Tim Sims – East Coast Director of Demand
In the second of our ‘Open Exchange’ interviews we introduce Tim Sims, Director of Demand for the East Coast.
Describe your role at OpenX.
Tim Sims: As director of the demand business, I’m responsible for overseeing our East Coast team that looks after all of our buyers and demand partners, across all OpenX products, including our ad exchange.
What is the most challenging aspect of working in the digital advertising industry?
TS: I’d say it’s a combination of the pace of change and keeping a clear and intelligent understanding of all the options that are available to publishers and advertisers. At the end of the day, advertising is advertising, regardless of channel. Brands are trying to create awareness and move products; publishers are creating content
that engages their audience, and hopefully provide effective vehicles for advertisers to showcase their brands. In between those parties is a whole bunch of noise. Keeping tabs on what’s relevant for our customers within that noise is our most important challenge.
Which trends have the greatest impact on your role in supporting the customers?
TS: Mobile, because it is forever changing the way we consume content, and – by extension, are exposed to – advertising. We are still in the early stages of feeling the impact of mobile devices. It’s absolutely critical that advertisers and publishers capture the power of these devices. As far as OpenX is concerned, we’ve done some great things with mobile, such as our partnership with Samsung and our mobile exchange. But that’s only the start, there’s still a lot to accomplish so that our platform can support our partners no matter where their customers are consuming their content.
What has been the most satisfying experience at OpenX?
TS: When I started here I was the third employee on the East Coast. The first year our holiday party was four of us going out to dinner. That’s a big change from where we are today. We have expanded into a larger space with 40 employees, and we’re helping to shape the OpenX culture here on the east coast and that has been fun to be a part of.
OpenX recently re-launched its site with a new tagline – Are you Open? What does this tagline mean to you?
Two things really: transparency and innovation. From an OpenX perspective, ‘Are you Open?’ gives our customers and partners the right to question if we’re truly being open and transparent, and not merely selling them products. Are we, for example, providing an open, safe environment for our buyers? From our customer’s perspective, I hope it serves as a call to action for them to be open to innovation and new ideas about transacting media.
You recently attended the annual OpenX conference in New York City. What themes were loud and clear?
TS: The conference theme, ‘Great Content Deserves More’ covered a lot of topics, actually. Both sellers and buyers see the long-term value of programmatic direct, but everyone thinks that at this point in time, there’s still a lot of work to do to make it more efficient (and we agree). Many buyers noted that they must hire a full-time person just to implement the capability.
Publishers know that buyers have budgets for programmatic direct, but they’re just not seeing the spending they hoped for. Buyers, on the other hand, are focused on transparency. They want to know how they can assess and be sure they’re getting the fair deals from their spending.
If you were not in your current position, what would be your dream job?
TS: To be a professional golfer, but I think I missed that boat. And I am not even that good at golf, I just love to play. Maybe I could be a caddie on the PGA tour one day. But in all seriousness, if I was to think of a way to combine golf and advertising, then maybe my dream job would be the head of advertising at the Golf Channel. Let’s go with that!