Speaking to ExchangeWire, Dora Lakatos (pictured below), SVP global growth, Glispa, discusses current trends in mobile ad tech, operating a global company from an as-yet conservative market, and explains how the challenges in performance marketing may yet yield some positive results.
ExchangeWire: What do you see as the main global trends in terms of mobile ad tech?
Dora Lakatos: Right now, there are four important trends in mobile ad tech; and most are being fueled by major industry consolidation, which encompasses all aspects of technology, delivery, control, data, and attribution. First, we are seeing a sharp increase in the use of programmatic mobile native advertising. Marketers will utilise mobile native even more as technical standards are adapted to the format. Second, we are seeing the transition of the big data trend to one of ‘smart data’, where data is enriched and combined with sources like environmental, location, and sensor-related information. Given the propensity towards ad blindness, a third major trend revolves around publishers looking to newer mobile native ad formats that offer added value, orient themselves towards consumer behaviour, and are unobtrusive. A fourth, and very exciting, trend is that of messenger-based platforms. These platforms have already demonstrated their huge potential for user engagement and loyalty, and they are poised to have a prominent role as a mobile marketing channel.
Glispa is a globally active ad tech player, but you are headquartered in Berlin, i.e. in an up-until-now fairly conservative, publisher-centric market. What are the challenges of mobile marketing in this market? And are you noticing any particular issues regarding performance marketing in Germany/other markets?
Germany has always been a highly mature market with an interesting mix of traditional brands and agencies and an increasing number of fast-growing, unique, mobile ad-tech startups. The combination of the two raises challenges as one is a highly sophisticated advertising approach, whereas the other is a fast-paced, flexible, and performance- and ROI-driven mentality. Nonetheless, these challenges are present in almost all key markets across the globe as most app publishers are globally engaged and focus on more than one market at the same time. This is the reason why Glispa’s approach works well for these clients; as it not only allows them to strengthen their local presence, but helps their internationalisation efforts across different media channels. Our approach delivers the option of promoting many different apps from their portfolio at the same time.
As for the issues of performance marketing, I rather see the industry’s current challenges as a necessary, and very positive, evolution towards transparency, control, and effective scale. Performance has always played a key role in the overall mobile marketing mix of clients, due to its immediate insight into key metrics of the apps being promoted, including ROI and related spend, user engagement, app monetisation, and so on. I think this level of clarity is extremely important in our industry, which, combined with the direction that app publishers and media companies take with regards to placement transparency, user quality, user engagement, attribution, and data, allows for accelerated growth where brands can navigate in environments that not only benefit that growth, but their own brand identity.
These are very exciting times, when a firm and prompt approach is needed to ensure that both publishers and advertisers achieve their growth and monetisation goals with the right tools and a much deeper level of insight in terms of attribution and media promotion.
2016 was the year of expansion at Glispa – you acquired Avocarrot, Mobils, and MoneyTap. Are you still on a course of diversification?
Yes absolutely – you can also add RelevanTech to that list for 2017! As an ad tech organisation, we are committed to continue our diversification efforts to add value to our partners across the globe. In our industry, things change and evolve from one day to the other, and we need to always be ahead of the game, starting with owned media properties, apps, and monetisation tools, as well as unique media formats. We are striving continually towards a highly diversified and holistic portfolio of service and product offerings.
As SVP global growth, you are leading a global team – how are you sharing and approaching the best practices that are needed to manage publisher relationships?
Our approach is built on regional strategies. We create unique regional teams, which consist of experts who represent all key aspects of our client-management strategies: media, account management and optimisation, sales and growth, compliance and technical integrations, and troubleshooting. These teams function as regional divisions owning and managing every aspect of our client’s expectations, needs, goals, and results. This allows these individuals to become experts on all aspects of our offerings and offer strategic guidance to our clients on a daily basis.
Since we have many international offices and regional teams, inter-team coordination plays a key role in our operations. We hold regular sessions where all regional teams have the chance to present case studies, learnings, and challenges to each other that serve as a working example. This is an important aspect of our approach, as it allows us to build a strong base of knowledge about the global mobile ad-tech space and the evolving needs of app developers in order to guide our clients as they internationalise their marketing and product strategies.
With 10 years of experience in ad tech, have you observed any changes in the industry when it comes to women in ad tech?
I have been very lucky in the past 10 years when it comes to working with companies and bosses who do not see a difference between female or male entrepreneurship, but simply support and foster talent. This experience also made me believe that there are no boundaries at all to what one person wants to achieve. At the end of the day, we all have dreams to be successful, which very easily can become reality with the right actions, and a plan to achieve it, irrespective of our gender.
Nonetheless, many of women in the industry have been challenged with professional growth, which luckily – especially in the past two to three years – has improved significantly. There are more and more women taking up leadership positions in ad tech companies of all sizes. Thus, women have more presence in the market and are seen as thought leaders and growth leaders and the faces of many successful organisations.
I am lucky to work with many talented and outstanding women in the industry. And at Glispa, where our current ratio of females to males in management, and the company overall, is 50/50. These women not only thrive in their positions, but also make a major difference in the ad-tech space through their contributions. It is refreshing to see how collaboration between men and women is becoming increasingly important, and not only because it is trendy, but because people see the upside of such close partnerships and support each other’s growth. It is a very exciting and inspiring time for all of us – not only do we get to be a part of such a vivid and unique industry, but we get to shape its future, and at the same time ours.