Blood, Sweat & CPMs Podcast: Episode 10

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 10

Krista Thomas (Amobee) on Marketing in the Age of COVID | Thoughts on ComScore, the risks of traffic buying, & browsing choices.

In this episode, Jeff and Andy discuss their personal browsing choices, the risks of traffic buying, and ComScore. Later in the episode, Jeff and Andy speak with Amobee’s SVP of Marketing, Krista Thomas about her work with AdTechCares and how marketing has shifted in the age of COVID. 


Listen to the episode on Spotify, now!



About Our Guests


Krista is SVP Marketing for Amobee, an industry-leading and global advertising technology provider that is reinventing advertising for the converging world. There, Krista has grown and professionalized the Marketing discipline, established best practices in GTM readiness and training, and driven strategic and sales enablement alignment.  

In the age of Covid-19, Krista also helped create a series of playbooks to help advertisers adapt to “the great Covid brand reset” — an unprecedented opportunity to take or defend market share — as consumers ventured back out of doors.

Formerly, Krista was SVP Marketing for VideoAmp and VP Product Marketing, Mobile and Video for Rubicon Project.

Find Krista on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristathomas/

If you or anyone you know is interested in hearing more about AdTechCares, please email [email protected] to get in touch, learn more, or get involved.




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[00:00:04.880] 

Even bolder, even braver, the earlier you go out there, the more proactive you are in sharing the value you can add, the better.

[00:00:20.330] 

And welcome, welcome, welcome to everyone joining us today.

[00:00:23.720] 

This, of course, is the Freestar presents Blood, Sweat and CPMs podcast. I am your host, Jeff Kudishevich. And I’m your co-host, Andy Forwark.

[00:00:35.960] 

Andy, today we’ve got a great show. Of course, we’re going to start with our redit ad ops threads of the week. Those should be nice and entertaining and hopefully a little bit informative. And then we got our awesome guests, Krista Thomas from Amobee. After speaking with her, you and I both know we had an amazing time. She’s got so many great insights from the marketing perspective. I know I learned a lot and I was literally writing writing notes as she was speaking to us.

[00:01:03.500] 

Yeah, a lot of good takeaways from our conversation with Krista. Before we jump into that, though, Andy, we sort of went through our kind of Q4 planning meetings, right? These used to be, of course, in person. The management staff all got together. We’d rent some like real world type mansions where it would be like, whatever, ten thousand square foot thing or what have you and really have a good time. Now, it’s sort of converted to eight hours of a zoom meeting sitting in front of your computer, having your camera on.

[00:01:37.110] 

I don’t know about you, but pretty mentally draining, just being engaged and having your camera on that whole time and certainly not every topic is a is an easy or light topic. And not being able to kind of have that camaraderie in person certainly makes it even more difficult these days.

[00:01:56.990] 

Yeah, I mean, it was a lot different. I think eight hours in front of a computer screen is draining just in general, like when you’re working all day. But like, this is even more intense because like you said, there’s a lot of conversations. There’s a lot of planning going on. You’re brainstorming by three o’clock on Tuesday. I think I was almost falling asleep at my desk. I was like, so, but hold on.

[00:02:18.110] 

Isn’t about a normal Tuesday for you, though.

[00:02:25.730] 

But I know what you mean, man, where, you know, we start the day early to try to help with the East Coast folks. And, yeah, by by the end of the day, it’s just feel like I’ve done a day and a half at that point and I’m obviously trying to not be too much of a brat here. Right. It’s still what we love to do. It’s still helping plan for for our next quarter. Enough about our our little bickering here about having to be on Zoom for the whole day.

[00:02:52.880] 

Andy let’s let’s jump into some of these Reddit threads and see if we can help the industry out a little bit, huh? Yeah. Sounds good. Let’s go.

[00:03:03.080] 

All right, Andy. Now the moment of truth. Our time to break down the top Reddit, Ad ops threads of the week, in case you don’t know, which I would imagine most don’t. I actually started the ad ops sub Reddit in 2012, and it’s now somehow become one of the leading ad ops’ communities in the industry. What do you think, Andy?

[00:03:22.640] 

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.

[00:03:33.830] 

Awesome. In our first thread, which is not really a thread, is from some industry news from Variety about the Viacom CBS deal with REDD Ventures to sell Cnet for a cool five hundred million bucks. Andy, I know this type of money is what you usually deal with. So what was your first thought when you saw this news, pop in?

[00:03:59.330] 

I mean, I think that’s a lot of money. Five hundred million dollars. Half a billion dollars is is quite my salary is like two fifty million a year.

