Ask the Expert: A Q&A series with AdTech and data intelligence experts

Embark on an insightful journey into the ever-evolving landscape of digital advertising with our ‘Ask the Expert’ Q&A series. In this episode, Debbie Oates, Director of Customer Engagement at Experian Marketing Services, engages in a compelling conversation with Emma Newman, Chief Revenue Officer at PubMatic in EMEA. The focus of their discussion unravels the intricacies of sell-side targeting in the dynamic realm of digital media.

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  • Introduction to PubMatic

    The episode delves into the evolving programmatic digital media, revealing how PubMatic, as an advertising technology (AdTech) platform, plays a pivotal role in enabling premium content creators to monetise their assets. The platform’s holistic approach spans supply-side targeting, data, commerce, and activation platforms to help and build a robust media ecosystem.

  • What is sell-side targeting?

    Sell-side targeting optimises collaboration between buyers and supply-side platforms (SSPs). Unlike traditional targeting through demand-side platforms (DSP), sell-side targeting emphasises precision by targeting closer to audiences through the supply side. This approach enhances advertising effectiveness, minimises data leakage, and elevates the overall consumer experience.

  • Evolution of the programmatic advertising supply chain

    An exploration of the historical perspective reveals the driving force behind the evolution of the programmatic supply chain—transparency. Supply path optimization (SPO) emerges as a key element and the industry has shifted from transparency in media spend to efficiency and effectiveness, with a recent focus on reducing environmental impact. The narrative traces the industry’s journey from cookie-based targeting to sophisticated methodologies involving first-party and third-party data.

  • Leveraging third-party data for scale and precision

    The successful adoption of third-party data presents a new dimension to digital audience targeting. PubMatic’s collaboration with trusted partners, including Experian, opens avenues for sophisticated targeting options. Agencies and publishers are encouraged to learn and conduct testing and experimentation to unlock the potential of diverse data sets for tailored audience and campaign KPIs.

  • Advancements in measurement

    While acknowledging progress in measurement, it also recognises that the industry is continuing to mature, particularly in emerging platforms like Connected TV (CTV). The discussion touches upon the growing importance of incrementality, combining offline and online data, and the potential for retail commerce media, all of which shape the discourse on measurement advancements.

  • Advice for advertisers considering sell-side targeting

    The focus is on choosing advertising services and AdTech providers wisely, prioritising those can provide insights, feedback, and innovation in a privacy-compliant manner. The overarching message underscores the importance of continually experimenting and refining strategies to address the intricacies of sell-side targeting.

  • The future of digital advertising

    Throughout the engaging discussion, the episode provides a glimpse into the strategic considerations, technological innovations, and collaborative efforts shaping the future of sell-side targeting. As the industry develops, the convergence of data, AdTech, and consumer experience remains a focus for advertisers and marketers to explore in the digital media.

How Experian and PubMatic work together

Experian is a key player within the PubMatic Connect solution, helping to power many of its audience segments based on broad demographic, in-market and behavioural insights. In addition to standard audiences, Experian works with advertising and media agencies and the PubMatic Audience team to build custom audiences as required.

With the launch of Consumer Sync for the UK & Ireland, Experian also collaborates with PubMatic and its commerce media partners to power online and offline linkage and audience building capability.

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Hi, everybody, and welcome to the next in our series of Ask The Experts where I’m interviewing industry leaders about topics that are central to Modern Marketing.

Today, I’m joined by Emma Newman from PubMatic, who is going to be exploring the sell-side of digital media with me.

Emma, welcome.

Thank you for having me.

A simple question to start off with, could you tell me about your role at PubMatic and what PubMatic actually do?

My name’s Emma Newman, as you said, I’m the Chief Revenue Officer for PubMatic for EMEA, so Europe, Middle East and Africa.

I guess in a nutshell, what that means is I’m responsible, first and foremost, for delivering the number, but actually, the way that we deliver the number is obviously crucial and critical.

So, it’s really about understanding what our customers need.

And in this instance, when I talk about customers, it’s everything from a publisher all the way through to a brand and all of the other elements within the supply chain.

This is in the programmatic space. PubMatic, in its simplest terms, we’re a technology platform, really with the purpose of enabling premium content creators to monetise their assets, predominately being the audience that goes on to their websites, or onto the app or onto the CTV now has obviously evolved a lot in that time.

As a technology platform, the SSP, the Supply Side Platform, is one pillar of our platform.

And that’s platform that’s the closest, or the elements of the platform that’s closest to the supply side, so the publisher.

But the other elements of the platform really are built out to be links in that supply chain.

So, we have Connect, which actually is our data platform.

So obviously, we’re working very closely with Experian and that’s how we came
to have a partnership there.

And that really is a platform that enables publishers to upload their 1st party data so that buyers can target across that, but also, 3rd parties, such as Experian can ingest their data into that platform so that buyers can then target across that.
So there’s Connect.

There is also Convert, which is our commerce platform, and then our most recent platform release is Activate, which is an activation platform for buyers.

