Blood, Sweat & CPMs Podcast: Episode 11

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 11

Lara Phippen (TripleLift) on Native Advertising | Thoughts on Owning Ad Agencies and Ad Block Options.

In this episode, Jeff and Andy discuss ad block options, owning your own ad agency, and why everyone is quitting. Later in the episode, Jeff and Andy speak with TripleLift’s VP of Publisher Client Services, Lara Phippen about all things native advertising and her transition to her current role during COVID.


Listen to the episode on Spotify, now!



About Our Guests

Lara is a thought leader in digital media focused on development with humanity. Her experience comes from a 16-year career in the online industry that began with buying media at a start-up tech firm, Advertising.com. After AOL purchased Ad.com, she moved into the early stages of programmatic and built a team to operate all aspects of their RTB integrations.  She continued with programmatic through the inception of OATH, post Verizon purchase, where she formed a development team focused on optimizing the O&O Supply within Verizon Media’s internal SSP’s.  In 2020, she was able to get back to her start-up roots, bringing her experience to TripleLift running their client services organization with a focus on consultation and revenue growth. She is currently living in Maryland and is the proud mother of three children with her husband and their Covid puppy.

Find Lara on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laraphippen/



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[00:00:04.470] 

It’s no secret that native really does perform better for our advertisers, you know, if you’re going to ask for a premium specifically with native advertising, you have to get you back out with a premium product and like the best experience you can.

[00:00:24.420] 

Welcome, welcome, welcome.

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

[00:00:36.810] 

And we have a fantastic show, do we not? We always have a fantastic show.

[00:00:42.690] 

Hell yeah So today’s episode, we’re going to be going over our Reddit Ad Ops Threads of the Week. We have some interesting things around Adblock and doing consulting and things like this. And then we also have our fantastic guest, Laura Phippen from Triple Lift, where you get to talk with Laura about all things native and curiously enough, her transition to triple shift during a little thing called covid-19. So you get to hear a little bit about her, her life and her world.

[00:01:15.330] 

Andy, today marks an unprecedented day in the world of, I guess, technology.

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There is a little app called Slack where we use it for everything and it has been on and off, down and unusable at times. I woke up and it felt like a bad dream, a nightmare scenario. What was your first thought when you started the day and realized Slack was being a little goofy, it being Monday?

[00:01:46.980] 

I certainly thought I had a case of the Mondays. oOne of our internal apps that we use.

[00:01:54.790] 

Hold on and a hold on. Hold on. Do you think everybody in our industry has is office space like required reading, so to speak? Like does like when you say case of the Mondays, do you think everybody gets it or are we in some kind of bubble where mid thirties we would be nerd. Our our age

[00:02:19.950] 

It’s definitely going against us in the movie being I think it came out in ninety six maybe is is quite a bit old now, but if you haven’t seen that you, you must watch that as an adult and especially if you have ever had a job. Yes. And a building with lots of other people. Yes. Which might be, it might be foreign to people these days. A job where I’m around humans.

[00:02:47.070] 

Is that a thing? Could be.

[00:02:50.880] 

So I remember and I feel like we’re getting way off track. So I’m just going to quickly touch on this. I remember the first time I watched it, I kind of was like, this is obviously a hyper exaggeration. This isn’t how businesses work. And then my first corporate gig, Beige Cube Walls, people you don’t talk to who you pass by and they’re like, oh, hey, how’s it going?

[00:03:19.140] 

I’m like, I don’t know. You don’t know who I what.

[00:03:22.380] 

Hey, guys, what’s up? Do you want to go to try to get some coffee early? I got to get out of here. I think I’m going to lose it. Oh, sounds like somebody’s got a case of the mondays.

[00:03:35.250] 

I just hate small talk and that that movie just encompasses all of the small talk and corporate B.S. that has, I think, plagued society for a little too long.

[00:03:50.700] 

It’s it’s a really well done film. I’ll correct myself. It was 1999 written and directed by Mike Judge, though, who’s an excellent writer and director. Speaking of which, that did an excellent series on HBO called Silicon Valley, another show that is a must watch for anybody that has been part of a startup or any kind of tech job. To tie into our original topic of Slack being down in the opening of Silicon Valley each season, they update their intro graphic, which shows like The Different Tech Companies.

[00:04:28.140] 

And you do later on see Slack’s little bubble or little building come up. So if you haven’t seen Silicon Valley, you won’t know what I’m talking about. And if you have and didn’t remember seeing Slack, maybe go back in and take a look.

