Buyer Spotlight: MAGNA

By OpenX in Brands & Agencies|April 27, 2018

We caught up with Vin Paolozzi, EVP, Innovation at MAGNA on their programmatic strategy and what’s next in the industry.

What is MAGNA’s role within IPG?

MAGNA exists as the centralized IPG Mediabrands resource that provides intelligence, investment, and innovation strategies for agency teams and clients. MAGNA harnesses the aggregate power of all IPG media investments, $21B in the US and $41B worldwide, and utilizes powerful insights, market forecasts and strategic relationships to provide a marketplace advantage. Our focus is built around three core disciplines: Intelligence, Investment and Innovation

What is your role at MAGNA?

I lead MAGNA’s Innovation practice. My team assures that IPG Mediabrands and its clients have the most advantageous access to partnership benefits. The team identifies threats and opportunities present in the emerging media landscape to determine the optimal cost and connectivity, and documents advanced activation pathways. The team guides our IPG Mediabrands agency teams and clients, helping enhance partner buying practices, recommending innovative and emerging offerings, and developing solutions with an eye towards data driven business results. On a daily basis, the team focuses on two distinct areas: First, an ongoing evaluation of supply pathways; the other focuses on developing informed perspectives and expert guidance on topics critical to the digital media ecosystem. Examples include application of blockchain technology in advertising, driving ad tech transparency, and exposing fraud.

How is programmatic growing at IPG?

Initially growth was driven by partners looking for pricing efficiencies in their digital buys, but as addressable audience buying continues to grow in importance programmatic is growing with it. Sustained growth in the space is based on the ability to show the value of effectively reaching unique consumers that drive real business outcomes. How you effectively reach those audiences across all screens is as important today as efficiency was the driver in the past.

No matter if it’s in the programmatic space or not, the most important thing we look for in any partnership is differentiated value.

Vin Paolozzi, EVP, Innovation at MAGNA

What programmatic trends is MAGNA following/preparing for?

There are many trends that we follow in the space but right now there is a lot of demand and attention on how we a solve issues like brand safety, audience verification, data privacy and of course transparency. Ads.txt’s is a good example where we are using the IAB-approved text file to identify and prevent unauthorized inventory sales. The goal here is to prevent issues like domain spoofing and illegitimate inventory arbitrage. We have been trying to help lead the charge with many others in piloting and supporting efforts like this and are continuously in the hunt for ideas that can provide transparency in what can be often times a highly opaque marketplace. Ads.txt is a great first step in the right direction but it is not an end all be all fix to the problems we are faced with in the RTB ecosystem.

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

I believe there are a couple of ways that we are uniquely positioned. We fundamentally believe that over time the word programmatic will go away and be synonymous with just media buying. We call this a true programmatic first approach. In our minds all media will eventually first be purchased in a programmatic fashion. Using the insights that are uncovered in data driven and tech enabled buying approaches to iteratively re-shape your buying, over time even influencing where to make the most optimal sponsorship investment. Certainly we still have a ways to go in the TV space, but we’ve seen this level of thinking make a real impact on digital buying and investment strategies today. The ability to capture, identify and use data to understand and predict value is where we feel we are creating a competitive advantage.

What is most important in your relationships with your partners?

No matter if it’s in the programmatic space or not, the most important thing we look for in any partnership is differentiated value. That can be represented in a number of ways. From exclusive, first look, or beta opportunities to how we collaborate on best practices in the use of data assets, our goal is to find how we bring unique value to our clients in every relationship we create. Often times partners just want to get in front of the teams and take them through their general creds deck. The most rewarding partnerships are those that come to the table with a unique, data informed specific approach to driving value for our clients

What’s the “next big thing”?

Well that’s never easy to predict. We have been putting a lot of focus on the meaning of AI and Blockchain. That said we are still years out before we realize the full potential of those offerings. Today we are really focused on transparency and optimization of the supply chain. Also as we move towards first price auction dynamics, how we approach trading strategies will continue to evolve. Getting those right in the very near term is extremely important for us and our clients in order prove how we continue driving value in the digital ecosystem.

On a personal note, when you do have free time, what’s your favorite thing to do?

I’m a huge music lover, so a lot of my free time revolves around music. Those who know me have heard the story of how I’ve been to more than 150 Dave Matthews concerts. Most recently my wife and I have really been into this emerging band out of New Orleans called the Revivalists. They put on an amazing live performance with tons of energy. I have my old favorites, but I really enjoy finding new music or artists. The experience of watching a band start off in a small bar and sharing the journey with them as they grow to sell out stadiums is fascinating to me.