Search Insider Summit: Can You Hear Me Now?

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Magnetic took Deer Valley by storm at Media Post’s Search Insider Summit Dec 8-11th. Hundreds of top digital marketing execs gathered from across the country for panels, roundtable discussions and networking aimed at deciphering today’s top innovations and challenges facing the digital advertising industry. 

On the final day of the summit, Magnetic CEO James Green took part in an expert panel entitled “Can You Hear Me Now?” alongside industry experts representing very diverse viewpoints. The panel focused on voice command gadgets and the future of wearable technology. 

James’ panel covered topics including: 

  • Evolution of voice/gesture assistance technology and voice search
  • Popular products like Siri and Google Glass
  • Evolution of these technologies over the past year and how far we’ve really come

Expert panelists included:



Watch the panel by clicking on the snap shot below, enjoy!

Can You Hear Me Now?


Interactive Insiders Chicago 11.12.13

On the evening of 11.12.13, Magnetic welcomed Chicago’s top digital ad execs to Interactive Insiders for an exclusive evening of cocktails, dinner, and lively discussions at David Burke’s Primehouse. Our guests represented a diverse cross section of digital marketers in the Chicago area, all with a shared interest in the evening’s focal point, “Embracing the Dynamics of Multi-Screen Consumers.”

The expert hosts included Magnetic’s CEO, James Green, Josh Dreller from Kenshoo, and Kalyana Prattipati from Accuen. Each speaker contributed a unique view on the evening’s topic and helped incite meaningful discussions around current challenges and potential solutions. Dreller kicked off the evening with insight into the growth of multi-screen engagement, sharing proprietary research from Kenshoo on the “Three World Screen.” This sparked a lively debate regarding shopping behaviors across screens, with a particular focus on mobile devices. Prattipati then transitioned into an engaging conversation on how marketers can embrace the new multi-screen ecosystem. Green closed the evening by sharing insight on potential solutions for measurement across screens, and why marketers need attribution modeling now more than ever.

Stay tuned for our future events coming to a city near you!

Interactive Insiders


DMA2013: Who Gets Credit for Online Purchases?

DMA2013 Header

Magnetic CEO James Green attended Chicago’s DMA2013 on Oct. 14th to moderate an expert panel focused entirely on attribution. The panel, consisting of digital ad industry experts from C3 Metrics, Google, Adometry and Adobe, represented a wide array of outlooks on current attribution models, how measurement varies depending on campaign type, viewability, and ways to make attribution actionable.

James’ panel “Attribution: Who Gets Credit for Online Purchases,” included the following speakers:

Panel Highlights

  • Types of Attribution Modeling (algorithmic & rules-based)
  • How to look beyond last click/last event
  • Key metrics: The relationship between ads and ROI
  • Cross channel campaign analysis: breaking down silos
  • Why attribution is challenging
  • How to accurately measure retargeting campaigns

Watch the entire panel here.

West Coast Viewability Roadshow

SF Viewability

This past week Magnetic brought its famed Viewability Roadshow Series to the West Coast, landing in San Francisco and Los Angeles for back-to-back evenings of networking, cocktails, and expert insights.

Following an energetic hour of networking and cocktails at San Francisco’s Clift Hotel, guests joined a panel discussion focused on “RTB: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.” Magnetic’s CEO James Green moderated a group of industry trailblazers, including John Battelle of Federated Media, Mark Donovan of comScore, Ian Johnson of IPG Mediabrands Audience Platform, and Scott Knoll of Integral Ad Science.

 Catch up on the panel’s engaging discussion via some of the evening’s top tweets:

  • ‏‪Scott Knoll from ‪@Integralads, what keeps you up at night? The above or below the fold lexicon. ‪#viewability  ‪#RTB ‪#AttributionRevolution
  • ‏‪What are the various types of fraud? Clutter, stacking and bots. 90% of fraud is coming from bots. ‪@Integralads ‪#AttributionRevolution
  • ‏‪@scrippscomm How do you make fraudulent activity less cost effective for actors commit that fraud? ‪@johnbattelle ‪#AttributionRevolution
  • ‏‪

