Ad Tech Journeyman Lands As CMO Of Smart AdServer

Smart AdServer, a provider of publisher-focused ad tech services, on Tuesday named marketing veteran Corey Kronengold to the post of chief marketing officer.

Kronengold is a recognized face in ad tech, having worked as a marketing and communications strategist for ad-tech firms that have specialized in video advertising in one form or another since 1998. He has led marketing efforts for Tremor Video, Innovid, Eyeview Digital, Boxfish, ConvertMedia (which was acquired by Taboola), Twistage (acquired by Lexmark), and Eyeblaster, among others. Most recently he was VP, marketing at The 614 Group, a digital consultancy. He began his career in the music industry working as a publicist for Billboard magazine before joining, a company that provided a personalized platform for streaming radio and video and was acquired by Yahoo.

“Corey Kronengold has led marketing efforts for a wide variety of ad-tech leaders, and will bring Smart AdServer the experience we need to expand our presence in North America and around the world,” stated Smart AdServer CEO Cyrille Geffray. “As we continue to innovate in video and mobile, Corey will help us tell our story.”

Kronengold will focus on marketing and product strategy, and messaging. The company has a strong presence in Europe and Latin America but needs to grow in the Americas. He reports to Geffray.

Smart AdServer offers an integrated RTB and ad-serving platform that helps publishers increase revenue across all screens. It does this by increasing direct-sold and programmatic opportunities--a process it calls holistic yield management. The company has a supply-side platform (SSP) as part of its offering. Its clients are publishers and ad tech firms. 

“We need to build the brand in the U.S. where we’re essentially an unknown player,” Kronengold said. “We have product and the infrastructure to win business from publishers that work with Google’s DoubleClick for Publishers [DFP],” he said. “We don’t take any interest in any of the transactions that we facilitate.” The statement is an allusion to publishers that buy media from Google, which prioritizes inventory on its AdExchange. “There’s an inherent conflict of interest there for an industry that’s striving for transparency,” Kronengold said.

Google’s DFP has been running a test program that offers several ad exchanges competing with its own exchange, AdX, access to Google’s so-called “Dynamic Allocation” product dubbed “EBDA,” or exchange bidding in dynamic allocation.

“AppNexus did a good job of offering a viable alternative to DFP in the marketplace. Now the market has been primed that leaving DFP is an option. There are limitations to what DFP can do. Of course some publishers will continue using DFP, but use our mobile products in conjunction with DFP,” Kronengold said. He cited OZY Media and Axel Springer in Latin America as DFP clients that have defected. 

With more than 650 clients, privately held Paris-based SmartAdServer plans to double its annual sales revenue in 2016 to $68 million. It serves ads to 650 million unique visitors per month on 900 million devices, one-third of them mobile, according to Quantcast. The 15-year-old company has a U.S.-based sales and support office and a total of 160 people worldwide. It expects its headcount to rise to 200 by year-end.

Nearly 30% of the company’s revenue comes from programmatic media and 20% of that is from programmatic video, according to Kronengold. At the start of 2016, programmatic comprised about 20% of the company’s overall revenue; it could reach 50% by year-end. Video is also a driver for the company’s ad-serving serving business, representing roughly 5% of overall revenue.  It runs nearly 65 billion auctions per month, representing more than 200% growth year-over-year, he said.

Clients include French giants AdVideum, a multi-screen video network, telecommunications firms SFR and Orange, Aufeminin media group, and Le Monde. In the U.S., clients include The Trade Desk and Genesis Media, along with Wine Enthusiast, BroadwayHD, Spanish language network La Voz Media, and The company also works with video SSP Verta Media and ad-tech services provider Barons Media.

In South America, the company counts Brazil’s Group RBS, an owner of TV and radio stations and newspapers, and Diaro da Regiao, one of Sao Paolo's oldest newspapers, as clients. In Argentina, publishers Casa Editorial el Tiempo and Arte Grafico Editorial Argentino are clients.

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