Today we continue a series of Q&As with mobile advertising leaders leading up to Rubicon Project’s conference on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 from 9am to 1pm at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The packed agenda includes two panels—“Ad Agencies, Mobile and the Automation Opportunity” featuring leading mobile first agencies and “Mobile First DSPs—Why? And Why Now?”

If you plan to be at Mobile World Congress and would like to attend the Wednesday conference, please send an indication of your interest here or contact sears@rubiconproject.com.

Today we continue our mobile leader series with James Connelly, CEO of Fetch, a mobile first agency.

Your Name: James Connelly

Your Company: Fetch

Your Title: CEO

What Flavor Ice Cream Best Describes Your Management Style?

Mint chocolate chip. Refreshing, not everyone’s cup of tea, but the classic chocolate is still there.

SEARS: In mobile today, how much of each $1.00 spent on mobile media by one of your advertisers is spent on automated or programmatic channels?

CONNELLY: It depends if we consider Facebook as programmatic also. I do, and so it’s somewhere around $35c (what does this mean?). We have had a big focus on programmatic for some time - but RTB across exchanges in mobile is a smaller slice of that pie.

SEARS: For mobile, what was this number in 2011?

CONNELLY: Probably $0.05

SEARS: For mobile, what will this number be in 2015?

CONNELLY: $0.50

SEARS: App vs. mobile web. The app world is fueled by cost-per-install advertising dollars from the most popular apps such as King.com’s Candy Crush, yes or no?

CONNELLY: Yes. 60% of the mobile advertising market comes from gaming. They’re sophisticated, data lead, measuring impact and therefore proving it works.

SEARS: The mobile web world suffers from an inability to track users and is waiting for better targeting and more brand dollars to arrive in mobile, yes or no?

CONNELLY: No.

SEARS: It seems like many of the leading agency trading desks have been slow to embrace mobile. After they solidified their work in display, most trading desks focused on building their video capabilities. What will be the catalysts for trading desks – and their operating agencies at the biggest holding companies – to place more focus on mobile?

CONNELLY:

1. Increased pressure from clients to scale mobile advertising efforts in an effective manner

2. Inventory volumes switching to mobile devices as consumers enter the post-PC era

3. Competition from the mobile first businesses

SEARS: Are the big carriers still relevant in mobile? Everything now happens “off deck,” SMS and call revenue is declining, yet carriers sit on a treasure trove of data. What are the biggest threats and opportunities for carriers and which ones around the globe are the most progressive?

CONNELLY: The mobile operators are under severe threat in the developed markets. The main commodity in mobile is now data and with the prevalence and growth of wifi in developed countries, the value add mobile operators bring outside of subsidizing devices will continue to decrease unless value added services are added on top. There is still a massive opportunity in the emerging markets where they can facilitate a digital evolution and provide internet services to populations who never had PCs.

SEARS: The future of user ID and cross device targeting. What do your advertisers use today for user targeting? Which companies (or types of companies) are in the best position to facilitate user ID and cross device targeting?

CONNELLY: Mobile tracking companies such as Has Offers and AD-X, alongside some mobile specific ad servers including Medialets. There are some interesting companies such as Drawbridge and Adbrain whose mission is to crack cross-device but it still seems early days.

SEARS: What are the top three “data points” either missing or of dubious quality in mobile media?

CONNELLY:

1. Lat Longs – Usually only about 30% bid requests have this. You then have to rely on wifi which is not an accurate way of determining a device’s precise location.

2. Demographic – Maybe 5% at best has good demo data. This really needs to improve to drive higher quality inventory and performance.

3. Site categories – Can be somewhat of a mess in some exchanges. Exchanges will often categorize apps based on who might use them as opposed to what they are.

SEARS: Describe how most media (all media, digital + non-digital, non-programmatic media) is bought and sold today.

CONNELLY: A large proportion of media planning is still around who we think might see the advert. Audience based identification and assumption. We focus more on who exactly will see your advert, down to individual level, and build out real time adjustments to campaigns to capitalize on the best possible customers. I think this shift will happen in traditional advertising but I would imagine it’s not going to happen in the next 2/3 years.

SEARS: Tell us about Fetch.

CONNELLY: Fetch is a full service mobile agency. Our biggest part of the business is media, where we buy campaigns in over 72 countries for exciting mobile businesses such as Supercell, to global brands including eBay and Hotels.com.

SEARS: Please tell us:

· Percentage increase, managed budget (media spend) 2013 vs. expected 2014 [Global only #]:

o CONNELLY: 100%

· How many employees globally [headcount number]?

o CONNELLY: 70. Offices in London, Berlin and San Francisco

SEARS: By 2015, what percentage of total media spend across your holding company (or your agency, or your agency/trading desk clients) will be programmatic?

CONNELLY: Up to 50%

SEARS: What should top comScore publisher CROs do to build their mobile direct order automation and programmatic selling with your trading desk and operating agencies?

CONNELLY: Create data lead opportunities with good performance measures and don’t just educate the trading team, but the account management and the planning teams within the agency.

SEARS: Why is direct deal automation so important? Is it important?

CONNELLY: It allows optimal usage of impressions based on data which will drive a better yield per impression.

SEARS: All of you work for global companies. What global markets are the leaders and laggards in mobile programmatic?

CONNELLY: North America seems to be more developed and larger reaching with programmatic. Perhaps this is due to where more programmatic innovation has occurred in desktop and has moved to mobile quicker.

Tell us a bit more about you.

SEARS: If you could travel for pleasure anywhere in the world, to a place you have never been, where would you go?

CONNELLY: I’m keen to travel around South America, to visit Peru, Argentina, Brazil and so on.

SEARS: If you were trapped alone on a desert island and needed to choose one ad holding company CEO to accompany you ( other than your own holding company CEO), which CEO would you pick and why?

CONNELLY: I imagine they’re all going to be quite interesting to chat with for an hour or two but then it’s about who’s going to spear fish and build rafts and I couldn’t tell you who’s going to be best at that!

SEARS: When is the last time you went out for a three martini lunch?

CONNELLY: Christmas. Training for a big cycle in May around Ibiza so I’m laying off martinis et al until then.

Thanks James!

Jay Sears is Senior Vice President, Marketplace Development for the Rubicon Project. Sears worksJay Sears with leadership and business unit heads across the company to expand Rubicon Project’s potential market. Sears has also served as General Manager, REVV Buyer, where he was responsible for global relations with the buy side including ad holding companies, ad agencies, agency trading desks and demand side platforms headquartered in North America. Jay can be reached at jsears@rubiconproject.com.

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