. All right. So Ashley, how do you balance technology with human resources to make your team more efficient?

[00:27:47.420] 

Yeah, no, it’s a great question and I think one that’s really relevant for ADTECH. Right, because we do walk this fine line of technology and people and I, I like to think of it as like what are the things that the computers can’t do, right. Like a computer isn’t going to be able to really understand a publisher’s needs and business and make recommendations that are tailored to that. Right. A computer is not going to be able to go and advocate for you internally with buyers.

[00:28:16.310] 

You know, not yet, at least right now.  we’re three years away from that at least.

[00:28:26.150] 

But what is really important is making sure that the people who do that have the time to focus on that. Right. Have the time to understand your business, have the time to go fight for you. And so what we found is, you know, there are lots of things that you can automate, right? There are dashboards and reporting and business insights that you can draw from that help make the job of those people easier. And that I’ve been really lucky because Rubicon has such a fantastic product suite, not just for our publisher to use, but that that translates to my team being able to use it.

[00:29:00.560] 

Be sure. So we are lucky that we do have sort of the workflows in place so that we can focus on what matters, on bringing that human touch to what we’re doing.

[00:29:14.250] 

And I guess sort of talking through that human touch, you know, as being a leader at a you know, a large organization. I’d love to hear sort of your take your philosophy around client services and how you how that sort of translates to that your team as well.

[00:29:31.940] 

Yeah, for me, client services has always been if you’re going to be good at it, it’s because you’re doing the right thing. Right. Like there have been times where for a certain publisher.

[00:29:44.000] 

Maybe Rubicon wasn’t the right choice. And, you know, you at those crossroads, you can you can say, well, you know, here’s the product that I’m going to try to shove down your throat anyway. Or you can step back and actually understand that they’re coming to you and asking your opinion as a professional within the industry. And you can give them the answer that in your heart you feel is true. And for me, I’ve always found that if you care about your publisher’s business, if you understand and try to put yourself in their shoes and you do what you believe is the right thing for them, that’s how you build trust.

[00:30:16.520] 

That’s how you build partnerships. And for me, I just try to kind of ensure that my team feels the same way that understands that. And that’s really, I think, how you grow to be an extension of your partner’s business. Right. Like, I want my publisher to be able to look at me. And my team is just an extension of their team. We’re here to help. But you need that trust to do that.

[00:30:39.110] 

Yeah, I absolutely love that. I think kind of what I heard that resonated really well with me was being an extension of sort of  their team and being honest. Right. Just  being comfortable either saying here’s a tool at Rubicon that could work for you or hey, um, I’m sorry, I would love to make this work, but it might not be we might not be the partner for you. Yeah.

[00:31:06.740] 

And it’s I mean, those are hard conversations like with yourself. Right. But I do believe that if you are honest and upfront with people, particularly in this industry, right. Where there’s always issues around trust, but if you can be that trustworthy person, that’ll pay off tenfold in spades because inevitably you will come back and you will have a solution that’s right. For them. And you have that relationship right. And will at least be willing to test and measure because they know you’re not trying to to pull a fast one on them.

[00:31:40.220] 

You’re kind of switching gears here a little bit. Actually, I’d like to sort of know, you know, I’m sure anybody who would be listening to this knows the Rubicon and Telaria went through the merger. As of us recording. It’s kind of officially finalized. Can you kind of talk through in what ways you’re sort of day to day has shifted at all? Yeah, it’s I would say that we’re in the fun part now. We’re kind of through the integration.

[00:32:11.000] 

I mean, the social distancing aspect has been interesting to to merge companies and to be meeting all of these people and trying to understand their business and tell them about yours over Google Hangouts is that’s been an adaptation for all of us, I think. But it’s really wonderful to have the opportunity to talk to a the the folks who came over from the site, every single one of them I’ve met super smart, super awesome, very culturally similar to how we all are at Rubicon.

