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Move Fast & Chase The Future: EMX’s Zacharski On A CTV-Driven Ad Ecosystem

Could connected TV’s achilles heel also be its superpower?

Many who have dabbled with advertising through streaming TV services know that its lack of cookie identifiers has historically been a problem. But the deprecation of third-party cookies in web browsers is proving to be a great leveller.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Michael Zacharski, CEO of ENGINE Media Exchange (EMX), the supply-side platform linked with Engine Group, says he is betting his company on CTV being the fulcrum for the advertising future.

“We went completely cookie-less in the top of 2021, and we were still testing both a cookie and non-cookie model back in the middle of 2020,” Zacharski says. “And so we’ve tested both and we found that we liked the cookie-less future.

“We found that solutions that work in CTV can be extensible to their environments. And we’re big believers that the TV is going to continue to be the centrepiece of the household, the primary medium around which families gathered together

“So we’re centering our offerings around that premise and making sure that we can deliver in CTV and omni-channel media.”

The new stack

EMX’s platforms include:

  • RTBx, a real-time bidding exchange.
  • BiddR°360, a header bidding wrapper for publishers.
  • Exchange BI, a campaign reporting and insights dashboard.
  • Local Marketing Cloud, for brands with a lot of brick-and-mortar retail locations.

In February, it also launched Device Graph+, an offering supporting CTV and omnichannel media placement using data from EMX, Engine Insights and data partners bringing ACR, cross-device data, location data and identity resolution.

“We found we are able to not only deliver audiences and even hard to reach audiences and tough DMAs in CTV, but we can also target those same households and create meaningful omni-channel campaigns for clients who are looking to reach the household,” Zacharski adds.

Quest for identity

EMX is a member of prebid.org, contributor to swan.community, testers of Flock and has dozens of different identifiers that are passed through the UID field, through the OpenRTB protocol.

That is testament to show companies are trying out many options for post-cookie identity.

“There’s a need to understand that change is happening and innovation is happening,” he says. “We want to be prepared to look at any new technology, make sure that as our partners look at new solutions, we have the engineering and tech teams on standby and ready to go.”

Re-tooling for tomorrow

But, for Zacharski, moving fast is not only about pivoting toward new integration partners.

Zacharski says agility has had to be internal, too.

“We actually rebuilt our entire ad tech stack,” he says. “We started back in 2018, built prototypes 2018 and 2019. And we moved our entire business to a modern infrastructure thinking about things like making sure that we’re prepared for CTV and even things like 5G where consumer latency expectations are going to continue to be such that things need to load fast and increasingly faster while as things are loading faster.

“Now there’s more signals that everyone has to sort through.”

You are watching “The Media World Accelerated: What’s Next?” a Beet.TV leadership series presented by ENGINE. For more videos, please visit this page.