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What a year… Interview with our CEO Richard Tuschkany

2020 was quite a bummer for few industries, but when it comes to programmatic advertising, this year had some real potential. We have asked our ConnectAD CEO Richard Tuschkany to share his insights about this very special year and to give some advice and predictions on how publishers could make 2021 a success.

What a year 2020 was. Great, that it’s coming to an end. Isn’t it!?

Richard Tuschkany: We love challenges, but we could all have done without the challenges of a global pandemic! 2020 was economically and strategically extremely demanding, but at the same time very successful. On a personal level, I am very concerned by its impact on countless people’s lives and the many economic catastrophes that that were no one’s fault. Even though 2020 has been very good business-wise, it has still been very worrying and exhausting. 

Can you please elaborate?  

RT: During the first real wave in March/April, we were in crisis mode for a while, because of course none of us had ever had to deal with a worldwide pandemic and its far-reaching personal and economic consequences. But things quickly started to become clearer, we were able to get back to work and successfully complete many of the programmatic advertising projects we had in the pipeline for 2020. After the initial shock, business has been growing steadily and ConnectAd can look back on its most successful year in programmatic advertising ever. 

What were the toughest topics for your company?

RT: Due to our strong technological orientation, ConnectAd had a head start in certain areas. We already were used to working a lot from home or in video meetings so there was hardly any need to reorganize or train people. We had developed the company’s core competency (our technology) in-house right from the very start and so it was easy to adapt to significantly higher traffic and changed user behavior. 

I had some worries about a possible customer/DSP domino effect in terms of late payments and insolvencies, and we counteracted this at an early stage with payment guarantees, insurance and closely exchanging information with our customers to keep track of the situation. We owe this to our publishers, and our partners rightly expect this from us. It is clearly our duty to be proactive about this. 

That knowledge in mind, what is your advice for publishers, who have merely survived 2020 and are anxiously looking at 2021 coming around the corner, when it comes to programmatic advertising?

RT: Digital advertising has won out in this crisis. I can only recommend that every publisher monitors and optimizes their demand partners and also finds the courage and resources to acquire new partners. My recommendation is very clear: Test, test, test.  

2020 has shown that a broad and solid demand base is the key to navigating through this kinds of major crises. Our publishers hardly suffered any budget cuts the whole year. We reacted early, entered into new demand partnerships and exchanged information even more closely with our partners. That was another important lesson for 2020: Even in high-tech industries, personal contact is more important than you might think. 

Can you illustrate that for us?

RT: Unfortunately, there are still too many publishers who do not have a proper, sustainable demand strategy and rely primarily on one or two SSPs. As a result, they are naturally very susceptible to sales fluctuations and exposed to a high risk of failure.  

A sound and sustainable demand setup can be implemented in just one day with the help of PreBid. Publishers can then choose from a wide range of monetization options and partnerships that not only generate additional revenues, but also split the risks and hence minimize them. A publisher can never have enough demand partners on his side. 

These days it’s especially hard to make accurate predictions. But please give us a hint on how 2021 might be working out for programmatic advertising and how you are going to stay ahead of trouble.

RT: I'm going out on a limb here, because a lot of processes and budget decisions have been changed by what has happened in 2020. In any case, what we are seeing indicates we will have a stable Q1 2021. According to the current state of affairs, we can expect a widely distributed COVID vaccine in Q2 which will bring some relief. I think that in mid Q2 2021 the digital advertising business will really get going again with a bang.  

Programmatic advertising was one of the winners of the crisis in 2020, and this will continue in 2021. 

In any case, we are strongly counting on this and will significantly expand and internationalize our team in 2021. 

Thank you very much for your insights and the programmatic advertising forecast for 2021, Richard! We are very much looking forward to this new year and to see how you have managed to predict the future. ;-) 

About Richard Tuschkany

Richard has been working in the digital industry for 15 years and knows many different aspects of its challenges and requirements. Starting as a key account manager at a publisher, he gained experience with classic marketers, agencies and DSPs. Since 2015 as founder and platform architect, he has been responsible for the development and international orientation of ConnectAd.