Agency Trading Desks: Automating Direct Orders? Questions & Answers with Josh Jacobs of Accuen Media - Jay Sears

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This is the fourth of a five-part series run by Jay Sears of the Rubicon Project at leading up to a live session with the global heads of the agency trading desks at the New York Times Center on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 11am during Advertising Week in New York.

Today we feature Sears' fourth Q&A in the series, this one with Accuen Media, the trading desk of Omnicom (you can also read past Q&As with Paul Dolan of Xaxis; Michael Brunick of Magna Global and Adam Kasper of Havas Media.

Your Name: Josh JacobsJosh+Jacobs

Your Company: Accuen Media

Your Title: CEO

What Flavor Ice Cream Best Describes Your Management Style:

Vanilla, its different based on what it's paired with, and usually a great compliment to everything!

SEARS: On average—out of each $1.00 spent on media (all media, not just digital) by one of your advertisers, how much today is spent on automated or programmatic channels?

JACOBS: no answer

What was this number two years ago, in 2011?

JACOBS: no answer

What will this number be two years from now, in 2015?

JACOBS: no answer

SEARS: Tell us the about Accuen Media:

JACOBS: Accuen is Omnicom's programmatic agency. Accuen was created in 2009 as the industry's first open platform for programmatic media. We integrate more partners than anyone else in the industry, which gives clients the ability to adopt the most exciting innovations in the advertising technology space, faster than ever before. Accuen's strategy is to embed programmatic experts within the strategy teams of our media agency partners, OMD and PHD, acting as a specialist extension of the team with a focus on how data, analytics, and automated buying can further optimize the performance of media investments.


· Overall managed budget (media spend) for your trading desk, expected 2013 GLOBAL:

· Percentage increase, managed budget (media spend) 2012 vs. expected:

· How many employees globally [headcount number]?

o JACOBS:No answer

SEARS: What are [name of company]'s three biggest initiatives for the second half, 2013?


1. Continued integration of Programmatic strategy and buying into the daily workflow of our media agencies around the globe

2. Expansion of programmatic benefits into new channels of media, new categories of business objectives, and new ways of measuring the strategic impact of data

3. Hiring amazing people in all functional areas, in all regions, in all countries

SEARS: To reach a higher adoption of direct deal automation and use of the programmatic channel, what are the major impediments to overcome? Rank these in numerical order:


_2__ Operational or workforce issues inside the holding companies or operating agencies

_1__ Premium (direct deal) inventory availability via programmatic

_4__ Lack of proper ad technology

_3__ Alignment of agency compensation models

___ Other: __________________________

All four factors are important, but premium inventory is the most important. In many cases, premium inventory, targeting, and executions are tied to the publisher's primary ad server and DSP/SSP technologies don't integrate with primary ad servers as well as we would like. Also, there are no standards when it comes to publisher's participation in programmatic. We see a mix of block lists, minimums, contextual and audience targeting, all of which make scale and standardization difficult. Today we have fantastic measurement capabilities that can help us identify inefficiency across traditional buys, Publishers and Advertisers benefit from working together to develop new operational playbooks and business models that enable technology to make all media buys more effective.

SEARS: Why is direct deal automation so important? Is it important?

JACOBS: While both are important, we should make a distinction between Automation and Programmatic Buying: Automation should net the same results as a traditional buy, while Programmatic should improve upon the efficacy and performance of the traditional buy. Automation improves speed, reduces errors and delay, and frees resources for higher value tasks. The goal of programmatic is to create competitive media advantage with data, get a greater ROI on media spend.

Tell Us a bit more about you:

SEARS: What's your favorite part of Advertising Week in New York?

JACOBS: It's like a family reunion for the ad industry

SEARS: If you could travel for pleasure anywhere in the world, to a place you have never been, where would you go?

JACOBS: I hear Croatia is the new place to be, and you might get to be in extra in Game of Thrones!

SEARS: If you were trapped alone on a desert island and needed to choose one ad holding company CEO to accompany you ( other than your own holding company CEO), which CEO would you pick and why?

JACOBS: I'm not sure it really matters. I'm pretty sure any island any one of those guys is on is pretty damn comfy. Better yet, every one of them has demonstrated time and again, if they perceive a need for anything at all, they are not afraid to go buy it.

SEARS: When is the last time you went out for a three martini lunch?

JACOBS: What is lunch?


For the fifth year at Advertising Week in New York, Jay Sears of the Rubicon Project will assemble the agency trading desk leaders from each of the largest holding companies in the world for their annual check-in on Thursday, September 26th at 11am on the main stage at The New York Times Center.

We'll speak with Michael Brunick (SVP, Programmatic, Magna Global, Interpublic); Paul Dolan (SVP, Global Business Development, Xaxis, WPP); Josh Jacobs (President, Accuen, Omnicom); Adam Kasper (Chief Media Officer, Havas Media North America (Affiperf), Havas) and Kurt Unkel (President, VivaKi (AOD), Publicis).

NEXT -- Kurt Unkel


Jay Sears is GM, REVV Buyer for the Rubicon Project. Sears is responsible for global relations with the buy side including ad holding companies, ad agencies, agency trading desks and demand side platforms headquartered in North America. Jay can be reached at

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