Interview with Ran Milo, VP Marketing at Bidalgo
On Marketing Technology
MTS: Tell us about your role at Bidalgo and how you got here?
I was previously the VP of Bingo Marketing at 888.com, one of the largest online Casino, Bingo, Poker and sports betting sites in the world, and since user acquisition was a huge factor in our success, I knew first hand just how difficult it was to acquire high-quality users at scale. As a B2C marketer, I worked very closely with lots of marketing automation companies, and with Bidalgo in particular. I was impressed with the company’s level of expertise and the sophistication of its technology. Bidalgo was clearly more advanced than any other companies using Artificial Intelligence to automate advertising, and I wanted to be part of their fast growth. In my current role at Bidalgo, I’m responsible for Bidalgo’s marketing and for telling the story behind its innovative technology.
MTS: Given the changing dynamic of ad engagement, how do you see the Advertising Automation market evolving in the years to come?
Advertising automation technology will continue to get smarter and smarter over the coming years as the technology behind Artificial Intelligence and deep learning becomes more advanced. It’s crucial that technology adapts to the way that consumers interact with media, which is somewhat unpredictable. So technology providers like us will have to remain flexible and be ready to train our algorithms to understand new media channels and different forms of communication that we might not have even thought of today. Given the domination of the industry’s largest platforms — like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Google, and Apple — we also see these channels becoming even more integral to advertising success, which is why we’ve formed partnerships with all of the major platforms.
MTS: How do you see audience attention and conversion analytics influencing their omnichannel experience, especially over social platforms?
Today’s consumers have famously short attention spans, and they are using an increasing variety of media channels. That means that marketers must use increasingly sophisticated analytics in order to track users across the omnichannel experience and communicate with them using a coordinated, synergistic approach. When done right, a coordinated approach to omnichannel marketing can be incredibly effective.
MTS: What’s the biggest challenge that CMOs need to tackle to make their media decisions work?
I’d say that the biggest challenge is around designing great creative. Since ad creative is usually the first interaction a user has with a game, it basically serves as the gateway to the game, so using the right creative for the right audience is very important. In the past, creative has traditionally required a lot of guesswork. It was more art than science. Even when using massive A/B testing, you could know what works better now, but couldn’t say why it is working better and how to replicate the success. With AI and machine learning, marketers can break down the DNA of effective creative and know exactly which elements worked and which ones didn’t. Then they can design new creatives that get real results and ensure that their creatives are never stale or fall flat. It still requires a lot of work, but technology is taking a lot of the guesswork out of the creative process.
MTS: What startups are you watching/keen on right now?
I love startups that make my life easier as a marketer or in my personal life. To name a few: Slack, Asana, Hotjar, Instacart, Postmates, and Venmo.
MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?
MTS: Could you tell us about a standout digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success)
We’ve been promoting Pixelberry Studios’ game Choices in the past year. It’s an adventure game in which players follow a narrative where they can fall in love, solve crimes or embark on fantasy adventures. Using our AI advertising technology, we helped Pixelberry get into the Top 20 Grossing Apps charts.
On top of our AI technology performance, we helped crack their ad creative DNA. We started by using a variety of ad types in a smart and creative way to showcase the game choice elements to engage users to act and make a choice. Players could start the game experience already in the ad itself using immersive ad types such as video, carousel ads or canvas ads.
Eventually, the campaign led to a huge spike in installs in parallel to more than 200% increase in ROAS (Return On Ad Spend).
MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader?
Marketing executives need to understand what functions can be handled by AI-enabled computers and what functions need to be managed by humans. The more efficiencies they can get, the better off they’ll be. Take media buying for instance. By offloading to algorithms a lot of the budget management, bid optimization, and other functions that used to be handled by humans, media buyers can free up their time to be more creative and strategic, spending more of their time discovering new audiences, breaking into new territories, brainstorming new creative, and so on. Marketing leaders should embrace their new companions.
This Is How I Work
MTS: One word that best describes how you work.
MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
We work across 3 offices in Israel, San Francisco, and South Korea, with 10-hour time zone gaps, so communication tools like Slack, and Bluejeans and project management tools like Jira are essential. At the personal level, it would be hard to live without Netflix or Amazon 🙂
MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who use email folders, and those who don’t. I never use folders for emails. I can never find what I want or follow up using them. I keep everything in my inbox and am a master in searching for emails.
MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
Shantaram. A great 1,000 page novel by Gregory David Roberts. I’ve been reading it for the past year (every flight I read 100 more pages). I also like to read industry news and photography tips.
MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t assume anything. Always put it to the test when possible. I just love seeing how biased our decisions are and how time after time we’re surprised by empirical outcomes of tests.
MTS: Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
I’m persistent, I take ownership and see things through. I have both an analytic and creative background. It helps me make more well-rounded decisions.
MTS: Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
I always like reading about Neil Patel’s hacks and tips. He’s a conversion optimization, SEO specialist, and a blogger, and I always learn a lot by reading his writing.
MTS: Thank you Ran! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Senior marketing executive with 12 years of experience driving growth. Lead significant growth of millions in revenue in extremely competitive markets. Strong analytical background combined with a creative approach allows me to focus on smart marketing and product solutions. I love managing agile teams in solving real life business puzzles and leading to execution.
Bidalgo is the leading provider of Artificial Intelligence solutions to help app marketers scale their growth. The company’s SaaS-based platform offers the mobile industry’s only end-to-end suite of automated media buying services, from uploading ads and optimizing their performance to real-time bid management, budget allocation and more. As an official marketing partner of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and other platforms, Bidalgo manages hundreds of millions in ad spend for clients in gaming, consumer, fin-tech and other verticals. Bidalgo’s AI algorithm is backed by an experienced team of performance marketers, creative designers, media buyers and account managers dedicated to each client. Founded in 2010, Bidalgo has offices in San Francisco, Tel Aviv and Seoul.
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.