MediaBank's Bauschard And AdBuyer's Ogilvie Discuss Post-Acquisition Strategy And More

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MediaBank AdBuyerJohn Bauschard is President of MediaBank Marketplaces and Tim Ogilvie is CEO of AdBuyer.com which was acquired by agency systems company, MediaBank, last week. Ogilvie becomes MediaBank's new SVP of Product. Read the press release.

The two discussed the acquisition and the strategy going-forward.

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AdExchanger.com: Why is it a right time to buy a company like Adbuyer for a Media bank?

JOHN BAUSCHARD: That's a good question. I don't know how much you know about Media Bank's history. Our foundations are really on the agency system side. Primarily, we were born through digital. And you could argue that Media Bank came to be about innovations we've made within the digital agency systems market. And, really, that is how we got our foothold within the agency ecosystem about four years ago.

Since then, through acquisitions as well as some internal building, have built a comprehensive agency system that's now going to power, essentially, half of the market. As we started looking at this, we saw a proliferation of audience-based buying. We had started actually building our own internal marketplace focused on the offline market, specifically to print. We were looking for a partner on the digital side that brought some of those same qualities.

We spent a lot of time doing due diligence across the marketplace, and we came across Adbuyer as having what we thought was a comprehensive tool that shared the same vision as us with an agnostic cross-media platform (and) a plug-in to our existing system.

AdExchanger.com: Can you talk about those attributes that you saw in print that you're trying to exploit right now on the digital side?

JOHN BAUSCHARD: Print's a little different. What we saw is that there's a nice marriage between digital and print. Ironically, in the early days of digital, most of the digital buyers were print buyers. Print had location-based attributes, audience targeting attributes - those are some of the same attributes [as digital]. What we saw is, digital is a very nice proxy for print. Meaning, you can run tests, if you will, across specific DMA's for digital-only and for print with a digital overlay, and ultimatelysee attribution of those print dollars.

That's a really hard thing to do for the off line media guys - building an attribution model. With Adbuyer, we add the ability to build cross media analytics and get that real time feedback using a lot of the models they've built to try attributions to the offline world.

TIM OGILVIE: I'd add to that would be one of the other things we got really excited about was, not only the ability to do the analytics, but the buying process, too. Today, in our system, you can create buys directly and it's a very nice tie in to #1) what Media Bank's done on the print side and #2) how that ties into their agencies’ systems on the back end.

JOHN BAUSCHARD: So from a buyer’s desktop you can go right into the marketplace, set your targets, set your audiences, procure your media and, ultimately, then clear it right through the work flow system.

AdExchanger.com: Can you give me a use case on the buying process works? And, how does this change the way agency's will buy on behalf of their marketers?

TIM OGILVIE: There are a couple of use cases for a bunch of different buyers.

Increasingly, marketers are thinking about retailers, for example, and location-specific buys -whether that's on a digital basis where you're using the geo-targeting that we build into our server to understand, where does it work better and where does the message resonate, to what specific print publications reach that geo.

On an audience basis, MediaBank has built the tools to understand how print publications reach specific audiences. So if you're looking to reach the Hispanic audience or Chinese American audience, there's software doing the work of identifying how should you allocate your budget across the third party data providers that we work with to hit the audience online, and the analytics behind the scenes to understand which print publications in a specific geographic are are going to reach Chinese Americans, for example. Marketers care about target audience.

JOHN BAUSCHARD: This is where it gets more into the back office. At the end of the day, the marketer wants one bill. An agency needs a set of controls that the agency systems provide. Meaning that, budgets are set at the client level or the media level called segregation of duties, authorizations, all those things that maybe as an outsider looking in you don't think are really important, but are extremely important for an agency and for a marketer, that all those controls are set.

In a world of a lot of point solutions - everybody had their own interface - this didn't really help the agencies.

