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At Mediaocean, we envision a future where gender equality in the tech industry is the norm. So to give even more women the opportunity to build their careers in tech, we’ve extended the deadline for our Women in Tech scholarship.

The deadline for entries is now July 15, 2015. For more information about the scholarship, visit the Women in Tech website today.

Today we announced that Vista Equity Partners (Vista) is acquiring a majority stake in Mediaocean. Michael Donovan will retain a significant equity stake in company going forward and will remain on the board of directors, while Bill Wise will remain CEO of Mediaocean.  

This is an exciting milestone for Mediaocean, an almost 50-year-old company that continues to lead and disrupt the market. With the investment from Vista we will accelerate growth, further drive product innovation, enhance our customers experience, and – ultimately – continue our vision to unleash the full potential of the global advertising ecosystem.  

As a client or partner, your relationship with Mediaocean will remain the same. Your current platforms and services will remain unaffected and our professional services teams are here to support you along the way. As always, we will continue to provide you with the best customer experience and world-class solutions for the most challenging marketing and advertising issues. 

If you are wondering, we picked Vista as our new investment ally because of their track record in software and technology. They are a world-class firm with over 25 portfolio companies in the tech sector and they have strong expertise within our category.  Their reputation is fantastic and they share our vision for heightened growth and innovation. This new chapter at Mediaocean will help increase product innovation and deliver best-in-class solutions for the advertising ecosystem.  Vista is a not a classic financial buyer – they are a holding company for software companies, with a significant operations and consulting arm. This is what attracted us to them. 

For more information about this exciting news, please read the press release here

Name: Brian Lawrence

Title: Account Manager

Joined Mediaocean: Started at Donovan in 1995, came back in 2005.

College: West Virginia State University

Tell us about your journey. Why advertising and technology?  

I moved to New York to start a career in broadcasting. I was the “Voice of the Yellow Jackets,” announcing football and basketball games, hosting and producing radio and TV shows in college, and I had worked at the top NBC affiliate station in West Virginia’s largest market (Charleston-Huntington, WV). But this “plan” provided humbling experiences.  I accepted a position as a sales assistant at Blair television (now known as Petry), while pursuing a few promising sportscasting opportunities.  I liked working on the business side of media, and the thought of spending years slowly working my way to ESPN just didn’t seem as appealing as it once did.  After stops at Comcast (local cable advertising sales) and Nielsen Media Research, I found a home at DDS. There was so much to like about DDS that after a four-year stop again at Nielsen, I returned to DDS in 2005. And here I am…

What are a few of your strengths and passions? How has working at Mediaocean enabled you to flex some of these muscles?  

Matching client needs with what we have to offer. Client needs change, and our platforms are evolving to meet those needs. You need a combination of project management, problem solving, effective communication, relationship building, openness to learn new things, and adaptability to meet this challenge. My job never gets old.

In what ways has working at Mediaocean challenged you and enabled you to grow? 

Just when I figure out all the answers, someone changes all the questions…

What do you enjoy most about working at Mediaocean?

• The people

• Great work environment

• Mentorship program

• There is no company better positioned to be the leader in the emerging world of media convergence. Very excited about the possibilities.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years and what role does Mediaocean play in helping you get there?

• I see myself here, in digital advertising - Mediaocean is positioned to spearhead the industry in its efforts to reach convergence.

• Or, living in a beachfront on the island of Barbados counting my mega-million dollar lottery winnings from the ticket I bought with my Mediaocean salary…

What’s your favorite employee perk at Mediaocean? 

The champion softball team and our themed holiday parties.

Cats or dogs? 

Dogs (preferably Beagles, they’re the best).

Give some tips for someone looking to land a job like yours.

• Have a good understanding of what Mediaocean has to offer, as well as an understanding of our clients’ business.

• Show that you are assertive.

• Show your sense of humor; you will have to call on it from time to time…

What’s your favorite TV show? 

“Law and Order” (the original series). But it’s tied with “Frasier.”

As consumers, we engage with brands without giving much thought to the various screens we experience them through - we may browse a catalog on a tablet, research products in-store on a smartphone, then head back to our desktop to make the final purchase.

In fact, according to eMarketer, in 2014 we spent almost a quarter of our media time on mobile devices - a 66% increase in activity from 2012.

With this divided engagement across screens, being able to identify unique users browsing between devices has become a critical capability for marketers looking to effectively target potential customers at every stage of the path to purchase.

Until now, cookies have been the standard to identify and target users browsing on desktop devices. Cookies, however, are limited for mobile, cannot connect the dots back to desktop, and therefore aren’t effective as an identifier of devices.

