As featured in AdExchanger’s The Sell Sider, this graphic provides an illustrative example of the critical importance of having humans in the programmatic flow. Check out the full article on AdExchanger to hear from Erik Requidan and learn about the role humans play in optimizing demand path optimization for publisher and buyer success. 

At Intermarkets we are all about our clients, our culture, and our team! This year marked our 20th year as a company and we wanted to look back at 2017 and celebrate our staff and achievements as an organization.

If there’s anyone most like the fire emoji at Intermarkets, it’s Erik Requidan, VP of Sales and Programmatic Strategy. Not only does Erik have an infectious personality, he is also a trailblazer in the industry. It’s no surprise, then, that he was recently named to DC Inno’s 50 on Fire in the Marketing & Advertising category.

“Erik’s passion for the industry and what he does is contagious,” said Stephanie Snow, VP of Ad Ops. “He has the ability to ignite that passion in others and positive results always follow. It is an absolute pleasure to work with him.”

Erik joined Intermarkets in 2013 as Assistant Director of Sales and quickly advanced within the company. He is actively affiliated with many exchange advisory councils and serves as a strategic advisor to several top ad tech companies, helping them to improve their tech for both buyers and publishers. Erik came to Intermarkets with a history of successfully building media companies’ digital businesses and has continued that streak at Intermarkets. With his finger on the pulse of the latest programmatic techniques, Erik has helped advertisers tap into the Intermarkets Portfolio audience — close to 1 billion page views and reach more than 50 million unique visitors every month. 

“Erik has been instrumental to our efforts to fully embrace programmatic advertising monetization and stay at the forefront of this emerging space,” said Mike Loy, COO. “He has worked to develop our staff so we are consistently being called upon to test new technologies and techniques by our partners. Erik’s has also helped strengthen the DC-Northern Virginia ad community by bringing thought leaders together to discuss emerging trends, challenges and opportunities. We are proud of his efforts and this recognition is well earned.”

Erik is a true pioneer in the industry and serves as a highly effective thought leader on programmatic, ad operations, header bidding and more. Erik is up at 3 a.m. every morning to consume the day’s industry news and has the foresight to know what’s happening before it occurs. It’s a subject that truly brings him to life.

He is also the co-founder of “Programmatic Happy Hours,” intended to bring together the movers and shakers in the programmatic space. What started as a small event in summer 2016, Programmatic Happy Hours has quickly evolved — after just under 10 events in New York City and Washington, D.C., the mailing list has grown to 150 from various types of companies and typical attendance ranges from 50 to 75 happy hour goers.

Across the Intermarkets team, Erik is known as the “Guru of Programmatic” and “Shakespeare of Online Advertising.”

Way to go, Erik!

DrudgeReport.com is an established publication, recognized by an audience of 30+ million monthly readers for a drastically simple page design that delivers top stories on news and information, commentary, opinion and analysis. In addition to covering breaking headlines, The Drudge Report is a mega-traffic driver to top-tier entertainment sites. Sites like hollywoodreporter.com, variety.com, observer.com, and others received up to 28+ million visits from drudgereport.com readers. Check out this slick infographic illustrating referral power and top DMAs.

We’re just scratching the surface.

The Intermarkets Portfolio offers scale across several other verticals as well. Email us for more information.

The Consumer Electronics Show — commonly referred to as CES — was a sight to see. For a first-timer like myself, it was a bit overwhelming. For the 50th anniversary of the show, nearly 200,000 visitors descended upon Las Vegas to take in the sights and sounds of everything tech. CES covered nearly 2.47 million net square feet of space and spans the entire city.

I noticed five key themes that kept up popping up throughout the show:

Voice (Controls)

Voice and voice control is taking over the way we live in ways we can’t even imagine. Many folks are familiar with Amazon Alexa – an intelligent personal assistant that can set up calendar appointments, play music, provide weather and more. Various reports estimated that there were 700–1,100 Alexa-controllable products at the show. Product were either being controlled by Alexa or they were creating Alexa like products.

Lots of products are moving to voice-activation – including this voice-activated garbage can from Simple Human. For a mere $180, your garbage can will respond to the command: “open sesame.”

The reason so many products are now voice activated is that Microsoft created software that recognizes speech on the same level as humans. Voice recognition has scaled in leaps in bounds over the last few years alone.