[00:32:47.930] 

And then you get to like peek under the hood at basically a whole other business that does what you do in a different way. And so it’s so interesting to learn, like, what are your learnings? What are your best practices? Oh, we have an overlap on this publisher. What how are you working with them? How are we in? And right now it’s just total sponge mode.

[00:33:08.210] 

Do you have any kind of aha moment you could share where you’re like, oh wow, why were we not doing it that way or oh you guys do that since you know anything like that that you can share.

[00:33:21.710] 

They in general are just brings such a level of expertise to video which like we’re Rubicon does so much that and we specialize in a lot of things like pre-bid, I think we’ve really done a great job of separating ourselves out from the competition, but it’s hard to do everything well at that expert level. Right. And so for some things, you kind of become a jack of all trades, master of none. And up until now, video was one hundred percent, in my opinion, one of those things.

[00:33:53.510] 

And so it’s just so fascinating to me to hear about how they talk about video, their level of understanding about that ecosystem and all the different systems that go into it to make it work. And so at least now it’s still early. I mean, we’ve only really started getting together and talking through this stuff over the last few weeks. But for me, that’s been the most eye opening, just like, oh, I’m so excited to be working with you guys on this because you just know it so well, so kind of along the lines of that.

[00:34:27.650] 

And I always like to think that in tech we have, you know, like these six month cycles, if you will. But what kind of predictions do you have and how things are going to look in this industry in three to five years now?

[00:34:44.330] 

I think 2020 has forever frightened me off of making predictions for the future.

[00:34:54.810] 

Predictions now, OK, what’s tomorrow going to look like? I think it’s going to rain. Maybe that’s it.

[00:35:01.460] 

Yeah, but there are some, there are some things, there are some themes that if they don’t fully come to fruition, I think they will continue. Right. Like SVO and consolidation and demand type optimization too. Right. Like we are just there’s so many different moving pieces in our industry and it’s overly complex. And, I think we’re already seeing it. We’re already feeling it to a degree. But the industry is going to consolidate and I think that’s going to be a good thing.

[00:35:30.350] 

I think it’s going to be a good thing for the industry as a whole, because it’s a little bit unwieldy right now, so I certainly think that it’ll be a consolidated ecosystem. I think Pre-bid is just going to continue to evolve and grow and win.  I think, you know, going going back to do the right thing, I really love this idea of Adtech coming together as a community and not just tech partners, not just publishers, not just buyers, but like all of us together, having a stake in something to be a viable alternative to the Wall Gardens, to have that independent option.

[00:36:11.260] 

And I, we’ve seen, you know, pre-bid and pre-bid.org exceed even my expectations for what they could be in the last year. And I think that’s going to continue as well. And, you know, I think I think we as an industry will come together and come up with solutions for some of the things that we’re up against. Right. Identity in the decline of cookies. I’m sure in three to five years there’s going to be a whole slew of problems that we can’t even fathom right now.

[00:36:40.030] 

But I do think having that kind of collaborative mentality, which is new to our industry, but it’s growing, having that level of collaboration with one another is what’s going to help us get through it and thrive.

[00:36:54.740] 

Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. And I think to your point, the more we come together, the stronger the industry is. One of the ways that I’ve typically seen a lot of great ideas change go between different peoples, some of our industry events, webinars, that sort of thing. So kind of would love to know you’ve been to many yourself. Do you sort of have a favorite industry moment that stuck out, whether hilarious or a learning moment?

[00:37:29.350] 

You know, it’s so funny.

[00:37:30.370] 

I if I look back at all the different industry events and conferences, like I’ve got amazing memories from almost all of them. Some of my favorite, though, have been the ones that have been internal. Right. Like where I’ve gotten to be with my team. And you really get to know the people that you work with on a deeply personal level, like when you spend three or four days with them and like the guard comes down a little bit for me, especially with the people that you work with day in and day out, like being able to build those bonds are really amazing.

[00:38:05.860] 

Other than that, I mean, the first time I went to Cannes was pretty awesome.

[00:38:10.660] 

You we’re like me?. I get to go? Yeah, yeah.