The industry challenge has been to find a universal identifier – a point of reference that can recognize anyone, using any device. And here is where the greatest barrier remains - waiting for technology to catch up with the theoretical.

In the context of digital media, cross-device targeting technology is still in its infancy. Thus far, no single company has been able to develop a comprehensive solution, but Facebook, Google, and Apple have built platforms to capitalize on the potential.

So what are the options available to marketers today? Identification and targeting can be done via 3 methods: cookies, probabilistic identification, or deterministic identification. Each method’s differences lie in which data points are used to identify individuals.

Cookie-based targeting is the oldest, most scalable, easily deployable, and yet least accurate method of targeting cross-device. A cookie is a piece of information gathered from a website, that is then stored in the user’s browser and sent back to the server notifying visited websites of the user’s activity.

Cookies are still the go-to for desktop display, but their usefulness has begun to decline as consumers increasingly rely on mobile devices through the sales and conversion cycle.

Next, targeting using probabilistic identification refers to using publically available ad-serving data, such as device, browsing behavior, location, OS, etc. Using a mix of algorithms, these data points are pieced together to predictively identify individuals.

With match accuracy between 50-90%, probabilistic identification is much more accurate than cookies. For marketers, that may reduce wasted budget spend on the audiences they are not trying to reach, but experts have also remarked that probabilistic targeting methods are unclear, lack standardization, and are not scalable to large audiences (Forrester).

Lastly, there is targeting based on deterministic data - this uses known user information such as login detail, email address, and customer ID. So far, only email providers and communication and social networks have access to a substantial set of this data, and not all are scalable for mobile – but, the amount of information gathered creates the potential to capture individual user profiles.

This method of deterministic targeting is gaining traction in the agency space, with recent evidence of Facebook’s re-launch of their Atlas ad server, which uses a mix of cookies and Facebook IDs to target specific users across devices, within - and beyond - the Facebook ecosystem.

While not everyone uses Facebook, this is a significant stride forward as over one sixth of the world’s population holds an account.

Google is challenging this by building Doubleclick Audience Center, a Data Management Platform which will also attempt to match data with identities, as it has access to billions of search engine, Android, Gmail, and YouTube users.

Additionally, data and capability integrations, such as the Verizon acquisition of AOL, are a step in a similar direction as they combine deterministic data - Verizon’s access to email addresses, browsing histories, phone numbers, and physical addresses, with ad tech capabilities - AOL’s programmatic platform. 

While the scalability of the deterministic data approach is limited, logins and persistent IDs are certainly more scalable than past targeting methods, as they hold a much deeper level of audience knowledge. Which brings us to question – is this the direction we should be heading in, as both marketers and consumers? Are persistent IDs the end-all?

A recent report from eMarketer concludes that a universal or all-encompassing solution would likely have to use a “ubiquitous” key to identify users - meaning it would have to be developed as an industry standard with input from both governing bodies and stakeholders across the industry.

In order to meet demands of marketers, it would also have to offer unlimited audience reach, give advertisers and agencies more control of proprietary data, and provide a holistic view of the consumer journey.

Consequently, it is just as important that the solution benefits the targeted audience; better targeting means serving advertising that is relevant to user interests and needs, without invading their privacy.

A study conducted by the Digital Advertising Alliance in October 2014 found that of Americans who expressed an opinion on mobile advertising relevance, a majority of nearly five-to-one preferred seeing ads relevant to their interests.

What cross-device targeting can ultimately do is help marketers enhance the user experience across the full range of their devices and bring customers closer to the brands and messages that fit best.

To learn more about the vast digital space, check out our Field Guide to Digital Marketing!

The whole industry is buzzing about programmatic advertising, to the point where it feels like every article written includes the term. Here’s a quick look at the growth of search terms for programmatic advertising since 2013: 

Data Source: Google Trends (

I have no doubt that throughout 2015 this buzz will continue to grow, and more and more advertising dollars will be managed accordingly.

The industry is also eager for more ways to intelligently buy an audience, beyond just age and gender demographics. Addressable advertising creates better targeting opportunities, and will create the need to tailor the creative for a more specific audience. 

While these buzzwords are gathering more strength, very few people seem to consider how the ad operations teams at the agencies and creative shops are managing to keep up with this increasingly automated world. A world where buying and selling is supposed to be much faster and more complex, where advertisers need to better target the right audiences to increase their ROI, and where creative messages should be tailored to more targeted audiences (which requires managing many more versions).  More automation provides more opportunities, but it also creates more pressure.