[00:04:44.100] 

Well, Andy, our mics are working and our recording device is working. So I think even though Slack has not been working, we still have to probably finish our podcast today huh. Yeah, maybe some alternate source of notes, though, because I can’t see my notes down, right? Yeah, for sure. Let’s go ahead and jump into our reddit ad ops threads of the week. All right, Jeff, let’s jump right into those Reddit threads.

[00:05:23.430] 

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 opps’ 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.

[00:05:54.270] 

Awesome man. And our first thread is entitled What Tool to Use to Monetize Adblock Users. So first off, I will give a plug to a previous episode on our podcast, our Episode two with Marty over a block through. Give that a listen. You can listen to Marty’s rise to ad block fame and what they do over their block through for ad block recovery. I will also mention there’s other vendors. So not saying block through is the only game in town.

[00:06:29.080] 

Do your research. All of that good stuff as you would any other vendor. But we obviously love working with Block Through and Marty and his team are fantastic. Andy, what’s your take on the question at hand here?

[00:06:42.150] 

Well, in the different world, I would have told you, Page Fair was a competitor, but block through required them a couple of years ago now. I think so another vendor that’s been in the industry for a while, I haven’t personally used. I’ve heard their pitch is admirable and they’ve been doing some advancements. So I’ve heard recently it’s been a while since I’ve talked to them, so I can’t speak to their technology a ton. But they kind of off offer, you know, options for paywalls and other methods of Adblock recovery, I suppose, that aren’t just showing ads that are safe to Adblock users.

[00:07:22.950] 

The other things you can kind of look at if you don’t want to just look at ad block recovery. Years back, I was at an ad monsters conference and the folks at Kelley Blue Book did a really nice white paper in person about what they were doing. So obviously their business might be different than yours, but they have this really nice funnel where users are going through. And then before you get your value right, essentially what you go to Kelley Blue Book to do is get a value for your used cars, things like that.

[00:07:59.400] 

They would tell you, hey, disable your ad blocker. Or watch this video ad or don’t get don’t get the things you want, so they might have a different model than than maybe you and your site or app. There are other opportunities, too, right, where you can do things like if I detect users with Adblock on, maybe they have to see a video and then we can let them do their their normal session. Andy, what’s your take on subscription or paywall options here?

[00:08:32.650] 

Yeah, it’s definitely something that’s been I’ve seen a lot more recently myself browsing the Internet, getting links sent to me, getting to a site and then asking you to subscribe or become a member of the site. And for me, I, I find it a little bit invasive and I don’t like it. I don’t want to sign up for The New York Times to read their article. I feel like I should be able to from a normal Internet advertising website that’s publishing their content.

[00:09:02.230] 

Certainly I see their angle of why they would want to charge users like they would if you were to get the paper delivered to your home or or something like that.

[00:09:11.950] 

Not I’m not totally against it, but I don’t love the fact that I have to give them my email address and phone number and some of these things. I’m becoming a little bit more conscious, I think about myself as a user online and just kind of being wary of who do I give all of my information to these days.

[00:09:30.160] 

All right, Andy, I also wanted to bring in Matt Burgess from our team over here at Freestar. He heads up our programmatic demand stack. I know, Matt, you’ve done a lot of work in sort of vetting of some vendors around this sort of paywall and subscription model. Would love to have you give a few words of wisdom around what you’ve seen.

[00:09:51.550] 

Yes, sure thing. It’s it’s a fairly loaded topic, but I’ll try to keep it brief here. It’s interesting to see right there. Everybody’s being hit. All the publishers and ecosystem right now are being hit over the head. What they need to have some solution to get more authenticated traffic against their supply and what’s that’s. What that is ultimately turning into here is you’re seeing a flurry of new tech and vendors pop up that provide that service, some type of a first party sign on, if you will.

[00:10:22.270] 

And the key issue there, right, is, is not necessarily the tech itself. Can it work? Can it actually capture somebody’s basic information, whether it’s a Google leasing out like a Google sign on or coming up with your own proprietary I? It’s going to be the user experience that I think is going to make this ultimately fall sort of flat on its face. And this really not proliferating at a level that I think some folks say it will.

[00:10:46.180] 

And why it is that way is that the user experience is going to be such that if you see this experience popping up on like a mom and pop blog talking about how to make really great pizza or something like that, I don’t think on some of these lower tier sites that you’re going to see a user stick around or be willing to give away some elements of their PII to be able to access that content. And so, again, I understand the value in driving and building more authenticated traffic.

