Industry Profile: DoubleVerify programmatic business director ANZ James Whitbread

25 February 2020

Our Industry Profile takes a look at some of the professionals working across the advertising, ad tech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the buzzing industry.

This week we speak to DoubleVerify programmatic business director ANZ James Whitbread.

Time at the company?
Ten months, starting with in-depth training in NYC!

Describe what your company does?
DoubleVerify (DV) authenticates the quality of digital media for the world’s largest brands. I work on the programmatic side of the business where we provide the data and technology to enable brands of all sizes to target the most appropriate inventory in order to achieve their media quality goals.

What do you do day to day?
Meetings, meetings, and more meetings! DV is a solutions business so I am constantly speaking with agencies, agency trading desks, and clients about how our pre-bid products (Brand safety and fraud avoidance, plus contextual and viewability targeting) can help them meet their campaign goals, and how DV's solutions and technology are superior to other providers in the market.

Define your job in one word?
Authentic!

I got into programmatic media authentication because?
I wanted to work in a sector of the programmatic industry which is genuinely valued for what they do from both the buy and sell side. At DV, I have been lucky enough to find a company that has invested heavily in innovation, and has build products that deliver real value to advertisers. It makes my job a lot easier!

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?
Convincing stakeholders that there is value in our pre-bid solutions - not just for brand safety and suitability, but for ensuring quality across all media buys. For too long, the market rhetoric has focused solely on the importance of “blocking” ads from appearing next to inappropriate content. But the opportunity is much larger than that. Quality - including brand safety, viewability and fraud - should be part of every programmatic campaign. It ensures media buys are efficient and effective, and ultimately drives ROI. Understandably, not all parties operate the same or have the same level of knowledge about the space, so you have to work closely together to highlight best practices and constantly deliver value.

Previous industry related companies you have worked for?
I grew up in Essex, UK (stereotypes are all false!). The majority of my career has been spent in digital OOH at companies including AMScreen, Admedia and JCDecaux. In Australia, I started at S2M Digital Recruitment where I recruited into the adtech and media agency space, then most recently at Crimtan (DSP) as senior sales manager.

What’s the biggest industry wide challenge you would like to see tackled?
I am sure that transparency is a popular answer to this question, but hear me out! We have to get away from accepting a “top 20” site list as a panacea for quality. The truth is, DSP’s were not built for reporting at final domain level or showing truly granular supply insights. In most cases, the result is that traders just don’t know what they have truly bought. The onus is on companies like DV to build tech platforms capable of breaking down the full supply journey – it is the only way to weed out the bad actors. This is possible, as long as all actors in the value chain are on board.

Who has been a great mentor for you and why?
In terms of programmatic, I had some awesome mentors at Crimtan in Alex Hetherton and Tara Crosby who gave me my chance here in Australia; I will always be thankful to them for that opportunity.As for a career mentor, I would have to say British businessman, Lord Sugar. Just being in the boardroom with a billionaire who isn’t afraid to speak his mind (and on national TV!) gives you that “I have to succeed” mentality.

Words of advice for someone wanting a job like yours?
Invest in yourself! I have been working with a success mindset coach who has been amazing in encouraging me to relish the opportunities that arise when I focus every day. I find It is so important to stay ahead in such a fast-paced industry. So whether it's putting aside time to read books, going through the company Slack channel for competitor info, watching industry videos, or following thought leaders on Linkedin...every nugget of knowledge helps!

If I wasn’t doing this for a living I would be?
I have worked in media throughout my career. Doing anything else would be very strange! I have developed a passion for the stock market of late, so I guess I would try my hand at being a full-time trader. Any tips, hit me up! My professional football days are sadly over.

My mantra is?
“You cannot always control what happens to you, but you can control how you feel about it”. For anyone who has read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***, I am certain this will resonate!

Music and streaming TV habits, what do you subscribe to?
Netflix and Optus Sports. Netflix mainly for Peaky Blinders and Optus to follow my team Tottenham Hotspur. I hated caving in and signing up for Optus after I said I wouldn’t when they won it from Foxtel. In fairness, their product is now better than we had in the UK and good value!

My favorite advert is?

“Wassupppppp” by Budweiser. It is just so iconic! Good adverts should make a cultural impression. This advert was globally recognizable - so much so that it was a surprise if someone could not do their own rendition of “Wassup”!

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
We are a small team, and we have an awesome initiation process. To be honest, I am a pretty open book, so there isn’t a lot they don’t know!

In five years’ time I will be?
Genuinely hope still working in programmatic and at DoubleVerify but with a much larger team and a larger regional footprint. This industry and company moves so fast it’s like having a new job to learn each month!

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