Q&A with Scott Braley, Ooyala's new general manager of programmatic

By Paul Bernardini on Nov 03 2015 at 8:00 AM
Ooyala hires former Facebook exec, Scott Braley, as its new general manager of programmatic
Ooyala hires former Facebook exec, Scott Braley, as its new general manager of programmatic.
Q: You were previously at OpenX, Facebook, Microsoft, etc - what excited you about Ooyala’s position and opportunity in the ad tech market that compelled you to join the team? 
 
A: As an enterprise video platform working with some of the premier broadcasters and publishers across the globe, Ooyala has a great position upon which to drive further innovation on the ad tech side of things, be it through the ad server or the SSP. I also really appreciate the deep, consultative relationships that Ooyala has developed with its customer base, helping our partners navigate the often complicated waters of programmatic advertising, especially as it relates to video.      
 
Q: In early 2015, there was a divide among content providers on whether or not to make their premium inventory available via programmatic marketplaces. Industry reports and forecasts imply this divide is diminishing as programmatic becomes ever widely adopted - what happened to cause that shift in thinking & execution by ad ops teams? 
 
A: One major driver behind this shift in thinking is the realization that buyers have developed a predilection for programmatic as a buying mechanism as it gives them greater control over the inventory they are buying. To insure continued access to those budgets, content providers have realized the need to embrace the channel. Another is that if managed properly, content providers can significantly improve their overall yield when putting their inventory into a marketplace where buyers are competing for access to their high-value audience.   
 
Q: From your perspective, do you see programmatic becoming the standard protocol for online advertising in the future? Will there remain a place where the traditional relationship-driven means of doing business still exists? 
 
A: It’s actually interesting that this question is often posed as a dichotomy, but in reality, the advent of programmatic doesn’t inherently signal the decline of relationship-driven business in media. As programmatic simply implies the automation or streamlining of workflow through applications and machines, it does not necessitate the decline of relationship-based business. The percent of overall media that is not traded programmatically will shrink to a very small percentage, basically limited to very custom branded integrations. Pretty much everything else will eventually be transacted through open marketplaces, private marketplaces or direct deals that are facilitated through programmatic pipes, such as automated guaranteed. At the same time, these are complex arrangements and the need for actively managing buyer and seller expectations will be as critical as ever. The primary difference being that the best buyers and sellers will have a stronger technical knowledge than we might have seen in years past.    
 
Q: What is your advice for broadcasters and publishers considering selling more of their video inventory in programmatic marketplaces? What should they be thinking about to ensure a successful and profitable ad business? 
 
A: I will distill my answer into two elements. One: Take the time to understand what buyers want; how are they thinking about campaign objectives, how do they define success, and how does that change over time?  Two: Make sure that you are packaging and merchandising your inventory/audience in a way that compliments that understanding of the buy-side. Buyers are generally looking for transparency, a brand-safe environment and access to high-value audiences, but each has their own definition of “high-value”, so they will each optimize their buying around a different set of signals or metrics. Make sure that if your audience lines up nicely with a certain buyer’s goals, you are also providing all of the transparency and relevant data signals when putting your inventory into a marketplace. This will insure that your inventory will stand out and be properly valued by your buy-side partners. 

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