Interview with Piero Pavone, Co-Founder and COO at MainAd
On Marketing Technology
MTS: Tell us about your role at MainAd and what lead you and your fellow co-founders to start an AdTech company?
As Chief Operating Officer, I’m involved in all aspects of day-to-day operations – everything from business development to product R&D.
My fellow Co-Founders and I always envisioned starting a business together where we could work together harmoniously and effectively. It just so happened that the online advertising industry was booming at the time we created MainAd back in 2007 – from the moment the company was born we were in a sector with great potential. We pooled our individual skills and expertise to build our business from the ground up, making sure we complement, and not overshadow, one another’s strengths.
MTS: What is the driving force behind Logico? How much time did it take for MainAd to turn the idea into a reality?
Logico represents my dream product – I come from a programming background and this project became my personal venture. For years, I aspired to create a platform powerful enough to merge MainAd’s programmatic capabilities. Now we have one.
We wanted the final product to be perfect and, as a result, it took almost two years of extensive planning and research before we released the beta version. As online advertising is undoubtedly a fast-paced industry we needed to ensure our technology had the capability to keep up with ever evolving demands.
We wanted to align with the most influential technology provider, who could offer the fastest network and largest data pool – without a doubt that was Google. The bidder element of Logico is built on Google’s Open Bidder API and utilizes the Google Compute Engine, to allow custom real-time bidding (RTB) solutions to be personalized for the requirements of each client.
MTS: What is the ‘right’ programmatic strategy for advertisers and publishers in 2017?
Fundamentally, it is adapting your business to provide clarity and efficiency. We believe both advertisers and publishers should be open to all forms of collaboration within their programmatic strategy to further their businesses.
Ultimately, users should be targeted as individuals — rather than wider audience segments —, and advertisers must reach them in the right place, at the right time, using the correct logic to achieve the optimum result.
MTS: How do analytics and optimization tools allow advertisers to continually evolve their campaigns to maximize programmatic performance?
Maximizing programmatic performance boils down to a deep understanding of data and using this knowledge to make decisions in real time.
Machine learning, by its very nature, is constantly ‘learning’ from actual behavior and actions – meaning advertisers can make real-time decisions based on data-driven targeting. Using such insights to better engage individuals and reduce ad wastage can maximize programmatic performance.
MTS: How does Logico bring programmatic and data analytics together?
The best results happen when data and creativity are used in harmony. Data-driven practices fused with a tailored approach to campaign management. This is what programmatic allows advertisers to achieve. Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) delivers both functionality and great design — which is often otherwise lacking from retargeted campaigns. Appealing aesthetics don’t have to be sacrificed for ad functionality and this can be something many brands and advertisers forget in the online space.
This idea of data-led campaigns is perfectly demonstrated by the Logico/Google case study. Logico has been proven to increase customer satisfaction with its accurate predictions, lower exposure to risk and wastage, and ultimately higher engagement. Logico leverages Google’s open source technology, speed, scale, and volume, to boost conversions, resulting in up to a 30% uplift.
MTS: What are the major components of managing a bespoke ad campaign?
Bespoke ad campaign management means being able to deliver an overall campaign without creating multiple strategies. It amounts to an understanding of all related variables and the capacity to tailor creative at any time to ensure a client’s KPIs can be met.
By using a fully managed service rather than a SAAS platform, advertisers benefit from an optimized approach, where performance is monitored and with the ability to react in real time.
MTS: Most programmatic advertising platforms, networks and exchanges have come together to provide a brand safe environment for advertisers. How do you see such collaborations helping the international programmatic ecosystem?
Since the start of our business, MainAd has exclusively worked with partners who observe strict compliance and only promote brand-safe environments. We are also equipped with our own viewability tool, so Logico itself is able to identify and eliminate fraudulent traffic, and avoid blacklisted sites.
By collaborating with leading partners internationally and taking a very client-driven approach across all markets, we have created a sophisticated ecosystem.
MTS: What would be your advice to CMOs who are planning to invest in programmatic in the near future?
It’s important to not let recent issues – such as brand safety and fake news – deter CMOs from adopting programmatic. In its most basic form, programmatic is just a process, how that process is managed is what makes the real difference.
CMOs must not be afraid to ask all the questions they need to be fully informed and ensure their company can operate transparently. Most importantly, CMOs should look to the ever-increasing pool of data available and utilize machine learning to fully understand the potential implications on their programmatic strategy.
MTS: Thank you Piero! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
As Chief Operating Officer & Co-founder, Piero is the driving force behind MainAd’s progress within the digital ad space. Piero has extensive experience as a software programmer with a key interest in new technical tracking systems. With never-ending curiosity, he leads innovation across all of MainAd’s business operations with a vision and strategy that allows it to maintain its competitiveness in the marketplace. In his spare time, Piero enjoys fast-paced activities such as motor biking and horse riding. His knowledge of how to combine the best of things to get the best results makes him the perfect host – a great trait he deploys both in and out of the office.
MainAd is an advertising technology company that specialises in global display and retargeting ad campaigns. The company’s flagship proprietary technology, ‘Logico’, utilises machine learning to extend the benefits of bespoke programmatic campaigns to brands, and when combined with the team’s tailored approach to campaign management offers improved performance. Using its data-based expertise, MainAd amplifies advertising performance while delivering transparent and fair results.
Founded in 2007, MainAd is a privately held company that services international brands across 80 markets, with offices in Pescara, Milan, London, Istanbul, Chile, Manila, Trivandrum and Bangalore. The company holds membership for the IAB UK, as well as IAB Italy, where MainAd’s CSO, Michele Marzan sits on the board of directors. For more information please visit www.mainad.com
MainAd is committed to supporting humanitarian and social causes. The company actively provides for projects in Mozambique and India through chosen charity Terre des Hommes and often backs entrepreneurial events local to MainAd’s HQ in Pescara, Italy.
The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.