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Lotame Spotlight: Hernan M., Publisher Advocate

Lotame Spotlight: Hernan Mera

Meet Hernan, the newest addition to our Global Partnerships team! Hernan works very closely with publishers of all sizes, helping them maximize revenue in a cookieless world. With over a decade of experience in digital advertising, we sat down with Hernan to get to know him better and pick his brain on some hot topics trending within adtech.

Hernan, how did you get your start in digital advertising? 

Right out of college, I interned at a startup in Miami, a Spanish-language news portal that would soon be acquired by and become MSN’s first entry to the U.S. Hispanic market — MSN.Latino. That led to my first sales role at a social network focused on the Hispanic market. It was here that I first came to know the Lotame ad network, the only ad network with enough forethought to help social platforms monetize inventory. Go figure!

What made you switch from the publisher side to join data solutions provider Lotame? 

Audience data in isolation does not paint a complete picture of your users or your customers (in this case, an advertiser) targets. Working with Lotame’s technology for five years while in local news, showed me those gaps. I wanted to be closer to the tech that connects disparate datasets and creates a more complete picture for publishers and advertisers.

From your previous experience with publishers, what do you think is keeping them up at night? 

Monetization is number-one for all publishers. It simply has to be as the landscape continues to rapidly change and evolve — sometimes in their favor, sometimes not. From my conversations, I’m hearing a good deal of frustration that the walled gardens have so much control of the publisher’s destiny. That’s not simply perception but reality as we’ve seen time and time again in the media with how these giants are threatening the open, ad-supported web. 

Publishers are hyper-focused too on building up a portfolio of audience data offerings and approaches, ahead of the next industry pivot. Many are doubling down on subscription and paid services while others are wrestling with how to deliver premium content their users want while still remaining a viable and ad-supported business. These are tough challenges for publishers of all sizes. 

In the last year before Chrome turns off the third-party cookie,  the only guarantee is that the triopoly will make moves to protect their own interests first. What that means for independent publishers remains to be seen. As an industry we need to include all publishers in the conversation and make sure that the solutions moving forward include small sites, and the hundreds of thousands of media owners that thrive in the middle.

Despite these challenges, what excites you most about the future and how Lotame fits in? 

I’m excited by Lotame’s mission to future-proof privacy-first data connectivity for buyers and sellers.  

Lotame’s unique position serving publishers and major brands required it to be far ahead of compliance as we operate globally with different rules and regulations country by country. The company’s privacy-first rigor and foresight gave our clients a huge advantage long before the rush to replace the third-party cookie and long before the litany of ID vendors learning how to navigate today’s compliance issues. This legacy is what makes our identity solution, Lotame Panorama ID, stand out. It’s the first global, people-based, privacy-compliant, and interoperable identity solution for a cookieless web.

Switching gears, let’s get personal. Tell us, what’s some of the best advice you’ve ever received? 

My first boss and mentor shared this sage advice in 2011 and I keep it close to me wherever I go. 

“This is still a very new industry, and you can affect good change that will impact its future. As a young digital rep – it’s you, the day-to-day folks, that make adtech’s future. You are more important to its vibrancy than me, and my 18 years in the space. Top-down makes the decisions – but its bottom-up who actually make it work. You’re the one who has to work with the processes we set in place today, when I’ll be long gone. Your opinion matters more.”

She’s retired now, but her words still ring so true for me today, as I talk with both senior adtech decision-makers and the day-to-day ad ops folks that implement, test, and know firsthand what works and what doesn’t.

Okay, one last question before we let you go. When you’re not living/breathing adtech, what are you reading these days? 

Michio Kaku’s “God Equation.” The author is a celebrity physicist and was my physics professor in college, so I’m a fan. I also read or watch anything Star Wars, and love the Science and Food/Restaurant review sections of the NYTimes.