If you've been involved in the programmatic world over the past decade, especially if you are in the Los Angeles area, chances are you know the name Gabe Greenberg. He began his career in ad sales at Microsoft and Delivery Agent, was among the earliest and most active evangelists of programmatic advertising and continues to innovate.
Greenberg (pictured) is the founder of the Gabbcon conference series that were responsible for educating thousands of marketers and agency executives on the foundations of programmatic, paving the way for new companies to find their way to buyers and marketers. After COVID-19 shut down the live event business, Greenberg and his partners, Tina Greenberg and Vai Gupta, founded Octillion Media to expand programmatic to the local and mid-market space. "I came to realize that the local and mid-market clients didn't have a fully transparent, high-quality offering to leverage. Most clients were having to buy from resellers," he says.
Together with his team, Greenberg built a robust, transparent digital "platform as a service. using the brand FATE, an acronym for Fraud-Free, Accountable, Transparent and Efficient. He is adamant that Octillion put clients first, manifested by guarantees of less than 1% of invalid traffic (IVT), full sets of solutions to measure business outcomes and a commitment that every aspect of the buying process from media costs to third party vendor fees are completely transparent. "There is no black box," he asserts. "There are no hidden fees."
To date, Octillion Media's growth has been driven primarily by referrals and word-of-mouth, and Greenberg boasts of a 100% retention rate. With frequency caps a priority for marketers and media buyers, he believes having more local marketers utilize programmatic is a solution for reducing frequency. "Local programmatic allows more buyers to get into the marketplace, which leads to a decrease in frequency issues and allows the ad-server to deliver more relevant ads; the more choices for the ad server, the better user experience for the consumer," he says.
What has surprised Greenberg the most since starting Octillion Media is that "the lowest-priced inventory is generally the worst thing to be looking for," he explains. "It generally indicates fraudulent inventory. Unfortunately, a lot of resellers in the local market are going down the rabbit hole of commoditization, but we've seen the data over and over that shows quality of content is incredibly important. In fact, we not only look at fraud when it comes to supply, but there is a lot of fraud in data today, and we address that by looking at data refresh rates and data quality very closely."
Greenberg shares this advice for others looking to pivot their business: "Just do it. Don't wait! I'm sorry I waited as long as I did. Also, don't build for what you think the market needs now. Build for what you think it needs in the next three-five years. That's what we did. Lastly, identify your strengths and weaknesses and put in place a leadership team around you that can fill those gaps. I have strengths in sales and marketing, but I am not an engineer or a coder. I was fortunate to have as a co-founder and CTO Vai Gupta, who is an experienced adtech investor, and technology leaders with deep roots in building successful programmatic businesses.
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