[00:04:08.750] 

So what we did, we do call you quarter mil for for other reasons. But, you know, in the story they sort of talk about CBS aquired, CNET Networks in twenty eight for one point eight billion. So now Red Ventures is making the same purchase twelve years later for a less than a third. The thing I also want to mention here is it’s not just the CNET site, but it’s also GameSpot and Metacritic and a few other domains. Yeah, I mean, this is just another pub or big, big deal in in our industry this year.

[00:04:48.590] 

Certainly not going to be the last for sure. And obviously I wish everybody well, Senad at CBS Red Ventures and hopefully they can actually inject some some growth here that they mentioned. They’re focusing on them. Kind of excited to see, you know, I mean, I remember CNET that from when I first started. Doing anything on the Internet, so this is kind of like one of those old old brands that you think of the Internet, you think of CNET right?

[00:05:20.900] 

I mean, that’s the kind of kind of feels like the same thing, right?

[00:05:25.130] 

Yeah, totally. This is a very old brand and it’s surprising that it’s changed hands in 12 years later. It’s Red ventures. Definitely getting a little bit of a bargain here, as you as you pointed out for sure. So, yeah, we’ll see what they can do with it. All right. Next up is an actual Reddit Ad ops thread just entitled comScore. The user here writes just comScore have any point these days? I’d like to know why it’s important asking for a friend, kind of, I guess, kind of the same.

[00:05:58.160] 

Like CNET that. I remember my first month in adopts a decade, 12 years ago, whatever it is, first hearing about comScore. So it’s been around for, again, seemingly since the Internet was born. And effectively, are a measurement tool, right, it’s sort of a way to compare companies. The relative Internet size in the US and different types of targeting, right. So age, different types of targeting metrics, so to speak, is it all that different from what we think of like with Nielsen and TV or even like similar Web or some of these other measurement tools.

[00:06:37.950] 

They’re all there for the brands and marketing to have an idea, I guess, of what they’re buying in the markets. And so their point is that relevant these days or does it have a point these days? Well, with programmatic, we’re able to buy so many different audiences through the SSP is what they have as far as targeting, which doesn’t necessarily translate to comScore, but could so, you know, I think it’s still out there is like a thing that people will keep and they’ll have and they’ll pride themselves on being high in the rankings of comScore, us included.

[00:07:12.990] 

Of course, that’s included. Sure. But yeah, I mean, I think it’s really just been there as kind of the same tool over the years. And it’s just a staple in the industry that everybody kind of believes in.

[00:07:23.470] 

The next thread I just realized I have been running ninety nine percent fraud sites. Real quick, real quick, Andy just on that type that I don’t mean to laugh. No, I mean retitle.

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It’s right. I mean, it’s it’s kind of a curious way to to sort of write that, right?

[00:07:44.580] 

Yeah. I mean, it definitely grabbed my attention. Wanted to find out what what is he or she’s talking about here.

[00:07:50.940] 

So on that note, we we did this is a ton of comments, I should add. I know the poster responded to a bunch, so maybe not quite that many unique, but for our our little sub reddit here. One hundred fifty eight comments as of the recording. That’s a lot.

[00:08:10.440] 

That’s a lot for us. Obviously, what this user is talking about and what they’re purporting, you read it and you’re like, oh, come on, don’t do this right. They mentioned they bought a bunch of old domains for a few hundred bucks each. They admit that the traffic is I love this over ninety nine percent of my traffic is paid. Just say one hundred, just say one hundred percent at that point and talking about buying from five cents to twenty five cents CPM.

[00:08:43.800] 

And I love this in parentheses they write pm me if you need the sources. OK, like I definitely want to go to you for, for these sources mentioning that they monetize with Ad Sense and Outbrain, they have a colleague who advised them to implement full story on the site, which is like a measurement tool and basically with their own eyes that literally there’s no activity on the page that resembles anything legit. And what do you what do you advise?

[00:09:12.840] 

I do? I’ve never measured traffic quality myself, but is there anything I need to do if there are buyers that are still buying what I’m selling? This one cuts me deep, man. Andy like I, I can’t read this and go, OK, this makes sense. Keep doing what. We talk about this pretty regularly. We always talk about check your traffic sources, check what’s going on in this person, just blatantly saying I know that this is fraudulent traffic, but do I need to stop doing anything that I’m doing.

[00:09:41.460] 

Yeah, you should probably look to find some new traffic sources. You know, there’s a lot of them out there. It sounds like you have a really good model, basically buying between five and twenty five cents CPMs and your return is forty to eighty cents. But maybe check with the full story and make sure that everything’s implemented correctly, too, just to make sure there’s no weirdness.

