Adnetik Growing A Trading And Targeting Firm Says CEO Montes

adnetikEd Montes is CEO of Adnetik, an online advertising targeting and trading company. Let’s begin with you. What are your responsibilities as CEO of Adnetik today?

EM: One, I set the vision for the company. Two, I attract, retain, and recruit the best talent for the company. And three, I make sure there’s money in the bank to run the company. Fourth, I work closely with Nate Woodman, our COO, who leads our product team, on setting the product vision.

What would you say some of the key differences from your previous, executive role at the agency Media Contacts?

There’s a massive difference in the companies in the sense that a significant part of Adnetik’s business is technology with a portion focused on service. The product in the agency world is really the people, who are very service oriented. Adnetik has an additional layer of product development and technology development that the agency world, in my experience, doesn’t have.

Do you consider Adnetik an agency trading desk?

I use the term “targeting and trading company.” While we have elements of a trading desk, and while we have elements of a demand side platform, we have additional elements around data management, data aggregation, and customized targeting that I think distinguishes us from both groups. Hopefully, we’re creating a new type of company that was the intention.

Why did you pick that strategy?

Adnetik’s purpose is to maximize the performance of an advertiser’s investment in media by trading media and data assets between portfolios of advertisers and publishers. We do this by leveraging data from multiple sources, applying optimization algorithms and data driven buying decisions across various sources of purchased media in order to efficiently distribute each ad impression on behalf of each advertiser.

In what geographies is Adnetik today?

Today, Adnetik today is operational in the U.S., UK, the Netherlands, Mexico, Spain, and Brazil.

Are you owned by Havas?

Adnetik was incubated by Havas, but now we operate as a separate company. We still have a very strategic partnership with Havas.

How far do you plan to go with display advertising in terms of buying partners such as ad networks, exchanges, direct-to-publisher?

We have relationships with all three formats from a display standpoint. We’re aggressively trying to grow all three formats, so doing anything we can to increase the liquidity of the inventory we see.

One of the things that I think distinguishes us is that we’re much more interested in – say premium inventory than simply price discriminated inventory. We’ve always suggested that there was going to be a “premium” in a biddable environment. That’s another reason why we’re going directly to publishers.

Is part of the process here to take the ad network out of the equation. Is that a goal?

No, I don’t see that as a goal. In our experience in Global market places, inventory acts differently. You may need to have a strong relationship or an inventory supply relationship with ad networks for many reasons.

How are you selling yourself – as in Adnetik – within Havas today?

I’m glad you said, “sell yourself,” because I think that’s a big difference between us and captive agency trading desks within other holding companies. We do have to sell ourselves to the Havas Digital entities. We have also sold our product and services to many partners outside of Havas Digital.

We sell ourselves as an advanced targeting company that uses exchange based principles to achieve efficiency for their clients.

And you’re essentially competing with other DSP/ad networks on buys?

Yes. We have to earn our keep, if you will.

One of the rationales for doing what we do is to establish a level of market competitiveness for Adnetik that would not be based on simply having an internal view of the world, but rather understanding what the marketplace as a whole was requiring, so we could compete at that level.

Would Adnetik ever acquire technology?

Absolutely, if it is something that could give us a competitive advantage.

Right now, I don’t foresee any acquisitions in the near future. But, if we felt a need for something, we have the ability to go out and acquire it.

Who is the ideal client for Adnetik? More brand awareness, more DR branded offer…?

First, every client is worried about their brand. I don’t care what a DR client tells you, they are. And every brand client is worried about performance. It’s a specious distinction. I think they’re more methodologies than anything. What I would say is that an ideal client for us would be one that has a lot of user data and is seeking to use that data to create targeting efficiencies.

Looking at the skill set of people you’re looking to hire at Adnetik today, do you hire media buyer/planners, for example?

The planner/buyer function – we don’t have it and there’s a strong need in organizations such as ours. We need someone who knows how to match up the clients goals with our targeting options. What we do have is something that is probably more akin to the publishing side, which is an ad operations team. They currently manage each account from sale to delivery.

As for the types of people that we look for, they could be former media planners or buyers, so long as they have a strong quantitative background. They’ve done something in math, in statistics, or even database related.

I think those people tend to get our process better. And I would also say people who have good knowledge on how to use ad severs are very well suited to this business.

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