Q&A with Harmen Tjaarda, CRO at JustPremium

Harmen Tjaarda, co-founder and CRO of JustPremium discusses his decision to relocate from global HQ in Amsterdam to New York and looks back at his years as stock trader, to compare the Stock Exchange and the Advertising Marketplace.

JustPremium: In a few sentences – can you give us some background on how you took the decision to move to New York?

It’s an easy decision to explain! 60% of all global digital advertising spend is invested in the US – and 70% of this is managed and booked in NYC. Within a square mile you can find all 6 major Agency Holding Groups which are managing this spend – it’s the advertising technology equivalent of being a kid in a candy store.

The US market has always, and will continue to be, our most important GEO in our global expansion. It therefore deserves total dedication and focus from one of the founders of JustPremium.

Over the last years I’ve been frequently traveling to NYC from our HQ in Amsterdam and so have been involved with our team there from the beginning – making it an easy decision when it came to deciding who was to relocate.

JustPremium: What will be your first steps after the move? 

I’m jumping on an already moving train, it will be just a matter of getting the train up to more speed. We have a great team out there already, in NYC and LA.

We already have a great team with a strong set up in NYC and LA, so it’s a little bit like boarding a moving train! My job will be pushing the train to go faster than it ever has before.

Short term this means growing the team in NYC, with us aiming to double the size of our Manhattan contingent within the next 3 to 6 months. Simultaneously we want to expand across the US, opening new offices in Washington, Atlanta and Boston.

JustPremium: What do you expect will be your biggest challenge? And opportunity?

One of the biggest challenges will be finding the right resources in a short period of time – at JustPremium we have a historically sourced our employees ourselves and I intend to keep doing this states side. But this will mean a great deal of searching and extensive interview processes.

JustPremium is a ‘programmatic first’ business and this means we are looking for very specific profile. It must be an individual who is hungry to learn, has a deep understanding of programmatic and an equally deep knowledge of our industry,  whilst being a creative thinker and a great relationship builder.

Luckily for us, NYC is definitely the place where we will be able to find the right people for this.

The biggest opportunity I see in the short future is the impressive and unique US Hispanic offering. We have been active in both the Spanish and Latin American markets for over 4 years, which gave us the opportunity to build relationship with most of the Spanish and Latin American publishers. The current US offering has not been focused on realising this great potential, which presents an irresistible opportunity for us at JustPremium.

Another opportunity comes through the fact that most of our current and potential technical and strategic partners are US based. Simply being on the same time-zone (and a few blocks away!) will help us improve and build these relationships further.

JustPremium: US vs. Europe – what do you expect will be most different?

The biggest difference I have seen is the way of working. In the US business is very structured and process driven whereas the European way is more focused towards achieving the end goal.

Both ways have pros and cons so I’m looking forward to being able to combine best of both worlds in our US operations.

JustPremium: What do you plan to “bring” from the Netherlands to NYC and why?

A more pragmatic way of working I hope. This circles back to the above point on the different working structures.

It is important to look ahead and to be able to pro-actively react, this is something which we ‘Dutchies’ value a lot.

Being Dutch also means that I might be a little more direct and forthright in my opinion than some of my American colleagues! But as the current team has been working with me for a while now they have been able to get used to this.

As well as this, I strongly believe that everything you do should be fun – you can never laugh enough during a day. Yes, there need to be time for serious work but there also need to be time for some laughter. It’s all about creating an atmosphere which empowers people to do their best work.

JustPremium: What is your long-term goal? What do you hope to achieve with this next big step?

Ultimately the long-term goal is to become a US company with Dutch roots. We want to have our global headquarters in NYC, to become the global standard for rich media programmatically and be known as the company who brought creativity to digital.

JustPremium: You used to be stock trader in the past. What is the biggest lesson you took from the stock marketplace to the advertising marketplace?

The biggest lesson is that all changes take more time than you expect. The introduction of the RTB protocol was expected to change the industry by storm in 2010. The reality is that in 8 years we have come a long way but it still hasn’t arrived yet.

This was the same for stock market, people are used to doing things in a certain way and although the new way has a lot of advantages, habit means they stick with the old way.