Artificial Intelligence

AI is another hot topic and coincides with voice recognition. There have been significant advancements in technology; previously, a computer was able to take in information, understand it and provide an answer. If you asked, “What steak restaurant do you recommend locally?” the computer could provide you with a list of steak restaurants nearby. Presently, the systems are smart enough to point out specifics, like the fact that Morton’s is the best rated restaurant, it’s only 3.5 miles away, you can make a reservation at 7:00 and they recommend you have the filet instead of the strip steak based upon reviews. AI is truly allowing computers to act as humans in these scenarios.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Experts estimate that by 2020, IoT will consist of 50 Billion objects. IoT commonly comes in the form of connected devices or smart devices. Sensors are collecting hundreds of points of data to make “smart” decisions. At CES, I saw companies like Whirlpool monitoring and adjusting the temperature of a refrigerator, making sure the strawberries didn’t spoil. In addition, wearable companies are measuring every step you take, every change in blood pressure, and providing recommendations as to what exercises to do and what specific foods to eat. Companies are using these sensors to collect every single point of data.

Data

Data is ubiquitous and everywhere. It is growing exponentially and all these new devices are collecting millions upon millions of data points every second. Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so much so that 90 percent of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. Much of the tech created (and being worked on) requires sifting through massive amounts of data. It will be our job to process and understand the data.

Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality

You couldn’t go more than 100 ft. at CES without seeing someone wearing crazy headsets. These VR headsets allow you to immerse yourself in any environment. They give users a full 360 degree view. The headsets can make you feel like you are riding a roller coaster or swimming underwater with a school of fish. Augmented reality is the blending of virtual reality with real life. Virtual reality is more prevalent in gaming, however there are more avenues being created, like journalism. Instead of writing about a battle in Iraq, how about creating an immersive environment where it feels like you are part of the battle – feeling and understanding what it takes to survive.

I also noticed the insane amount of marketing and advertising that is committed to the show. Brands spend countless dollars and resources to market their products and make their presence known. Panasonic, the 100-year Japanese organization, had a nearly 17,000 sq. ft. booth broken down into three zones. Behemoths like Samsung, Sony and Intel also had equally impressive booths with hundreds of folks explaining and talking about their products. Auto manufacturers were showcasing their latest, fastest and smartest cars. Overall, CES is a marketer’s dream.

In lock-step with the brands are the agencies that represent them. They’re trying to understand all the latest technology offerings as well as what each of their competitors is doing. They need to be fully immersed in how to best market these products. Beyond tech – there is an abundance of digital media folks that fully represent the numerous participants of the LUMAscape ecosystem.

All the major themes discussed above are important because they dovetail within the marketing and advertising industries. For Intermarkets, CES was a chance to understand what brands and marketers are doing and how we as an organization can facilitate the conversation further. In addition to checking out some of the futuristic gadgets, we were endlessly networking and meeting with many of our current partners including OpenX, Index Exchange, Rubicon, Inform, Outbrain, Criteo, Cadreon, Google, Facebook and more.

‘til 2018…

Drudge 6 Billion

In June of 2016 we plotted the cumulative number of visits to DrudgeReport.com and other top news and commentary publishers for 2016. One month later, the Drudge Report has already shot up another 1.2 billion from May to June. In the first 6 months of 2016, the Drudge Report has been visited more than 7 billion times—that’s 82% of 2015’s 12-month total of 8.5 billion combined page views. At the current rate, the entire population of Earth will have looked at DrudgeReport.com by the end of July 2016.

Readers of the Drudge Report are incredibly loyal and engaged. With 90% direct traffic and above-average time on site, this audience comes ready to consume. Almost 20 million unique visitors go to DrudgeReport.com each month, many of which return regularly for the latest headlines—driving 1+ billion monthly page views. The Drudge Report holds a high-value audience for advertisers of all shapes and sizes, spanning several verticals. 

Learn more about this premium publication and other brands in the Intermarkets Portfolio.  

I recently had the opportunity to attend the ClickZ conference in New York. The conference was held in the Marriott Marquis in the heart of Times Square. It was a great opportunity to hear what fellow digital marketers were working on; network and better understand how these marketers were pushing the digital economy forward. In total, there were probably close to 1,000 attendees across all walks of marketing, as the conference focused on these four broad tracks: Search & Acquire, Engage & Convert, Retain & Grow, and Digital Transformation.

During my two days, I had a chance to listen to a number of speakers – here are two of my favorites.

