Brian Quinn of Triad Retail Media -- The Jay Sears Interview

By Archived Rubicon Project Archives
Cover image for  article: Brian Quinn of Triad Retail Media -- The Jay Sears Interview

Continuing a recent series of interviews with global trading desk heads that culminated in his Six Advertising Automation Trends for Buyers and Sellers, Jay Sears, SVP at Rubicon Project, now hears from the sell side—leading publishers across the United States and Europe.

Today he speaks with Triad Digital Media.

Your Name: Brian Quinn

Your Company: Triad Retail Media

Your Title: Chief Revenue Officer (Quinn also serves as the co-chairman of the IAB’s Sales Executive Council)

What Flavor Ice Cream Best Describes Your Management Style?

16 Handles… yes, it’s not a flavor, but an ice cream retailer. But my management goal is to give our people all of the tools they need to make their own way to success.

SEARS: On average—out of each $1.00 of advertising revenue received by your company, how much today is from automated or programmatic channels?

QUINN: I cannot provide that level of detail here, but I can say that the percentage of revenue from programmatic channels is increasing and should continue to do so.

SEARS: Describe how most media (all media, digital + non-digital, non-programmatic media) is sold by your company today.

QUINN: Triad is unique in that we represent retail sites, so for our brick/mortar partners there is a shopper marketing revenue stream which most publishers do not see. Most of this revenue is represented in annual contracts, which will increasingly include programmatic elements. Triad has dedicated programmatic teams integrated into our existing direct display teams. The first party data and great scale offered by our retail sites has created a robust and much sought after programmatic platform for buyers.

SEARS: Tell us the about Triad Retail Media.

QUINN: Triad is the pioneer and leader in the practice of digital shopper marketing. Our work on leading retail sites drives incremental advertising revenues, enhances the shopping experience and boosts in-stores sales. In 2013 we signed on our first international client (ASDA/UK), with more to come in 2014.


· Overall advertising revenue via automated systems, (expected) 2013 Global:

o QUINN: 25%

· Percentage increase, advertising revenue via automated systems 2012 vs. expected 2013 [Global only #]:

o QUINN: 500%

· How many employees do you have globally?


o Worldwide450

o Europe15

o The United States435

o Asia0

SEARS: What are Triad Retail Media’s three biggest initiatives for 2014?


1. Accelerate our internationalexpansion. First in Europe and then Latin America. Triad’s revenue model is new to these retailers and the response has been very positive.

2. 2013 was a breakout year for us with programmatic and we will look to continue that velocity in 2014. We are placing a special emphasis on making private marketplaces a larger piece of the programmatic pie, as well as Audience Extension opportunities where our first party data maintains its premium valuation.

3. Mobile and video assets have been slow to market for our retail partners. We have just launched audience extension plays in the mobile and video space, powered by our retailers’ first party data. And, several retailers seem poised to open up their core mobile properties to advertising monetization.

SEARS: By 2015, what percentage of total advertising sales across your company will be from automated or programmatic channel?

QUINN: I cannot discuss specific revenue forecasts. We feel strongly that our retail partners’ premium audience data and massive scale will continue to integrate seamlessly into automated channels.

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


1- Operational or workforce issues inside the holding companies or operating agencies

3- Premium (direct deal) inventory availability via programmatic

5- Lack of proper ad technology

2- Alignment of agency compensation models

4- Alignment of publisher compensation models

QUINN: On the agency side, adoption here will be very dependent on where the automated buying is happening: trading desk, media agency…brand direct? Premium inventory availability will be an industry wide challenge as content publishers remain cautious. At Triad we are already offering premium, data-rich inventory at scale.

SEARS: Tell us about your first party data strategy—do you currently have a DMP (data management platform) for your first party data?

QUINN: Ultimately, the DMP solution is determined by our retail partner. Little of our retailers’ data is made portable and is generally only available as data + media.

SEARS: Salesforce compensation. Do you compensate your salespeople for every dollar sold, regardless if the media is sold via insertion order (IO) manually or via an automated channel?

QUINN: Our salespeople are compensated on manual and direct order automation only. They are not compensated for advertisers sold via auction. Triad’s programmatic team is integrated with our direct display team. I cannot provide any further detail on compensation structure.

SEARS: Direct sold inventory is often sold three to 12 months in advance. Which of the following choices best describe how you use direct order automation and Connect—check all that apply:


1. _X_ We use direct order automation and Connect to leverage our first party data and bundle it with our media;

2. _X__ We use direct order automation and Connect to make available an “electronic version” of our media kit and related editorial calendar inventory packages (example: holiday or back-to-school themed packages) to buyers;

3. __X_ We use direct order automation and Connect to make available premium placements such as home page, section pages and other opportunities that are not available in the open market;

4. ___ We use direct order automation and Connect to make available IAB Rising Star ad units and rich media ad units.

5. ___ We do not use direct order automation and Connect and believe all inventory should be sold via auction (with appropriate business rules, of course!)

QUINN: Ultimately we will offer much of the above via automation. Because of our vast data and scale, we envision creating “always on” audience segments that can be bought upfront, opportunistically and seasonally.

SEARS: What advertising opportunities will never be sold via advertising automation?

QUINN: Sponsorships, integrated programs, some native ad units.

SEARS: Have you received “Programmatic RFPs” for your inventory? What do these look like and how are they different than traditional RFPs?

QUINN: We are just starting to get these, but they are very different from traditional RFPs: much less specific on targets, needs, etc. Much more on discovery, potential partnership, open ended, etc.

SEARS: What should top publisher chief revenue officers (CROs) do to build their direct order automation (also known as programmatic premium) and programmatic selling business with trading desks and operating agencies?

QUINN: Invest in a dedicated, tech-savvy programmatic sales team that is integrated with your existing display teams. Implement “everyone gets paid” comp plans to reduce internal friction/turf issues. Be bold and confident in the inventory you make available in these channels…it should not be seen as a remnant play.

SEARS: Why is direct deal automation (also known as programmatic premium) so important? Is it important?

QUINN: It is very important…mainly to reduce the costs and inefficiencies in digital media.

SEARS: What global markets are the leaders and laggards in programmatic?

QUINN: We are just getting ramped up internationally. I bet Rubicon (Project) has this answer!

Tell us a bit more about you:

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

QUINN: Czech Republic or Spain/Barcelona. Hoping daughter No. 2 studies abroad in one of those places!

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

QUINN: I would pick Maurice Levy. I had a chance to meet him once and was incredibly charming and self-deprecating.

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

QUINN: Maybe not martinis, but when “Wine Week” was all the rage, there was some pretty heavy drinking there. I would suggest that we loosen things up a bit in the US and allow ourselves to have a nice glass of wine with that delicious lunch entrée we just ordered!

Thanks Brian!

Jay Sears is Senior Vice President, Marketplace Development for the Rubicon Project. Sears worksJay Searswith leadership and business unit heads across the company to expand Rubicon Project’s potential market. Sears has also served as General Manager, REVV Buyer, where he was 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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