The True Programmatic Setup: A Talk With Smart AdServer and Genesis Media The True Programmatic Setup –
A Talk With Smart AdServer and Genesis Media

Through a piece of Javascript installed in a publisher’s content management system, Genesis Media tracks more than 100 signals to evaluate user attention for real-time ad decisioning. Genesis uses that data to customize ad experiences by page, and leverages Smart AdServer piping to match brands to consumers through outstream video formats.

We sat down with Genesis CEO Mark Yackanich and CTO Rob Schwartzberg, as well as Smart AdServer US General Manager Romain Job, for an expansive talk on leveraging data for smarter outstream video placements, the potential for transacting against time (my pet topic), and overall how advanced infrastructure with server-side integrations and delivery could greatly improve the ad experience for buyers, sellers and users.

GAVIN DUNAWAY: So can you explain to me a bit what Genesis brings to the table? You suggested you can do real-time decisioning on the units that appear on the page?

ROB SCHWARTZBERG: We work with publishers to decide what formats they want to use. As those formats are served to pages, we record data about how they perform. There’s a constant adjustment.

MARK YACKANICH: Publishers in general are managing such an incredible amount of complexity, but the structure of monetization doesn’t change. You have a template, you nail an ad unit up here, and then there’s a scrum for those ad units. Why is that? It’s an artifact of the way newspapers and magazines were structured, and of the limitations in technology. Outstream gives us an opportunity to do more dynamic placements.

GD: Do you work more with the buy or sell side?

MY: We’re very supply-focused, but we’re working with everyone. Brand advertisers are actively looking for solutions for balancing ad performance with viewability at scale. If we can provide the publishers a systematic, mathematical way to provide those solutions to the agencies, then the agencies will buy. And tied to that is an understanding of the content.

Any site has a variety of content that creates different types of engagement—really high-quality articles where people spend a lot of time, and other pages where there just isn’t much time spent. Understanding that content more deeply provides a better foundation for the health of the publisher.

We can target to essentially any behavior you’d want. The issue sometimes with highly targeted audiences is, you don’t get the scale. So by concentrating on the format, as opposed to the audience, the scale stays the same, but you can still optimize toward your KPIs.

GD: How do you and Smart work together? 

MY: We use Smart’s ad server and their SSP, and we’ve been actively engaged in helping build out that SSP. Smart has given us the flexibility to do a lot of customization. We can transact with any buyer out there, and we’re working actively with Smart to set up server integrations with all the major DSPs.

ROMAIN JOB: Genesis has great technology, but what they seek from Smart AdServer is a base of operations. Thanks to our legacy, we’re very good at providing a base of support. We have an independent platform where you can bring some supply and bring some demand, and we will facilitate the transactions. But we don’t have a media sales team or package ad inventory for sale—we’re demand neutral.

Genesis was facing a few major challenges—other major platforms didn’t have the flexibility to enable them to access the data points they required, or to customize the integration for optimal performance. There were technical reasons, but many purely business-oriented ones: vendors did not want to share data they thought they owned. We don’t hold back data, which is a major aspect of our relationship with Genesis.

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Genesis Media

We use Smart’s ad server and their SSP, and we’ve been actively engaged in helping

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