Q and A with Russell Glass, CEO of Bizo

Russell Glass, CEO of Bizo will be giving the keynote address at the AdMonsters Network Ops Forum in NYC Dec 9, 2010. In advance of the event we asked him a few questions about ad operations.

Q: Please tell us about you, your company and what gets you excited about online advertising.

RG: I’m the CEO of Bizo, a business audience targeting platform that collects raw business information from publishers around the web, and turns it into organized and optimized business demographic data for analytics, ad targeting and personalization.  What excites me about online advertising are the two big shifts that are taking place in the industry.  The first is the huge movement of budgets from offline to online… there are roughly $50 billion dollars moving from offline to online in the next 5 years, which in large part explains why this is such a dynamic industry right now.  The second is the shift towards real attribution measurement, which will give marketers a clear and real understanding of what is driving value.  It’s an incredibly exciting time to be in this industry!

Q: It’s clear that the online advertising world has changed significantly even within the last 12 months. How has Bizo evolved from its inception?

RG: Actually Bizo has been pretty focused from the beginning on creating great business audience data for online analytics and targeting.  I think the biggest change is that we started the business as a vertical ad network that used the data to enable great business targeting.  We soon realized that the data was valuable to third parties for their own exchanges, networks and sites, so we began to allow the data to be resold through these other places, and now that represents 30% or so of Bizo’s revenue.

Q: There have been a lot of people in the industry that have said that ad operations has gained a new level of importance in their respective companies. Do you feel that is true and why or why not?

RG: There’s no doubt about it.  In the past there were only a few levers to pull for a specific campaign to help make it deliver in full and with the right ROI – site, day-part and maybe creative size and placement.  A publisher or network today has an incredible number of levers to pull to make an advertiser campaign successful from site, size and placement to geo, day parting, site, context, behavioral data, keywords, demographic data, bizographic data, exchange inventory, etc.   This proliferation of complexity has moved ad operations from the backroom to the center of the conversation.

Q: Where do you feel the ad network, ad exchange side of the industry is going? Any predictions for the upcoming year?

RG: It is changing rapidly, but I believe there will be areas of specific value that will continue to be delivered from all parts of the market.  RTB inventory is already roughly 10% of online display spend, and it will likely grow to 25-30% in the next few years, with some predictions estimating 50% by 2015.  This is an incredibly rapid shift of dollars away from the networks focused on direct response towards RTB, and it will force some networks to go out of business and some to consolidate.  However,  I think RTB will primarily be used for direct response advertising where scale and efficient frequency control is critical.  I think brand marketers will primarily stay within the ad network and premium worlds where they can maintain the value of full service network strategies, get efficient premium pricing as well as working directly with publishers where they can get controlled brand association in premium environments.

Q: What are some key things ad operations managers need to be thinking about in this new ecosystem?

RG: I think more and more ad operations will be coming from the sales and account management side of the house.  Ad ops managers need to be more and more focused on understanding client strategies and goals to be able to apply this knowledge to making a campaign successful and effective.  I think that in addition to the technical knowledge expected today, customer facing skills and strategic capabilities will be more and more desirable from the ad ops manager.