Meet the Team: Jason Pratt, General Manager of Koddi Ads

In our Meet the Team series, we get to know different members of the Koddi team. Today, we get to hear from Jason Pratt, General Manager of Koddi Ads, as he discusses the advantages of the sponsored listings ad type from both the advertiser’s and consumer’s perspectives.

Can you tell us about your background and what led you to your current position at Koddi?

I started my career as an architect. I used to design buildings, and then I went to business school and landed in the software industry, which I really liked. I was out in California at a company called Autodesk, that worked in the building industry and produced AutoCAD among other things. After a while, I decided I wanted to see if I was all about buildings, or if there was more to it than that. So I made a big jump into ad tech in 2011 and joined a company called Kenshoo. I was there for about nine years, running the North American sales team, and that’s how I got to know Koddi. Chad Baldwin, a friend of mine from Autodesk, worked here at Koddi, and I followed him into the company.

What do you enjoy spending time working on when not at work?

I like to work on old cars. It’s a hobby/curse that I enjoy trying to make things better, so I like buying old cars and trying to restore them to their former glory. Right now, I’m working on a 1974 International Scout. The part I like best is that it teaches me patience, because nothing ever goes the way it’s supposed to go. You fix something, and it gets unfixed.

Where are you most excited to travel to once the international economy opens back up?

I had a trip to Africa planned for September with my wife and some other koddiyaks. We were planning on doing the whole safari thing, but we decided to postpone it to next year. Honestly, for me the safari is going to be cool, but it actually wasn’t at the top of my bucket list. However, I’m very much looking forward to that when it happens, hopefully next year.

Tell us about how Koddi Ads fits into the consumer experience?

If you look at the whole universe of ad types that are out there, there are very few that actually help the consumer. The classic one is search ads. If you go to Google or Amazon and type “backpacking tent,” you’re obviously looking for a backpacking tent. So when a backpacking tent ad appears, you’re not annoyed or disturbed by it. You think “oh that looks good” or “that looks like a good price,” and you check it out. You’re learning about something that you’re already planning to buy, so I would argue that a search ad is pretty helpful.

Sponsored listings are very similar. If I’m looking for hotels in New York City or somewhere to eat lunch, and I’m in some kind of marketplace where I type in what I want and an ad shows up at the top of the page that matches my search, I’m not going to be distracted or annoyed by that ad. I think that’s the most important thing from the consumer’s point of view. Sponsored listings, like Koddi Ads, are a better way to do internet advertising.

Let’s face it: we’re gonna have to advertise because companies need to fund these services we all love. The industry can do them in a good way, or in a horrible way that tracks people around the web and shares their personal information. Koddi Ads doesn’t do any of that; instead, it says, “What are you looking for? Let me see if I can help you find it”.

What does Koddi Ads provide to advertisers that may have been previously missing?

Advertisers are looking to have successful campaigns that convert, generate revenue, and grow their businesses. If you want to have these outcomes, you would ideally advertise where people make their buying decisions. That’s why grocery stores have end cap displays. Koddi Ads is similar. It’s all about going to the online marketplace where consumers are booking their hotel, buying their lunch, or shopping for a new pair of shoes – whatever it is – and advertising there. That’s where you’re really going to get people who are: a) interested in what you have to offer, and b) very likely to convert.

For advertisers, it’s got all the good things of being direct response, trackable, measurable, high-performing, and CPC-based, but none of the bad things where you have to be looking at impressions/view-throughs to justify spending (like with display), or track people around the web (like with retargeting). It doesn’t have the creep factor for consumers that causes them to ask, “Why is this company following me around?”

From a growth perspective, where do you see Koddi Ads providing the highest value in the near future?

As we launch these Koddi Ads programs, we are developing better and deeper relationships with publishers. What that means is that Koddi’s customers have a better connection with the publishers that they work with. Of course they had their own relationships already, but now Koddi can represent them across all these sites at the same time and better coordinate publisher practices with the client’s advertising needs.

How do you see Koddi Ads changing the way Koddi operates as a whole, and how does this allow us to provide more value to advertisers?

We’re learning more about the needs of publishers. In buying media, it’s easy to ask for this data, that feature, or this new way to track, and sometimes those requests land better if you have the context of the publisher’s business. If you’re only representing buyers, that is important, but you lack the context of what the publisher is up against. This context on both sides allows Koddi to organize situations that are truly win-win, and this can expedite growth on both the publisher and advertiser’s end.

As far as the advertisers and the Koddi Ads experience – we want to hear from them. The feedback gets us all what we need — better business results. We want to hear what advertisers are looking to do, and we do have a good idea because we buy a lot of their media, but at the same time, we don’t pretend to know everything.

How does Koddi Ads help advertisers, particularly in times of consumer demand downturns?

If you fly a fighter plane, you want to have a really good control stick. If the plane can go really fast, but your controls are bad, the plane crashes. Having a good control stick is really important for a nimble organization. Having sponsored listing-type programs that are CPC and demand-based, meaning you can throttle them up and down very easily, adds to your control stick.

If all you had was something like TV and non-traditional advertising, when it came time for the ramp-up, you’d have to buy your media weeks or months in advance and hope that you timed it right. With a program like Koddi Ads, you can turn on budgets today, be spending tomorrow, and get results the following day. It gives you that ability to quickly throttle into whatever demand pick up you see, and conversely, to throttle down when you need to. Marketers really like that nothing is committed upfront. It’s more about quick upturn and quick downturn, which helps them manage whatever business conditions they’re up against. Koddi Ads can also provide more granular targeting to allow advertisers to invest where demand is.

If you look at the industry as a whole — Apple, Amazon, Airbnb, Etsy — everyone with a marketplace is doing sponsored listings. It works, it’s simple, it’s elegant, it’s easy.

Interested in Sponsored Listings?

We are entertaining conversations with companies running all types of marketplaces who want to start sponsored listings programs. Interested businesses can turn on these programs at any time, and Koddi will manage them. Learn more about the Koddi Ads product and request a demo here.