Jon Schulz is the Chief Marketing Officer at Viant Technology. In this role, Jon leads brand and product marketing, advertising and demand generation, strategic partnerships, corporate communications and creative services. Jon also serves as the corporate sustainability lead for Viant
Jon is a recognized industry thought leader with more than 30 years of experience in digital marketing, CRM and data-driven targeting and measurement. Before joining Viant, Jon led Digital Marketing at Ford Motor Company where he spent 12 years. In his over 15 years at Viant, Jon has held leadership roles in Enterprise Sales and Business Development before ascending to the role of CMO in 2014.
Jon earned his MBA in Marketing at Indiana University and his BSBA in Information Technology from Central Michigan University. Outside of Viant, Jon has held a number of advisor roles with tech-based startups and is also a Marketing Lecturer at the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business.
Q: Jon, it’s good to have you with us. Could you start by telling us more about Viant and the company’s particular focus on adtech and marketing?
A: Thanks so much for having me as a guest on behalf of Viant, glad to be here. Viant is a leading advertising technology company that enables marketers to plan, execute and measure omnichannel ad campaigns through a cloud-based platform. Viant’s self-service Demand Side Platform (DSP) powers programmatic advertising across Connected TV, Linear TV, mobile, desktop, audio, gaming and digital out-of-home channels. Viant represents the buy side (marketers and agencies) as an industry leader in ad tech, fueling transformative advertising strategies and pioneering sustainable practices.
One of the things that truly sets Viant apart in the advertising industry is our unwavering commitment to sustainability. Earlier this year we introduced Adtricity, an innovative carbon reduction program that empowers advertisers to achieve their sustainability goals. By leveraging Adtricity, our clients can make a tangible difference in achieving their environmental goals through their media investments.
Q: Viant has established itself as a leader in advertising and marketing for the online gambling and sports betting space. Has this been a challenging journey and what has helped the company set itself apart from competitors?
A: Viant’s long history and deep expertise in advertising has provided us with significant advantages, enabling us to embrace challenges and move quickly to capitalize on key industry trends like AI and machine learning as well as new verticals like gambling and sports betting. In addition to campaign performance, our capabilities across identity resolution, omnichannel advertising solutions, and advanced reporting are substantial differentiators.
Without relying on third-party cookies, Viant helps marketers reach target audiences across their devices on traditional and emerging ad channels like connected TV (CTV), digital out-of-home (DOOH) and digital audio. Advertisers can also access in-house identity resolution, premium supply and advanced reporting to measure both online and offline conversions resulting from all ad exposure. Combined with consistent product innovation and a highly recognized customer service team, Viant offers differentiated advertising solutions for today’s open web.
Additionally, our platform is known for having a very robust data offering, offering access to a wide range of data partners across a myriad of industry verticals (including gambling and sports betting) and channels to enable precise audience targeting and measurement. Our identity resolution capabilities help marketers plan, buy and measure their campaigns more effectively.
We have enjoyed some early successes in the gambling and sports betting space by building on key capabilities required by these advertisers. In the end, it is all about delivering return on ad spending and driving growth for our clients.
Q: Your company recently released research on online betting and gambling. Why is this important for you as a company and what should your partners and the public know about the recent findings?
A: The casino and sports betting industries are a rapidly growing vertical for Viant, and shouldn’t be overlooked in the new digital era of sports betting. As we saw during Super Bowl LVII in February, an outsized share of the advertising space during commercial breaks was dedicated to one industry: sports betting apps. In 2022, the continued growth of the legal gambling market drove new records for sportsbook revenue ($7.5B), according to the American Gambling Association (AGA). This growth was fueled in part by Kansas, which operationalized both retail and mobile sports wagering, as well as the launch of mobile sports betting in Louisiana, Maryland and New York.
To better understand just how much betting and gambling is on the rise among consumers, Viant recently conducted our own research to take the pulse of the U.S. Consumers and better understand their sentiment and preferences toward gambling. According to our findings from almost 1,200 U.S. consumers, almost half of respondents (49%) cited that they recently participated in some form of gambling or sports betting.
However, there were interesting disparities when it came to gender and gambling that marketers should consider. Younger male respondents were much more likely to participate in some form of gambling. Men were also most likely to gamble frequently (15%). Furthermore, men were more likely to be encouraged to bet on sports through free bonus bets and odds boosters, while women cited they were more influenced by free meals and discounted hotel stays. These are key considerations hotel and restaurant marketers as well as online sportsbooks may want to consider when targeting male and female audiences.
Additionally, age disparities were also a major takeaway. Not surprisingly, younger respondents preferred online and mobile methods for gambling, while those 55+ were the most likely to gamble via the lottery and scratch-offs. Interestingly, more than half of consumers (53%) between the ages of 18 and 34 also plan to engage in sports betting or gambling in the next three years. Of the respondents surveyed, those 35-44 years old were most likely to be encouraged to participate in sports betting more frequently through the use of incentives.
According to Grandview Research, the global online gambling market size was valued at $63.53 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.7% from 2023 to 2030. With more than half of respondents between 18-34 expect to engage in sports betting in the next three years, understanding their betting preferences and making the right ad targeting choices now can have a major impact long term in this rapidly growing sector.
Q: What will Viant’s role in the gambling and betting markets be over the coming months and years of rapid expansion?
A: For the advertising industry in particular, the move from exclusively in-person betting to having the ability to place a bet from the convenience of your living room presents casino and sports betting marketers an opportunity to advertise to consumers in the same way they would for, say, apparel or dining greatly expanding their addressable market and growth opportunities.
Partnering with a people-based advertising technology provider such as Viant as part of their advertising efforts enables casino and sports betting marketers to onboard high-value customers (via first-party data) and leverage third-party data partners to reach likely or known sports bettors; connect with target audiences across their devices via omnichannel campaigns in emerging channels; and measure cross-channel to understand true return — from CTV to online conversions like app downloads as well as offline actions like a visitation to a brick-and-mortar casino.
Q: Is personalized marketing what it takes to engage with consumers – both existing and potential, and how sustainable is personalized marketing on a large scale in your experience?
A: Yes, personalization in digital marketing is more important than ever before. Viant is able to create more personalized experiences for advertisers and consumers on a large scale due to our integrations with a wide range of data partners, and Viant’s newly released Data Platform. With new U.S. data privacy laws going into effect, the 2023 digital advertising landscape has ushered in a renewed sense of urgency for marketers to figure out their first-party data strategy and leverage big data management technology.
Viant’s Data Platform enables advertisers to better understand their audiences and create highly-targeted and personalized advertising campaigns, while prioritizing privacy and maintaining full control over data access through Viant’s partnerships with data clean rooms. Viant is focused on giving marketers the ability to harness their first-party data in a privacy-oriented manner, with the main goal of maximizing efficiencies and ROAS (return on ad spend).