If you look at the potential possibilities, many are still relatively untapped. There is still so much to be changed and introduced. For instance, the current ad market is hardly leveraged, where leverage (derivatives) is the biggest part of the financial markets.

Here again it will take time for people to adapt but leverage will be part of the ad marketplace at some point.

I also learned that every part of the industry wants to have invented their own technology. While in 2010 the financial markets had already really advanced trading systems in place, at the same time ad tech companies started to invent the wheel all over again.

This was one of the biggest mistakes, or missed opportunities, in our industry. We could have progressed a lot more in the last 8 years if the industry looked at the available systems and took advantage of these.

JustPremium: How would you compare the two? What would you find in the common/difference that you think is most interesting?

Comparing the two you realise there is so much in common. You can compare supply and demand almost one on one.

There is only one major difference concerning the product we are trading and that is the fact that there is no real ‘rest value’ in the ad marketplace.

If you buy a stock, 30 seconds later the value could be lower, the same or higher. In the ad marketplace there is almost certainly no value after 30 seconds.

This makes the trading slightly different but the principals still remain the same.

The current stage of the stock marketplace will be the end goal for the ad marketplace. Machines able to decide and execute in nano-seconds (instead of milliseconds = 1m time faster)

JustPremium: Which marketplace is more exciting & why? 

The ad marketplace is the most exciting place to be right now. I can compare the time I entered the digital ad market in 2013 with the stage of the stock market in 1998. In the following years a lot of technical changes took place and the stock market became digital around 2003.

The same is true for the ad market. In the years before 2013 everything was IO driven, with the introduction of RTB the execution became digital as well.

Though the a system like the stock exchange market is the ultimate goal, the journey to this system is the most exciting path to walk.

Going from an inefficient marketplace, with human controlled/managed process, to building a new kind of efficient marketplace driven by machines/AI is a exhilarating path to be on and I’m thankful to be part of it.

Q&A with JustPremium’s Rob Garber: The Vital Issues Shaping Our Industry and Our Company

Rob Garber joined JustPremium two months ago as managing director for the UK. In his mere 60 days with the company, he’s witnessed tremendous change within both the industry and JustPremium itself. We sat down with him to get a look at the vital issues that are altering the landscape for marketers, as well as the key initiatives that are preparing JustPremium for the future.

JP: What are the most exciting changes in the industry right now that affect your work? And in general, how do you think the industry will change in the short and long term because of them

Rob Garber: For those of us inside JustPremium, as well as those viewing from the outside, we have seen a significant evolution in just a few months. Our team has grown rapidly, not just in the UK, but globally. We’ve launched new business units. And we’ve most recently gone through a full brand refresh. However, before we go into the changes internally, let’s talk about two large shifts that are going to affect us all in 2018:

The Coalition for Better Ads. On Feb. 15, 2018, the “Better Ads Experience” was rolled out on Google Chrome’s platform. At a high level, this will ensure all ads deemed intrusive be removed from our ecosystem for good. Publishers who are not adhering to the compliant ads will be penalized. Hurrah! This focus is something JustPremium is fully behind—to the extent that JustPremium was the first Rich Media provider to sign up to be part of the coalition.

GDPR. May 25th is a date on everyone’s calendar, whether you’re in the industry or not. I can tell you it’s an odd conversation when you’re discussing GDPR with your father, who is concerned about the data he holds for his fruit and vegetable wholesale company. But these are the conversations happening everywhere.

No data at scale – in a post-GDPR world, creative and environment will be the focus—and winner. It will ensure that creative is the guest of honor in the marketing mix, instead of the person you invite to the party at the 11th hour because you forgot to send the invite.

JP: What are the major projects you are working on? What do you aim to achieve with them?

Garber: Here’s a rundown of initiatives that we’ve been focused on at JustPremium UK:

Header Bidding. Header bidding has been a game changer for us in the UK. We are now able to offer a header bidding adaptors (via Pre-Bid, and a soon-to-be-announced key player in this space) to all of our publishers to ensure brands and agencies have the ability to tap into the full breadth of high-impact supply that is in the marketplace. This will help brands scale their campaigns effectively and publishers to ensure they are achieving as close to 100 percent fill rates as possible. No longer will scale in the high-impact space be a conversation to have. Header bidding removes this in its entirety.