The current traffic and ad delivery workflow relies on emails, phone calls, and faxes to share key information, with a lot of rekeying involved.  Continuing this process guarantees ad ops will not be able to keep pace. It’s understandable why everyone thinks technology will automate all manual processes, but it’s critical to still have people managing these increasingly complex workflows. You can buy as automated as you like, create very targeted creatives, but if it doesn’t get to the right place at the right time, all the upside will be lost.

To kick off our Women in Technology initiative and announce our scholarship program, Mediaocean held a panel of esteemed women in technology during Internet Week last May to discuss the gender disparity in tech. Check out the entire session here, and for more information on the initiative and scholarship program, visit our Women in Technology website today.

June 12, 2015

Name: Megan Blau

Title: Senior Account Manager

Joined Mediaocean: 1997

College: Mansfield University

What are a few of your strengths and passions? How has working at Mediaocean enabled you to flex some of these muscles?

I feel passionate about working with clients and providing solutions that help their business. We have some really great product offerings and I love being able to offer those efficiencies. Best of all, this role lets me be creative and think outside of the box.

What do you enjoy most about working at Mediaocean?

I really love the people I work with – I feel incredibly fortunate to work with such intelligent, creative, and generous people. The people I work with inspire me and keep me moving forward- I’ve been here 17 years and I still feel like I learn something from every person I interact with. 

What’s your favorite employee perk at Mediaocean?

When I can get there, I really love the yoga.

Cats or dogs? 

Neither! I had a fish once and it was too much work.

Give 3 tips for someone looking to land a job like yours.

• A background in tech or relevant experience is going to be helpful no matter what
• Know your message and your audience
• Be curious – don’t be afraid of what you don’t know

If you were stranded out at sea and could only have 3 things, what would they be?

My cell phone (and service), sunblock, and if we’re on a boat, I want a paddle. If we’re on an island, I’d want chocolate.  

What’s your favorite TV show? 

“Mad Men.” I’m also really into “Shahs of Sunset” right now.

If your life were made into a movie, who would play you and why? 

(I’m reaching for the stars…) Ideally, it would be J Lo, but I don’t think she would take that role. So, maybe Sandra Bullock?

by Cordie DePascale

I’m excited to introduce the launch of the Connect Partner Program website. Mediaocean launched the Connect Partner Program in 2013 as a single program for the entire ad tech ecosystem, whether it’s traditional or digital media, to live within agency tech stacks and operations. With the launch of the Connect Partner Program website, it’s now easier than ever for Mediaocean platform users to discover and access our offering of trusted partners to power their marketing needs.

For our partners - the industry’s leading ad servers, data solution providers, supply businesses, and technology providers – the Connect Partner Program’s website is the perfect place to showcase their integration and benefits to potential users. The program itself has been an exciting opportunity for partners to grow revenue, supercharge user adoption, and expand global presence by integrating services on Mediaocean software used every day by the world’s largest agencies.

By presenting all of our partners and their capabilities in one place, anyone has access to discover the innovative marketing solutions that best fit your organization’s needs. Available today, our comprehensive listing of integrations allows you to search for integrations by media type, Mediaocean platform, or Connect partner type and review features and benefits of each of our partnerships. If you see a partner you would like to work with or learn more about, each integration page will provide details on how to get started.

Interested in becoming a Connect partner? Please get in touch with us through our website and we’ll get back to you shortly.

Visit the Connect Partner Site!

June 04, 2015

At, we believe in the power of TV to motivate consumers to pick up their smartphones and engage with a brand’s creative – particularly if they think they might end up on screen.  Brands are increasingly incorporating contests to gather the best social media content – primarily Instagram photos and Tweets – as a way to boost consumer awareness and engagement.  For consumers, these contests offer them a chance to get their “15 minutes of fame.”  Social advertising campaigns are clearly mutually beneficial, and our platform, Story, makes this an easy reality for brands, agencies, and consumers.

When a user engages with a brand’s hashtag, we quickly and easily gather that content and layer it onto the creative (TV and digital) within minutes.  Keeping this process as near real-time as possible is critical, so that the creative stays fresh and engaging. Over the past 18 months, we conducted campaign research that proves successful social advertising can lead to a big uplift in a brand’s ROI.

One of our biggest success stories was with Coca Cola last summer in Sweden.  Consumers “shared a Coke,” publishing Coke-related Instagram photos to be featured on air in the Coca-Cola commercial.  Every time the spot aired, we made sure it featured new Instagram photos, from new consumers. This regular spot versioning allowed for greater reach, leading to greater engagement and actionable results.  

But don’t just take our word for how powerful TV ads can be for brand engagement.  Here’s what the USA network team found during their Psych series finale month, when they encouraged users to send in their #SadGus photos (imitations of the show’s character):

48% more audience draw (18-49) than other promo minutes.

44% more audience draw (18-49) than other commercial minutes.

