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Hey Publishers, Ask Me Anything - Take Your Programmatic Ad Strategy to the Next Level

Kean Graham
Nov 13, 2017

My name is Kean Graham and I’m the CEO of MonetizeMore, an ad tech company that is partnered with Google. I founded the company 8 years ago and we now have a full-time team of 90. Our team and technology specializes in exclusively increasing the ad revenues for ComScore 50 publishers to blogs with 500k page views per month. I am an expert in:- Programmatic ad strategy

- DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP)

- Yield Management

- DoubleClick Ad Exchange

- Header Bidding

- Ad Technology

- The future of the programmatic ad industry

So sign out of DFP, minimize those spreadsheets and tell those ad reps to hang back so you can join the conversation. Go ahead, AMA about the ad tech industry!Feel free to continue the AMA on Twitter @monetizemore

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Conversation (42)

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Is dealing with people the most important aspect of your work?

Nov 12, 5:27PM EST0

Yes, this is the most important derivative of MonetizeMore. Communicating efficiently and effectively within our internal team is crucial to perform well for our publisher partners and to deliver in a timely manner.

On the external side, it is essential to build trust with our publisher and ad network partners. To build strong partner relationships, we shouldn’t just focus on achieving our goals but also work towards their goals. To do this, we must build rapport, do consistent partner status checks and make sure our goals are still inline.

Nov 13, 1:28PM EST1

Do you have a linkedin profile?

Nov 12, 7:27AM EST0
Nov 12, 6:57PM EST0

What programming language is considered the most versatile?

Nov 12, 3:42AM EST0

I would say Java.

Nov 13, 11:27AM EST0

What is the most common programming language used in this field?

Nov 12, 1:00AM EST0

Python seems to be the most common in ad tech because of its ties to big data. Python is the most common language for building tech around big data and since ad tech companies tend to manage billions of ad requests per month, big data tech is crucial to each ad tech company.

MonetizeMore is an example of an ad tech company that uses Python. On the ad tag implementation side, we use JS which is also very common for many ad partners who need publishers to implement their tech.

Nov 13, 1:28PM EST0

Do you have a blog or website to showcase your work?

Nov 11, 3:22PM EST0

Yes: http://www.monetizemore.com

Nov 12, 6:57PM EST0

What advice would you give to someone just entering this field?

Nov 10, 12:06PM EST0

Build your tech acumen. Ad tech reps tend to fall short in their abilities to deal with tech issues. If you become tech savvy especially with diagnosing ad related problems, you will differentiate yourself from your peers and be promoted quicker.

Nov 13, 1:27PM EST0

What inspired you to get into this industry?

Nov 10, 11:33AM EST0

I was four months into a backpacking trip across South America after getting laid off from my marketing job. I had hiked for four days through the incredible Inca trail towards Machu Picchu. By the end of it, I was sitting on top of Wayna Picchu reflecting on my incredible experiences it finally clicked:

I want to work and travel when I want, where I want.

I have to start a digital business to enable this autonomous lifestyle. I signed my old employer who laid me off as my first client. They were still in tough financial times when I signed them. I realized the greatest opportunity to increase their revenues was to create an open-marketplace with their ad inventory that was monopolized by Google at the time.

I convinced for them to give me a shot by charging a percentage of the increased ad revenues so I would charge nothing if I didn't increase their ad revenues. It took a little under two months to close them and that was our first success story. We made them additional millions and pioneered the business model which we use for websites around the world.

Nov 13, 1:27PM EST0

Do you have Facebook?

Nov 10, 11:15AM EST0

Yes: https://www.facebook.com/kean.graham.33

Nov 12, 6:58PM EST0

Would you still recommend pursuing programming in college despite the competitiveness in the job market?

Nov 10, 7:38AM EST0

Absolutely! There is no better time to become a developer than today. It’s definitely a seller’s market because employers are climbing over each other to hire talented developers. If you work hard to build your programming skills, you won’t have to worry about employment opportunities again because they’ll come to you.

Nov 13, 1:26PM EST0

Is this what you do full time, or just for extra money?

Nov 10, 5:45AM EST0

Yes, I've been doing this full-time for 8 years and we now have a full-time team of 91.

Nov 12, 7:01PM EST0

What do you wish others at your company were better at?