Video. We’ve recently launched a new business unit called Rich Video. This is a suite of ad formats that allow brands to distribute video content at scale and—most importantly—in brand-safe environments.

JP: What piece of advice would you like to share with our clients?

Garber: Here are two stats to consider: First, we see 4,000-plus marketing messages a day. And second, 90 percent of our purchase decisions are driven by the emotional part of our brain, rather than the rationale part of our brain. With that in mind, I will leave you with two core messages:

  1. Always ensure that the format, or canvas, that you use to distribute your marketing message is impactful enough to break through the clutter (and is Coalition compliant).
  2. Always ensure that the creative you build to sit within this canvas is strong enough to create an emotional connection with your target audience, as our decisions to buy are emotional decisions.

If you operate by the above two principles, you will generate the ROI, be it tangible or intangible, that your brand is looking to achieve.


Q&A Session with JustPremium's Jörg Schneider

What are the main and most exciting changes in the industry right now that affect your work? What challenges and opportunities do you see in them?

The most exciting trend in the industry is the demand for high quality ad formats and creatives. While the industry has been focusing on trade and delivery automatization for the last 5 years, ad quality was almost forgotten. Nowadays, we see that the infrastructure is in place, and the usage of data and ad fraud defending are day-to-day work. Today, the brands themselves are asking for better ads and more creative ways to get the user engaged. In short, the digital advertising industry is talking marketing again. This is where JustPremium can stand out. This is what we can deliver, and that’s why we are in the right place at the right time to succeed.

In general, how do you think the industry will change in the short-term and in the long run?

In the short-term, data protection regulation (GDPR and later e-privacy) will shake the industry. It will be interesting to see how GDPR will unfold and what consequences it will have on the market in terms of the daily activities.

In the long run, all advertising, regardless of medium – for instance, linear TV, connected TV, Display, In-Stream Video, inApp, Digital Out of Home Advertising & Media, digital radio and even print – will be bought, planned and optimized in a holistic way through programmatic. Machine learning and artificial intelligence will have a growing influence on how and when an ad will be bought and delivered.

What are the major projects you are working on? What do you aim to achieve with them?

We will work towards closer partnerships with agencies. We are investing in resources to cater to the specific needs of each partner agency.  As we want to provide premium service, we will even facilitate their unique requirements for single advertisers. Meanwhile, we will also reach out more to brands in order to share inspiration. By showing them the unprecedented possibilities of our creative suite, we will drive them to be braver in their digital storytelling. In turn, this will help agencies pitch rich media solutions more successfully and bring more creativity to digital advertising.

On the supply front, we will be rolling out Header Bidding with each publisher in our network. This will pose some challenges, as the technical environment differs significantly from one publisher to another. Nevertheless, this is essential for the purpose of achieving a fully controlled supply chain and a working yield optimization on a higher reach overall.

What is the most exciting part of your work at JustPremium?

As I previously mentioned, we are in the right place at the right time. Advertisers look for what we are offering in order to drive better results. It’s exciting to go to market with a real USP. At the same time, it’s thrilling to see the company growing and increasing its market value. This is merely possible because of the talented and highly dedicated people we have in both Germany and abroad. It’s just great to engage with them and their potential!

What piece of advice would you like to share with our clients?

To break through the advertising clutter, advertisers need more original and engaging creatives to drive results. Many clients have great creatives in place for TV commercials or print, but don’t put enough importance on innovation in digital advertising. They need to rethink their KPI’s towards ads that work in the direction of their objectives, instead of being fully focused on pure price driven benchmarking. Sounds like a no-brainer but it’s definitely not the case in many places.

If you’re an advertiser that wants to reach out, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or directly send an email to info@justpremium.com 

JustPremium Recruits 10 New Members for its German and UK Team following scale back by Undertone

London, March 2018: Programmatic rich media and video ad marketplace, JustPremium, has today announced that it has recruited two new teams. The new recruits follow the closure of digital marketing company Undertone’s office in Germany, and the scale back in the UK market. The announcement will also see the opening of the second JustPremium office in Hamburg, Germany as an additional to the existing operation in Dusseldorf, allowing it to efficiently service this large market.

