The AdTech industry, as many industry experts will agree, is extremely complex. Like a beautifully made vehicle, each piece of the industry fits into another, creating an ecosystem in which advertising and data merge.
No one has broken down the art and science of this ecosystem better than Terence Kawaja, Founder and CEO of LUMA Partners, a strategic advisory firm focused at the intersection of media and technology.
Kawaja, a seasoned investment banker with more than 20 years experience, advises both established media and technology companies at LUMA, as well as digital growth companies. The go-to expert for internet and digital media sectors, Kawaja also regularly shares his thought leadership at leading industry conferences.
We had a chance to discuss all things MarTech with Kawaja, from navigating the ecosystem to industry issues such as fragmentation, ad blocking, viewability and more.
KAWAJA: Like many inventions, the LUMAscape evolved into something beyond its original purpose. I put together the chart in 2009 as sort of a “cheat sheet” for myself to understand a fragmented, complicated ecosystem. I structured it around interrelated capabilities, spreading between the marketer and the publisher, later adding in the consumer.
As an internal tool originally, only 150 logos were shown. Now, more than seven years later, we have 18 LUMAscapes and 4K companies featured. As I shared this document after putting it together, I got very positive feedback from marketers wanting to see more. After including the slide in presentations that proved popular, I then released the LUMAscape as a stand-alone, which has been viewed and downloaded over 6MM times.
It’s a reference point that extends farther than the original intention. It’s utilized by marketers, to agencies to intermediaries, publishers, etc. It’s been quoted and used in at least eight different books, a couple of Harvard case studies and even by the government. So it seems to have provided the information that the industry was looking for at just the right time.
KAWAJA: Ad blocking is an industry-wide problem that stems from the industry itself. What caused consumers to adopt it is the lack of quality experience they have with online advertisements. Declining revenue for digital publishers and increases in ad loads can create a suboptimal environment for the consumer.
In other channels, there’s more scarcity. In digital, there’s ubiquitous choice, so consumers can always go elsewhere. As an industry, we created this situation where consumers were not enjoying their experience and skipped with their DVR to their content. From desktop to mobile, this exacerbated the situation tenfold. Sitting a distance away from your TV set and seeing an ad break may not have as much impact. On a mobile phone, interrupting a consumer with an ad has an even greater adverse effect on the consumer, which accelerates the notion of ad blocking.
We suggest a better way to approach a mobile campaign for marketers: Throw away the interruption idea and embrace facilitation of tools like the Oracle ID graph™. The ID Graph gives marketers a very robust dataset to personalize and message that consumer better than before. For example, when the consumer opens his phone and uses the OpenTable app, he’s looking for a restaurant. Whatever the user sees here and if it’s facilitating what he is already doing, the consumer’s reaction is positive. It does not interrupt the consumer’s experience—it’s really a dichotomy driven by mobile.
About Terence Kawaja
Terence is the Founder and CEO of LUMA Partners, a strategic advisory firm that provides keen insights to companies at the intersection of media, marketing and technology. He is a seasoned investment banker with more than 25 years of experience and has advised on more than $300B of transactions, including some of the most pivotal deals in the media and tech industries.
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