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Programmatic: 5 minutes with… James Macdonald

Publishers face a rapidly changing ad tech ecosystem. We grab five minutes with James MacDonald, co-founder and CRO at Limelight Inc, to see what advice he would give them.

By James Macdonald

Programmatic: 5 minutes with… James Macdonald

Q: What are the biggest challenges facing publishers today?

A: They face a number of them, including over-diversified demand that is difficult to manage, and gaining access to global demand outside of the walled gardens. There are also convoluted and complex technology layers in the programmatic ecosystem that dilute efficiency, as well as fast-moving and changing regulations, along with activity around data privacy and restrictions on tracking users. All of this is exacerbated by a lack of in-house expertise to deal with these challenges.

Q: How can AI help publishers overcome these challenges?

A: There’s a lot of hype around AI, and it can definitely help, but it needs the human touch. Human-guided AI can drive better outcomes for publishers by defining a strategy for the AI to work on, and then refining that strategy as you learn what’s working and what isn’t. This kind of strategic AI can deliver real scale, at real speed. Without human guidance, however, AI will just lead you down one rabbit hole after another.

Q: Why are some publishers afraid of it?

A: It often comes back to a lack of in-house expertise – people who understand both the programmatic landscape, and the power of AI, who can harness it for good – and the lack of a foundational AI management platform. There is great potential for AI to take companies a long way in completely the wrong direction very quickly if it’s not managed by someone who understands the technology.

Q: What would you say to calm their fears?

A: The right blend of human-directed AI implementation can revolutionise your business. AI plus the right technology, the right people and the right strategy will deliver results.

Q: What else do publishers need to harness the power of AI?

A: They need support and education from technology experts who are well versed both in AI and in the workings of the programmatic marketplace. They also need to be able to identify any in-house knowledge they have in these areas and put it to work on their AI strategy.

Q: What’s in the pipeline from Limelight Inc.?

A: We will continue on our mission to develop future-proof technology that delivers efficiency, direction and results, putting control back in the hands of publishers by giving them the best-in-class tools they need to deliver incremental revenues in a challenging marketplace.

About us

Limelight Inc helps companies in the ad tech ecosystem to easily navigate the complex programmatic landscape, blending cutting-edge technology with best-in-class expertise and human support. Hundreds of ad networks, publishers and agencies use Limelight’s programmatic oRTB solution to build bespoke, white-labelled trading environments and drive profitability and performance at scale - immediately.

The platform was launched in 2019 and has since helped hundreds of companies unlock new opportunities for trade and incremental revenues. Limelight is more than a service provider, our ethos is firmly centred on human support and strong partnerships for the global Limelight community.