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AiThority Interview with Ashish Shukla, Chief Technology Officer at MediaMath

Please tell us about your current role and how it has evolved through the pandemic months?

I recently joined MediaMath as Chief Technology Officer focusing on the company’s technical vision for its roadmap. I have more than 20 years of experience overseeing global development, management, and utilization of large-scale advertising architectures, data platforms and AI systems. I’m looking forward to applying this experience to my new role at MediaMath. My goal is to work with my team to continue enhancing MediaMath as a world-class technology organization. The pandemic has made adopting technology and innovation more vital than ever, and CTOs are leading the charge. In my new role with MediaMath I am also leading the alignment of our engineering culture towards business objectives for product development, acting as the technical liaison for key client relationships and developing a people strategy that will further support MediaMath’s innovations.

Also Read: AiThority Interview with Tim Bach, VP of Engineering at AppOmni

What inspired you to join MediaMath?

I am inspired by and passionate about MediaMath’s mission to connect a future-proofed omnichannel platform to an accountable, addressable and aligned media supply chain and digital media ecosystem. I am excited and honored to join a company with an ambitious transformation agenda, a client-centric vision and a world-class, talented team.  

What are the major challenges facing the ad tech industry? How do you hope to address these challenges in your new role at MediaMath? 

The demise of the third-party cookie, a 20-year technology that is the fabric of digital advertising, is a major challenge facing the industry right now. Without an addressable and scalable identity solution, marketers will fail to reach target audiences and publishers will fail to drive ad revenue as a result. To address this, the programmatic ecosystem is witnessing an influx of identity solutions to replace third-party cookies and mobile ad IDs.  In the past two years MediaMath worked closely with major media companies, technology partners in the space, and industry trade associations to implement the right solutions that will work for both consumers and the industry, ultimately bringing us to a better place for digital advertising. Through partnerships with leading industry companies such as LiveRamp, LiveIntent, Merkle, IRIS.TV we are building an ecosystem that bolsters our identity technology and further drives our vision. You can learn more on our approach and first party identity options in our Identity Playbook.

Also Read: AiThority Interview with Dan Hellerman, VP of Digital Ads at Terminus

How should advertisers and publishers gear up for the cookie less economy? 

To get ready for the cookieless economy, publishers will need to adopt an addressable and scalable identity solution to drive revenue. A first-party user ID model has the potential to provide significant benefits to brands, people and publishers – it’s more accurate, privacy-friendly, portable and offers higher data fidelity across the programmatic supply path than the old third-party model. Now, with so many first-party ID solutions entering the market, the critical issue is scale. We’ve taken a signal-agnostic approach, integrating multiple common IDs and allowing advertisers to reach users no matter the identifier, whether from an external platform or their owned and operated properties. This lets clients transact with the ID solution that they are most natively comfortable with.

Does Cookieless economy spell the start of another era of Google and Apple’s dominance in advertising metrics?

What Google has done is create standards that we believe will work with those ends in mind. Google’s FLoC offers a way to bridge the market with a cohort-based approach, and Apple is doing something similar. Google tools will enable 1:1 first-party addressability by allowing a buyer to create deals with publishers so they can work together with advertisers using Google tools. Ultimately, Google will continue to provide some functionalities to make it easier for advertisers and publishers to work together and run through these technologies.

Is it worth it to invest in cookie-free digital ads? What are the other options for advertisers if they want to go away from cookies?

Everyone is taking a step back and looking for solutions. What they’re realizing is how important it is for marketers to reach consumers digitally, for media owners to receive advertising dollars to support their content and services and for consumers to have a functioning and trusting relationship with how advertising works. First-party data and identity are going to be better for the overall advertising ecosystem in the long run. A ‘signal agnostic’ approach that integrates multiple common IDs can ultimately maximize scale and addressability

Also Read: AiThority Interview with Rob Holland, CEO at Feedback Loop

Your predictions on the future of mobile advertising technology and how it helps ad tech innovations in pandemic era:

The last year brought many new challenges that we couldn’t have anticipated one year ago – from a global pandemic, to the proliferation of misinformation, the impending demise of third-party cookies, and the rapid emergence of CTV as consumers’ preferred channel. These challenges will only intensify in the coming year. At MediaMath, we’re prepared for the future and urge brands to adapt 1P ID strategies now to continue to perform 1:1 marketing.

Thank you, Ashish! That was fun and we hope to see you back on soon.

Ashish Shukla is a technology leader with over 20+ years of experience in advertising, online payments, and digital media and online services.

Ashish joins MediaMath as the Chief Technology Officer and oversees its global engineering. He is responsible for realizing MediaMath’s product vision to life, launching innovative products to market faster, and fostering a world-class engineering team.

Before MediaMath, Ashish has served in leadership positions at PayPal, Yahoo!, Verisign, Cisco, HP, and other technology organizations, leading engineering teams and delighting the customers with every product release.

His experience overseeing the global development, management, and utilization of large-scale advertising architectures, data platforms, and AI systems will be critical as MediaMath continues its worldwide expansion and bringing transparency to the advertising ecosystem.

Ashish has been active in the AI community and a passionate AI & data enthusiast. He continues to be involved in various AI, Big Data communities; his deep experience in data-centric product innovation and deep understanding of the ad-tech space make him a frequent contributor to industry events.

Ashish holds a Masters in Business administration, Masters in Systems engineering from SJSU, and Masters in Computers engineering from India. He lives in the San Francisco bay area with his family and is a passionate squash and cricket player in his spare time.

MediaMath is the acclaimed independent advertising technology company for brands and agencies.

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