Source: Nielsen, 3/19/14, 9-10p, promo minute average excludes #SadGus promo minutes, Live+SD data; SocialGuide (ranked on live or new episodes)

We also added 4 minutes of dwell time to the show.

What does this tell us?  Social engagement possesses the power to amplify the impact of TV, and vice versa.  And with the industry moving toward TV/video convergence, this power will increase even more. The consumer’s world is screen-agnostic, and the technology is there to provide cost-effective creative versioning at scale, ready and waiting for the industry to adopt.   

by Shawna Larkowski

Given the past few months of coverage, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone in the industry that hasn’t heard about the ongoing struggle of “viewability.” Jonah Goodhart, CEO of brand analytics company Moat, posits that “Viewability has become table stakes - no other conversation about marketer success can happen if the message never made it to the user - however the quicker we solve for the table stakes, the quicker we can focus on the real upside which is helping marketers drive true brand success in digital.”

Yet like many buzzwords, the viewability conversation continues and evolves largely due to the fact that it is defined, measured, and paid for very differently depending on who you’re asking. As a concept, viewability is simple; it is whether an advertisement was “viewable” on the screen to which it was served, be that display, video or mobile. But what constitutes viewable varies across the industry – is it a number of pixels shown without needing to scroll? Or is it the number of seconds on screen? What are the differences among media types? And also under consideration is whether or not “viewable” is synonymous with “seen.” 

The IAB and MRC (Media Ratings Council) define display viewability as at least 50% of the pixels being viewable for at least 1 second (2 seconds for video), but many marketers have adopted their own metrics and ways of evaluating delivery data for performance and payment. As an example, major brands such as Ford and Unilever announced they require 100% of a video ad’s player displayed on screen to count as viewable. Regarding display advertisements, Havas now requires 100% of pixels on screen to qualify as viewable. 

The publisher side has a different take on the IAB’s definition as well, often adopting a milder definition of viewability. For example, publishing giant Facebook qualifies any viewed ad as viewable, regardless of whether it displayed on screen a full second. For large display ads (970X250 pixels or greater), AOL requires only 30% be in view. Despite this, most publishers agree optimizing for viewability is ideal for their properties as well, and large players from AOL to Forbes are in the process of redesigning their sites for this very reason.

Where are marketers losing the greatest amount of their spend?

Video suffers most when it comes to viewability, with some providers finding averages as low as 32%; this is of special concern to marketers given video’s high price and inventory scarcity. 

Direct publisher buys also perform better when it comes to viewability than those purchased through exchanges or networks. This should come as no surprise, as marketers have greater control over the sites on which their ads are served with direct buys, and the ad’s positioning (such as above the fold, leaderboard, etc. which are a major factor in an ad’s viewability potential).

It should also be noted that viewability is only quantified within measurable impressions. But wait – aren’t all impressions measurable? In fact, no, at least not for every company that measures viewability. Served impressions where a backup creative is displayed, such as when primary creative is rich media displaying on an unsupported device  or when a tag is in a cross-domain (more than one browser) iframe,  are not accounted for by some vendors.  Thus none of these impressions are measured nor factored into the viewability of total impressions for those companies. 

So...who pays for ads no one saw?

The IAB has established a standard here with 70% of impressions measured as viewable considered the threshold. If this is met, publishers are billed on the total number of served impressions, regardless of how many were not viewable. If that 70% isn’t met, publishers issue make-goods of comparable quality until the threshold is met, and then collect the full value of the served impressions. And yet again, the “standard” isn’t necessarily a “standard” as recent press has covered top brands refusing to foot the bill for campaigns with any number of unviewable ads, regardless of whether the threshold was met.

How are marketers responding?

A recent survey showed that 21% of marketers consider viewability the #1 most important media quality measurement (behind ad fraud at 33% and brand safety at 26%). So despite the lack of consensus there are some best practices that can be deployed on both the buy and sell side. 

1)    Adopt a standard. It can be the IAB’s, your brand’s or agency’s criteria for measuring viewability, and include the threshold of viewable impressions that will be considered success. 
2)    Determine which tools you’ll use for measuring. There are accredited third party services specializing in determining viewability such as Moat, and some ad servers offer their delivery data using CPMV as a cost method.
3)    Consider using more than one tool for viewability. Platforms such as Mediaocean’s Prisma allow delivery retrieval from multiple providers to help you better evaluate performance.
4)    Loop your publishers. Discuss with your publishers which services you are using for measurement and how that will stack up with the publisher’s first party delivery data – when discrepancies are substantial, how will this affect billing?

Interested in learning more about the technologies offered to measure viewability? Check out this 101 post from the MBuy blog!