Get to know… the China team

Meet… Sihan Ding, Senior Trader, China

Our bi-lingual China team at MiQ has a passion for programmatic but who are the people working hard for our clients? We’ve placed the spotlight on our great team members, Jerry Li, Simin Zheng, Jia-Long Ye and Sihan Ding.

Let’s meet… Sihan. 

…… 

I am a Senior Trader in our China team, based in MiQ’s Chicago office. In my role, I help our US based agencies and clients to market to consumers in China. I manage and optimize campaigns in China using our purpose-built Chinese programmatic tech stack, bringing our US agencies and clients closer to the Chinese market than they’ve ever been before. 

My background

I’m from Hangzhou, China, born and raised. Located just an hour’s train ride South West of Shanghai, Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang province, famous for the West Lake – known by many as one of the most beautiful sights in China.

After high school it was and still is very common for parents to send their children abroad to study, aspirations to become Presidents, Prime Ministers and so on. It’s fair to say I haven’t made it that far yet… but I did make the move to the US in 2013.

I studied at the University of Virginia, double majored in Finance and Statistics, minored in Quantitative Finance. Before I graduated, I started looking for jobs. Searching for roles as a ‘Trader’ made sense, it’s what I had studied for. At the time the movie Wolf of Wall Street had not long been released, I envisaged dressing like a gentleman, handing out business cards and telling others it took five minutes to go from Long Island to Fifth Avenue in Manhattan via helicopter.

It’s fair to say that my career didn’t go down that path. Instead, I landed a job with MiQ as a ‘Trader’ in the field of programmatic advertising. It’s not what I had expected, but truth be told, looking back at it now I think I’ve found it more exciting than what a career in finance may have had in store for me. I am passionate about data and making sense of it, at MiQ I get to do that day in and day out. That’s what keeps me motivated as I head into my ninth year in the US and my fifth working at MiQ.

Beginning my MiQ Journey

I started my MiQ career as an Associate Trader in the Washington D.C. office in 2017. At the time, our D.C. operation was relatively small, humble but fast-growing. Start-up vibes. Our office reflected that, situated above one of the few Nando’s in the US. I still vividly  remember the smell of grilled chicken that would waft through our office each lunch time. 

Jokes aside, I loved working in the D.C. office. The team was entrepreneurial and go-getters. Every day, I was learning, trading, optimizing campaigns and meeting clients. I spent almost three years working in D.C., it provided me with invaluable knowledge and experience of working with US clients. I learned how to over-deliver on campaign objectives and how to translate the data I was seeing into meaningful insights, those that would help our clients to make more informed marketing decisions for the future. 

Throughout this time though, I was driven and passionate for what China might one day mean for our business. I wrote an email to all the senior management I knew back then, but at the time China wasn’t on our radar. If I knew who my boss was now, I would have included him on the thread too – it might have made things happen a bit sooner. Although this was a precursor for what was to follow. Early 2018 I bumped into our CEO, at a work event in Chicago, we got chatting. It then transpired that we did have plans for China. I was hugely excited and determined to get involved.

Joining the China team

Fast forward to today, I am a Senior Trader in the China team. My day to day is managing and optimizing campaigns in China from the US, but I wear many hats. I oversee inventory initiatives, to better make Chinese inventory available to US clients. I am deeply involved in Chinese platform and product testing, building POCs to innovate and bring fresh ideas to our clients. Moreover, I partner with our US clients to help them navigate what is and what is not possible in China, to translate their marketing objectives into programmatic success.

There are many differences between programmatic advertising in the West and in China, many things we take for granted here, are not the same in China and vice versa. Much of the time, it comes down to understanding both sides of the equation. As a Senior Trader I am afforded the autonomy to build solutions to meet our clients largest business challenges. 

One client in particular comes to mind, a US multinational technology corporation. Their challenge centered around measurement – to understand how much programmatic investment to allocate to mobile app vs. web environments. Their sales mostly happen on web, yet China is a mobile app dominated market. More than 90% of our daily programmatic bid requests on any given day are from mobile apps. It created a headache, they were caught at a crossroads, knowing that a mobile app was the right thing to do but unable to link their investment to sales that would almost entirely happen on web. I developed a privacy compliant method using impressions, click and conversion timestamps and IP addresses to triangulate the influence of programmatic display, video and native ads on sales. It has step changed their programmatic activation in China. A small POC two-years ago, is now an evergreen partnership that has allowed them to confidently scale their programmatic investment in China from the US.

Growing up in China, working in the US, and having a role that leans on my academic experience couldn’t be better. When my parents sent me packing after high school all those years ago neither they nor I would’ve thought I’d be doing what I’m doing now. I am passionate about what the future holds. 

China is such a large opportunity for our clients. If I can help to make the world a smaller place, to enable our US clients to reach consumers in China, no matter where they are or how big or small they are, I’ll be satisfied.

人类最强的两个武器,是习惯和信任 – The two strongest weapons of a mankind, is habit and trust.

Find out how Sihan can help your brand reach Chinese audiences here