MMW Interview: Matt Sauls of SiteScout

MMW Interview Matt Sauls of SiteScoutRecently, MMW caught up with Matt Sauls, Co-founder and VP of Operations at SiteScout.

Last fall, Centro – a provider of digital media software and services – announced the acquisition of SiteScout.

Below are some of the highlights from our interview this week.

MMW: What made Centro and SiteScout a good fit together?

Matt: Centro and SiteScout both build digital advertising technology, but there was little overlap in our respective offerings, and there were a number of complementary strengths. While Centro had built a platform to automate the buying and selling of direct-sold media, SiteScout built a platform to automate programmatically sold media in the RTB ecosystem. While SiteScout traditionally focused on inbound, self-serve demand, Centro has a sizable outbound sales team and full-service media operations team. Centro also has a publisher facing exchange platform called Centro Brand Exchange, and SiteScout focuses solely on the demand side of the industry. In less than a year, the synergy has been strong. Technology-wise, the combination of Centro and SiteScout’s platforms is exciting, as it would be a single platform that can automate both direct-sold and programmatic media. Nothing like this really exists yet in the industry.

MMW: What has been the most significant change for SiteScout since being acquired by Centro?

Matt: Having a full-service buying team, a 150 person nation-wide sales team and a full suite of back office teams have been some of the most obvious changes. Centro has put a huge amount of weight behind what we’re doing at SiteScout. If it wasn’t already one of the best DSPs in the industry, SiteScout is now also one of the biggest. Centro’s relationships and existing business have been a huge part of that. Additionally, Centro has provided a lot of support and budget to the SiteScout team, giving us a lot of flexibility and headroom to grow.

MMW:How has Centro been using SiteScout’s technology? Will there be integration with Centro’s technology stack?

Matt: Integration between the two technologies is a major goal, and something that everyone is excited to see. The ability to include RTB buying as one subset of a much larger digital ad automation workflow is something that is desperately needed by so many. In the meantime, Centro teams have been highly engaged with the SiteScout product wherever possible. This includes Centro’s in-house buying team, the agency sales team, and the publisher solutions team who are helping publishers understand how to use SiteScout for audience extension.

MMW: How does mobile play into SiteScout’s business strategy?

Matt: Mobile media is a huge part of the digital ecosystem and continues to grow. The proliferation of mobile devices means that more and more ad inventory is coming through as mobile, and we see that at least 25-30% of our business is happening there right now. Moving forward, SiteScout continues to add more mobile inventory and more features for mobile buying. Two of the biggest areas that we are looking to advance are mobile user data capabilities (i.e. retargeting, 3rd party data, audience modeling, etc.) and geo-location data and abilities (intelligent GPS based targeting abilities). One of the next exciting announcements that SiteScout will be making is the release of our mobile audience data capabilities.

MMW: What are some of your observations on how your users are approaching mobile RTB?

Matt: Mobile media buying is more complicated than standard video or display, so there is a divide between who’s doing it well and who’s still figuring it out. Many aren’t familiar with the methods that must be employed to track and store mobile audience data, so retargeting is not happening as frequently yet. Formats like MRAID have opened up a huge number of possibilities for creative design and user engagement. Building and using MRAID, however, is more challenging, and we’re still only seeing the more savvy buyers taking advantage. Hyper-local targeting (GPS lat/long based) is something that is still not getting as much use as it should be. Most local campaigns should probably be taking advantage of hyper-local as a rule, but it still isn’t ending up on the majority of media plans. Even learning to track and understand the analytics coming from mobile campaigns is a different game, and something that is a bit more challenging than standard display. All that said, there are a healthy number of agencies that have heavily embraced these techniques; agencies that have done the research, know all of the intricacies surrounding mobile and may have even built some in-house tech solutions. We’re seeing that this understanding is in high demand, and those mobile specific agencies are getting extra business while the rest of the industry plays catchup.