[00:10:01.920] 

But yeah, I mean obviously that I think that’s a really good thing to mention. Right. We don’t want it. We don’t want to necessarily jump to conclusions. But reading the thread, they have no concerns. They have no qualms. They’re like, hey, if people are still buying what I’m selling, do I need to do anything? And the answer is it depends on what kind of life you want to live. If you feel like you’re good, you don’t give a crap about the industry.

[00:10:26.430] 

You feel like, hey, if I wake up tomorrow and I get a big juicy clawback email from Google, and that’s not going to change your life. I mean, I’m I’m a nobody to you. I hope I’m I hope I’m not nobody to this person. I hope I don’t actually know them. So what am I to say. But I mean, come on, don’t do that. Just don’t do this. This is literally the worst you could do.

[00:10:49.140] 

And being so brazen about it, we preach against doing this even when it’s on a small scale. This person saying literally one hundred percent of their travel, I should say, above ninety nine percent of their traffic is fraudulent. I mean, I don’t I don’t want to be in a position where my mortgage or my or it sounds like they have colleagues. So maybe their their coworkers or. Or their direct reports, or I don’t know if this is the owner of the company, are going to be in a situation where they’re not going to be able to get paid because of a massive clawback, at some point, Google is going to hit you hard.

[00:11:25.770] 

And and I’ve seen this come in way later. Right.

[00:11:29.040] 

I was going to say, I think that Google, they know what what’s happening. They can see referring domains and where things are coming to because they’re on your site. So they’re going to collect whatever evidence they need. And once they have sufficient evidence, they’re going to shut you down and probably take away a bunch of money.

[00:11:46.850] 

So and it’s not even going to be a conversation. It’s just going to be here. It is. No, there’s really nothing you can do. And once Google, you know, puts you on like a list of, you know, removed sites for Madha and Adsense or something, you just don’t you don’t get back on that list because they have your your name and address and and everything at that point because they’re sending you payments. So that’s the other thing.

[00:12:11.640] 

They don’t just block your domains. They they block you. Right. So if you ever want to work with Google. In the future, this is going to just put a big mark on your sort of your Google permanent record, so to speak. OK, next thread is entitled Your Own Personal Browsing Choices. Basically, the user saying knowing what you know about the ecosystem. Right. Advertising, targeting, etc., what do you actually stay away from?

[00:12:42.830] 

Do you minimize the number of apps on your phone? Do you turn off find my phone setting? Do you do the minimal possible permissions? Do you use ad blockers? God forbid, use ad blockers, uses a VPN. And I like these these two users that they profiled.

[00:13:02.450] 

So they say, are you like my stepdad who uses a quote unquote dumb phone or are you my sister saying, hey, I got a great pair of shoes from targeted ads. Andy you’ve been doing this for a while.

[00:13:18.530] 

Do you do anything different, knowing what you know, knowing behind the curtain, what you know about this industry?

[00:13:25.190] 

Not really. I don’t use an ad blocker. I understand. Thank you, Andy, for that.

[00:13:31.460] 

It works for me and everybody else in this industry. Thank you for not using an ad blocker.

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Yeah. You install an app on your phone and it has access to your data.

[00:13:42.740] 

So if you’re conscious about it and you’re worried, then don’t install things from people you don’t trust. I think that’s the main thing there.

[00:13:51.680] 

Andy how about when you go to one of the billion websites now that no matter what part of the world you’re in, ask you if you give away your cookie data and basically assess the company in action, do you. Just an instant. OK, OK, get out of my face sort of person.

[00:14:10.220] 

Yeah, I don’t think about it. I mean it is it is an interesting thought, right. Yeah. In principle I get it right. You know too much about us. We want to explicitly give you that information if we want to. I’m sure we’re probably in the minority on this or maybe not. I don’t know. Maybe there are other people who are like, why are we doing this? And I don’t know. I’m part of that.

[00:14:37.220] 

Maybe I think it’s just. Yeah, I agree. But this is just these things have been happening for years and it’s an easier way for people to get information off of you. So you go sign up for Facebook and you tell them that you’re a male and your age and whatever. You know, they have that and you gave it to them. So be conscious of that, too, is like you don’t have to give away your information. The cookie data and that kind of thing, I feel like isn’t it’s not super intrusive if Amazon is sending me an ad for some toothpaste that I forgot to buy, like, oh, maybe that’s helpful for me.