Because somebody had to go in and put that into the agency system and make sure that what they were doing and the targets that were set at a very high level were congruent with what the work they were doing. Having this tie directly into the agency's system there's no longer the peripheral aspects to this. It all ties together.

Budgets are set high, you could push all those goals all the way down. Someone could go into the market place and at the end of the day it goes into the registry agency system, one invoice is sent then to the marketer. So you're doing all the things an agency needs, like managing the treasury functions, discrepancy resolutions. Things that cause a lot of pain and agony, those pain points are eliminated when it becomes part of the broader agency system.

AdExchanger.com: Is Adbuyer now M | Buy, or vice‑versa?

JOHN BAUSCHARD: M | Buy is really our name. Adbuyer is really going to be a technology platform, we're going to rename that and we're going to keep the M | Buy marketplace as the broader umbrella.

AdExchanger.com: It seems there's a workflow change that you’re proposing because agency buyers have been buying from networks and DSP's. Now what you're saying is, "Actually, we're the solution for the ad network, just come to us." Isn't that fair to say? Sort of disintermediating that part of the ecosystem?

JOHN BAUSCHARD: I think there's certainly a cost to serve there. What we've heard our agency partner say is, "How do we still work with those folks?" But work with them in a way that’s pragmatic, flows and ultimately doesn't add cost to their cost structure. Let's face it, the agency's are under an immense amount of pressure to take costs out of their P&L's. How that is done is by essentially streamlining workflows, tightening up integration into the publisher communities, easing the back office logjam if you will of dealing with so many different networks and so many different publishers. So certainly there are those aspects.

There's also a growing thought within these agency about their workflow systems, which were really order management systems, that all of your planning, buying, and third party data should all sit and reside within one composite application. That we really feel is the future.

AdExchanger.com: So you're saying that, basically, an agency doesn't really need ad networks or DSPs coming to them anymore - or perhaps in the near future -that they go right to MediaBank for MediaBank’s plaform efficiencies?

JOHN BAUSCHARD: That's correct, and you can plug directly in. And now, instead of waiting in the lobby, you are now at the buyer’s desktop. We are on the desktop, we are there. We're not saying there's this whole concept, "Well, you're going to distance our mediator," or, "I have that relationship." We're not saying any of that. What we're saying is that you ultimately have to make it easier for the agency buyer. And the easiest way is when it's right on their desktop on a dashboard display. And how you sell it is based on data and what makes most sense for the goals of their clients and let the best property win. Our job in life is to make it as open and transparent as possible.

TIM OGILVIE: The only thing I'd add to that is … let’s say (IPG Mediabrands agency trading desk) Cadreon wants to use their DSP or ad networks, they're absolutely going to be welcome to do that. And I think part of the technology road map will be making that even easier for them to continue to do that. And the hope would be there's an opportunity for us to provide print-based audience buying, or in the future radio, out-of-home TV. So I think what you're going to see is, rather than a giant take-and-leave-it approach, there's a lot of modularity where people can plug in the pieces that fit their business appropriately. The big ad agency holding companies are one element, but there's also a ton of agencies in the system that don't have any DSP period and really need some help just figuring it out.

AdExchanger.com: So you do you see MediaBank getting in competition with agency trading desks (ATDs)? What would you tell the ATDs? -because, essentially, their pitch has been around taking the ad network margin away from the ad networks and doing the buying on their own and then that contributes to the agency margin.

TIM OGILVIE: So very few of those agency trading desks have in house technology or core of buying functions. I think a piece of it would be -for the guys who already have it - there's no displacement. And I don't think there's competition. I think there's an option for folks who do not have... It is an incredibly compelling equation for agency's broadly to move dollars from a non‑transparent, arguably egregiously, high-margin business associated with network buying and move it to audience-based buying.

I think we got a technology solution that will help solve that problem for them if they would like to take advantage of it.

