I posted a tweet asking the Interwebs/Twitter Stream to ask any questions they’d like. Sorta like a reddit AMA. This page will be continually updated with the tweets and the answers. I am using my blog because some answers will require more than 140 characters. Follow along, the hashtag is #dhqa.
First Q: @bridgetwi: How does a new site break through for one of our clients?
My Answer: One of two ways, though not mutually exclusive. One is idea led. The other is relationship led. Lets start with idea led. At The Media Kitchen, we love innovative ideas that push the boundaries between creativity and media. If you have an opportunity that matches that with the relevance for our clients (which is a must!), then we want to hear about it. Relevance is key. Do not pitch an entertainment site for a financial services client without some really, really, really good justification. The second way is relationship based. Just like in any other case, having a relationship with us is key. You should work hard to establish yourself with rapport with our media team and they should know who you are. I tend to want to answer emails faster to people I know and trust over people I don’t yet know. But I do get back to everyone.
Second Q: @bridgetwi: What’s the best media idea I’ve seen?
My Answer: I’ve seen a ton. We’ve executed a ton. The “best” is purely subjective and is relevant to a moment in time. Rather than giving a very specific example, I’ll talk about why it was the best I’ve seen. The best ideas presented to the agency generally are the ones that actually come-to-life in the presentation. Since much of what we’re working on is new, we like to see how things “feel” – so mockups and wireframes certainly help. In addition to mockups, we want to make sure that the audience and context is right for the marketer. Any research that shows this is extremely helpful. Companies who do this well are Buzzfeed, The Atlantic, Quartz, and The BBC amongst many others.
Third Q: @rjjacobson: Where do I see the strongest defensibility for ad tech companies?
My Answer: Really good question… I’ll add my two cents. I’d like ad tech companies to play offense, rather than defense. I believe the majority of the Lumascape is allowing companies to compete against Google. Why? Google controls 50%+ of digital advertising dollars. That means .40 on the dollar is for everyone else. So rather than playing defense against Google, lets play offense and look for areas to out innovate. Hot areas that I’d focus on: solving cross device recognition & attribution, another search engine, location services, and redefining another gold-mine of an ad unit (what’s the new AdSense?).
Fourth Q: @chrisohara: Bloody Mary or Not?
My Answer: I’m not really a big drinker to begin with and I don’t think I’ve ever had a drink on an airplane. That will change soon on an upcoming trip to South Africa where I’ll be in the air for some crazy amount of time like 16 hours. Might have a scotch or glass of wine on that trip. Or two.
Fifth Q: @aexm: How do you approach defining & evaluating success metrics for newer types of advertising formats like native?
My Answer: Ana, it’s a really good question. To be honest, I don’t think native is really anything different. All the native stuff that’s landed on our plates recently are just new creative interpretations. We can measure their effectiveness for marketers one of two ways: if the campaign is about moving the needle of some “brand” isolated metric, then we use tracking studies and surveys. We can also look at correlated or uncorrelated increases in other things like sales or searches based on those results. The second way is if it’s more “direct response” focused – we can measure directly the affect it has on sales or whatever the conversion metric is. At the end of the day, we need to define KPI’s (key performance indicators) for an entire campaign. If “native” units don’t match up to the KPI’s, we’ll probably not deploy them. Simple as that.
Sixth Q: @dandotlewis: Favorite place to watch a DMB show?
My Answer: I was waiting for a Dave Matthews Band related question. For those that don’t know, I’ve been to many, many, many of their shows. 100+. Some of my more magical shows have been at SPAC Night 2. That’s code for Saratoga Performing Arts Center, 2nd night of show. For whatever reason, they play a much more laid back and “older” set for night #2 of their SPAC performances. It’s also set back in the “woods” and it’s amphitheater style seating (although I like to stand in the pit). And truth be told… I’ve never seen them at the Gorge, which is on my bucket list. That will change in 2014, hopefully.
Seventh Q: @mhill1066: Which side is winning, data-tech or operational efficiency tech?
My Answer: Good question and it could be interpreted in many different ways. I’ll define data-tech as folks who help capture, segment, and operationalize data for the use in analytics or media targeting. Operational efficiency tech are folks who are more enterprise players trying to streamline the whole process. I’ll attack this question from the filter of an agency. So that’s my public bias. Up to today, I believe that data-tech has captured much of the mindshare. Folks like BlueKai, Exelate, VisualIQ, Adometry, Lotame, Cross Pixel, and others have nailed the data-side of all of this. I don’t know how they play out, but at least have captured the initial intent of the industry. For operational efficiency tech, I have seen a ton of solutions over the years but only now is the time becoming more ripe, though I still think there is a ways to go. WIthout a doubt, agencies need to shift their process from siloed excel sheets to a full suite of workflow tools. It’ll make them more efficient which will drop dollars down to their bottom line. But the issue has always been around payment for these technologies as agencies already run on razor thin margins. With the shift to programmatic, it’s putting pressure on agencies to adopt technologies and I think the rate of adoption will be higher in the next 1-3 years than it has in previous years. Folks like Bionic are trying to capture this and just might be part of this new ecosystem.