[00:15:11.690] 

And the reality is whether or not it’s a cookie or some unique identifier with no PII, whatever it is, we love the free Internet or the free web, so to speak. And free is not free. Somebody has got to pay, do you want every website ever to have a paywall and a subscription model? And you just decide here the two places I want to spend five bucks a month on the read from, or do you want to see ads going back to the user here?

[00:15:42.380] 

I don’t I don’t even think about it, to be honest. Yeah, I know all of the things that are being tracked. And when I go to certain sites and then I see their ads everywhere for a week, I’m like, OK, I just want to test something. I don’t I don’t actually care about that. That that to me is always the funny thing. I’m like, why am I seeing ads for a video game I’ve never even heard of?

[00:16:06.020] 

Oh, right. I went to I went to QA something a week ago on that size. And now that’s all that that they know about me for the time being. So I honestly I find it more funny than, than anything else. And to the answer the thread, no I don’t do anything different. I will install apps if I want that app for me. Honestly, the only thing I ever do is just decide what kind of notifications I want.

[00:16:32.630] 

Probably very limited amount of banners and notifications next. And last thread for us, Andy, is Newbie ad ops pro questions. The user here says, I’ve been recently hired as an ad ops specialist for a small marketing firm in Colorado, and I want to make sure I do well in this role. So they’re asking things like, can you share what the daily expectations of your role are? How do you spend your time on the clock? What tasks should be prioritized? Andy how do you spend your time, quote unquote, on the clock?

[00:17:08.480] 

I got I’d have to go back and count the number of years I’ve done in ad ops and no day is the same. Every day is different. How much how much time do you spend thinking about the clock. I never do. We’re also in a world now where a lot of us are working remote, so you don’t have co-workers around you that are distracting or walking around or can come by and talk to you.

[00:17:31.460] 

So I got a I got a couple of furry co-workers around. Oh. What I thought was really funny was how do you spend your time on the clock? To be young again, to think that your day starts and stops when you think it starts and stops is just so beautiful, so naive. The reality is in ad ops and in particular in advertising, more broadly, the clock doesn’t exist. It’s when am I what am I mentally done for the day?

[00:18:11.180] 

And I look, we’re obviously being tongue in cheek here. Everybody should make sure they have a nice work life balance, yadda, yadda, yadda. All this disclaimer crap. But the reality is ad ops is what it is and it’s always been this way. And to think that they can do a checklist of things to make sure they did everything they should be doing, that to me is also pretty, pretty cute. Look, reality is, yeah, you can make sure that in this role, I would assume the majority of what they’re doing is handling campaigns.

[00:18:39.290] 

Right. So check on pacing on a regular basis. Check against the KPI’s. This is the real answer. Not the not the. Not the joke

[00:18:47.960] 

Answer now, you know, check on pacing, check on the CPI’s usually CTR, sometimes viewability, sometimes completion rates and that sort of thing, and really get an understanding of am I actually fulfilling what these campaigns want me to be fulfilling or I should say these these these advertisers, these clients. Andy, what’s your what’s your real answer?

[00:19:12.530] 

Yeah, I mean, at the end of the day, you’re providing the service for a brand or an advertiser. So you’ve got to make sure that you have a broad understanding on what all these things are. So you mentioned KPIs Jeff like viewability and click through rate. Those types of things. Just you need to be familiar with those terms, be able to speak to them intelligently and and not sound like you don’t know what you’re talking about. I saw one of the users comments.

[00:19:37.970] 

You know, every day is like school for them. And that’s kind of a good point, right? Just because you don’t know something, you’ve got Google right next right there on your browser. So pop it in there and see what people are saying. You shouldn’t be ashamed if you’re using Google to help you out. It’s what it’s there for. So keep an open mind and learn as much as you can about the, you know, the basics of the industry.

[00:19:59.210] 

And from there, you’ll kind of grow.

[00:20:00.830] 

Andy, when when do you think you’ll know the basics of the industry just for us? I couldn’t remember how many years I’ve been doing this, but probably another like maybe seven or eight years. OK, that’s not bad.

[00:20:11.990] 

Yeah, yeah. I mean, basics of the industry. Time on the clock.

[00:20:17.780] 

You’re really letting. It changes every 6 months in ad ops so you’re never going to be have all the basics right man.

[00:20:26.640] 

I mean, you talk about regulations and privacy policies and IAB deciding to change things on you with stakeholders. And you got you got salespeople trying to push the envelope. You’ve got advertisers asking you to do things you can’t do. You’ve got a boss telling you to do things you don’t have enough time for and all you really want to do is drink.