[00:11:16.090] 

There is value to that and this ecosystem. But I don’t think the quality of the content, especially when you talk about an ARB site, is going to be there and you’re going to see a lot of users just bounce rather than actually give away their their email details or any certainly any other personal identifiers. Cool.

[00:11:34.150] 

That makes sense. Matt, appreciate you letting us pick your brain a little bit on the sensor today. Thank you. Absolutely. Thanks, guys. Andy. Next up, the thread is entitled. Has anyone attempted their own ad tech agency?

[00:11:47.710] 

If so, how did it go? Is it a viable thing to do? From my perspective, I think it’s sort of, you know, can you do consulting? I’ve certainly seen it as a pretty standard practice in our industry. Obviously, a lot of it depends on you and your skill set. Can you sell yourself? Do you have the tech chops? Are you able to hire and fill in the gaps, maybe outsourcing with what you don’t know or what you can do right now?

[00:12:17.920] 

What’s your take? Ad tech agencies, kind of a broad term.

[00:12:22.010] 

What are you specifically looking to do for people in adtech? I agree. If you have some consulting experience or you know, things in this industry, then you can probably provide those services to a number of websites and individuals out there. But what is your main focus? What are you really looking to do? And I don’t know. I think I could look at Freestar as somewhat of an ad tech agency. Would you agree with that, Jeff?

[00:12:49.840] 

Yeah. What I was going to actually say and is what if I wanted to be the best Andy I could be? And that’s that’s the purpose of my adtech agency. I don’t have an answer for that. That’s just a really good question. So the. Question of our time, folks, the way to actually answer this question is, do you want to start your own business? Do you want to put yourself out there? Do you want to risk not getting paid?

[00:13:14.440] 

Can you risk not getting paid? Yeah. People have attempted to start their own adtech agencies, but are you willing to take on all of the risk of starting your own business? I tried my hand not at adtech specifically, but I tried my hand at a couple of businesses when I was a little bit younger. What I’ll say from those experiences is that they have to be driven by love and passion. If they’re driven by money only or status or things like that, you’re going to probably fall on your face pretty quickly because those things don’t drive you when, again, you’re eight or nine p.m. on a Saturday or three a.m. on a Sunday, instead of doing life, instead of going to the birthday party, instead of being with your loved ones.

[00:14:06.160] 

Next thread is entitled Why Is Everyone Quitting? And it’s a post from the advertising sub Reddit. So I think the main thing here is about ad agencies, but I wanted to talk a little bit more broadly from what I’ve seen and what Andy’s seen. So and we’ve obviously seen lots of companies cutting back workforces and people furloughing and this, that and the other. At the same time, plenty of places are are hiring and still striving. Right. So from what you’ve seen, what’s your kind of take on either either side of the coin here?

[00:14:46.210] 

Yeah, I think the furloughing of employees is maybe more of the companies opening their eyes a little bit and seeing do they just have too many people right now in these positions and maybe they’re not all necessary. And that’s an unfortunate way of looking at it. But as a business, in order to keep profitable and stay running, sometimes you have to do those things. So covid has been a reason, I think, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that there couldn’t have been furloughing as the industry changes for other reasons.

[00:15:17.510] 

Right. The pandemic is probably the reason this time. But this has happened before. As far as people quitting, I don’t I don’t see a whole lot of that. The people that I’ve known that have quit their jobs in the positions I’ve had aren’t because necessarily that the company’s doing poorly or even in their department, things are doing poorly. It’s usually they just don’t like the job they’re doing. Maybe they found something better that pays more. So I don’t know about some of these agencies, but the other thing that I have been hearing with covid, and this could be another reason why people are quitting agencies in particular.

[00:15:55.390] 

So a lot of people are moving away from New York City and getting out could be a reason why people are just having to leave their jobs and maybe work from home is not an option there or something. Right.

[00:16:07.270] 

The other thing, too, that I wanted to bring up is if people are quitting and trying to market themselves. I have another plug.

[00:16:18.890] 

Our third episode with Veronica at Ad talent Veronica did a fantastic job of running through different things for people to think about when building their resume and when interviewing. So if you’re looking for tips, go give that a listen. Next thread for us today is entitled Adtech Engineer Consulting. So the user here is saying they’re looking for a data scientist or an engineer that’s worked at an ad network and they basically want to pick their brain for a few hours and pay them for some of their time about auction mechanics and algorithms and all of these kind of nuanced aspects of the of the industry.

