This interview was originally posted on the Taboola Blog.
With the growing power of artificial intelligence and the advancements that programmatic has recently brought to advertisers and brands, there’s a lot for the industry to take in.
We wanted to get to the bottom of exactly how brands and marketers use programmatic successfully, and to hear how our programmatic partners see their future.
To start, we sat down with Shaun Lin, Director of Supply Partnerships at Sizmek, to talk about the power of programmatic advertising, the intersection of programmatic and native, and predictions for the future.
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about your background, and how you became Director of Supply Partnerships for Sizmek?
“I came to Sizmek when they acquired Rocket Fuel. At Rocket Fuel, managed our supply, and I continue to do so here at Sizmek. Before this, I worked for an ad network called Vibrant Media, and have now been in the digital media business for over 10 years. I chose to make the transition to Rocket Fuel when towards the end of my career at Vibrant, programmatic really started to pick up. I knew that’s where the future of the industry was going, and I wanted to be a part of it.
At Sizmek, I work with all our exchange partners to ensure that we have a constant stream of supply flowing to our bidder, and that we have access to what our clients want. I also make sure our AI has the opportunities it needs to deliver quality digital media.”
Q: In your words, what is Sizmek’s purpose?
“Sizmek’s purpose is to offer a full end-to-end platform for agencies and brands to harness the power of AI—really, connecting marketer messages to the right people at the right moment.
The AI layered into our platform really makes that happen. Every bid request is considered, and we take action on 140 billion requests a day.”
Q: Sizmek obviously has a lot of growth areas and opportunities. What piece of your business is the most exciting to you over the next year, and over five years?
“Native supply is on a great growth trajectory, and I believe that we are only at the beginning of the growth period for this media type. We’re starting to see it everywhere in the industry—recently, I spoke with a major publisher who has pulled all traditional display ads and instead has shifted completely to native placements.
For Sizmek in particular, native allows us to customize the ad experience for each user. We can adjust the creative, path and landing page URL for each user, making the journey more powerful for marketers and users alike.”
Q: The industry is in the midst of setting new standards for transparency. How do you work to tackle misaligned behavior and stay transparent?
“Sizmek uses a fully transparent model so that our clients have complete visibility into our platform, as well as how their budgets are being used.
In addition to transparency, we’ve been aggressively tackling brand safety with our Peer39 product, built to keep our clients and their brands completely safe. Peer39 identifies the context of the page, for example, news vs. sports.
The system then categorizes those pages for a brand and helps those that might not want to be associated with certain content—for example, breaking news of a recent train wreck. Peer39 helps protect brands from that situation by categorizing pages, and taking context into consideration before showing an ad.”
Q: How can brands leverage the Taboola/Sizmek partnership?
“Taboola sells and provides digital media inventory. Sizmek is a demand side platform (DSP) that buys that digital media from suppliers such as Taboola.
Our partnership helps brands and publishers alike, backtracking to my earlier statement on why we’re using native—it’s a more powerful ad experience for the user.”
Q: How can an advertiser best utilize the partnership between Taboola and Sizmek? What are the main benefits?
“Advertisers can work with the Sizmek team to create a plan to achieve their marketing goals. They can use our proven digital media experience in the market today with native supply from Taboola.”
Q: What are your predictions for the future of programmatic advertising? Where do you think industry is headed in the next one to five years?
“Disruption of traditional television is going to be the next evolution in our industry, and it will be a new media type that programmatic will embrace. It’s already begun, but I think it will speed up sooner than the user might expect.”
Taboola and Sizmek have been partners since 2016.