So it sort of helps to compress that supply chain a little bit, but that’s really what PubMatic is.

That’s brilliant, so about facing into being close to that publisher, closer to the consumer.


And then also how you’re making it easy for people to buy against that media.


And also making sure that the experience is a good one.


Supply-side, sell-side targeting, can you just explain that a little bit more for me?

Sure, so traditionally, targeting has always really been applied on the demand side, often through a DSP.

Applying the targeting on the sell-side, usually through the SSP actually means that you’re targeting much closer to the audience itself.

That has a number of values for a buyer.

One is that you’re closer to the audience so your targeting is likely to be more effective and more efficient.

There’s less chance of data leakage, which obviously in today’s world, is crucially important.

And you’re probably going to give a better experience to the consumer, which ultimately is what the publisher cares about, as well as the brand.

Nobody wants a consumer to have a bad experience with their brand, simply because you are able to target closer to that consumer.

Thanks, Emma, that definition was really useful.

I’m hearing an awful lot about the evolution of the supply-side.

Can you tell me a little bit more about that, please?

If you think about where the industry has come from, and I think about really the evolution of the supply chain in its entirety, it probably started in earnest and sort of accelerated really through the desire for more transparency.

So we talk a lot about SPO, which is Supply Path Optimisation, and that’s really buyers trying to better understand the path of their media dollar really, the path of their campaign.

Who’s in the supply chain? Where does the money go? How much of that media actually lands on the publisher, and is it being spent in an efficient and effective way?

So that’s really where SPO started, and that’s what I would say really kicked off the evolution of the supply chain.

It was really just about transparency.

And agencies got more involved because their brands were asking them to get more involved and say, “Well, actually who’s in this supply chain, who are we actually working? Where is the money going? Who’s taken what percentage of that dollar?”

I think that what we’ve seen now over the last few years is transparency is obviously key, but really that’s table stakes now.

And if you’re not able to be transparent, there’s a fairly good chance that you’re not going to be in the supply chain, or at least not being an integral part of the supply chain.

But then you have to start to think about efficiency and effectiveness.

So not only where is my dollar going, what’s the path, but actually, how efficient is my media spend?

And that’s where, I guess, the targeting side started to really become very important.

As I said, originally, it was mostly around cookies.

So we talked a lot about cookie match rates, the cookie is crumbling, and probably will definitely, maybe demised–

– At some point.
– …at some point in .

So actually, we realised that that was going to happen some time ago and we started to think I would say, probably quite sophisticatedly about this, about five years ago, which ended up with the evolution of Connect, but we’ve taken that one stage further.

Initially, it was around cookie matching, then it was around publisher first-party data, which absolutely is integral to any campaign, but again, you potentially lack that scale.

If a buyer’s only targeting against first-party data,

That first-party data, yes.

So then it was also, well, how do we make third party data more easily accessible, but in a safe way?

That’s when we started to think about, okay, who do we want to work with?

Obviously, Experian, very sophisticated, well-known, trusted brand, and delighted that we’re working with you now.

So really, I would say that the evolution started with transparency, then it was about efficiency and effectiveness.

That’s where the more sophisticated targeting came in.

That’s when supply-side targeting started to become much more prevalent.

And now, it’s also evolved into that piece around well, efficiency, transparent, effective, and also, let’s reduce the impact on the environment.

If you have more sophisticated targeting, you have less wastage, you send less requests into people’s data systems, and that reduces, obviously, the amount of energy that’s used.

It’s really about how do you do more with less?

How do you get more bang for your buck as an advertiser?

And actually, as a consumer, how do I get a better experience as well?

So that’s really, I think, the evolution of the supply chain.

It’s about making sure that everybody in the supply chain is getting the greatest value that they can.

Okay, that’s really interesting. Thanks for explaining that.

– It’s complex…
– It’s complex, but it’s also not.

Yes, exactly.
So it’s about really allowing that scale, obviously, from an advertiser’s perspective, then it’s all around being able to reach the right consumers, and then obviously, the application of the third-party cookie.

Then it’s all around that scalability, but also that accuracy.

And I think, from that side then, you’ve mentioned it a little bit already, but in terms of the third-party data pieces, and enabling people to get scale within their audiences and look at, I suppose, different types of audiences that a publisher just wouldn’t be able to look and define

– …on their first-party data.
– Yes.

How are you seeing that adopted?

It’s been adopted incredibly well, actually.

If you work with a partner, or partners, that are trusted and transparent and sophisticated, and have the technology to enable the type of buying that agencies want to be able to execute against.

So it’s obviously at scale, but also targeting within scale, if that makes sense?

Because you don’t want scale for scale’s sake, because then you get a lot of wastage.

So we are seeing, you know, audience extension is a big thing from a publisher first-party perspective, but also, third-party data, as to your point, brings a new dimension, a different dimension that you don’t get just with working with first-party data.

What we are encouraging both our agencies and our publishers to do is to learn and do testing, because not all data is going to be relevant for all audiences, not all data is going to be relevant for all campaign KPIs.