[00:20:54.920] 

All right, Andy, I think we’ve talked enough about Reddit today. Why don’t we go ahead and speak to our special guest, Krista Thomas, today, huh?

[00:21:02.750] 

Yeah, really looking forward to hearing from Krista today. Our special guest, Krista Thomas, is the SVP of marketing for Amobee, an industry leading and global advertising technology provider that is reinventing advertising for the converging world. There Krista has grown and professionalized the marketing discipline, established best practices and GTM readiness and training and driven strategic and sales enablement alignment in the age of covid-19. Krista also helped create a series of playbooks to help advertisers adapt to the quote, the great covid brand reset an unprecedented opportunity to take or defend market share as consumers ventured back out of doors.

[00:21:53.540] 

Formerly, Krista was SVP of marketing for a video AMP and VP of Product Marketing of mobile and video for Rubicon Project. We are so happy to have Krista today. Thank you for joining us. I wanted to start us off by asking how did you get into ad tech in the first place?

[00:22:10.760] 

Oh my God. Thank you first of all for having me. I really appreciate the opportunity to chat with you guys. I’ve listened in on your interview with Erik Requidan an old friend from back in the day at Rubicon Project. So it’s a good tie in. I would say. First real ad tech experience was 2014 with Rubicon Project, but before that long time on the publisher side. So a couple of years, three or four years with AOL, three or four years with Thomson Reuters.

[00:22:37.040] 

So I’ve always kind of had that integration and side by side conversation with the ad ops function. But in terms of real programmatic, it really wasn’t until 2014 I joined Rubicon to help the company go public and really they were looking down the barrel of we got to have an IPO in ou store its way too complicated. Nobody understands this stuff.

[00:23:00.440] 

How do we keep it simple? And I said, look, you know, you were talking to Wall Street like its buyers and sellers coming together in a marketplace who doesn’t understand that that’s what these people love, right? It’s like ducks to water.

[00:23:17.870] 

Thank goodness. It kind of took we we nailed down the story, got it simplified a lot. And then I created product marketing practice there as well.

[00:23:26.090] 

So at Rubicon, Kris, it sounds like you kind of distilled down to where any of us could sort of tell our parents, here’s what we do in a very succinct way. Is that something that that you focus on as your sort of maybe talking about more complex topics in the industry as well?

[00:23:44.990] 

Yeah, you know, it’s still kind of bedevils the ADTECH world. I think every day of there’s a level of complexity that I think people sometimes like to do on purpose. You know, it’s that it’s that inclination to create something new and very elaborate. And, you know something? You need to have an explainer. You want to write a white paper, right. You’ve got to have all this detail and people just get overwhelmed. Right. And even customers.

[00:24:09.260] 

Right. They go through such trials and tribulations trying to figure out what to do is the cookie crumbles and the situation with Apple and IBFA. And so as we’re dealing with this, we always, as marketers are trying to keep it simple, keep it light, keep it funny. If you can like, let’s challenge ourselves to actually be amusing. Luckily, that’s been something that I’ve been able to help do in the industry. To your point about complexity.

[00:24:34.610] 

Even more so, yes. At Amobee, we’re dealing in a far more complex world and also linear television.

[00:24:41.000] 

So traditional old school linear, that means cable, satellite, broadcast television and unifying a marketer’s plan and strategy across linear TV, connected TV, all things programmatic and then also social media all on one platforms.

[00:25:02.990] 

Sounds that sounds like they’re going to keep you busy for a while.

[00:25:06.950] 

It’s a lot, right. And but the way I boil it down, as I say, look, think about your most expensive media. That’s also your most high impact. It’s all video. That’s where you’re spending money. That’s where you’re engaging people. That’s where you’re trying to create emotion and connect with people on an emotional level. You got to get that right.

[00:25:27.560] 

Krista, operationally, like, has your focus changed at all during the pandemic? Like, what have you had to change maybe to focus?

[00:25:34.940] 

It was a big, big shift for us, of course, like everybody else. Right. But we have so many fiercely loyal customers that we’re basically flummoxed and said, well, what do you think we should do? And we were like, well, let’s talk about goals and strategy and how do we adapt to the situation. We created playbooks. We sat down and said, OK, and taking everything we know about 30 days into it, what can we foresee happening?

[00:26:03.440] 

And what we settled on is we could foresee that there was going to be this brand reset, there was going to be a an opportunity to take market share that wasn’t previously yours or to defend your market share. Right. And so a lot of people in the industry kind of started centering around this idea of like, oh, there’s going to be a reset when we finally get back outdoors. What’s going to happen and who are the brands that are going to be there?

