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5 Questions, 5 Minutes: A Micro Chat With Nathan Rhule of Tombras 

Team InMobi
Team InMobi
4 min read
Posted on December 07, 2023
5 Questions, 5 Minutes: A Micro Chat With Nathan Rhule of Tombras 

As the digital advertising ecosystem continues to prepare for the loss of individual identifiers, many of today’s brands and agencies have been actively exploring the evolving role of Addressability and Attention Metrics as key drivers of performance in the privacy-first world.  

A recent panel at AdExchanger’s Programmatic I/O in New York explored the future of personalized advertising and new standards and solutions for ID-less targeting and measurement. Participants included Nathan Rhule, Associate Media Director of Programmatic at Tombras; Justin Adler, Director of Product for Human; InMobi’s Todd Rose, SVP Global Business Development and Addressability; and Joelle Freeman, Director of Strategy and Partnerships at Butler Till.  

 InMobi’s Joe Hustek offers some event takeaways in the following Q&A with Tombras’ Nathan Rhule: 

Joe Hustek: You recently attended Programmatic I/O and spoke on a panel hosted by InMobi’s brand safety partner Human. What was the topic and what were your specific key points and areas of interest or concern?   

Nathan Rhule: The topic was Addressability unveiled. While it’s a subject that has been talked about for some time, it’s an issue that has been slowly evolving and is nearing the final countdown. I have a lot of people talking to me about cookie-less targeting, but none of it works unless you first figure out how to change perceptions and goals around measurement that can work with limited tracking.    


Joe: With 2024 reportedly being the year that the Chrome cookie finally crumbles and Google’s Privacy Sandbox goes into effect, what are you / the agency doing to prepare clients and assure them that you can offer meaningful targeting and measurement?   

Nathan: As an agency, we’re building out and testing our proprietary tool “Tombras Identity,” which brings together best-in-class measurement partners, data sets, and big-data analytics to provide future-proof media solutions. This will ensure that as identity changes, our clients are able to perform audience discovery and effective targeting and measurement without the need for a single form of identity (cookies). 


Joe: With all the focus and heat around attention metrics, what are you doing differently or seeing work with clients?   

Nathan: The level of interest in Attention Metrics has been muted due to the (sometimes) added cost and the lack of ubiquity across supply. In addition, clients are hesitant to move away from standard metrics and in some cases would prefer to use “testing dollars” on a new form of measurement. Testing dollars are not always accessible, so we have to work with our clients on the right opportunity to test without putting their business in a vulnerable state. We are in the early stages of testing this approach with some clients to determine a correlation between Attention Metrics and on-site activities or conversion events.  


Joe: With all the hype around AI, what new approaches or technologies are you using to ensure that your clients stay on the leading edge?   

Nathan: We’re exploring the use of AI to enhance our platform’s standard algorithms by implementing custom algorithms based on a client’s business objectives. These allow us to pull in multiple data points such as client-owned bidstream data and publicly shared information that in turn allows our campaigns to become more efficient and reach the exact audience that is most likely to interact with a client’s business objective. We are in the early stages on how we’re using AI, and the conversation and use cases will continue to evolve and have an even greater impact on advertising.   


Joe: Last question. Any changes to the digital ecosystem in the next year or two that you’re particularly interested in?     

Nathan: The continuous expansion of historically non-programmatic channels, such as Linear TV and DOOH, and the ability to buy and measure all channels within a single platform. This will introduce never-before-tapped traditional budgets into the programmatic ecosystem and ultimately provide a more holistic view of a brand’s media investment.  

For a deeper dive on Addressability and Attention Metrics, please check out our “3 A’s of Advertising” playbook, and come find our team at CES.  


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