Paul Rostkowski currently the President at Varick Media Management, a media management, buying, and optimization trade desk focused on targeting and delivering audiences. Prior to Varick Media, Paul was Chief Revenue Officer of LucidMedia, where he was responsible for taking the company’s DSP platform to market. The Makegood recently spoke with Paul about his thoughts on the future of RTB.
The Makegood: You have made some great leaps in your career, going from restaurant manager to President at Varick Media Management. How does the experience as restaurant manager help you in your current role? How did you enter the RTB world?
Let me first point out that I did not go right from working the fryer at KFC to running the most advanced Trade Desk in a single hop. I’ve been selling digital since ’99 and programmatic since early ’08. I did, however, learn awesome people-management and business-leadership skills that have served me very well. In the food business I dealt with a deep diversity of talent, much as I do today. I’ll go from one meeting with a twenty-something planner, to a data-management-platform-architecture meeting with a prodigy engineer, to a senior management meeting at my parent company, which is a publicly traded entity.
The Makegood: As a seasoned digital advertising vet, where do you see RTB going in the future?
The future is all about programmatic buying across all media types. Some of this programmatic buying will be via RTB, while some will simply be SAS-based or executed through technology that has yet to be developed. RTB is about automation and intelligent, real-time decision-making to engage consumers in a 1:1 manner across a wide variety of marketplaces. This buying practice succeeds because it’s so smart and technologically advanced.
The Makegood: Cross-device targeting has become a huge frenzy as consumers spend more time on multiple devices. Have you steered Varick towards cross-device targeting? What benefits do you see from using this sort of technology?
We are definitely steering VMM toward cross-device targeting, which we employ with a mix of proprietary and partnered technology. Cross-device messaging holds a lot of promise for marketers, because it enables them to maintain contact with a target audience on different devices throughout the day. Research shows that consumers are most active on their mobile phones in the morning, their desktops during the day, and their tablets and connected TVs at night. Messaging across these devices at optimal times of day helps keep a brand top of mind.
The Makegood: Private marketplaces are becoming more and more prevalent. Could you elaborate on what these are, and why they are valuable to both publishers and advertisers?
Private marketplaces are pre-approved, automated deals between publishers and buyers. Instead of advertisers having to broker deals with individual publishers to purchase inventory (e.g., a direct buy), they can employ a private marketplace buy, getting access to “premium” inventory very quickly at negotiated CPMs.
PMPs benefit publishers by enabling them to quickly and efficiently monetize inventory, and to leverage data for higher CPMs than they would get on the open exchange. Another benefit to publishers is that they don’t have to rely as much on their direct sales teams.
The Makegood: How has Varick moved into mobile recently? Has mobile become a valuable platform for the company?
We’ve been able to execute mobile advertising for a while now, but have just recently revamped our offering with a few key additions. We’re now working across multiple mobile DSPs; we employ cross-device targeting; and our advertisers have access to compelling formats such as mobile video, IAB Rising Stars, and native.
Mobile is extremely valuable for our company. Mobile usage will soon surpass desktop usage, so we need to make sure we’re at the forefront, offering our clients the best mobile advertising opportunities available.
The Makegood: Thank you, Paul.