Jacobs' hire, which gives Metamarkets 40 employees, comes after two other additions at the executive level in August, when the company brought in Rubicon's Ron Claypool as VP of client services and Google's David Hertog as VP of marketing.
It has become harder for companies to differentiate themselves based on the promise to turn "big data" into "smart data" that advertisers can actually use. But Metamarkets believes that by tailoring and packaging data for exchange operators and publishers, it can deliver ROI and find a niche where it can be recognized.
Ross leaves a role overseeing Criteo's North American expansion after two years.
"I was bitten by the early stage startup bug," he said, noting he is still a shareholder in retargeting specialist Criteo, which last month filed its IPO with the SEC. "Metamarkets isn't just a data company. It represents the marriage of technology and advertising. Its primary focus is on real-time advertising and powering exchange operators like MoPub and OpenX, as well as publishers like the Financial Times. The promise of visualizing programmatic trends in real time is what made this an exciting prospect for me."
Part of the confidence Ross has in Metamarkets comes from his previous experience with the firm as a client, when he headed up ad platforms for content aggregator Demand Media. Before that, Ross had worked at real-time bidding pioneer Right Media, serving as director of business development.
"I was trying to build a programmatic business at Demand Media and Metamarkets was the tool I selected to provide the analytic insights," Ross said. "So I already knew what was under the hood. The goal now is to help Metamarkets go to market and work more closely with the exchanges and supply-side platforms. They have existing momentum in those areas and my job is to solidify and expand that growth pattern."
Metamarkets is mostly used for data processing and visualization. Most data-visualization services are aimed at advertisers and agencies, so the field is a bit wider when looking at the sell side and exchange operators, as many of those companies rely on their own technology to massage the analytics they collect.
Plus, while the packaging of data has evolved, the complaints that the material is more aesthetic than actionable -- i.e., colorful graphs may be easier on the eyes than reams of spreadsheets, but they may not be all that useful in making smarter, quicker decisions -- are as loud as ever.
Adding digital veterans such as Ross and other recent hires could help Metamarkets convince some of the doubters, at least in the short term.
"If you're running a small business and you're just looking for a better solution than Excel spreadsheets, Metamarkets isn't necessarily for you," Ross said. "But if you're a programmatic operator working with large amounts of data that you need available in real time for your campaign and yield managers to see how the business is doing at a glance without having to license a database, invest in servers and hire a new team to work it, then we're the right solution."
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