What does your company do? What is your market niche?
AdColony is the largest independent mobile monetization and advertising platform. We allow both brands and apps to advertise to consumers.
Everything we do is focused on what's happening in-app, so we don’t do any mobile web or social. We primarily focus on mobile gaming because that's where our core DNA is, although we do have a lot of focus for music apps, utility apps and entertainment apps.
We’re dedicated to making sure developers have the best-quality ads in their apps, advertisers get the best-quality inventory of users viewing those ads, and users have the best experience.
From a marketing perspective, we address three core verticals:
Developers that monetize. This means we have to communicate the benefits of AdColony to show our ads to users.
User acquisition. This is our initial advertising offering focused around developers that want to grow their apps through other ads.
Brand advertisers. The Coca-Colas, the Disneys, the Toyotas of the world are waking up to the fact that mobile gaming is a valuable audience. Educating them on this fact is a really important part of our marketing plan, and that’s where data comes in handy.
So, whether you’re a developer that wants to grow its existing app with ads, a Toyota/Disney/State Farm, or a local mom-and-pop shop that wants to spread out a little, we can have all those types of companies advertise across our network.
About Jonathan Harropp
What do you do, and what are your responsibilities? What does your team structure look like?
I am the senior director of global marketing and communications and report to our head of strategy and business development. I have an excellent team of about eight across the world, from Los Angeles to Istanbul to Seoul to Singapore, who all support the various business units from local publishing and monetization teams to our local brand teams.
We do a lot from the US that supports the local and global marketing plan. Most of my day is spent strategizing and managing a budget. I used to do a lot more writing, but it's not something I have as much time to do nowadays, unfortunately.
What are your top 3 goals? How do you use eMarketer to reach your goals?
Educating the brand audience. We want to educate those who work for agencies and major brands on what the mobile gaming space and mobile app space offers them. In that regard, eMarketer has been excellent at providing data on growth in mobile and mobile video, and the demographic shifts in those markets. It’s always been a very useful and trusted source of data. We put out a lot of proprietary data, which is always very helpful and appreciated, but it’s nice to have that third-party validation on what we do.
Educating our internal workforce. Mobile is a very large, complex industry with many moving parts. From how ad servers work to basic programmatic how-tos, eMarketer provides a distilled news source that’s digestible for us. It’s an easy way to catch up on the latest trends and data and inform their conversations with clients without having to spend time making internal documents.
Educating our developers. A lot of mobile developers don’t see how big the opportunity is from the brand side of the audience. They’re just used to seeing ads by other developers from a user-acquisition platform. So, being able to show them, “Hey, this is the spend around mobile gaming right now and what it’s projected to be” is very, very important for convincing developers that AdColony is the right monetization partner to work with. We pride ourselves on being the primary ad network that’s focused on brand demand and demand variety overall, and eMarketer data enables us to have that conversation truthfully and honestly.
What are your top 3 challenges? How do you use eMarketer to overcome your challenges?
Data Validation. Our biggest challenge is finding data that validates the findings we know are true. We do a lot of our own research on brand sentiment among consumers and mobile advertising sentiment among advertisers, but that is all first-party data. While people find it interesting that we have access to a large amount of data that many don’t, it's kind of a problem in and of itself. It’s very niche and hard to come by. If you look at the size of the market, you get three different answers from three different sources. So, being able to have eMarketer as a trusted validation source is really important to our own research.
Data Quality. There’s not a lot of data on consumer behavior in mobile. Outside the research my team is doing, a lot of it is too clearly biased. Last year, we put out an amazing car-buying survey about how consumers were looking at cars online and on their phones, how they were coming by research, how they were coming by different car brands to configure, how they used their phones at the dealership, etc. And no one has ever collected any sort of data around that before. So, being able to find data that supports the points we’re making is really, really difficult. eMarketer is one of the few sources that actually has that data more often than not.
Conversations with the right people. Everybody’s keeping a closer eye on their budgets compared to a year ago; especially during this COVID-19 pandemic. 2020 was going to be a year with the Olympics, when ad spend is pretty free. Not to mention an election in the US, which also leads to pretty sizable ad spend. As companies are getting in the door with brands, they might not know who to talk to, despite being interested in their product. For instance, our commercial teams might not know the right people to talk to in a prospective company. eMarketer offers a number of ways for us to reach out and have our name considered as one of the top research players around what they’re looking for by incorporating and citing eMarketer research.
How did you hear about eMarketer?
AdColony has been using eMarketer for years, even before I joined the team. We have a very unique relationship, in that everyone at our company is allowed access, which is a phenomenal, powerful tool.
It takes time for us to turn around market-level research and package it. So, when someone asks my team, “Hey, do we have any research on X,” it’s always great to be able to say, “We can look into that, but have you checked eMarketer first?” And more often than not, the answer is, “No, I haven’t checked, but I will.” Then there’s no follow-up because they found what they need. Every time the contract has come up for renewal, it’s always been a no-brainer.
What results were you expecting from an eMarketer subscription? In other words, what does a “successful” experience look like?
The key to how we view success with eMarketer is how often our teams are engaged with the content and can find the information they need. There have definitely been improvements in eMarketer over the years— in terms of the breadth of data that we can access as well as the depth of research that goes into the longer-form guides across certain topics, which are always incredibly interesting.
We’re able to look at so many different topics and verticals and work with so many different clients in different places. It’s really unique to say, “Oh, we’re working with a bank, let’s see what that industry looks like in terms of ad spend over the next five years.” Being able to inform clients about their own business is really important, and the sales team has expressed the value they find in it.
No one has ever thought, “Do we really need eMarketer?” because everyone sees the value.
What does the renewal process look like? What role did you play?
I am the final arbiter that makes all the decisions, but any decisions that I make are typically done in concert with someone from our strategy and finance teams. But when I go and figure out the budget every year, eMarketer is always part of it.
What decision criteria do you use to evaluate and compare eMarketer with other research alternatives?
Our relationship with eMarketer is so unique and longstanding that, quite frankly, the value we get out of it is not even approached by anyone else.
We do have a couple of other memberships with certain competitors like Statista. Newzoo also has some of the data we need on the deep-gaming side of things, which is a little outside of eMarketer’s normal wheelhouse, but those are relatively small, single-user seats. We use them a couple of times a quarter for supplementing blog content. Compare that with eMarketer, which gets used by 200 to 300 people a month, very regularly. So, there’s definitely a big difference between the value that eMarketer provides and what competitors provide.
Why do you find eMarketer valuable?
eMarketer’s data is valid, vetted and available to everyone in my company that needs it.
I don’t think there are very many tools out there that have these qualities so intertwined. There’s a lot of good and bad data out there; eMarketer sifts out the good from the bad and makes it available to everyone.
Marketing & Advertising
AdColony is one of the largest mobile advertising platforms in the world with a reach of more than 1.5 billion users globally.