John Roberts, SVP at About.com

An astro-physicist by trade, John heads up About.com’s data science and audience development teams.   His team focuses on providing insights and revealing interesting information about About.com visitors, their usage and their interactions with the site. Not only do they track day-to-day performance, but they also look at trends across months and years. They have a systematic approach of using (visual) data and information to help guide decision making. They have reduced the cost of asking questions. This sounds weird – but now that things are more open – it’s easier to ask questions, get answers to help chart decision making. Additionally, there are a lot more people asking thoughtful questions and really digging into the metrics.

Here at Intermarkets, we’ve been working on creating different visual dashboards to look at trends across our publishers and properties. We’ve also allowed our employees greater access to data and data analytics. People are genuinely interested in tracking metrics and want to know how certain decisions impact pageviews, uniques, or revenues.

Peter McGuinnnes, CMO of Chobani

Greek yogurt maker Chobani, was founded 10 years ago and has had a meteoric rise since first launching in 2007. Back in 2007, Greek Yogurt accounted for less than 1% of all yogurt sales, today Greek yogurt accounts for more than 50% of all yogurt consumption in the US. Much of the category growth can be attributed to Chobani.

The focus of the speech wasn’t about Greek Yogurt – but how Chobani continues to be genuine, but bold in everything they do. The company challenged conventional wisdom when it was formed – investing and believing in a product that was different, but authentic in its DNA.

Much like the CEO’s initial approach in starting the business, Peter McGuiness went on to say this about Chobani’s marketing strategy. “If you have something to say, say it. Don’t mince words. Don’t market in the middle; the middle is lame. Consumers don’t appreciate it. It’s not going to cut through, it’s not going to be relevant and it’s not going to resonant.”

For us here at Intermarkets, the company continues to be authentic in our approach in dealing with advertisers, key partners, and vendors. Back in 2012, Intermarkets made a bold bet on programmatic advertising and haven’t looked back. The company had to make a number of tough strategic decisions, looking at personnel, investments and which partners to work with. Just in a few years, the marketplace has completely flipped on its head and now Intermarkets is seen as one of the leaders in the programmatic space. This strategic bet has enabled Intermarkets to have some of its most successful quarters as advertisers and buyers are getting better access to our premium audiences.

Overall, the conference was a success – a chance to hear from a number of great speakers, network with industry peers, and finally get a chance to test out a pair of virtual reality headsets!

AdvProg_1of3Wednesday, a number of Intermarketers attended the Advanced Programmatic Buyers & Sellers training in Washington DC.  The all-day event was hosted by the IAB, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, who along with its 650+ member companies develops technical standards and best practices for the digital advertising industry.

The class, led by Matt Prohaska of Prohaska Consulting, provided participants with a better understanding of the programmatic media ecosystem, working knowledge of the key technologies and programmatic ad stack across platforms.  It also touched upon “Programmatic Guaranteed” and provided live demonstrations from vendors from both the ad tech side as well as from the buyer perspective.

For Intermarkets it was a chance to really hone in on intricacies of Programmatic and learn the nuances of this ever growing digital buying mechanism.  Recently eMarketer stated that programmatic digital display ad spending will reach over $22Bn in 2016, a jump of 39.7% over last year, which represents 67% of total digital display ad spending in the US.   With such a large percentage, Intermarkets is committed to offering products and services in the way that people want to buy.

DC Programmatic Happy Hour sponsored by OpenX at The Washington Post

The night cap was a chance to unwind, network and talk shop with our colleagues in the industry. The venue was the new and beautiful Washington Post Headquarters building.  There was a wide mix of companies in attendance – publishers included – WashingtonPost, Philly.com, WebFinance, DailyCaller, IJReview to name a few; technology companies included OpenX, Rubicon Project; Agency representatives included such firms as Ogilvy and Mullen Lowe.

 

AdvProg_feature

The highlight of the night was a panel hosted by OpenX with Martin Calhoun, Director, Digital Advertising Operations and Yield Management at Philly.com and Jason Tollestrup – Director, Programmatic Advertising and Business Intelligence at the Washington Post. The discussion focused on programmatic and more specifically how each of the companies has spent the last year or two implementing header bidding solutions. Philly.com took a very cautious approach, making sure that they focused on the right partners and right solutions – as well as making sure they made changes that were in line with the entire sales strategy.  Similarly at the Post, much of their time is evaluating the right partners and making sure that each new partner provides a unique quality about their demand.

