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Podcast: CafeMedia’s Culture

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CafeMedia, operator of CafeMom, MamasLatinas and other sites, is a technology-first media company. It employs seven developers who do nothing but manage pre-bid implementations, upgrade bidders, monitor code on-page and so on.

“The delivery of programmatic media is what we do,” says EVP for Strategy Paul Bannister.

In this two-guest episode of AdExchanger Talks, Bannister and Rachel Parkin, SVP of strategy and sales, describe Cafe’s unique business, which combines owned-and-operated properties with a media rep business called AdThrive. Acquired in 2016, AdThrive is a key source of programmatic revenue to an estimated 1,700 mid-tail sites.

Parkin goes into some depth on the shifting sands of programmatic technology and its power to amplify private, custom advertiser deals. Increasingly, these deals include influencer and branded content and are transacted via private marketplaces.

“It takes two seconds to set up a deal ID,” she says. “Getting it to spend and scale is where the art comes in, and a lot of that is listening. Nothing happens just in computers alone. We try to meet with buyers and understand what’s important.”

Open exchanges may be staging a comeback, thanks to wider adoption of Ads.txt as a partial solution to domain spoofing. But PMPs have other benefits, Bannister says.

“When a buyer spends money in the open market, where does that money ultimately go? You’re paying for data, for verification, for DSP and SSP,” he says. “You’re paying a lot of different people, and then ultimately your dollars that get to the publisher are pretty limited.”

Also in this episode: How will the shift to first-price auctions impact bid strategies?

Parkin says, “A lot of buyers, especially direct-response buyers who may have been bidding crazy amounts knowing they wouldn’t pay that, are going to have to adjust and say, ‘What is this really worth?'”

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