How can industry players change attribution modeling to solve for viewability? ‪#AttributionRevolution ‪#viewability ‪#adtech ‪#SF
  • ‏‪RTB offers canvas on which to be creative again. Innovation budgets could help solve for viewability. ‪@johnbattelle ‪#AttributionRevolution
  • @JamesANGreen Final thought: We do what buyers tell us to do. We want to do what’s right. ‪#AttributionRevolution

LA Viewability

Following San Francisco’s event, The Viewability Roadshow traveled to its second stop in the West Coast series, arriving at Los Angeles’ SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. Guests enjoyed evening cocktails and appetizers on the SLS’s beautiful Garden Terrace. For our expert panel, we welcomed two panelists back from our SF event (Mark from comScore and Scott from Integral), and introduced two new So-Cal additions: Autumn White (OMD) and Chris Eberle (Federated Media). The So-Cal crowd of agencies and brands weren’t shy at all when it came to participating in our panel’s discussion!

Check out highlights from LA’s Viewability panel below:

  • ‏‪The ad being in view is the initial hurdle we have to get over before we have other performance convos. @joygantic #AttributionRevolution
  • ‏‪@JamesANGreen We constantly face challenge of having to measure campaign’s success on last click or last view. #AttributionRevolution
  • ‏‪For RTB to get to $8billion annual revenue we need more widespread predictive modeling for performance campaigns #AttributionRevolution
  • ‏‪Magnetic’s @JamesANGreen It’s important we’re honest about what’s happening. If we don’t admit to fraud, we won’t resolve it. #AttributionRevolution
  • ‏‪How can agencies face the music regarding fraud? How do we explain the challenges we still face in digital? #AttributionRevolution
  • @JamesANGreen If we own up to challenges now, sooner rather than later, we can proactively help clients understand how to work better.

This is just the beginning of The Viewability Roadshow. This traveling panel series will hit up more cities in 2014. Stay tuned!

For a sneak peak at the panel series and discussions surrounding viewability, check out the teaser video:

Magnetic CEO @ OMMA Display Sept. 23-24 at NY Marriott Marquis

OMMA Display

Magnetic CEO James Green was a panelist at OMMA Display this past September.

Panel: Cookie Wars: Is It Time To Face Up To The Post-Cookie World? (VIDEO)

An entire ad economy and infrastructure has been built on the premise of third party cookies tracking, accumulating and easily passing user data across partners, exchanges and trading desks. But as browsers start shutting tracking off by default, privacy experts and industry reps start parsing the real meaning of “Do Not Track” and much of Internet usage is migrating to cookie-unfriendly mobile platforms anyway, is it time to rethink this? What is the state of the argument now among industry reps like the IAB and watchdogs and regulators? Should the ad supply chain be looking for post-cookie solutions that preserve privacy and allow true cross-platform targeting?



See the official program details listed on the agenda page online. Check out live tweets using the official event hashtag: #MPOMMA.

A Look Into RTB’s Quality, Ad Impressions, Data & Future

Some call it real-time bidding (RTB) 2.0, and others simply believe that RTB has not yet reached a level of maturity satisfying for brands and agencies. In a recent panel at OMMA RTB in New York City, debates broke out over issues surrounding metrics, content, quality of inventory, and how the world of RTB has actually evolved.

With digital advertising’s adoption of audience targeting, it’s become common to hear the phrase, “reach the right audience, with the right message, at the right time and in the right place.” However, there has been a lot of debate over the value of “place” or “content and context” within RTB.  If you are reaching the right audience at an optimal time, does inventory matter? Does media placement make much of a difference in RTB — or is it just the data?

On the one hand, as long as agencies are meeting KPIs, they don’t care about controlling content, as long as it’s not anything offensive. On the flip side, many marketers disagree and say that the context of the placement and publisher that an agency works with is critical – but in a way where you can still pick the user. Rob Griffin, EVP/director of product development at Havas Media, and Joel Nierman, marketing and media director at Critical Mass, later noted that there really are no bad impressions, only bad valuations. You are either willing to pay a higher rate for selective content and/or you are willing to pay more on an RTB platform for a specific user.

