Getting in SYNC with Brad Thompson, VP of Publisher Solutions


We are pleased to welcome Brad Thompson to Synacor. He has joined the company as Vice President of Publisher Solutions, responsible for developing new premium publisher relationships, with a particular focus on new mobile partnerships and expanding the adoption of Synacor offerings with existing publishers. Brad joins us from AOL where he managed the international publisher business – driving revenue in display, mobile and video markets.

We recently sat down with him get his thoughts on the programmatic market and the opportunity for publishers.

Tell us about your role and what excites you about joining Synacor?

What excites me most is the opportunity to drive improved monetization for our publisher partners. Synacor is entering the programmatic landscape (through its Technorati acquisition) at one of the most interesting times the industry has had in recent memory – where the idea of waterfalls and priority order is called into question in lieu of a more even playing field afforded by header bidding and other open technology solutions created by the rise of programmatic advertising. This, coupled with our video content product, I think puts Synacor in a unique position in the industry.

What do premium publishers need to know about Synacor and our ability to help them grow revenue?

First of all, it’s important to note, we’re a publisher of sorts ourselves. We know the pain points and the challenges publishers face everyday….and how to best solve for them. Second, I believe premium publishers will be surprised at just how nimble we are as a company compared to many of the other players in the market. We’re a company built on service with deep roots in innovative tech that can still move at incredibly fast speeds to quickly take advantage of trends in the market and client needs. Lastly, we have a product suite that addresses the publisher sweet spot of mobile, video and display.

How is Synacor helping publishers monetize mobile and video inventory?

We believe these two verticals, coupled with data, will drive the future of digital media. And, frankly, no one outside of a walled garden is nailing any of it.

With our video offering, we’re able to provide publishers short-form video content that’s automatically coupled with monetization. This is meaningful for publishers who are light on video content, and we are already starting to see it resonate in the marketplace.

From a monetization perspective, we are leveraging consumer insights gleaned from the development process to design solutions that maximize fill and yield for publishers’ mobile inventory. We are also working on several mobile ad products that we can distribute to our publishing partners that provide incremental revenue streams.

The industry is buzzing about header bidding and ad decisioning tools; how important is header bidding and what is next?

Header bidding (HB), or rather the flattening of the demand playing field, is arguably the most significant innovation since the maturation of programmatic. But it also creates a whole new set of challenges that publishers need to figure out. Specifically, how does a level playing field fit into their overall demand/supply strategy? The next iteration of HB will be a Server-to-server set up that many players are already exploring. These types of integrations streamline the bidding process even further, but it still insists that publishers address the same challenges mentioned earlier. I think it’s going to be fun to watch this evolution play out on all sides of the industry. I think it will look different than what most people expect when it’s done.

As you look out on the programmatic landscape, what are 2-3 big things you’re expecting to see in the near/mid term?

With the proliferation of HB and a general flattening of the demand playing field, I think you’ll start to see improvements in infrastructure across the board. The downside of glancing at every impression is that you’re glancing at every impression. This equates to a huge influx of inventory that a lot of systems/platforms aren’t necessarily prepared to take on today. In the short-term, we can address this by putting ‘caps’ in place (i.e. QPS, raw, volume, etc.). Longer-term, the industry will need to do some beefing-up on infrastructure in order to handle the additional volume and fulfill the promise of a flat playing field.

The other big thing that will have a significant impact is watching the industry continue to figure out data. It represents the good and bad of the industry today. I believe we are just crossing the threshold of figuring out how best to use data and be excellent custodians of data. In fact, I think we’ll start to see companies outside of the traditional adtech arena look to capitalize on this opportunity. When you look at where the improvements around data are being made today, specifically around the different forms of artificial intelligence, machine learning, etc., you can start to see where the bigger impacts are going to come from.

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