[00:17:06.700] 

I kind of read it and thought, good luck. I don’t know. It doesn’t feel like the sort of thing if I was a data scientist and I spent a lot of years going through school and or personal education and.

[00:17:20.660] 

Like, I don’t know, can you sum this up in a few hours, right, like some of these people spent years building out models and and what are you what could you glean from a couple hours where they they could talk to you about maybe like very high level principles, but don’t you then still need a data scientist to implement those things?

[00:17:40.850] 

I look at this and almost say, sure, you could ask these questions and talk to somebody about it. But you’re going to learn the most by trying to figure them out yourself, and I know that sounds like that might sound crazy, but if you don’t put your mind to it and try to get to what you’re getting at, the questions you’re asking, that person may not even be relevant to the application of it. So if you can dig into things more, I think that’s the best place to start rather than just throwing out a bullet list of, oh, here’s some things I’d ask somebody to try to answer those questions yourself first.

[00:18:16.520] 

If you’re still having the same questions or you’re not finding, then maybe there is some validity there. But then you can do a lot of this research on your own, too.

[00:18:24.640] 

And the last thread, I think, is the quintessential ad op’s thread of our day. So the title of the thread is Programmatic  slash DB 360.  client wants to cancel campaign because CEO doesn’t see Banner enough.

[00:18:43.150] 

Yes, raise your hand if you worked hard enough and. Can I plus one that. This reminds me back in the day with tear sheets. Right. I get way back in the day when it was newspapers and magazines and you wanted to see a physical like how does it look but in our world tear sheet or send me a screenshot. I mean, none of that actually means the ad is running. It just means I showed you the ad on my website.

[00:19:18.310] 

Right. If you don’t trust the the publishers or the networks you’re working with to actually deliver the ad, well, then that’s where a lot of these third parties came in to track and monitor delivery. Getting back to the question here so the CEO doesn’t see the banner enough. OK, why does that matter? Why does that matter? Most campaigns are in the millions of impressions, if not multi millions of impressions. Right. So if I see it ten times, does that mean if I saw it ten times, then it definitely ran a hundred million impressions.

[00:19:56.110] 

Right. Like if it’s a bill if it’s a physical billboard in the world and I’m like, that’s my billboard. And I paid for that space and I paid for it for 12 weeks. And I am driving my car and it’s the eighth week and I don’t see it. OK, you’ve got a problem and that that needs to get fixed. But ads rotate. Millions of people see ads in millions and millions of impressions.

[00:20:21.200] 

Andy I read it and I was like, damn this. This takes me back when I when I was dealing with clients directly on the on the campaign side and just reading this. I think I, I think I got a little triggered.

[00:20:39.900] 

A little bit like PTSD. Yeah, a little bit. Yeah, a little. Five p.m.. We’re not seeing it. Yeah.

[00:20:49.600] 

Oh yeah. We used to do the midnight checks. I think  this is a little bit of lack of knowledge or lack of understanding how everything works. And in the system, you know, I don’t know who this person is obviously, but maybe the CEO is used to some sort of direct campaign that he or she can always see their ads on, I don’t know. It’s funny if we laugh at it in the industry because we do this every day and we realize in programatic you’re targeting an audience.

[00:21:23.040] 

So if the CEO doesn’t hit the audience, though, and you’re probably not going to see the ad, one of my favorite comments in here was when somebody said, grab a pixel, serve it to the page, or send the link to the CEO with a page with that pixel on it and then target and add to that pixel and you won’t spend that much money on it. But the CEO will see it every time.

[00:21:46.640] 

The other one the other one that I really liked is this back and forth where one user says, I bet ten bucks dude has adblock on. And then the next the next comment is you think a CEO making this request knows Adblock even exists.

[00:22:04.280] 

This was just a lighthearted thread for us to end on. I think everybody gets it and hopefully cooler heads prevail. And hopefully somebody over there at the at the buy side for this CEO tells him or her, I should say, hey, maybe you’re just not seeing it because you’re not seeing it.

[00:22:23.900] 

It’s it’s not not serving just because you’re not seeing it enough. It’s just you’re not the target demo or or what have you. Which is which is great. Right. Why do you want to see your own ad? You’re spending money for those impressions anyways. Don’t you want actual buyers or users to see the ads? So.

[00:22:44.090] 

All right, Andy, I think on that note, I think we’re all at Ad ops-ed out today. What do you say we go ahead and have our conversation with our special guest, Laura, from Triple Lift? Yeah, let’s go do that.