Nov 10, 5:32AM EST0

I wish our team was better at thinking more holistically. We encourage our team to think at a higher level of what initiatives, strategies and tactics would add business value to MonetizeMore. That is why we offer incentive programs that give individual rewards for exemplifying our cultural pillars and offer bonuses to our team based on company performance. Our team has made great strides to improve at this.

Nov 13, 1:26PM EST0

What's the biggest mistake you've made in your career?

Nov 10, 5:09AM EST0

Temporarily working with a business partner in another business without proper due diligence.

Nov 13, 1:25PM EST0

Which resources do you read or watch to stay informed about Ad Strategy?

Nov 10, 2:58AM EST0
Nov 13, 1:25PM EST0

What challenges in adopting technology have you witnessed?

Nov 10, 2:36AM EST0

The processes to build and adopt technology effectively and efficiently require a high degree of sophistication and deliberation. Integrating and building technology doesn’t just get built. It requires leaders to really dig in, iterate and reinforce expectations.

Nov 13, 1:24PM EST0

Where are you based out of?

Nov 9, 7:44PM EST0

My base moves every 1 - 4 months. Right now, I'm based in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Nov 12, 7:02PM EST0

What business practices have you seen firsthand that were not commendable?

Nov 9, 1:28PM EST0

Companies in the ad tech industry tend to focus more on short-term profits and win-loss negotiation tactics. This leads ad partners to sacrifice partnerships for short-term gains and leverage contracts to the detriment of the partnership. I do not think those business practices are commendable.

Nov 13, 11:36AM EST0

Did you go to school for this?

Nov 9, 11:34AM EST0

No, I did not. I studied business at the University of Victoria. There is no formal education related to programmatic ad optimization and I don't expect there to be any soon. The closest you can get to this type of education is Google Publisher University. Here's a guide and summary to the Google Publisher University that we created.

Nov 9, 11:41AM EST0

Do you need to know web development or programming?

Nov 9, 11:19AM EST0

To break into the programmatic ad tech industry, you do not need web development experience. However, this type of experience is very valuable as ad tech engineers are very tough to find these days.

You can break into the programmatic ad tech industry and be very successful by having the below skills instead:

- Strategical planning with many moving parts

- Ability to troubleshoot via live web environment using tools like Google Chrome DevTools

- Versatile problem solving skills

- Critical thinking in high-pressure environment

- B2B Relationship management

- Proven results in many environments and challenges

Nov 9, 4:57PM EST0

What experience is most useful or relevant to your type of work?

Nov 9, 10:35AM EST0

Hi Dodevskaa, the below is the most relevant experience within the programmatic ad tech industry:

- Optimization of publisher ad inventories via DFP

- Ability to troubleshoot ads via live environment using tools like Google Chrome DevTools

- Been in challenging technical roles that required versatility and sophisticated problem solving

- Achieved strong results in projects that required critical thinking and thinking multiple steps ahead

- Partner and client relationship management to achieve strong relationships

- Achieve measurable results in an ambiguous environment

Nov 9, 11:02AM EST0

What should people and especially students keep in mind while getting started on a business project?

Nov 9, 10:30AM EST0

Hi Shilpa, would this business project be in a team? Assuming it isn't, you should the following in mind to start a business project:- Understand the scope of the project and make sure the intended deliverable is clear.

- Interview the stakeholders of the project.

- Use credible sources when basing conclusions on specific information.

- Make logical assumptions when there's a lack of info to push forward the project.

Nov 9, 10:52AM EST0

How much did it typically take for you to finish a programming project?

Nov 9, 9:50AM EST0

Hi Tamara, before I answer your question, I want to make sure you understand the meaning of programmatic advertising.

Our programmatic projects tend to last indefinitely. Large publishers that make millions from ad revenues, outsource their programmatic ad strategy to MonetizeMore. We immediately conduct customized improvements to their ad inventories like implementing DoubleClick for Publishers, header bidding, new demand partners and optimizing within their ad server.

Once this first phase is complete, they will see an initial jump in ad revenues. However, the work is not done there. Programmatic ad optimization is a daily endeavour that never ends. The volatility of ad performance doesn't stop on weekends, holidays or on vacations. That's why it's important to have a dedicated ad optimization team conducting daily optimization to keep the RPM performance high.

To answer your question more directly, our average premium publisher partner relationship lasts 3+ years.

Nov 9, 10:38AM EST0
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