On Marketing Technology

MTS: Tell us a bit about your role at HIRO Media and how you got here (what inspired you to start a programmatic video company).

10 years ago, I founded HIRO and have been the company’s CEO since inception. HIRO is an online video SSP. We work with content owners, publishers, agencies, and advertisers in using programmatic to improve their performance in online video advertising.

The idea for HIRO came from a successful exit in mobile. At the time, I wondered what the next big thing will be, and it was clear to me that the answer was online video.

As the technology was still young, we tried to legally monetize peer to peer (P2P). It was a nice ride with all the big names in P2P, but, P2P was never going to reach critical mass.

As the industry evolved to programmatic we understood this presented an opportunity we were waiting for and decided to leverage our experience with online video advertising and were one of the first to jump on the wagon to become an SSP and created a unique technology for programmatic advertising and distribution.

MTS: What does the HIRO platform offer its customers?

Safety. HIRO is a programmatic Supply Side Provider(SSP). Our first concern is the user experience. We apply proprietary filtering tools that block all suspicious ad creatives and ensure the best user experience. This ability opens for us a publisher’s inventory that is not open to any other programmatic video SSP.

MTS: How do HIRO’s Syndication Technology and prediction methods work?

As user experience is a core value for us, we try to reduce the bandwidth needed for programmatic video advertising. We have several tools to solve this challenge. One of them is our patented prediction-based Real Time Bidding (RTB).

Thanks to our volume and reach, we can sample creatives every 10 seconds and know in advance which creatives are most likely to be presented on each inventory.

It is actually running the RTB offline, and then in real time, we just call the ad that we chose already online. As previously mentioned, this is just one of our tools for upgrading the user experience.

Our syndication is based on the fact that on one hand, most publishers have unused inventory; unsold display, native advertising, or just unused space of an article etc. while on the other hand, advertisers are looking for quality video inventory.

We offer publishers a means to transform their unused inventory to a high-quality video unit (we partnered with leading content owners such as FOX, BBC, Discovery, and others for supplying top-tier content) and to the advertiser we offer brand safe quality video content.

People should note that playing video in a site that wasn’t designed for that is not trivial; in most cases, it will crush the page. Thanks to our prediction-based RTB and ad filtering, we are the only company that can actually protect our publisher from undesired activities.

MTS: What challenges does the future hold for programmatic advertising ecosystems?

The market should unite and fight all kinds of fraud, bots, adware etc. We also think that the market should create a data certification. Today when you buy data, you don’t know how accurate and updated it is. And never forget, that we still need to bring the right ads to the relevant audience by exposing the ad in the right context.

MTS: What startups are you watching/keen on right now?

Several. First is Utab, they’re a social network for aspiring artists. Another is  Apester as they have some interesting solutions in the native field. The other is Viewerslogic, I like that they have a unique and interesting data solution.

MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?

We just launched our first content marketing activity – HIRO stream, series of interviews with opinion leaders. We had also a good experience with writing a market research with Nielsen, probably we will issue another research this year. This is a natural extension of our usual social media and PR work.

MTS: Could you tell us about a standout digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success)

Our customers prefer that we will not share such information. But in general terms, we succeed in creating an ongoing campaign for one CPG (Consumer packaged goods) brand that increased the intention to buy and recommend by 30% while the costs were cut by 75%. We did so by using a combination of small players in comScore’s top 1000 sites and relevant content. This allowed the brand to create a yearlong campaign at the cost of a seasonal campaign.

MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader?

HIRO was created as a data first company and in many senses, we are an AI centric company. We were one of the first companies to implement machine learning and auto trading. Strategically we think that video bots will be central to the mobile experience and we launched our first video advertising bot in London last week. We also work with our publishing partners on creating first party data pool that advertisers can use.

This Is How I Work

MTS: One word that best describes how you work.

Holistic

MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Tidal and Netflix – I like its efficiency, both are friendly and offer high quality and variety. Plus, no matter where you are at any given moment – your music and episodes/documentaries are with you (was considered as a dream just 10-15 years ago).

I also love the fact I can match a soundtrack, images or both to each moment I experience and to places I visit. It’s kind of making a layer of art to life.

MTS: What’s yoursmartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?

I try to work with people I know and like. I also use an iPad and not a PC. I believe in short meetings with fewer people. It’s much more efficient.

 MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)

I read both on my iPad and paper (hard copy) but most of my daily info is consumed mainly through my iPad. Currently, I’m reading Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates by Tom Robbins

MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

It’s more difficult to define the question than finding the answer.

MTS: Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?

I am very quick and precise in analyzing situations.

MTS: Tag the one person whose answers to these questions you would love to read:

Roger Federer.

MTS: Thank you Ariel! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.

Originally published in Martechseries