[00:23:00.470] 

And now we get a chat with our special guest today, Laura Phippen from Triple Lift. She is a thought leader in digital media focused on development with humanity. Laura’s experience comes from a 16 year career in the online industry that began with buying media at a startup tech firm Advertising.com. After AOL had purchased AdCom, she moved into the early stages of programmatic and built a team to operate all aspects of their RTB integrations. Laura continued with programmatic through the inception of oath post the Verizon purchase, forming a development team focus on optimizing the O&O supply within Verizon Media’s internal ESPs.

[00:23:42.380] 

In 2020, Laura brought her experience to lift running their client services organization with a focus on consultation and revenue growth. Laura lives in Maryland and is the proud mother of three children and their covid puppy. We are so, so excited to have Laura join us today. Thank you so much for joining us today.

[00:24:04.130] 

Thank you, Jeff and Amy, for having me. I’m excited to be here.

[00:24:06.800] 

Awesome. So to get things started, we just like to kind of find out from each of our guests. Can you tell us how you got into ad tech in the first place?

[00:24:15.770] 

It’s actually a bit of a funny story, but I really think it comes down to a neighbor and a friend. So everybody always talks about how it’s your network that really gets you to the places that you want to go. And I happen to be living in downtown Baltimore. My neighbor was really good friends with somebody that was in the human resources department at Advertising.com and I happened to be venting to her.

[00:24:40.100] 

That’s convenient right? It was extremely convenient. Yeah. So it was sort of one of those. Well, here’s my resumé. I know nothing about the Internet or advertising, but I’d love to see if I can get in there. And so, I mean, honestly, guys, I have never I didn’t know how to Google anything at the time. I was working for, like a recruiting agency. I would say that the shift to paying publishers and delivering these great ads to their users versus begging people for money was definitely a much better position to be in.

[00:25:15.950] 

And so, like, you know, love at first call. Awesome.

[00:25:20.000] 

So I think the moral of the story there is really pick who you live next to. Always. Yes. Make sure they get a lot of people and very successful companies or up and coming companies. So having been at Advertising.com for so much of your career, what were some of the concerns for you transitioning to Triple lift. As far as concerns?

[00:25:44.840] 

I don’t think that I really had many, but I’ll walk you through. So back to the, you know, the network and who you know, they’re one LinkedIn conversation. I got connected to Michael Mann. He’s now my manager.

[00:25:57.500] 

And after that one call, I just knew that that’s where I had to be with Triple Lift. Was it obviously being at the Verizon media, being there for as long as I had then I wanted? Be extremely particular about my next role and specific about what it was that I was going to be doing, and so one I knew I didn’t want to just go somewhere and manage a services team. Like I really wanted to be able to use my experience, provide coaching and guidance, like helping folks grow within their roles within the industry.

[00:26:27.610] 

And I also really wanted to utilize the experience that I did have from going from ad.com. Three hundred employees or two hundred employees to leaving Verizon at like, what, twelve or fifteen thousand employees and just be able to provide that insight as companies are sort of up and coming. So that was really big for me, I would say. Number two, I really wanted I really wanted an environment where people can make a difference every day. Don’t get me wrong.

[00:26:53.630] 

Definitely had opportunity at Verizon. I had a lot of responsibility and a lot of autonomy. It’s just, you know, it doesn’t get done as quickly as you would like it to when you’re working in an organization that is quite large. So I really wanted to get back to being able to provide and empower my teams to come up with ideas and be able to see them through to reality.

[00:27:15.370] 

You had sort of mentioned you just knew. I think it is a little bit of a leap of faith. Right. What was that feeling like? What were the signals where it just clicked for you?

[00:27:26.530] 

I would say it was through the conversation of me asking myself some of these questions to try to I found that I was I was more the interviewer than the interviewee because I just really wanted to dig in and find out as much about a company as I could before confirming whether or not I wanted to work there. And when Michael was explaining to me the Triple Lift way and discussing the products and what they do for their advertisers and what they do for their publishers and the in-house design team and all of the other things that they have that really go above and beyond just the everyday life of display advertising.

[00:28:01.360] 

He also explained the role and what their goal was. This was a new role that they were looking to put together. And so after I explained to me, he said, So what do you think about it? And I said, Well, I think you just read me my resume. So it was just it was like right off the bat. It was a comfort level. It was like really getting a feel for how Michael felt about the executive team and Eric and Ari and Shaun and how the way he spoke of them just gave me a feeling like, oh, my gosh, I hung up.