Another hot-button topic for the panel was viewability. Anne Hunter, SVP advertising effectiveness at comScore, stated that the average percent of viewable ad impressions is between 60%-70% on premium inventory and 40%-50% on non-premium/exchange inventory. The problem here is that any ads that were not viewable by the user still placed an exposure pixel, even if the user never actually saw the ad. Thus, if that user proceeds to fill out a survey or buy a product, the non-viewable ad will appear to have had real business value for the brand and will be given credit, when in fact it was never seen by the user.

In order to get an accurate account of performance and set pricing according to market demands, marketers and publishers should focus on only counting ads that are seen. At the publisher level, the infinite amount of pixel dropping hurts a publisher’s price, since it shows a massive number of impressions available for cheap, making it harder to price the real quality inventory. Therefore, publishers providing quality inventory still might not look as if they’re performing.

Peter Naylor shared NBC Universal’s story of adapting to the viewable impression. As an early adopter, NBC Universal began making changes for viewability back in 2010. Initially, there was a 30% reduction in inventory, but also a substantial increase in ad effectiveness, which in turn led to higher pricing opportunities, according to Naylor.

For marketers, the viewability issue affects performance and spend. If a high percentage of ads are not even seen, then there’s a large amount of money spent on wasted impressions. Additionally, since agencies rely on what the conversion data tells them in order to determine what an impression is actually worth, they may be allocating money and optimizing to a bot vs. an actual end user.

The overall sentiment on OMMA’s panel was that issues of inventory quality, ad impressions and the use of data will remain top-of-mind for marketers. However, depending on a client’s goals, some will care more about some issues than others. As Griffin said, “History does repeat itself.” The reality is that we are now solving the next stage of challenges for RTB 2.0.

Originally published on MediaPost RTB Insider on 2/22/13

The Truth About Big Data

In today’s increasingly data-driven world, it’s interesting that there remain a number of misconceptions and hesitations surrounding big data. The most significant misconception is that many marketers refer to big data as a thing when it is simply a trend. While some marketers are wary of it, others are excited and ready to use the insights that big data can offer.

It’s not far off to say that big data has forever changed the advertising industry. Data touches every channel – TV, social, mobile, video, display, search and so on. And as it’s produced on an ongoing basis, marketers should look to big data to help to determine what a target demographic cares about, as well as how to use data across channels.

Using Data Across Channels

Aaron Fetters, director of insights and analytics solutions at Kellogg, recently stated “The digital strategy group uses the data to figure out how social media should play a role with Kellogg’s other digital touch-points.” Fetters’ comment shows that knowing what data to use is critical. In this case, the Kellogg team seems to focus on how information derived from social media can influence other digital channels.

The ability to track everything down to an individual, product, sale and behavior is something that was not available prior to the growth of big data. However, the one thing we all must realize is that you don’t necessarily need to track everything. Today, marketers need to focus on what data matters to your own brand and business. Relying too much on data is never a good thing.

Ad Targeting Fail

For example, a Notre Dame fan recently visited the sports site to read up on the hard loss of the national title. Upon his visit, he was welcomed by ads for Alabama featuring, “Congrats Alabama State Champs.” As he clicked through the adchoices icon, he found that Google was behind the ad targeting.

In this case, there was too much reliance on automation and data, and therefore, the information was not mined correctly. Sure, the content of the page included Alabama and Notre Dame, and the user probably was identified as a football fan and may have even searched for information about football. But, in the end, thanks to relying solely on data and machines, the Alabama ad was targeted to a Notre Dame fan on a Notre Dame site-specific page.

The key takeaway here is that we don’t want to end up relying on data for all decisions and great ideas. The human eye and big ideas are still needed today, and sometimes, they can’t be driven by data alone.

Data For Optimization

At the end of day, the main use of the data is to help marketers to identity what is working and what isn’t worth dedicating a marketing budget to moving forward. Data help adjust, refine and optimize campaigns and complete strategies in a way that benefits both the brands and the consumers. These benefits help foster a deeper relationship between the advertiser and their audiences.

When it comes to search retargeting, big data is a major part of how retargeters reach their target consumer. From keyword lists to word optimization and creative, search retargeting uses tremendous amounts of big data to first identify a brand’s target audience and then determine where the audience is located across the Web. As a result, the best ads are served to the right audiences at the correct time.