[00:26:29.470] 

And then quickly, we started to realize, OK, but actually we’re going to be indoors and then back outdoors and then back indoors again after we did the initial playbooks about, hey, you know, it’s about changing up your messaging, dealing with the reality that when it’s finding your audience number two, because that’s shifted, those behaviors have changed.

[00:26:51.460] 

And then number three, it’s like coming up with a new marketing plan coming up with a new media plan for this age. That was the first phase of the books. Then as we got into June and things started, infection rates started going back up, people started panicking and saying, maybe I will stay home a lot more. We started to say, OK, maybe it’s region by region that we need to counter. So now a lot of our covid-19 work has turned into ways to help advertisers be aggressive in markets where they can and then save money in markets where they can’t. Krista along the same lines.

[00:27:29.650] 

I’d like to maybe take a level a little bit deeper. Are there any sort of trends or maybe unexpected behavior that maybe the data has has shown? But just intuitively, you would have never thought what would be what what you’d expect.

[00:27:48.400] 

One just funny vignette that we we learned that was kind of hysterical to us, but we were looking at travel because we have an airline client and we have a couple of travel and hospitality clients and basically found that while most travel was being canceled aggressively by business, travel cancelled a whole lot like weddings. A whole bunch of these types of events just canceled. There was one stalwart holdout and that was bachelor parties.

[00:28:19.630] 

So wait even though the wedding is canceled, the bachelor party still goes on.

[00:28:24.220] 

Bachelor parties are on. And we were like, wow, this is interesting. People are like pushing and rescheduling and putting in, but like not canceling.

[00:28:37.990] 

One of those just funny insights that we found over time and, you know, there been a couple of those. I think the other funny thing that just kind of struck our our funny bone was we found that teenagers were becoming coffee connoisseurs. There was this sudden interest because you couldn’t go out and hang out at Starbucks, you couldn’t go out. And do you know the normal kind of coffee shop behavior that all of a sudden there was an interest in brewing my own gourmet coffee?

[00:29:04.660] 

How interesting. Just counterintuitive. But, you know, got to get that homework done.

[00:29:10.690] 

So the next question I have is, is kind of looking towards the end of 2020, which I am really looking forward to the end of this year and getting into a new year. 2021 for know from the buy side. What are some takeaways that maybe publishers could, could learn to better position themselves for Q4 and 2020.

[00:29:31.660] 

Yeah, it’s going to be a very interesting holiday season. I mean what we’ve seen again, using our brand intelligence service, we’ve seen a lot of early shopping. We’ve seen a really an acceleration of existing trends, but really rapid acceleration. So where you have seen so much of a shift to mobile commerce, now seeing that even faster and taking up even more of people’s dollars and intent. Right. So there’s research just kind of getting all that shopping done now because you actually have time on your hands is something that we’re experiencing and seeing in the trends right now.

[00:30:09.580] 

I think the other piece of it, it’s kind of interesting is there’s confusion right now about when is an actual vaccine potentially going to come? How much of it will there be and how do I take advantage of that? That plus the obvious huge elephant in the room is the political aspect. Here’s a funny little tidbit. It’s very hard to forecast effectively in many programmatic channels for political. And so they’re often not able to spend the full budget the way they had wanted to in the targeted fashion that they want to.

[00:30:38.740] 

And Krista, kind of piggybacking off of that sort of knowing Q4, we all gear up for Black Friday, Cyber Monday. Are you sort of expecting changes there, knowing that maybe some stores are going to not be, quote unquote, cancelled Black Friday or it’ll look a lot different?

[00:31:00.340] 

How are you guys kind of prepping for that?

[00:31:02.860] 

We’re we’re just seeing the arc of it being already ramped up, right, and it’s just as opposed to kind of that dramatic day of massive shopping and sitting on the couch after Thanksgiving overeating and sitting on the couch and just like picking up your phone and doing some shopping, we’re just, as I mentioned, like we’re just seeing that behavior already and already this trend and the arc they are sort of figuring out what you’re going to buy, doing all your research.

[00:31:29.280] 

A lot of that happening in mobile and social. Right. A lot of Instagram behavior, for instance, and clicking through to shop. So I think it’s just a slower, more gradual, but building to a mountain, you know, over time as opposed to that like spike.

[00:31:46.560] 

Chris, I wanted to ask you, we we heard about your more recent involvement with ADTECH carers and love for you to sort of give the listeners a little bit of background on that and where it came from and what you’re doing with it specifically as well.