[00:28:31.780] 

And I said to my husband, I said it really I think it’s Advertising.com, like 2.0. Kind of speaking again to the transition specifically.

[00:28:41.260] 

It looks like the you made the the jump right around maybe when covid was sort of hitting in the US, which obviously everybody knows is crazy on its own. But how did that process go.

[00:28:57.730] 

It was, I would say not ideal, but if I could put it lightly, it was it was very strange, considering I had been talking to Michael for a long time. I accepted the role in late February, which was just as everything was sort of happening within, you know, the international areas with covid. And I was invited to be a guest at their revenue offsite and to meet my team and to meet the leadership team. I remember distinctly one of the mornings I was watching the news and I was sitting there going, I really think this might turn into a bigger deal than it is.

[00:29:44.200] 

You know, fast forward three weeks or maybe three and a half weeks. And my start date, the week that I was supposed to start the the previous Wednesday, they had actually shut down the office because they had some cases that were in the building. And so they sent everybody home. And a lot of conversation back and forth between Michael and myself of, you know, it’s OK, like we’re going to get this figured out. We’re not sure what’s going to happen with the office, but we’ll we’ll be in touch.

[00:30:14.530] 

And don’t don’t worry, which is nice. He was he was good about communicating through everything. And as it turned out, they pushed my start date back a week. Just did they get the entire company on board with working remote because they weren’t necessarily a remote first or, you know, a lot of folks weren’t necessarily working remotely. They were just getting everybody on board that I started a week later. But I would say one of the biggest concerns, which I don’t think I really touched on in your question was my commute from Maryland to New York.

[00:30:46.390] 

So something that I did have to commit to before I took the position was that I would be in person face to face in the office fifty percent of the week. And so that would be me leaving my family like fifty percent of the week, which was a really hard decision for me. But I was also concerned about leading as a remote. Employee and how to get the team on board. Everybody’s in a conference room and I’m maybe hosting a meeting from my home office and is it going to be the same sort of collaboration and conversation that we would have if I was in the room?

[00:31:21.930] 

And there were some concerns around that. But I would say the silver lining for me is when I started, everybody was remote. And I think it put it put us all on a level playing field. And like the fact that, you know, like, I just have so much pride for my team and how they really accepted me, they were able to build a trust and a relationship with me with never, ever working side by side with them.

[00:31:45.900] 

So, you know, it’s it’s been a really incredible six months. I feel like I’ve been there for five years at this point with the amount of work that we’ve done. But, you know, so I guess long story short, I wouldn’t recommend it, though. I would say it’s absolutely doable. You have to do it.

[00:32:07.320] 

Some words of advice do not change careers at the beginning of a pandemic.

[00:32:14.160] 

Potentially, yes. Will it work for everybody. I don’t know.

[00:32:19.680] 

That’s to so focused a lot on native right as the main product. So can you talk us through why the advertisers are willing to pay premium for native ads?

[00:32:32.790] 

It’s no secret that Native really does perform better for our advertisers. So over the last 20 years ish, I would say that people have developed what you would call like a banner blindness in a way, in terms of like traditional display ads. I worked in it forever and a lot of times I noticed the ads. I would have to purposely look for them if I was trying to troubleshoot or do something.

[00:32:59.200] 

So I think with Native, it’s just it allows for a better ad recall and allows for a better user experience that just tends to be much better than what is known as traditional display, though obviously that’s a good way to advertise to users as well. But I think when you’re talking premium, there are a lot of things that go into it. So, you know, the location of our ads, which is really carefully, we make sure they’re new.

[00:33:24.570] 

We make sure they’re aesthetically pleasing. There are things that we do on the back end which like our design team, we have an in-house design team that will build out the creatives and we’ll build up the placements. If you’re going to ask for a premium specifically with native advertising, that you just have to make sure you back it up with a premium product and like the best experience you can, which I think is definitely something that Triple Lift has done and continues to do.

[00:33:50.670] 

We sort of talked about what I would say like the benefits of native and sort of how they can garner higher CPMs. Can you sort of talk us through on the flip side, what are some challenges maybe around dealing with native ads that perhaps isn’t a factor from your history with display ads. Native is custom in nature.

[00:34:12.390] 

So the goal is to make the programmatic native integration for our clients as easy as possible. So what they see is like an easy launch in reality, on the back end is actually a lot of moving parts. You can serve a display ad in most places on a site, but with native, you really have to be careful and you have to choose the right integration type. And we’re going to steer clear of any of the issues that could come up, such as you like an improper render.

