martech       by Ankush Gupta Dec 05, 2016

Interview with Michael Korsunsky, Chief Marketing Officer at MGID

1. Could you tell me a little about your background and how you came to be the CMO at MGID?

I’ve been working in digital since 2000, and started in a consumer-facing AV/AS space as one of founding members of CyberDefender. I then spent a number of years in ecommerce (instant and tangible) as Director of marketing, as well as content monetization. From there I transitioned into product development and RTB in 2011, when I architected some innovative DMP/DSP solutions around reach and targeting. My role as CMO at MGID utilizes multiple pieces of experience and competence areas into a single function.


2. What is the core marketing technology capability of MGID that you bring to a marketer? Where does your product fit in vis-a-vis the customer life cycle?

MGID is a pioneer in native advertising and marketing solutions, offering brands, agencies and publishers a performance-driven exchange for the real-time buying, selling and management of native ads. MGID’s award-winning global network services thousands of publishers with billions of content recommendations every day. Our innovative technology, customer service-centric team and performance-driven philosophy contribute to the consistent delivery of quality, highly relevant end-user experiences, which results in increased traffic, engagement and revenue for our advertisers and publishing partners.

3. From a technology perspective, what are some of the biggest challenges that your marketing team faces today?

I’d say our biggest challenges are ensuring consistent delivery, engagement and reporting/tracking in the constantly changing martech environment, as well as proactively building scalable flexibility into our product.

4. Do you see ad blocking as a major threat for the ad tech industry? What are your suggestions for marketers to circumvent ad blocking and approach this as an opportunity instead?

No, because ad blocking isn’t economically sustainable.

I believe the best path to combat this racket is to refuse pay-to-play bounties and circumvent the block – either via end-user dialog or hard bypass
I expect to see consolidation of ad filtering tools on browser level fairly soon; replacing third party options.

5. Are there any new features or upcoming upgrades that you’re excited about and would like to give us a sneak peek into?

The key ingredient of any effective marketing campaign is relevant exposure. Even the best content is useless without efficient distribution. It is through intelligent synergy of medium and delivery that content marketing becomes a viable marketing tool, so that’s what we’ve really been focusing on here at MGID. This year we rolled out several performance-based solutions for both – publishers and advertisers:

For publishers:

  • Anti-ad blocking technology that empowers publishers and preserves revenue. The free, code-based solution works against all types of ad blocking software and is based on the DEAL concept developed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).
  • Expanded already advanced widget (ad-unit) flexibility
For advertisers:
  • Proprietary selective bidding tool - provides the ability to control traffic sources through fine-tuning bids for individual publishers within a single campaign.
  • Flex bidding - automated bid management tools that leverage a complex algorithm of real-time data and historical performance analytics to deliver the best mathematically possible return on investment across multiple placements, geographies and devices.
  • Responsive design mechanics seamlessly adapt and optimize campaign assets for virtually any device and operating system.
6. What is your take on the massive explosion of MarTech companies across so many categories? Do you see competition, opportunities to partner and/or integrate?

This expansion is the inevitable result of market awareness and quest to not only optimize delivery and performance across significantly wider supply ecosystem, but also find ways for adtech solutions to stand out in somewhat redundant mass of products.

Not all solutions are unique. The key is to identify and creatively engage separate components to achieve your vision
I definitely see the expansion of the ecosystem as a path to innovation.

7. Where do you see the native advertising trend in mobile heading in the next 2 years? With personalization in mobile advertising evolving and marketers hoping to improve CX what are your thoughts on approaching native advertising from a multilingual perspective or is this a wasted effort in terms of ROI?

I think video will remain one of the leading mediums, although delivery formats and methods will continue to evolve. Ultimately,

I foresee a more blended landscape with less separation between mobile and desktop; providing a more seamless and coherent engagement flow across all connected devices, regardless of platform
Also, I expect closer integration and extension of off-line behavior data. Localization is a must, as no two markets are the same. Leveraging precise geo-social patterns and keying into local psychology is necessary to achieve any level of meaningful performance, which is why we offer locally-based creative services.

8. How do you weigh in on the whole ‘buying into vs building a marketing cloud’ choices that marketers have to face today?

I think it largely depends on legacy infrastructure. Generally, both time-to-market and costs need to be considered, as well as the ability to stay fluid. There is definitely no shortage of external (highly customizable) solutions. I find that most of the time the result is a combination of in-house and external, which allows quicker, more agile response to changes in overall technologies, while keeping the main core structured.

9. Do you see programmatic making a headway into native advertising soon? Will this be indispensable for adtech? How will it help marketers scale their campaigns to appropriate audiences in shorter time frames?

Absolutely. Open RTB 2.4.1 (2.5 rolling out shortly) has introduced native into RTB on a consistent level. Although inventories are still very scarce compared to standard IAB, further scale is inevitable (with RPMs of standard dropping all across, and higher focus on user experience). Of course, deeper propagation of native through RTB will support scale and shorter time-to-market for time sensitive campaigns. However, there will likely be legacy quality issues inherent to a large exchange model.

10. Could you share for our readers, an infographic or description depicting your marketing stack (various marketing software products or platforms your team uses or subscribes to)?

Since we are a network, delivery mechanisms are mostly proprietary, although built to easily integrate with most popular third party solutions (GA, Cake, CRM(s), HasOffers, S2S, DFP…etc). As part of delivery and quality metrics, we also employ multiple fraud analytics tools and external DPMs, and of course, ComScore and Nielsen ratings for reach measurement as well.

11. Can you share a screenshot of the homepage of your smartphone (iOS/Android/other)? It would be interesting to see some of the apps you personally use on a daily basis to get things done and stay on top of your day.

Nothing exciting here… just multiple calendars and communication apps: