Media All Star: Jonathan Kim

As Group Director of Digital Engineering, Jonathan Kim has overseen an elite team of “digital engineers” at The Media Kitchen who develop new ways of leveraging digital media technology — both homegrown and from partners — to make their clients’ media work harder, more efficiently and more effectively.

As a testament to his success, one of those clients — Loews Hotels — raided Kim to bring him in-house as this profile was being drafted.

The move caps off nearly a decade of hard work and innovation at TMK, which began with him joining the agency as a paid search and programmatic strategist in 2010. Over the next decade he broadened his role working as a strategist for a diversified roster of clients, as well as with parent MDC Partners' MDC Ventures VC unit to help identify promising ad-tech startups with forward-thinking brands.

In 2014, the agency created the new Digital Engineering Director role for him to focus on designing and deploying custom ad-technology stacks while constantly experimenting with early-stage/emerging ad-tech partners to evolve how brands communicate with their audiences.

Much of his work for clients including Loews, Vanguard, Barclays and other clients remains confidential, but a good example of his role in innovating their ad-technology stacks is some recent work he began to develop a method for “arbitraging human attention” on behalf of his clients.

The project began with beta testing Adelaide’s platform, which enables advertisers and agencies to buy programmatic media based on its proprietary “attention metrics” — metrics proven to attract and hold a user’s attention. The initial work proved that digital media could be bought on the basis of “attention-based CPMs,” but Kim took that as a starting point to roll up his sleeves to see if he could refine the method by correlating attention metrics with the agency’s and its clients’ proprietary performance metrics.

At press-time, Kim was still proving out his thesis, but initial results were promising and ultimately could lead to a method of buying digital media, programmatically, based on which impressions yield both the most attentive targets, as well as the ones most likely to convert or deliver on other key performance indicators for the agency’s clients.

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