Why Chris Copeland Left GroupM For Yieldbot

Search marketers have a lot of experience connecting with consumers in the moment. While Chris Copeland spent a combined eight years at GroupM Next serving as chief digital officer, and CEO of GroupM Search in the Americas, the St. Louis-based president of Yieldbot said bringing the power and the know-how of intent data into display advertising becomes his next step.

"You never know when the worlds will realign and I'll be back in the midst of fine search folks," Copeland said.

The move from developing a search marketing practice at GroupM to driving the fundamentals of search into the display advertising marketplace at Yieldbot seems to agree with Copeland. He's a little more jovial and relaxed these days, especially as the company begins to dig deeper into mobile Web-based signals and mobile header bidding, an advanced programmatic technique where publishers offer inventory to multiple ad exchanges simultaneously before making calls to their ad servers.



The company has grown its mobile business from zero to 65% in the past two years. It recently integrated into Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project to expand into header bidding on mobile, helping its native ad units generate better than average back-end performance for brands.

The majority of Yieldbot's business comes through agencies mostly because they're building out trading desks and buying technology that brands want, Copeland said.

"It's about serving relevant ads above the fold to help publishers worry less about volume and more about quality and inventory," Copeland said. He also thinks about the benefits to agencies, and it's not far-reaching for him to understand the valuable role they play in programmatic and automation.

Marketers will spend about $22.10 billion on programmatic digital display advertising in 2016 -- up 39.7% compared with 2015, according to eMarketer. The jump represents about 67% of the total digital display ad spend in the United States.

"For many years we stuck as many ads on a page as possible and eventually I knew we would get tuned out," Copeland said. "We need to become more respectful of publishers and their value. More respectful of consumers and their worth, even if it means everyone needs to pay, change and invest more. I don't know if ad blockers forced this moment, but whether it’s the load time of a page, volume of ads or lack of relevancy there's a lot to figure out."

The industry has an obligation to fix the problems, and he worries when advertisers answer questions by finding inexpensive technology whether it works or not without measuring it.

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