[00:32:04.290] 

So this is it was fascinating, actually is the brainchild of one of our engineers, Anand Natarajan, basically about not even a month in, I would say about three weeks into covid. He said, you know, the misinformation and frankly, like disinformation that’s out there about covid-19 is really confusing for people. And we have this massive machine and we have a lot of partners. And on the buy side and supply side, why wouldn’t we try to put together a PSA campaign that basically would give people good information and leverage the engine that is the programatic machine out there, string it together with a whole bunch of partners and get a public service announcement out there that benefits information back to the World Health Organization.

[00:32:50.970] 

And so we reached out. We just started reaching out immediately to everybody. And so all of Rubicon at the time magnite now, spot X, open X, literally every single partner and a lot of our social influencer partners and friends in that space and Spaceback, for instance, Casey Saran’s company to basically say, hey, we want to put together a beautiful PSA. How can you help us? Can you donate inventory? Can you help us get your partners to donate inventory?

[00:33:21.930] 

Spot X was amazing at that is going straight out to the publishers and just get us a footprint. And we started in the US and we we’re very quickly. That was almost the easiest thing. And we donated a certain amount of money ourselves to just to buy against our own network of inventory partners. And then we laid out a call to action to the industry and we worked with the ad council. And also, frankly, UM, it was really important to this.

[00:33:50.790] 

They were basically co-founders and the whole ADTECH Cares initiative. And so we said, guys, how do we take this global now? We set our sights on let’s get Europe done, let’s go to APOC. Let’s go to Latcham. Let’s go to the Middle East right to this day. At this point, we have four billion impressions served in that campaign and it’s still going at about two billion people, unique individuals reached. I mean, yeah, it’s funny, you know, one of the folks from a very cool agency that’s been involved and helped us out with a lot of creative basically turned and said at one point, like, hey, I think this is the largest, most powerful communications machine in the history of the world right.

[00:34:33.750] 

I mean, think about it, right? Just connecting. Fifty about approximately 50 agencies, ad tech vendors, data partners and creative people along the way that came up with strategy and the beautiful creative that we have. And honestly, what a powerful machine. We can use this for good and we can use it for many purposes. So we’ve actually the news is we actually just last week pivoted to add a new PSA campaign on top of the covid-19, one that basically is in support of Black Lives Matter through one of the entities in the Black Lives Matter movement called Campaign Zero.

[00:35:14.010] 

Basically, Campaign Zero has a campaign called Niks the Six, which is all about understanding police brutality and violence and and how it happens at its root level, being the contract that the police actually have with your city. So it’s a it’s nix the six dot org and six is the number six. And you can go in there basically search and find for your city what the police union contract is with your city and then understand the terms and conditions of that contract and, for instance, the protections that various police have against being prosecuted for, you know, crimes.

[00:35:55.200] 

And so all of this is obviously unique to each city. And it’s you have to dig in. You have to kind of look and make sure you understand what’s going on in your city, what the rights of protection are. But that gives you something substantial you can do more than just like sending a bunch of tweets, Krista ADTECH is is a fairly male dominated tech space. I mean, I think the tech spaces in general, what are some of the challenges that come along with being a female in the space?

[00:36:21.710] 

I don’t have that traditional STEM education behind me. I was like a hardcore marketing communications major coming up and have a master’s degree in English literature. So I was by no means the typical person to come into the space. But the bottom line is everybody needs the skill sets and the creativity that people bring. Right. And so it’s not just women in STEM that I completely, fully endorse women getting into STEM and getting that background and that education and bringing it into technology.

[00:36:54.680] 

But even if you don’t have that background in education, you know, we need amazing lawyers. We need amazing finance people. We need amazing marketing. We need amazing salespeople. Sometimes I laugh when people say, well, ad tech is there’s not that many women in ad tech. I’m like, well, wait a minute, you must be looking at the product and engineering team because the sales team is practically dominated by amazing women.

[00:37:18.950] 

So, yeah, but we have we have several ourselves as well. So I definitely know that from firsthand experience. I’m kind of curious. Maybe it’s from a specific product engineering lens. I’m wondering, is it just generally maybe like the wrong stigma that the people have about our industry? You put tech in the name and that that means something in their minds.

[00:37:47.570] 

You know, I think it’s I do think it’s a bit of legacy thinking and maybe a bit of legacy hangover. And I don’t want to be Pollyanna ish and say, like the problem is solved. I think we still do proactively have to look hard. But one thing, I’ve found this to be the exact same situation with diversity and inclusion. It’s all about staying committed to your search when you have open headcount and not fishing in the same pond that you’re used to like.

