- Amazon has hired Maggie Zhang, formerly an exec at the advertising holding group Dentsu Aegis Network, to lead OTT measurement and research.
- The hire reflects Amazon’s growing ambition to build out its video-advertising business by cutting into TV-ad budgets.
- Zhang previously helped advertisers solve challenges with TV advertising, like tracking attribution and audience-based buys.
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Amazon has hired an advertising exec to help build its fledging over-the-top advertising business.
Maggie Zhang, the former executive vice president of video research and insights at the advertising holding company Dentsu Aegis Network, has joined Amazon as its head of OTT measurement and research.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Zhang will be responsible for creating measurement and research initiatives at Amazon for advertisers. Her role also spans the research, product, sales, and marketing teams at Amazon and involves working with both advertisers and Amazon employees.
“OTT measurement is a wide open space, and with Maggie, Amazon has the potential to develop standards,” Steven Golus, an independent sales and training consultant for TV networks and agencies, said. “They have the luxury of leveraging their e-commerce data to better assess the impact of video ads on purchase behavior. Not only a win for Amazon but for brands and agencies too.”
At Dentsu, Zhang worked on big challenges in TV advertising like measurement and new ad-buying models for clients and helped advertisers balance their spending between linear TV and streaming video, according to an interview in The Drum. For example, she helped vet TV-tech firms like Samba TV, Alphonso, and Data Plus Math, which track what someone did after they watched a TV ad.
She also used Nielsen data to research the impact of coviewing — when multiple people in the same house watch TV together — on ad impressions. As advertisers look for new ways to buy and measure TV ads, Zhang said that some Dentsu clients have shifted from buying ads based on a demographic to audience-based methods.
Zhang also led Dentsu’s Video Innovation Council, a group that develops new approaches to video advertising across all of the holding company’s agencies. Before she joined Dentsu in 2018, Zhang worked in research roles at the trade group Interactive Advertising Bureau and Frank N. Magid Associates.
A spokesperson for Amazon declined to comment on the hire, and Zhang did not respond to request for comment.
Amazon is putting more weight into its video-advertising business
Amazon makes most of its ad revenue from ads served on its website and app, but it has been trying to grow its over-the-top advertising business that places ads in Fire TV apps and IMDb TV, its ad-supported streaming service.
Amazon competes with heavy hitters like Roku, YouTube, and Hulu, which are all vying for a bigger portion of the $70 billion TV business.
Last year, Amazon signed a deal with the adtech firms The Trade Desk and Dataxu to sell OTT ads to beef up its advertising efforts with streaming TV. Amazon later dissolved the deal with Dataxu after Roku bought Dataxu for $150 million.