So really take advantage of the breadth of third-party data that’s available and be more sophisticated in which third-party data set you choose to engage with at any point, because it’s not one size fits all.

Campaigns have more KPIs than I can possibly imagine.

No one campaign is the same.

No one publisher is the same, no one audience is the same.

So you really need to be able to take advantage of all of that third-party data that’s available and be more sophisticated and do lots of testing, do lots of AV testing.

We absolutely encourage both our publishers and our buyers to do that.

It makes total sense and I can only agree in terms of being able to really understand the audience, what’s likely to work for you.

There’s so much data out there really getting to the hub of the audience that you’re trying to reach, really understanding them, as well as validation from a third-party perspective, but also in terms of some of the personalisation and being able to really break down different audiences and approach them differently,

I think, is something that we’re seeing a lot of agencies lean into as well.

Yeah, absolutely, a hundred percent.

And we have an agency sales team that’s actively in the agencies talking to them about campaigns capturing briefs.

And then you bring those briefs back in and we also have a team that work closely with your team to say, “Right, okay, here’s the brief.

Here’s the campaign KPI, here’s the audience they want to target.

Let’s build a package that’s very specific for that utilising all of this amazing third-party data that we have.”

And also incorporating first-party data and sometimes it’s contextual.

You know, it’s not one size fits all, but really responding to the brief, as opposed to just saying, “Well, here’s a standard package. Off you go.”

Exactly, and I think it’s that custom piece as well that’s really exciting being able to use people’s first-party data, scaling it through in terms of the data publishers have got, but also then that third-party data, that really, as you were saying before, increases the scalability of campaigns and actually makes them more efficient from that side.

I think that that’s going to work as long as that data is easily accessible and easily packaged.

And then in terms of, we mentioned it a little bit before, around the numerous KPIs
that are floating around in terms of being able to say, is the campaign working, is it not?

In terms of measurement on the sell-side, then how advanced is that at this moment in time?

I think it’s more advanced than it was.

I still think there are areas where the industry can do a better job, I think, especially in the emerging platforms, so things like CTV.

That’s a relatively new medium in the grand scheme of things.

So as an industry, we’re figuring out, okay, well, what does measurement look like? How can we get consistency? How does the industry work together to be able to do that? What third-party data do we need to overlay? How do we overlay that? How do you target against it? How do you report against it?

So I think that we’ve come a long way, and that’s why I really love this industry, because it’s constantly evolving.

And I think there is a job to be done as an industry to really start to think about, okay, some of these more emerging platforms, retail media is going to be a classic one.

I mean, you can measure retail media in so many ways.

But again, that’s the opportunity, I think, of the industry.

Come a long way, still a long way to go, which is great.

Which is great and exciting and I think one of the biggest areas that we’re seeing at the moment is more, because of the fragmentation, then actually, this notion of incrementality is becoming more and more important, and some of the really exciting conversations we’re having with agencies platforms very much around, actually, how can we help support that as well?


Definitely, lots to do, but an exciting place to be, I think.

And I think, to your point, the incrementality piece is, how do we take offline data and online data and look at that together to really understand what does that incrementality…

Who’s adding what to what? How do you take linear television and connected television and online video and measure that in a way that shows a brand?

Okay, well, this is how you should plan your campaign, because this is the incrementality that each of these different mediums
and platforms bring.

So having a data set that enables us to do that, I think that’s almost like the Holy Grail, so to speak.

I know, it’s really exciting, isn’t it, in terms of that, being able to link in that offline data in with the online data, I think,

– …is going to be a game changer.
– Especially for retail media.

So that brands can really understand, well, back in the day, I’ve been in this industry a long time, attribution was always the last click.

We know as human beings that that’s the last thing you do, but there’s been an entire journey before you get to that.

And I think for retail that’s even more so because you’ve got the online and the offline journey.

It’s the research online to then go and buy it in a bricks and mortar store or whatever that may be, point of sale, where you are physically located.

That for me is really exciting.

It’s just a massive space, isn’t it,

– …at this moment in time, really evolving.
– It really is.

And everyone goes,
“Oh data, that’s really boring,” I say, “No.”

– It’s so not boring. Yeah.
– It’s so exciting.

If there are people out there, so buyers that are looking to shift to sell-side this moment, have you got any advice, considerations for them in terms of what they should think about?

I think there’s a couple of things, which is really, one is choose your partners wisely.

So make sure that you’re working with partners who actually have the capability to give you insight, give you feedback, have the technology, are prepared to innovate for you, and are privacy compliant.

So choose your partners wisely, and then be prepared to do some testing.

Be prepared to accept that some things won’t work and be prepared to test that.

We have a period of time.

It’s becoming a shorter period of time, but there is still a period of time and that’s what we say to our publishers in terms of the data and the third-party identifies that they’re using, be prepared to test, it’s not one size fits all, and we say exactly the same to our buyers.

Fantastic advice.

Hopefully, people will be out there and looking to really scale within self-signed buying.

Fingers crossed.

Thanks very much for joining me, Emma. I really enjoyed the conversation.

Me too. Thank you for having me.

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