Q&A: The President of Jounce Media Discusses Supply Chains and Ad Tech

Chris Kane has become a go-to voice in the programmatic ecosystem

Kane will speak at Adweek's NexTech event in New York on July 24.

Ask anyone on any side of advertising, and they’ll all agree on one thing: Programmatic is complicated. In between the snare of a supply chain and the never-ending list of jargon, it pays to have players that can break down adtech simply—and accurately—for the rest of us.

Chris Kane is one of those people. As the president of the programmatic consultancy Jounce Media, Kane’s become a go-to voice for media buyers, sellers, and tech providers looking to enter the programmatic ecosystem without getting buried. We’re sharing three questions from his interview with Adweek up ahead of his time speaking at NextTech at the end of July. You can read them below, and click this link to learn more and register for the event.

Adweek: What’s the biggest hurdle facing ad tech right now, in your opinion?
Chris Kane: There are two challenges that are very closely linked to each other. The first is just the fragmentation of buying platforms. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat and Amazon are these walled gardens. Marketers who need to reach consumers are required to have at least half a dozen platforms to reach their market. And because of this platform fragmentation, marketers have no mechanism for for unifying measurements across the whole internet. It’s a huge strategic issue, even for the biggest advertisers out there.

What’s a trend that marketers need to approach differently?
I do think there’s a lot of recent attention on supply chain optimization, with a lot of media buyers conducting strategic reviews of the supply chain and making really intentional choices of which auctions to participate in, and which auctions not to. I think what most brands are missing is a data-driven approach to those decisions.

"I do think there’s a lot of recent attention on supply chain optimization … I think what most brands are missing is a data-driven approach to those decisions."

What I see most often is the agencies or holding company making decisions based on business principles—and they should do that, that’s a smart thing to do. But right now, there’s a whole discipline that’s just starting to emerge where smart brands can take very data driven perspectives around each optimal path to access inventory. And for one publisher, it might be, say, Rubicon project’s path, but for another publisher, Rubicon might be very inefficient, and Openx is a better choice. I think that’s a whole new landscape that marketers need to adopt.

What do you think the ad-tech landscape will look like over the next decade?
Publishers and marketers have really different incentives; the publishers are highly motivated to keep the supply chain complex—at least in the short term. Publishers have learned that they make more money when they run these concurrent options for a single impression—auction duplication is good for publisher economics. So I think publishers are going to proliferate all sorts of complexity along the supply chain, because it’s in their economic interest to do that.

On the other hand, the smartest buyers are going to learn how to navigate that complexity, and they will not be in a scattershot way, giving into all of these different options; they will be methodically accessing each piece of inventory in an optimal supply path. And what you’ll see is the smart money moving through very smart and clean and efficient supply paths, while the dumb money continues to transact through this highly fragmented set of duplicative auctions. And if you fast forward that, it means that the savvyist buyers are going to achieve significantly better economics overall.

@swodinsky shoshana.wodinsky@adweek.com Shoshana Wodinsky is Adweek's platforms reporter, where she covers the financial and societal impacts of major social networks. She was previously a tech reporter for The Verge and NBC News.