Marketers are sitting on a gold mine of information that’s just waiting to be unearthed. The amount of data we have access to is going to grow exponentially for the foreseeable future. Use it or lose.

Originally published in Marketing Land on 1/21/2013


5 Ways to Push Your Company Past the Startup Phase

Any entrepreneur who has launched a company will tell you that running a startup is stressful, time-consuming and full of high risk. Before a company is truly able to transition into the growth stage of its business, it must pass through many ups and downs. But while roughly 80 percent of startups fail in the first five years, there are a number of things that entrepreneurs can do internally, to help push their company past startup and into phase two. Here are the most important things to keep in mind.

1. Start with a great idea. It might seem simple, but having a great idea—either a groundbreaking new product or an innovative service—is half the battle. If you have a great idea and are able to identify the appropriate market, then the company will grow organically and investors will line up to obtain a piece of the business. But if you find that you’re having trouble securing interest from investors, then something is simply not clicking. Either your idea isn’t as great as you thought it was, or there isn’t enough market potential for it. If this happens, it’s time to take your idea in a slightly different direction. You’ll have to keep doing this until you hit something that works, or run out of money.

2. Find the best people. The team behind the idea is essential to making the business stick. During your company’s time as a startup, the first 10 employees are often people who are specially fit for this phase: They’re well-rounded, flexible and extremely innovative. During the startup phase, you want a team of aggressive generalists who are able to pitch in and do anything necessary at the drop of a hat.

But as the company develops and expands over time, you’ll need fewer generalists and more specialists. You’ll need people who create the technology behind your product, a separate salesforce, an operations department and a management team. And all these people must be excellent within their given area because there’s no room for error.

If a startup idea isn’t compelling enough to secure funding but the team behind the idea is solid, your chance for investment increases. But keep in mind that the first employees who you hire very likely will not be the same ones that you’ll end up with 10 years later.

3. An MBA education is not necessary. At best, an education can be an indicator of ability. However, it’s important to understand that a lack of education is not an indication of the lack of ability. While hiring from top universities is an easy way to identify promising employees, there are plenty of high-caliber individuals who may not have a Harvard Business School degree.

This is especially true in entrepreneurship. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs–such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs–did not receive degrees from undergraduate or graduate programs. And your clients will not care where you went to school; what they will care about is whether you’re smart, capable and have a great team supporting the idea.

4. Don’t get too attached. Once you have a working product and a few clients, it’s then time to scale your company. As mentioned, this may take different types of people than those you started with, as specialists will be essential to the company’s long-term success and growth. Some of your original employees will be able make this transition and some won’t. It’s a simple fact.

While it may sound counterintuitive, it’s important to remain unattached to both your company and employees. If one of the original 10 people is no longer an asset to the company, you need to sit down with him or her, talk through it and fix the issue. Sometimes the issue can be fixed and sometimes it can’t. If it can’t, it’s best to sever ties as soon as possible for the sake of the company.

Sometimes good people have to be let go because they no longer fit with the company’s mission or needs—this is something that must be accepted. A company is not a living and breathing organism that will love you back; it exists solely to make money. So if it isn’t making money, then what’s the point?

5. Always be transparent. This last point is important. A team should know the truth about what’s going on at any company and this is especially true at a startup. Your employees are (hopefully) fully invested—living and breathing your company’s mantra day in and day out. They deserve access to information from the management team and will expect an honest working environment. Since startup companies are already high-risk, employees should be provided with a constant sense of security and transparency wherever and whenever possible. And in the worst-case scenario—when there’s bad news to share—it at least will not come as a complete shock to employees.

Launching a start-up is tough, but moving past start-up and into phase two can be even tougher. If you have a great idea and the right team behind your product, there’s always potential. And if you’re also a good manager on top of having a great idea and team, then your company should be well on its way to long-term success.


Article originally published on AMEX Open Forum

Wall Street Journal Interview: Saying ‘No’ to Steve Jobs

Recent Interview With The Wall Street Journal:

WSJ: You started off as a cellist, majoring in music at McGill University. How did you get into the business world?