[00:38:17.460] 

And it’s like sunshine and boats. And I was like, oh my God, I fell asleep.

[00:38:22.520] 

This is the best dream of that.

[00:38:27.760] 

So actually, if you were working in ADTECH today, what do you think you’d be doing?

[00:38:34.330] 

I always had these grand visions that if I wasn’t working like the traditional nine to five job, that I’d be writing the next great American novel or something. I always love the idea of, I don’t know, just seemed so romantic like Hemingway, I could be drunk by 11:00 AM and like espousing these next American amazing things.

[00:38:59.020] 

Well, hey, you guys are working on that distillery, so maybe that maybe those two worlds will meet anyway. Exactly.

[00:39:05.500] 

But it’s funny, I’ve tried to write things and I actually don’t have the attention span for it. So more likely I would just be starting a distillery with my husband, which I’m doing anyway. So that’s awesome.

[00:39:18.490] 

You know, Ashley, obviously, we appreciate you coming on the podcast and you have a ton of great experience and I’m sure people would love to sort of, you know, maybe get a learn from you a little bit as well. Like, do you have certain things as far as what you attribute to how you how you got to this point in the industry other than writing the seven page novel?

[00:39:44.290] 

You know, for me, the best advice I ever got and I try to remind myself of it often is push yourself out of your comfort zone like there’s so many things that, like, you know, you should do and you kind of get that, like pit in your stomach, like push yourself beyond that, whether it’s, you know, asking for something that you’re not necessarily comfortable asking for or speaking up when you don’t necessarily want to do it.

[00:40:11.260] 

But, yeah, every time I, I mean, joining an industry that’s as complex as this with literally zero background and being out of your comfort zone for a solid year and a half, push yourself out of your comfort zone.

[00:40:24.940] 

And it’s remarkable what you can achieve. And because I’ve had the fortune to do that and see good results from it, it’s easy every time you do it, it gets a little bit easier, but that’s that. And the other thing I’ll say is, is just wherever you can for anything that’s important. Go as above and beyond, as you can, right, don’t just stop when you think it’s satisfactory, push it a little bit more like pause.

[00:40:54.380] 

Is there anything else that I should be thinking about here, or is there another angle that I should be looking at and even just taking a minute and being present and really giving thought to what you’re doing? It’s remarkable how much you add and change and how much better the end result can become. So those have been two things that have really, I think, helped me personally.

[00:41:15.590] 

Yeah, I love that. I think, you know, going above and beyond, sort of pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. I think we probably have all done those things in some ways. And I think it’s great for somebody who’s not sure what their next step is or not sure how to get to that next level in their particular career. Hearing hearing those things from from somebody as accomplished as you, I think is is definitely encouraging and hopefully motivating as well.

[00:41:48.690] 

Well, really appreciate your time. Ashley was fantastic chatting with you and Andy. And I had a phenomenal time kind of getting to know you a little bit more and kind of hearing your world view as well.

[00:42:03.270] 

Yeah, likewise. Thank you guys so much again for having me. It was a blast. Yeah, I really enjoyed it. Thank you so much. Take care, guys.

[00:42:13.640] 

And a very big thanks again to our special guest, Ashley Wheeler.

[00:42:18.080] 

Well, folks, that is all the time we have for our little podcast that could. Cheers to that. A reminder for everybody that the links for the Reddit threads we discussed will be in the show notes if you want to check them out afterwards. Thank you again for everyone who made it this far, for the Freestar Blood, Sweat and CPMs podcast. If you do have a spare moment, please check us out on Google Play or iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts and leave us for review and subscribe to make sure that you get all of this high quality content directly into your ears.

[00:42:50.330] 

For feedback or suggestions for guests, you can reach us at a podcast at Freestar Dotcom Special. Thanks to Matt Heinlein for our music and to Caroline Romano and Paolo Battista for helping with editing and production and making sure that people know this podcast exists until next time. Don’t forget to add your macros. Later, alligator.


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