The expertise of the new recruits will complement JustPremium’s existing offering and will allow it to further cement its position in Europe, and establish itself as a leader in digital creativity and programmatic rich media. The team included five new recruits in Germany who has taken the role of UK Managing Director and Germany Country Manager Joerg Schneider.

The new recruits take the JustPremium team to over 110 employees globally and position itself as the go-to company in Europe for brand-safe rich media and video advertising solutions for both brand advertisers and premium publishers.

Eric Visser, Founder and CEO at JustPremium commented: “We’re delighted to have a hugely talented group of people join our team, reflecting the momentum of Justpremium’s growth globally. JustPremium is a scale up, but historically we have been one of the few players in rich media, and this move positions us as the undisputed leader in this sector. We’re on a mission to prove that the legacy ad tech giant can be challenged by both startups and scaleups with the right balance of innovation and creativity.

I believe that in the long term we will start to see less fragmentation in the industry which will produce stronger companies that are able to benefit both advertisers and publishers”

About JustPremium

JustPremium is the world’s first programmatic Rich Media Ad Marketplace, offering a comprehensive managed service from creating to delivering brand experiences. The service allows brands and agencies to access premium inventory, available on the web and on mobile, through programmatic buy.

Publishers work with JustPremium to create additional advertising inventory and monetise it through its marketplace. JustPremium’s rich media and video advertising solutions encompass a series of rich media ad units surrounding media content.

As a member of the Coalition for Better Ads, JustPremium is committed to helping shape best practice online advertising standards. Recently, the company was nominated for the Deloitte Fast50, which recognises the 50 fastest growing technology companies based in the Netherlands.

Brands and Agencies: Here’s What the Chrome Ad Filter Means for You

Harmen Tjaarda, JustPremium’s COO gives insight into the latest Google Chrome’s regulations and describes the meaning behind the coming changes for Brands and Agencies.

You’ve probably already heard that, starting Feb. 15, the Google Chrome browser will begin blocking a number of unpleasant ad experiences by default. Specifically, Chrome will stop showing ads that do not comply with the standards developed by the Coalition for Better Ads.

As a proud member of the Coalition for Better Ads, and a fervent supporter of holding digital ads to a higher standard, JustPremium is pleased to report that our rich media ad units are fully compliant with the Better Ad Standards and expected to remain viewable within the yet-to-be released version of Chrome. Ultimately, we see the Chrome ad filter as a positive step forward in raising the bar for online advertising experiences. Better ads mean better experiences for consumers as well as advertisers, whose ads should be not just seen, but also appreciated.

Now is an important time for brands and agencies to be reviewing their ad creatives and templates, as well as their publishing and ad tech partners, to ensure they’re adhering to the Better Ads Standards. Given that the Chrome browser has a more than 50 percent share of the browser market, its ad filter is expected to have a significant effect in weeding out noncompliant ads. As the industry increasingly trends toward higher standards for online ads, it makes sense to begin treating the Better Ads Standards as minimum acceptable criteria for your creative. Going forward, your advertising partners should be committed to ensuring that your ads are both engaging and compliant with the new standards.

The initial prohibited types of desktop ad experiences (four in total) through the Better Ads Standards are as follows:

  • Pop-up ads
  • Auto-playing video ads with sound
  • Prestitial ads with countdown
  • Large sticky ads

The mobile standards include all of the desktop experiences above, as well as the following:

  • Flashing animated ads
  • Poststitial ads with countdown
  • Full-screen scrollover ads
  • Ad density higher than 30 percent

Back to the Future: Why Ad Tech Must Learn from the Creative Past

This article has been published exclusively in ExchangeWire.

“Is it just me, or does it sometimes feel like people working in advertising technology have forgotten the age-old elements of what makes good advertising?

Whilst there’s no commandments set in stone for the marketing sector, at the core of any successful advert is surely good creative. This is a fact that somewhere along the line appears to have been lost, to all our detriment.”

At a time where pop-up is promoted over high impact, consumer experience and creativity are simply being overlooked. This results in commodified ads and decreased trust. What does the industry need to do?

Continue reading…