Advertising Technology

Joey Trotz Drives Turner’s Advertising Technology Roadmap

Joey Trotz is the Senior Director, Advertising & Digital Tech Strategy at Turner Broadcasting Systems as well as the Co-Chair, IAB Digital Video Committee. Previously, Joey has held various management level roles at companies incluing CNN, Sports and The Augusta Chronicle. We recently spoke with Joey about his current role at Turner and IAB initiatives.

The Makegood: Joey, you have worked in digital media since the beginning, having been the director of new media at the Augusta Chronicle, one of the oldest newspapers in the US, in the mid 90’s. What attracted you to the internet so early on?

JT: It really boils down to an early recognition that the internet would be the ideal medium to let me exercise my passions for technology, creativity and journalism in one place.

I guess it goes back to having a bit of left-brain/right-brain dualism for a long time that was finally satisfied when the Internet became a viable communications medium in the mid-90s.  In high school in the early 80s, my parents bought one of the earliest Apple IIs, and later the 512k Macintosh when I was in college earning my degree in English & American Literature. But my real passion was photojournalism, so I found myself fresh out of school with that English degree, freelancing as a photographer with the Associated Press, covering the 1986 World Series (I don’t like to talk about that season being a BoSox fan) and all sorts of other news across New England.

At the same time, I was doing technical consulting with my college publications to build a very early Mac-based desktop publishing solution (using the very first LaserWriter, ‘natch). I was also making a nuisance of myself in the AP offices, looking over the shoulders of two of their staffers who had embarked on a project to take the old analog processes to transmit photos to newspapers (24 minutes for each color photo!) to a 90-second process driven from a luggable computer in a Zero-Haliburton case.

Fast forward 10 years to the mid-90s as I was working as Photo Editor of the Augusta Chronicle. So while editing the thousands of frames our staff of photographers would produce each day at the Masters golf tournament, I realized that the burgeoning World Wide Web could let me do what I never could in print – publish ALL our great images, not just the ones that fit the size of that day’s newspaper.  Teaching myself the basics of HTML, FTP and transparent GIFs, I built a site out of our photo coverage – and we sold advertising to a major golf cart manufacturer for the site, too. And that was 1995.

So the Web finally allowed me to combine the passion I’d always had for technology with an equal passion for storytelling and journalism – in a medium with unlimited space for great content and a global audience to consume it.

The Makegood: As Senior Director, Strategic Advertising and Digital Technologies for Turner, you focus on identifying critical solutions for the ad sales team. Can you tell us a little bit about this process?

JT: I like to think about my team as a small venture capital firm. We invest in companies by leveraging them across Turner Broadcasting’s footprint – one of the largest groups of premium branded destinations on the Web. We look for solutions to drive revenue across the enterprise – be those back-office technologies that improve forecasting or a compelling rich media format. I think it’s also helpful to understand, that our group is not exclusively digital. We are part of a group at Turner called Audience and Multi-Platform Technologies (AMPT), which represents a broad technology practice spanning linear television and digital. So our solutions increasingly cut across both these critical areas for the company as we look out into the future to drive our ad technology roadmap.

The Makegood: What were a few of the most successful or memorable campaigns from 2011 for Turner?

JT: I think our most exciting effort has been driven by the unique perspective that Turner brings to the table. Given our portfolio of premium properties, we have long focused on highly integrated, deep partnerships with innovative integrations with our brands. The success of Turner’s first year operating March Madness on Demand and the site stands out as one such example with brands like Coca-Cola. Another effort we got under way driven by the same DNA is a platform we call VIA – for Value, Insights & Analytics. Our VIA platform is built to provide bespoke insights to our most important marketing partners, diving far beyond the indications of engagement driven from CTR. We look at audience segments, brand engagement and even sales – all as part of custom research studies driven from user-level data gathered by VIA. Look for this to be an even bigger platform in 2012.

The Makegood: You also Co-Chair the IAB Digital Video Committee and earlier this year you spoke about the MMMS (Making Measurement Make Sense) initiative, which focuses on showing the value of digital video advertising and how it compares with traditional. Can you tell us about the IAB’s progress and plans for this initiative?

JT: Making Measurement Make Sense (or 3MS) is an important example of how our industry needs to focus on the underlying challenges to marketing in the digital age. It’s all about comparability – in this case, making digital media take if not a quantum leap at least a few small steps forward to really fulfill the promise of a census-based every-impression-is-counted approach that we’ve been looking forward to since the very earliest days of digital advertising. The effort is progressing well, with a roll-up-your-sleeves effort to explore all the aspects of what a viewable impression standard would mean to the industry. It’s interesting to note that 3MS is not only focused on video – but actually how all digital media can include a time-spent metric, driving more comparability to traditional marketing media.

The Makegood: Thanks, Joey.