It’s that time of year again. The time for family, snowflakes, the smell of wood-burning fires, sweaters with frolicking reindeer and, of course, year-end reflections.
Here at RhythmOne, it’s been a big year for us – we birthed a brand, launched three websites, completed our programmatic stack and transformed our business model. Given all these changes, we thought it made sense to take a moment to look back at the last year and celebrate our accomplishments and turn our heads to the New Year and the promise it brings.
We are all excited that we work in such a dynamic, evolving industry – the next big thing could be something revolutionary. We asked folks from various areas of our company to weigh in and tell us their biggest accomplishments and predictions for the New Year. The result was:
The Best of 2015
The Next Big Thing
Dan Slivjanovski, SVP, Marketing
Launching a fresh, premium brand architecture, based on the RhythmOne umbrella - and making it synonymous with our unique capabilities around cross-screen advertising at scale.
Massive consolidation within the ecosystem will result in a smaller number of marketplace providers. The ability to target users across channels and across formats - and clearly demonstrate brand safety with no tolerance for fraud - puts us in a highly differentiated category, aligned with emerging advertiser requirements and modes of buying.
Sudhi Herle, CPO
Controversy around Ad blockers will continue to increase. Advertisers and Ad-tech companies will begin to offer meaningful alternatives to the status-quo: Sustainable, Impactful and Respectful Ads will be the norm.
James Murphy, VP Programmatic
Growing our programmatic marketplace to be top 5 in the industry by volume – successfully completing over 50 integrations.
We are excited to be adding native and private marketplace support in early Q1 of 2016. This will give us the opportunity to leverage both our creative and inventory management skills. Our RhythmGuard product will continue to ensure all inventory is brand safe and of the highest quality.
Bhaskar Ballapragada, SVP, Supply
It has been great to see the team learn new technologies and take on additional responsibilities as we consolidate our stack into a streamlined offering. Growth of our exchange has been nothing short of astronomical and it is exciting to think that we are just starting.
Viewability and Verification are two key Industry trends that we will see in 2016. With end to end visibility from publishers, to exchange, to the end advertiser interlaced with metrics from all key third party verification leaders puts us in a unique position to exploit this trend.
Katie Paulsen, VP Influencer Marketing
Launch of TapFire, our auto optimizing native social post engine to distribute content via actual social posts across FB, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest.
The days of paying a creative team to create a :30 video spot are numbered. Influencers will continue to become an integral part in the the content strategy, with a specific strength in video production plus the added bonus of huge communities to distribute the message.
Dwight Ringdahl, SVP, Technology
Bringing RhythmOne (through RhythmMax) to the programmatic stage with a world class exchange and ad server platform. Currently doing over 30 billion ad requests per day.
Keep an eye out for growth in programmatic to include new Native Ad support, deeper Video support, and the introduction for true programmatic Connected TV support.
Ben Rathbun, Interactive Product Manager
Wins for this year include major advancements in our Advanced Creative Platform along with completing the switch to HTML5 creative.
Next year is looking even heavier on advancement with consolidation on video, native, and mobile creative offerings, as well as tapping into the dynamic creative market.
Mark Kaefer, Marketing Director
Producing our Influencer Marketing and Creative Solutions Showcases — and showing off the great work we’ve done for all kinds of brands.
Beacons have been around for a few years now in the mobile realm but have largely been underused for a variety of reasons. Saying that, I think we’ll see greater adoption of the technology in 2016. Apple and Google have made several advances in beacon technology over the last 6-12 months. Big-name retailers like Target are rolling out beacons to enhance the consumer experience. Most significantly, the majority of mobile users have their smartphones literally in hand when they’re shopping in physical locations — and that opens the door for big opportunities.
John Babcock, VP, Sales
Securing preferred partnerships with some of the largest media holding companies in the industry: GroupM, Omnicom Group, Accuen and Havas Media Group.
Josh: I’m excited about the Rhythm SDK and all of the interesting things on the engineering roadmap to reinforce our strong market position. Having an SDK that can solve for such marketer pain points in mobile video as: VPAID inventory, MOAT viewability measurement, Innovative/Unique ad executions and access to high demand through direct and programmatic deals is a huge win!
John: Programmatic efficiencies have saved agencies time, resources and budget. And now there is increasing pressure from brands to invest in higher quality/premium marketing programs such as (1) premium mobile video and (2) native content distribution. These will be two of the largest pockets of direct ad spend next year and we do them bigger, better and faster than anyone. Agencies will partner with companies they can trust because of their specific focus and expertise inside these two disciplines. We would love to own these pockets in 2016.
Heather McKim, VP, Marketing
Launching the RhythmOne Brand!
I’m really excited about the promise of programmatic TV – I think it will open that channel up to more relevant advertising and better connect TV spend to digital spend, so we can truly say (as marketers) that we are targeting people, not devices.
Josh Hubi, Manager, Creative Products
Developing technology to solve cross domain scripting issues between all our HTML 5 iframe based creative.
As we bury our dear colleague Flash, we have to be more proactive in this fast, ever changing market in terms of how we adapt to new modern technology. The death of Flash may have been a tad unexpected to some, but the industry as a whole should adapt to new modern technologies sooner rather than later. I foresee the next big thing for us is the further adoption of technologies that can drastically improve the user’s ad experience, such as HTTP/2. HTML 5 creative is very image heavy, (Just think about all those animation sequences!) but with the new HTTP/2 protocol, the result for users will be faster load times. HTTP/2 won’t make assets significantly smaller, but the data will require fewer round trips to our servers, cutting load times by as much as half in some tests.
Frank Pao, Chief Business Officer
Acquisitions and enhancements to O&O content and programmatic technology.
There will be increasing consolidation in the industry as advertiser continue to cut back on relationships and work with fewer, more accountable partners. That’s exciting and I look forward to having the prospect in 2016 to bring additional exciting companies and technologies into our group to better serve our clients’ needs and accelerate growth opportunities.
Chuck Moran, VP, Marketing
Bringing some of the most compelling digital and influencer marketing solutions to advertisers.
I’m going to be very interested in seeing how brands expand on the use of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to connect with consumers. We’re moving past the gimmick stage – and the significant happenings in the industry from FB’s acquisition of Oculus Rift, to Google Cardboard to Samsung’s Gear VR are all signaling a real legitimacy. And I think that the consumer – particularly younger segments – are going to latch on and start to expect some cool, out-of-box experiences.
Caitlin Quaranto, Senior Director, Influencer Marketing
Releasing the 2015 Influencer Benchmarks & all the excitement around Influencer Marketing.
I’m really excited to see the continued growth of Influencer Marketing. I’m excited to see Influencer’s continue to create cutting edge content on behalf of brands specifically around video and snapchat. I think Instagram is going to continue to grow and we will see more brands get engaged with quality content creators.
Marisa Nelson, Director of Communications
Building out our social presence. It was exciting to get our new brand in front of so many people and share all of the great things we were creating.
I’m excited to see the roles of viewability and verification around programmatic buying. As programmatic offers quicker results and price efficiencies, it’s scale and automated nature can lead to more fraud and questions about quality. It’s up to tech companies, like RhythmOne, to ensure programmatic remains one of the safest and effective advertising tools.