Eighth Q: @ericfranchi: Twitter IPO, are you buying or waiting it out?
My Answer: Let me begin by prefacing that I’ve only recently gotten into speculating in the stock market. Thanks in part to @howardlindzon and @stocktwits. Some background: my wife and I have allocated a certain portion of capital for pure speculation (though isn’t everything speculation?) and I actively manage that in partnership with a financial institution. Since I do not have unlimited access to funds unlike some super wealthy individuals, I have to really prioritize where I am placing bets. Over the past few weeks, I have sold off some holdings in order to make room for $twtr. I expect that this will be a long holding for me and know that in the first month or so, it’ll be fairly volatile in terms of going up/down. I believe in Twitter as a long term utility and will speculate as such. I’m in.
Ninth Q: @keithepetri: With the shift to mobile, what do I think is the major reason for resisting a shift in budget?
My Answer: Great question Keith. One that I’ve talked a bunch about on this blog in the past. The biggest factor in the mobile-time-spent-advertising-lack chart that Mary Meeker and others have popularized is, IMHO, time. Time to shift budgets. Time for mobile ad tech to catch up with desktop based ad-tech. Budgets shift when there is no way to measure them and validate that they are performing. Budgets generally stay when we can validate that they are driving the KPI’s we need. There are some key things needed in the mobile ad tech stack that will help us validate KPI’s for a campaign and they are currently being built out by many companies both large and small. Media buyers are tasked with hitting goals for clients, CMO’s are setting those goals, so dollars will shift when the advertising industry can measure towards those goals. And man… will those dollars shift.
Tenth Q (woo hoo!): @terryalj: Whats your take on smart watches? Does a potential google adoption mean anything? Is this, or glass, a real next step?
My Answer: Ubiquitous connectivity will exist, in some form or another. When thinking about where to place connectivity/value, companies are looking at items in which consumers use every day. Cars, watches, etc. $GOOG has a driverless car. $GOOG is in the car navigation (they were in my Audi). $GOOG and others are now going into watches. Why? People drive their cars and use watches everyday. I know there is research as to millennial not using watches as much as other generations but there are still plenty of people with watches. Now the larger question is why? Why do tech companies want to play here? Data. It’s all about the data. Having access to where people are, what they are doing, and how they are feeling (sensors in watches?) is very valuable to enrich data sets. Not all data will be used for advertising but it will be used to make our experiences [expected] better with the platforms we engage with. I think Glass right now is a bit premature. I can see watches getting adopted more, IMHO. I’d like to see a smartwatch co & Panerai partnership. I’m a buyer.
Eleventh Q: @ericfriedman: Can you post a pic of your phone home screen so we can see what apps you have on it?
My Answer: Yes, but wasn’t so easy as I’m typing this all on my Macbook Air. I took a pic of the phone home screen which is below. It doesn’t help much as it’s small but let me tell you what’s specifically on my home screen. It’s setup for speed/utility. Across bottom is Phone, Mail, Gmail, and Social (folder). In social is Fb, Tumblr, Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Hootsuite, Pinterest, and BBM (yes, really). In the homescreen there are four folders: News, Weather, Travel and Utilities. I commute everyday into the city (use Metronorth) and travel a bunch, so I need access to my train schedules, Delta App, FlightAware, GateGuru, Passbook, etc. For News, it includes a range of apps such as Stocktwits, Pulse, Circa, Prismatic, Quora, Pocket, Mashable, CNBC, and Gawk.it. Weather, well, is weather with WeatherBug, DarkSky, and Forecast(.io). My second screen (when you flip to the next screen) is filled with Folders including Sports, Shopping, Music, Finance, Utilities, Entertainment, Storage, Photography, Wine, Hotels, and Lifestyle. I specifically like the Wine folder for when I’m at a restaurant or a wine store and need a recommendation or two.
Twelfth Question: @benkartzman: Will creative and media agencies ever truly get along? Would ad tech be better for it?
My Answer: My real answer here is that anytime there is a P&L between two companies, the one company or the other is looking for the advantage. If we live in a capitalistic society (which I believe is good), then companies are going to maneuver for capital. This comes at the detriment to client service, support, and innovation sometimes. Agencies fighting for budget doesn’t help anyone and actually hurts people who are trying to help innovate, such as your example around ad tech. Unfortunately, there is no holy grail but I’d have to think that integrated agencies (such as kbs+) are better off for having 1 P&L which allows for ultimate collaboration on accounts.
I will update this post as more questions come in. Thank you for participating and help spread the word!