[00:38:12.830] 

Don’t go the easy route. It’s harder, look harder, look around, go to nontraditional resources here in Los Angeles, like I’m going to find somebody from USC or UCLA and that’s it will go the extra mile, look around and actually look to the universities and colleges that aren’t just like the easy household names. And I think one of the interesting things we’re doing is we’ve just partnered with the Verizon ad fellows it’s a diversity and inclusion recruiting program that gives students that are in their senior year of undergrad an internship within a company that’s in the marketing ADTECH or just advertising space overall or just a brand marketer or a media company and basically bring in interns.

[00:38:56.900] 

And then you commit one headcount out of, say, three students that you’re going to commit to hiring at least one by the end of the internship program. So there are programs like that out in the world to get involved in. There’s many of these programs that just if you actually just take the effort to look around and I think that’s that’s the solution is being proactively, aggressively anti-racism, anti sexism and getting out there and doing the work. Yeah, I love that.

[00:39:28.160] 

And I and I love the way you put it. Krista, I want to ask kind of the last question. We usually ask our guests around advice. So for somebody who is trying to break into a marketing role in our industry, do you have any advice for that person?

[00:39:43.550] 

Be even bolder, be even braver. Sometimes young people get caught up in this like, well, I don’t know enough to add value yet. I’m going to hold back my opinions or I’m going to hold back my ideas. Generally, it’s just it’s just a mistake. The earlier you get out there, the more proactive you are in sharing the value you can add, the better. And the faster that you’re able to say, I want to take on a new project, what can I do?

[00:40:13.010] 

I’ve got an idea. Can I bring that idea to the company? The better off you are. I’m like, when I first got into Rubicon, I had this great talk with Jordan Mitchell, who was there with the IAB, and he created DigitaTrust. Right. It was his initiative. And he said, you know, the thing that people miss is like, you can’t just come here and do the job. You have to do the job and then also do something unique and special and to add value on top.

[00:40:39.230] 

And I was like, no one ever put it that way. It’s kind of people think that you kind of intuitively know, like, wow, I better make a I better add some value here quick. But to really put it that way, like to understand it’s never going to be enough for you just to do your job. You need to bring creativity. You need to bring ideas, you need to bring inspiration. And even if that’s just in the form of helping others and pulling other people up.

[00:41:05.240] 

Around you and being part of those efforts, right, it doesn’t have to be the most like Jordan came up with a brilliant idea, diditatrust that’s been important to the industry, but a lot of us are just like my contribution. Maybe ADTECH cares or my contribution may be building a really diverse and supportive team that builds people up and and creates mentorship.

[00:41:25.510] 

I love that just about everything you said. I’ve been trying to write things down as as we’ve been talking, but it was really great speaking with you and love picking your brain. So thank you so much for for indulging us today. Absolutely.

[00:41:39.310] 

Well, thanks you guys for the opportunity. I appreciate it. Amobee appreciates it. And hey, it’s so good to to find your guys podcast.

[00:41:46.810] 

I’m a total podcast geek, so I will subscribe like. Absolutely Will.

[00:41:57.220] 

Well, thank you so much. Thank you.

[00:42:00.820] 

Bye bye. Wow, what a great conversation with Krista. Thank you again for joining us. It was so great hearing about her work with ADTECH carers, bringing awareness for covid and the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as some great advice for marketing folks trying to get into the industry. And really, how has marketing shifted in the age of covid?

[00:42:24.710] 

Yeah, thanks again to Krista. It’s really awesome to hear from the marketing side, a mind, you know, that’s been in this industry for a bit now and just gives us a little bit different perspective on how we look at things. And I just thought there was a lot of great things to take away. So thank you again, Krista, for your time today.

[00:42:42.560] 

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.

[00:43:08.630] 

For feedback or suggestions for guests, you can reach us at a podcast at Freestar.com 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.

[00:43:41.240] 

Last thing on comScore, maybe this is just a Jeff Quirk, I don’t know why maybe I saw it on an older logo, maybe it’s the existing branding in my head. I always write it with a lower case, C for com and an uppercase S for scores of comScore, where it’s written with a lower case C capital s. When I see it any other way, I just kind of get a little triggered where I’m like, oh no, that’s wrong.

[00:44:12.890] 

Am I the only one here on that?

[00:44:14.450] 

Andy. Maybe maybe you have something there, Jeff? I think I know it as the lowercase C myself a a.

[00:44:21.540] 

All right. I’m not going to let me down. Huh. All right. That’s good.


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