Our own Erik Requidan, VP of Sales and Programmatic, asked an interesting question about how buyers keep to date with everything that publishers and technology vendors are working on behind the scenes. Since each ad stack and publisher implementation is different, both panelists agreed that publishers need to spend more time with media buyers, to explain, uncover, and inform the best ways to interact with publishers.

 

Digital ads have evolved but the formula for a successful ad creative still stems from 5 core principles

  1. Know your audience
  2. Craft a simple message
  3. Get right to the point
  4. Be relevant
  5. Come clean (transparent messaging)

Banner ads have gone from simple images to a variety of advanced audio-visual formats delivered across channels to reach consumers wherever they are. Considering how to create an effective ad that will draw attention and generate clicks can be boiled down to these five points. Applying them to your ad concept will ensure that your creative speaks directly to your intended audience, driving conversions and making you money.

Know your audience

This is the universal KEYSTONE. While I was writing this post, I thought to myself, “How do I craft my message?” Digging down I realized that I was outlining my thoughts based on who I was writing to—you!

Make sure you have a clearly defined audience, that you understand who they are, what they’re looking for, and how they want to find it. Without this piece, you’re going to find the other four difficult to execute. Without knowing whom you’re trying to reach, you’re casting a wide net, which brings down the quality of your clicks.

Craft a simple message

Are you selling a product, idea, or a cause? Make sure the audience knows what it is at first glance. With banner ads, you usually have a very slim window to earn attention from consumers online. Make sure that when they do spot your ad in the side bar of their favorite web page, it’s absolutely clear what you’re showing them.

Get right to the point

Sprint has a strong offer to draw families away from competitors with a hefty data package serving 4 lines for only $100/month. They do a great job here of giving a detailed yet brief description of the offer, which is enough to get curious buyers to click through and get more of the nitty-gritty from the landing page.

Use clear, concise messaging. If consumers have to interpret your offer, chances are they’ll skip right by it. Short and sweet takes the cake.

Be relevant

Turbotax knows that people are looking for easy, low-cost solutions to get their taxes done. It’s no coincidence that you probably received your w-2 recently and have also started seeing ads like this on almost every website. A well-timed campaign.

Pay attention to what’s going on in the world your audience lives in and what they’re interested in. Leverage relevant trends to supercharge your campaign without lifting any additional fingers or having to shell out more dollars. Again, it all ties back to truly knowing your audience.

Come clean

Ads like this are easy to understand, but I think 99% of us have learned one way or another that Mom was right, there is no such thing as absolutely “free”. In my opinion banner ads like this one come across as bait, and I tend to leave them be. If I knew from the ad what I would have to provide in order to receive the free product, then I’d be more likely to click and explore the offer. Maybe it’s just a quick survey—harmless! But if you’re not telling me up front then I’m going to assume it’s something much, much worse.

Be honest and transparent with your messaging. It builds trust and makes people want to do business with you. Let your customers know exactly what you’ve got to offer without beating around the bush with vaguely worded, fluffy catch phrases. If you have an innovative product or a meaningful cause you want to share, show them! This will increase the quality of your conversions by only bringing folks who are actually ready to be your customer.

To summarize, or “TLDR” as they say nowadays, if you get to know your audience ahead of time, you can put together a simple yet effective ad that will get their attention. It shows that you take time to understand who they are and what they’re looking for, and you are ready to cater to their individual needs. It will build a relationship between you and your audience that fosters loyalty and a strong brand reputation.

A Referral Traffic Leader*

The Drudge Report is unstoppable

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: when it comes to web traffic, the Drudge Report is unstoppable. With 58 million visits a month*, and 406 million visits* from January to July 2015*, the Drudge Report is an in-demand source of breaking internet news. The referral traffic* alone, delivers 791 million visits* to 3,362 other websites*, which debuts the Drudge Report, as a referral traffic leader*.

Most recently, SimilarWeb reported that out of the top U.S. news sites, the Drudge Report is the number one source for news referral traffic, to GOP candidates’ websites. Consequently, the Drudge Report continues to be a trusted source of GOP news and valued information. With political campaigning afoot, it’s more critical now than ever, to have a targeted advertisement, in front of the targeted audience. And with these results, you can bet the Drudge Report will deliver more votes to the polls next year.

viewServicesSources:
*SimilarWeb,10/19/15