Green: I said to myself, ‘If I haven’t made it big by the time I’m 24, I’m going to quit and do something else.’ I knew tons of talented musicians who were playing in hotel lobbies and bar mitzvahs, and I did not want to do that. I wanted to be a rock star. So I went to UCLA business school at 24.

WSJ: What was your goal?

Green: I wanted to go into the music industry before business school, but the best job I could find was as an intern at RCA Canada. Then, in the first week of school, I got a summer job offer from Salomon Brothers for $1,000 a week. How amazing is that? What that taught me was marketing and positioning — that if you reposition something, suddenly someone sees so much more value.

WSJ: Describe your path after B-school.

Green: I went to New York and worked for a couple startups. None of those companies really worked. I interviewed at a bunch of large companies and joined Walt Disney. I helped build up its international film distribution, opening 20 offices across Europe and Asia in five years. It was fantastic – like being at a startup with unlimited funds.

After I opened the European offices, my boss let me open offices in Asia. I asked to run the Japan office, which was losing money. I turned an $8 million loss into an $8 million profit in the first few months just by reorganizing the office. In Japan, they don’t like breaking rules, and I sort of love breaking rules. I consolidated advertising buying and let some people go. When I finished, I asked for another job. They didn’t have one and my contract was up, so I left with nowhere to go.

WSJ: This was 1997. What did you do next?

 Green: During my time at Disney, I met and became friends with John Lasseter, founder of Pixar – and through him, ended up meeting Steve Jobs. He was looking to hire someone at Pixar to liaise with Disney. Jobs interviewed me at his house in Palo Alto.

WSJ: What was the interview like?

Green: There was a very awkward moment when he said, ‘You know, James, I really love these new things called DVDs and I want to show you how amazing Pixar movies look on them.’ So he took me into his bedroom to show me, and I was thinking, ‘Okay, now I’m in Steve Jobs’ bedroom watching a DVD with him. Awkward.’

WSJ: Did you get the job?

Green: He offered me a job then and there, and I said ‘No.’ Pixar had a distribution deal with Disney, and he wanted someone to manage their relationship. I felt it was a no-win job. So he offered me another job, doing new business development and marketing for Pixar. But after I started, he slowly but surely moved me back to the liaison position, and I started messing up. I was there for three or four months. I resigned before Steve could fire me, basically.

 WSJ: So then you got into the turnaround business?

Green: By then, the internet was taking off. I started an online ad server with some Australians I met through my girlfriend. We launched Sabela Media, a competitor to DoubleClick, in 1998, and sold it in 2000 for $75 million. The investors were happy with the results and hired me to turn around three companies after that.

Turnarounds are some of the hardest things you ever have to do. In each, I had to lay off people and reposition the company. All of them were sold. I ended up doing this for 10 years, and I got really burned out. So I went sailing for a year [from 2010 to 2011].

WSJ: How do you lay off workers?

Green: The easiest is when it’s got nothing to do with them. Say, ‘You’re fantastic, but here’s how the company is doing, and we’ll have to let some people go.’ Ask how they want to handle it: Do they want to say they resigned? Do they want to keep their email address for awhile so they can look for a job? It’s tougher when they’re no good. I avoid talking about their lack of performance, and try to focus on the future while being as gentle as humanly possible.

WSJ: But you don’t think staffing turnover is always a bad thing. Why?

Green:  You need different kinds of people at different stages of a company’s growth. In the beginning, you just need a finance person who can be a bookkeeper. As you get bigger, you need someone who can manage cash flow, and as you get even bigger, someone who can raise capital. Sometimes your No. 1 becomes your No. 2 because you hire people above them.

WSJ: How do you demote someone without creating resentment?

Green: Try not to position it as a demotion. Give them a raise, tell them what a good job they’re doing. At Magnetic, I’ve hired a new chief revenue officer, VP of data and chief technology officer – and all these positions have people under them who are still with the company in No. 2 roles. Be open and honest. It’s hard to hurt people when there are no surprises.

WSJ: You’ve told employees that getting attached to a company can backfire. Why?

Green:  I tell them not to get attached, because companies have no feelings or loyalty. The only reason a company exists is to make money. When you start having some emotional connection, you make irrational decisions. What you need to focus on is what you need, and what the company can do for you.