[00:34:37.530] 

For example, if the ad doesn’t render properly, nobody’s happy. The publisher is not happy because their site doesn’t look great. Advertising, not happy because their ads’ not rendering. So it’s things like, are you running in frames? Are you are they friendly frames? Is it is it somewhere we’re able to actually perform the way that we need to perform in order to get the back end that we want? So I don’t know, like I could ask you guys, but I also feel like some people just don’t don’t understand what a true native ad is.

[00:35:08.010] 

Right. Sure.

[00:35:09.480] 

And I think you brought up a lot of good points. Right. So an IBAD standard display ad, it sort of has its place and that’s the slot it’s running in, whereas Native really has to be more a part of the site. And that and that seems to be where some of the challenges come in. But obviously, great to hear that the live side does most of that work for us on the publishing side. And we just get to sit back and enjoy the higher CPMs.

[00:35:37.440] 

Yes, exactly. I know. That’s why I said I said I feel like we should tell people more about what it is that we’re doing so that they really, really appreciate what the value that they’re getting.

[00:35:48.900] 

But we have we appreciate you guys. It’s likewise. Likewise.

[00:35:56.400] 

So we have some news in the industry. The deprecation of cookies is going to be coming in in the near future. So how do you think that’s going to impact the state of native ads?

[00:36:06.930] 

I mean, it’s. Definitely like an industry changing.

[00:36:12.130] 

Like I don’t even know what you call it, it’s like an event at an event or any of these through the years. But I think this for one, is probably going to be one of the biggest changes once we see this to fruition. I think, obviously it’s going to change the scale of the targeting deals. The industry doesn’t come up with an effective alternative. Then, you know, then there’s the concern of what happens to the publishing partners, and that is everything going on in a paywall.

[00:36:42.530] 

And then how do we I think it’s just there’s so many moving parts to this to this issue and what may be happening. So I would say, you know, from the triple lift standpoint, we feel like we’re at a pretty good position. One, we’re definitely working with several of the top identity solutions for support, navigating through these changes and making sure that we are partnering with everybody that our publishers may be potentially partnering with so that we can set ourselves up for success, whether it’s through our work with the Library of Identity Solutions and some of the other other products that are out there.

[00:37:17.990] 

I think specifically for Native, we tend to be luckier as advertisers to buy more on a performance basis.

[00:37:25.790] 

So there tends to be more of a focus on context and quality. And they’re definitely looking to buy something unique versus just hitting the same user or buying something on a frequency. So I think that’s something that Triple Lift has always done and has always been a market doing. We don’t only work with performance advertisers. And so I think it definitely sets us a bit apart. When it comes to that, though, it’s still kind of crazy to think about it happening and what that does really mean just in terms of the entire industry and ecosystem and what it’s going to look like after.

[00:38:02.300] 

So we touched on hopefully the distant future of the cookie. Can we talk a little bit more about what’s going to happen in the coming weeks in Q4? So I’d love to get some of your insight in terms of kind of how triple lift is preparing for the quarter, maybe what folks on the publishing side can expect or do to really prepare for Q4 if there’s anything we can prepare for.

[00:38:34.370] 

Well, to that point specifically, I don’t want to give too many spoilers, considering we’re actually building out a Q4 for preparedness, informational like top 10 checklist for our publishers. So you guys will be seeing that. No pressure to the marketing team who’s working on it right now. But that was that we wanted to do building off of what we did at the beginning of covid. It was like, hey, let’s sort of do a reset on our relationships and go back and revisit some things that maybe we weren’t able to do previously.

[00:39:05.930] 

And so we just want to have that similar feel with Q4 and just making sure everything’s buttoned up and that we’re prepared with the amount of revenue that is to hopefully come down the pipe for us. I would say Q4 is definitely looking strong. You know, we’ve seen shifts in the advertising patterns, as everybody else has, through covid with different categories. We’ve seen some some big pops with retail, alcohol, home entertainment.

[00:39:31.730] 

That’s no secret, right? Big pops with alcohol, I imagine.

[00:39:37.510] 

Yeah, well, we I would I would actually say that we do we actually are lucky enough to have an exclusive relationship with a large alcohol brand provider.

[00:39:49.440] 

So they do a ton of branded video with us. And I think that’s something that’s really been we’ve been able to sort of explode and add on to that particular placement as well. And I think that’s the other thing, too, to keep in mind is Triple Lift isn’t just an native play anymore. We’re actually bringing our vision and mission to all of our other products as well. So we do have instream that we’re working on right now, which is actually growing tremendously on top of like the image, the native image.

