Buyer Spotlight: Hearts & Science

By OpenX in Publishers|February 7, 2018

We caught up with Erin Hauck, Senior Director, Audience Planning at Hearts & Science on their audience-first approach to planning and what’s next for them in the programmatic space.

How is programmatic growing at Hearts & Science?

Any growth is achieved organically, based on performance. The programmatic team is fully embedded within what we call “Digital Activation,” there’s no bias or red tape, the teams are making data-informed decisions to allocate dollars to programmatic buy models, because that’s where we have more control over quality & performance, and it’s working.

What is your competitive advantage or unique approach to programmatic buying?

We’ve developed an industry-first approach to digital agility & addressability, and a unique structure to support it. We plan audience first, which enables us to surface valuable data and insights to fuel our strategic choices and inform ongoing tactical decisions.

How do you work with your exchange/SSP partners on building a programmatic approach together?

We created an SSP authorization program to crack down on publishers & platforms when it comes to fraud, brand safety and overall quality. We rely on our shortlist of partners to live up to our standards, and collaborate with them to continually make improvements to elevate the quality of the inventory we’re curating.

We created an SSP authorization program to crack down on publishers & platforms when it comes to fraud, brand safety and overall quality.

Erin Hauck, Senior Director, Audience Planning, Hearts & Science

What is most important in your relationships with your partners?

Transparency & trust. Progress is impossible if we don’t know what’s under the hood, or where our clients’ dollars are going. The same is true on our side, because if we aren’t transparent with our partners about what we need from them, and where they fall short, how can we expect them to perform?

How does your team educate itself about “best practices” in programmatic buying?

“Best practice” is a moving target that requires constant discovery & agility. A big part of the Audience Planning teams’ contribution here at Hearts is to identify audiences and determine how to build one-to-one relationships with them at scale. This work requires creative thinking (Heart), and a lot of data (Science) to understand what does/doesn’t work, which we’re constantly working to perfect.

What’s next for Hearts & Science in the programmatic world?

We still have a lot of work to do as an industry, so more of the same…purposeful advancements towards better quality and performance, and less waste. We’re going to continue to be selective to do our part in moving the industry forward.

What’s the “next big thing”?

Is anything bigger that ads.txt? I don’t think we’re ready to move on to the next thing until adoption increases, which we’re advocating for.