JOHN BAUSCHARD: The ability to add new media types into a trading desk platform in a plug-and-play manner is a very compelling offering. To Tim's point, what we're seeing, really, is a lot of white-labeling of third party solutions. And I think another thing Media Bank has built their brand on is the ability to help an agency customize our solutions to create competitive advantage. We think that's what's really helped us get into the market place, and I think it will help us ultimately get deeper into that side of the business. Our ability to rapidly build customizations for our agency and their clients that give them competitive advantage and the problem is when everyone is using the same technology you start wondering how much competitive different agency's are getting from that.

AdExchanger.com: It sounds like you see an opportunity with the white labeling of solutions for agency trading desks to be that white label solution and this fits in well with your broader tool set of agency solutions.

JOHN BAUSCHARD: Correct. And cross media, I think, is a huge component of that. At Adbuyer we have the ability to go across media which is going to be a key differentiation. Because what we're seeing is this concept of audience buying isn't just restricted to display. The concept can move across to print, to out‑of‑home, to radio, et cetera. In advertising, Proctor and Gamble cares about females that are over 40 and have a household and and income of "X", for example, and they really are just looking at how to get impressions at that level.

AdExchanger.com: What is the cost of buying Adbuyer.com to MediaBank?

JOHN BAUSCHARD: Media Bank's a private company, so we actually don't disclose those details.

AdExchanger.com: Let’s turn to integration. How does the Adbuyer team fit within Media Bank?

JOHN BAUSCHARD: Clearly, an acquisition isn't just about product. It's really about people and those people and the culture of those folks to fit in to the broader culture of what Media Bank has become. And as I said during the due diligence process, with Tim, [CEO Bill Wise] and myself, we share a common DNA. Tim's role really is owning the product side and the technology within our marketplace group and building a team around that. Now, Media Bank already has a technology team within marketplaces. They will now roll up into Tim who ultimately owns all the technology and product side of the business.

TIM OGILVIE: The entire AdBuyer team is coming over and is fired up. The thing we find really exciting is, we have a ton of ideas on how to expand on the technology base we've built, and a partner who helps us get straight into a set of conversations that we think are really exciting and are going to be the future of how media gets bought, sold and traded in the future.

AdExchanger.com: What's next on the product road map after now that Adbuyer is moving to MediaBank??

JOHN BAUSCHARD: I think the first piece is the integration of the existing technology into MediaBank. The good news is we've been working every single day for the last three months or four months on integration and I would say, it’s pretty much done. We’re building out comprehensive reports and then adding one, new, location-based media type which we are going to be announcing in the next three or four weeks.

AdExchanger.com: Finally, it feels like MediaBank is moving towards creating a cross-channel attribution solution. Does that work for you?

JOHN BAUSCHARD: That's nothing new for us, right? That's a problem that we've been addressing for quite a while.

AdExchanger.com: But you haven’t seen all of the data and now that you move a buying platform onto your platform you're going to be seeing more data, which is going to inform and improve attribution models.

JOHN BAUSCHARD: To say that we didn't see all the data, that's right and that's wrong. Clearly there's a good set of data going through the buy platform as it is today. Now I think it's a level of granularity of that data. You're getting now much more detail that you didn't have. My background was in business intelligence. The problems that we're facing today... And the media market is having the same problems the enterprise faced in the '90s. It's really around that the disparity of data across channel.

Because, the problem that we find is the lack of standards, once we can get our hands on all that, we can start looking across media, build standards across it and index it - that's what's ultimately going to give us a better attribution model.

That's no small order. The deeper level granularity in the data we're going to have with the Adbuyer acquisition is going to allow us to build out better attributions.

So as we talk about what's between print and digital and this, is we have these new media types to the point where we think it's going to be a strong differentiation between us and everyone else out there. And it really comes down to the amount of liquidity that's already going to the platform which is somewhere around $50‑billion today.

Now come the tough part. How do make sense of it? How do you draw comparisons across it because all these things grew up in their own little silos? Now we have to start pulling them together.

By John Ebbert

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