[00:40:19.580] 

We have branded video, which is like our number one performing placement. So if any publisher out there isn’t doing branded video with us, they definitely should be, because it’s really great CPMs, looks really good and it’s just a nice unit. And then we also have our our fun products that we’re working on, just like through OTD.

[00:40:39.230] 

We have that advanced TV product where they’re doing product placement within different TV shows and working with broadcasters. And so that’s been really, really fun to see. When I first started, they hadn’t they hadn’t signed or hadn’t run anything yet. And now we actually have had some spots in in a couple of shows, which has been really fun to kind of see that come to fruition. So we can do a lot more than just your standard native image. And we do put

[00:41:07.970] 

The exact same length behind all of the other products that we do with Native and making sure that it looks good and that if it’s the site and that the creatives are following stack and all of that stuff as well. So I think that, like I said, I think we’re doing we’re doing well. We’re set up for a really good Q4. We’re really excited to provide our publishers a steady stream through the rest of the year and then hopefully into next year as well.

[00:41:37.110] 

We would love to see the Q4 CPMs continue in the next year. That’s a dream of all of ours.

[00:41:46.470] 

Well, one of the things we like to kind of end the conversation with is what what’s some advice that you could share for people that are looking to break into this industry. Other than live right next door to recruiters?

[00:42:02.520] 

I mean, you could totally do that, and that could help. I would say, you know, it’s funny because I’ve seen I’ve seen through the years a lot of people come in outside of the industry. And I think it’s really, as you know, like some of my best account managers came from event coordinator positions because they’re super detailed and very organized and can, you know, manage a long list of things to get done in a way without being super stressed out.

[00:42:27.900] 

I’ve seen tons of finance folks like wanting to get out of that finance world and breaking in and doing yield analysis and operational types of positions. You know, I would say that the industry, as we know it today versus what it was probably when I first started, is definitely much more sophisticated in terms of the way that we look at the business, the way that the business is built.

[00:42:53.760] 

And so if you have any skills that are analytical or problem solving, strategic thinking, like capitalize on those now, because we need those types of people more than ever, I mean, I’m sure you all have your optimizations and algorithms, but you also have your manual. You know just digging in and looking for where are the problems that we can solve and what doesn’t look right in the more you know, the more people you have like that only make your business more successful.

[00:43:27.540] 

So I don’t think it’s a career that you can’t get into if you haven’t been in the industry before. I was a recruiter before I started. I’ve had plenty of people come in that were in complete opposite types of roles and just being able to bring in what you have to offer in terms of those types of skills, I think is would be a huge asset to any company in this space.

[00:43:50.550] 

Awesome.

[00:43:51.270] 

Thank you so much for your time today, Lara. It was super cool hearing your perspective.

[00:43:57.030] 

Thank you all so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure. I look forward to continuing to work with you all.

[00:44:02.460] 

Yeah. Thank you very much. Appreciate it. Have a great day.

[00:44:09.800] 

All right, Andy, what a great conversation we just had with Lara. It was so cool hearing from her about her transition right at the beginning of covid and how she had to deal with all of the turbulence there as well as moving into native ads, what the native ad landscape looks like and how it differs from display. So just really cool to to pick her brain.

[00:44:33.890] 

Yeah, it was great getting her perspective on everything in the industry. Native is super interesting. It’s always evolving.

[00:44:40.100] 

So I can’t wait to hear more from Triple Lift. 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.

[00:45:08.600] 

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.

[00:45:41.440] 

So we have some news in the industry, the deprecation of cookies is going to be coming in in the near future. So how do you think that’s going to impact the state of native ads?

[00:45:53.050] 

Cookies are being deprecated>

[00:45:59.540] 

So quit now while you’re ahead, I wish we had video for our podcast because Andy’s Deer in the Headlights.

[00:46:10.780] 

When you said that he felt a bear, I felt a little bad, actually. I looked at Andy I’m like, you know, she’s joking, right?

[00:46:20.740] 

I know. And, you know, trying to be respectable, you know, maybe you don’t know. And, hey, let’s let’s educate. We take care of you, OK?

[00:46:32.120] 

Do you know she got the questions beforehand? That’s the well, remember you said no sarcasm or something.

[00:46:44.710] 

So really awesome.

[00:46:48.700] 

OK, well, yes.


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