I caught up with Luke Jonas – sales director at Nanigans, a leading technology platform which enables in-house teams to take control of their advertising and which is a buy side platform for Facebook and Mobile allowing advertisers to automate their performance marketing campaigns. Luke has a wealth of experience across the digital sphere working for start-ups as well as for leading affiliate networks.
Luke is also the moderator for the LinkedIn Group ‘In-House Performance Advertising’. If you would like to join this group please follow this link: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/InHouse-Performance-Advertising-8188013/about. You can also follow Luke on Twitter at: @Luke_Jonas
I caught up with Luke to discuss the rapid change in the mobile landscape, the changing technologies, the rise in programmatic advertising and the changes in advertisers looking to take media buying in-house.
Tell us a little about Luke….
I have worked in online advertising for the past 10 years with experience on the advertiser side, at an ad network and within adtech. My experience spans Ecommerce, Affiliate, Mobile and Social, at all times focused on performance marketing.
When did your digital career start?
My digital career started in 2005 at the gifts and gadgets ecommerce site iwantoneofthose.com. I was responsible for developing international reseller relationships and franchises. Here I learned a lot about the workings of an online business from sourcing through logistics, CRM, site optimization and performance marketing.
Types of companies you worked for?
I have worked at Affiliate Window, which is now part of the Zanox/Axel Springer Group. Over the past 10 years the Affiliate Network market has been very competitive, due to Affiliate Windows superior execution on service and technology it managed to fight its way up and defend the number one position. I had the role of Senior Brand Sales Manager where I was responsible for bringing on tier 1 ecommerce sites to the network.
From Affiliate Window I moved to the Mobile App Analytics and Advertising platform – Flurry, I was responsible for customer acquisition across Europe. I was mainly focused on the Social Gaming space so spent allot of time with Game Developers helping them to get the most value out of new user acquisition in the rapidly developing app economy.
In 2013 I was approached by the Facebook advertising leader Nanigans where I was employed to lead their sales efforts in Europe. Nanigans works with large scale ecommerce and social gaming companies with either sites or apps. It’s a software platform that in-house advertisers use to automate their performance advertising on Facebook.
What is Programmatic advertising..sell it to us in a tweet?
Programmatic advertising is the automation of decisions governed by rules, giving advertisers freedom to focus on strategy and creative.
You’ve worked in the mobile advertising space, can you let us know your thoughts on the opportunities in the future and how mobile will look to drive more spend onto their platforms?
I have worked in Mobile advertising since 2012 when I started at Flurry. Flurry was, and still is the most commonly used in app analytics product, this gave me an incredibly broad view of the market as we were tracking almost all smart phones. It also meant that I had the opportunity to forge relationships with some of the most important developers in the business.
I now work for a company that many app developers use to buy their Facebook media which is currently the largest source of Mobile inventory. The biggest change I have seen over the last 2.5 years is the way in which people market their apps. When I entered this market it was all about ‘ranking’; buying large install volumes in short periods of time to influence your rank position in the iOS charts so that organic users see your app and download it.
It was a rather crude method to say the least, but when the tech isn’t there to optimize, it was the only way. Ranking strategies are still used, but unless you have a very big wallet and an app that has proven monetization you should avoid. The tech is now there for you to treat your app just like a website, you integrate conversion tracking (from companies like Adjust or Appsflier), you buy traffic and you optimise toward a downstream event or roi metric, you bid up on channels/targeting segments that drive value you bid down where you see the reverse.
The way I see Mobile developing is that online and mobile will soon be seen as one ‘thing’. The ad tech vendors and progressive advertisers that master managing mobile and desktop as one will win.
The rise in programmatic advertising has seen a shift in brands wanting to take the running of such programs in-house – do you see this as an opportunity for brands to capitalise on understanding their audiences better?
First party data is incredibly valuable to performance advertisers, as such advertisers are reluctant to hand this over to agencies or service partners. By taking ad trading in-house, advertisers have the freedom to capitalise on this data for optimization and new audience discovery
On the flip side, is this a threat to agencies and what could they be doing to position themselves in this market place?
The first point I will make here is that taking programmatic buying in-house is certainly not right for all advertisers. You need to have the confidence and conviction, and you need a certain scale. When the outgoings to your agency start to exceed the wages you could be employing a performance marketer for (+ expected software fees) this is the tipping point for entry.
Confidence and conviction are clearly more subjective. You will be able to gain guidance from software vendors as to whether an in-house strategy is right for you or not. The other point to make here is that agencies are very useful for entering new channels quickly. You can save a lot of trial and error time and money by paying an agency to help you enter a new channel.
For an agency to retain the business of progressive advertisers who are considering an in-house move, the best advice I can give to agencies is to offer transparency on margin and staff that are so skilled and experienced that the advertiser has no reason to even consider it. There are some exceptional agencies out there offering transparent pricing and some of the best media buyers in the land, they tend to be small performance marketing agencies rather than the larger agency groups.
What are the key challenges for digital advertising industry moving into 2015?
From my perspective the key challenges are those brought about by advertisers looking to take media buying in-house. The largest and savviest are already taking digital ad management in-house (early adopters are internet companies who generate most if not all of their revenues online; ecomm, gaming, online travel, etc.); in fact, if you look at the decade-mature search space, the majority of internet companies do search in house with a large team. With the right software, display is a natural next step.
For those that aren’t already taking digital ad management in-house, many are considering it. Are there some barriers? Yes to a degree (finding and training exceptional talent), but this can be easily overcome with the right strategic commitment to developing in-house competencies.
What’s on your reading list?
I am about to read The Energy of Nations: Risk Blindness and the Road to Renaissance by Jeremy Leggett
Who are your respected people in digital worth following/subscribing to?
Tom Triscani – CEO of Yieldr
Sean Ellis – startup-marketing.com
Ric Calvillo – CEO Nanigans
Any advice for a newbie ad sales learning the trade?
You need to learn the basics of running campaigns before you can be successful at selling ad tech or media.