MoPub is celebrating 10 years, and as part of our anniversary festivities, we honored 10 clients and partners on our Next 10 list. The Next 10 celebrates companies driving forward the future of mobile apps and mobile advertising for the next 10 years (and beyond). In this interview series, we’ll hear from some of our “Next 10” honorees. Today we have Greg MacDonald, Vice President, Marketplace Partnerships at Verizon Media.
MoPub: Verizon Media has a background of strong acquisitions in the adtech space. How has programmatic strategy evolved as the company has continued to make key programmatic investments?
Greg MacDonald: Verizon Media has a rich history of investment and acquisitions both on the buy and sell side, dating back to the earliest days of the Internet, before AOL and Yahoo were acquired by Verizon and combined to become Verizon Media in 2018.
At the center of every acquisition is the focus on delivering value to our different customer sets - consumers, advertisers, and publishers. Programmatic offers a massive opportunity to deliver value across these groups, and the investments we’ve made in programmatic have helped us remain one of the largest scale destinations for consumers and advertisers alike.
We recognized the consumer affinity for mobile, and with acquisitions including Millennial Media in 2015 and Flurry in 2014, we placed mobile at the core of our programmatic strategy, leaning into the evolving mobile data footprint across advertising and media technology.
Today Verizon Media has a comprehensive view of users from owned and operated sites, attracting an average of ~900M people each month, with diverse cross-screen signals including login, search, mobile app, set-top box, device and carrier data. This enables identity at scale for our advertisers and publishers - but always with the consumer’s experience and privacy top of mind. While we invest in data, intelligence, and analytics to deliver the ROI our customers expect, we’ve never lost sight of consumer privacy preferences or transparency that fuels trust in our ad platforms and media business.
MoPub: Supply path optimization (SPO) is something you’ve indicated is important to you. Why is SPO so important, and what do you look for when it comes to exchange partners?
Greg: SPO is a way to help advertisers find the best impressions by considering the quality and uniqueness of inventory, and prioritizing efficiency and transparency. We leverage machine learning to ensure access to the best supply, and we provide robust insights and controls to solve for specific client considerations. Underpinning all that, of course, are direct relationships with premium publishers and partners like MoPub who support industry transparency standards like sellers.json, and offer auction data and fee reporting.
MoPub: Verizon Media stands out as a DSP that’s accelerated success with the native ad format. What’s driving this? And how are you thinking about other engaging mobile first formats like video?
Greg: Verizon Media has invested in and evolved native ad experiences that provide a positive balance for advertiser performance, publisher monetization, and optimal user experience. We have extended our native ad learnings beyond Verizon Media properties working with premium partners, resulting in impressive growth, driven in large part by a flexible mobile ad canvas.
Brands can leverage unique native formats across the ecosystem, including Moments, our portrait ad experience, to drive engaging mobile video experiences at scale. Verticals from retail to entertainment have seen success, with leading commerce brands regularly beating ROAS goals and streaming apps securing millions of subscribers through our ad experiences.
MoPub: How has Verizon Media found success with in-app inventory, including gaming?
Greg: Mobile devices are something personal for each user - a board game, a news source, or a personal shopper. Advertising in mobile apps is the path to reach audiences who are highly engaged and though mobile screens are smaller in size, ad formats like native and rewarded video provide high quality ad experiences for consumers, advertisers, and publishers.
Verizon Media ad platform enables advertisers, including gaming app developers, to leverage our targeting capabilities and successfully extend audience reach while promoting their brand or mobile apps. Our solutions, including unique mobile ad formats and tools align with the specialized needs of in-app developers and streaming platforms.
MoPub: What’s top of mind for you as we look towards the next 10 years — or at least 2021? What are you particularly excited (or concerned) about?
Greg: I am excited about 5G, especially since we’re a business group within Verizon, who is leading the nation in 5G. With 5G networks and devices becoming mainstream, a foundation is being laid for engaging content and advertising experiences. 5G will fundamentally change the ways consumers interact with their mobile devices, and Verizon Media is here to ensure our partners are ready and armed with the tools to succeed.
We have already made investments in immersive native, AR and VR experiences that are well suited for this new frontier - including the first VR programmatic solution - and we are looking forward to incorporating functionality and insights into other parts of our omni-channel ad platform and strategy.
From Verizon Media:
Verizon Media, a division of Verizon Communications, Inc., houses a trusted media ecosystem of premium brands like Yahoo, TechCrunch and Engadget to help people stay informed and entertained, communicate and transact, while creating new ways for advertisers and media partners to connect. From XR experiences to advertising and content technology, Verizon Media is an incubator of innovation and is revolutionizing the next generation of content creation in a 5G world.
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