London-based digital trading specialization company Media iQ Digital today announced that Paul Silver, ex-VivaKi Nerve Centre head of product, has joined the company as global strategy director. Prior to joining Media iQ, he ran his own ad tech consultancy.
RTM Daily picked Silver's brain about his new home, what's on his radar, and where real-time bidding (RTB) fits into the picture.
RTM Daily: Why did you move?
Paul Silver: Running my own consultancy has been a great learning experience. Working alongside senior decision makers and advising not only on technology strategies but how this connects to deeper business issues has been incredibly rewarding. However, I felt a desire for something more challenging; and once the opportunity had presented itself, the move to Media iQ was a simple decision to make.
To put it simply, I thrive on the ability to innovate, and throughout my career I’ve navigated to situations where this was possible. Whether this was signing a linking agreement with Right Media in 2006 at a small DR agency, to defining how an agency trading desk operates in Europe, my desire to continually innovate has led me to join Media iQ.
RTM Daily: What are your primary responsibilities?
Silver: The new role will be focused on creating a new division within the business that builds on Media iQ’s expertise in technology development and analytics. My specialism within the sector will contribute towards new product development and innovation in the areas of mobile and social. Having been given the budget to expand the team into additional territories, I will also be evaluating new global markets for the international expansion.
RTM Daily: Where does RTB fit into your "Global Strategy"?
Silver: RTB is paramount to our global strategy right now. In every market we operate, our value proposition and point of difference is built on our ability to leverage RTB in a...sophisticated way....
But more broadly speaking, the real-time element is really what sets us apart. People have said it many times before myself, but the bidding element is simply a protocol to how an ad is procured. It is the way we decide and predict in real-time, which is consistent in every market, all of which is underpinned by our data platform, AiQ.
RTM Daily: How does RTB differ in the US versus overseas, specifically in Europe and Asia?
Silver: RTB has evolved in a different way due to constraints in each of the markets outside the US. Unlike the US, where there is simply greater scale, in Europe, independent companies have had to innovate much more to differentiate, and RTB has facilitated much of this.
What we have seen in Europe and Asia is a realisation that in order to create value in the ecosystem we need to leverage data, technology, and people. We’ve embraced the platforms being built by companies like AppNexus, which are allowing a new breed of ad tech companies to flourish. These companies are adding value by building tools and apps that agencies/marketers need in order to deliver better campaign performance.
As this market grows and becomes more sophisticated, insight will be required to help advertisers and agencies navigate it. My role is effectively applying my experience of building a pan euro trading desk with VivaKi and subsequent consultancy roles - and helping our clients evolve their trading model in this ever-changing eco-system. Working at the coalface in this space has informed a lot of my thinking and I feel my new role with Media iQ will be of great benefit to our clients.
RTM Daily: Short-term goals (end of 2013?), and long-term goals?
Silver: We have some genuinely exciting product initiatives we’re exploring with clients, which fundamentally will enable us to engage on a much deeper level. This ranges from bespoke technology development to completely new product propositions including mobile, video and social. We’re also exploring further international expansion and identifying which markets and when.
Media iQ today is proudly known as a Performance Trading Specialist. Long term, we also want people to think of us as a data company; an analytics company; an engineering company. These are all key traits, which are currently driving the business. We’re now focused on finding other ways of productizing this capability, flexibly, for our clients.
RTM Daily: Will you work with online advertising, or mobile? Or both?
Silver: Both. Mobile is definitely on our roadmap for this year. In fact we’re already working on developing our data platform to ingest cross device data signals that enables us to draw insight and build better predictive models for ‘always connected’ consumers. The approaches adopted by the likes of Drawbridge are effectively statistical models that triangulate a single user across different devices using disparate data sets. Our engineering hub in Bangalore, India is perfectly equipped to enable us to make inroads in this space. We already do this for other parts of our business. We’re very bullish on our ability to add value to the mobile sector.
RTM Daily: What are some of the pitfalls of RTB, and how do you plan to work around them?
Silver: One of the major pitfalls is around transparency and accessibility. We do not trade, like many do, on what I call information arbitrage; effectively exploiting people’s knowledge gaps around what is actually a complex space. We look to make digital trading as accessible as possible. We work hand in hand with agencies, their trading desks, in helping them understand what we do, how we do it, why we do it. The more people know and understand the mechanics of digital trading, the more we are able to execute a lot more strategically. We are able to build campaign strategies that exceed CPA goal. These successful and innovative strategies promote and encourage RTB to continue moving up the funnel. Ie, How do we make RTB build and stimulate product interest? The more our clients know about RTB and real-time media, the more possibilities and opportunities arise. Net result is that the advertisers see more value from the space.
RTM Daily: Congratulations on your new role.