Vodafone’s former global media chief Paul Evans new CEO at Australian TV data start-up, Adgile Media, as it eyes off-shore expansion
Australia's real-time TV analytics operation Adgile Media, with the likes of former MCN CEO Anthony Fitzgerald and Professor Karen Nelson-Field on its advisory board, has hired former UK-based Vodafone Global Head of Media Paul Evans as CEO with a remit to drive global growth beyond partnerships struck with GroupM and Quantium. The firm is also on the hunt for talent to exploit a perceived gap in the market for TV measurement and its real time impact on sales.
Paul Evans, formerly head of global media at Vodafone, is the new CEO at Adgile Media, the Australian real time TV analytics and effectiveness business now ramping up its international expansion. Evans is planning further hires and media partnerships in a bid to drive growth both locally and globally.
Evans takes on the role after sitting on Adgile’s advisory board for the last 12 months, alongside the likes of former MCN boss Anthony Fitzgerald and Professor Karen Nelson-Field.
Adgile brings digital-like real time campaign analysis to linear TV for the first time - advertisers currently can wait weeks for reporting from Nielsen on their schedules along with competitor activity. Adgile's technology will also likely add new levels of accountability on the TV networks, renowned historically for their ability to move and shift inventory around pending demand.
A classically trained brand marketer who branched into media, data and tech, Evans has worked agency-side as the global lead for Havas Media out of Dubai on Emirates Airlines, as well as brand-side with Kimberly Clark, Nestlé, AB InBev and X Box.
Evans says he aims to bring that skill set to bear as CEO in driving Adgile’s growth strategy and says the firm is on the hunt for further resource, with hires potentially before the year-end.
“The most important role of the CEO is around people. We will win and lose on people, talent and culture,” says Evans with Adgile seeking “smart, multilayered people” to drive growth in 2021.
Faster TV data
Adgile’s technology effectively ‘watches’ all TV via it's “self-learning visual recognition” technology and translates it into data that tells brands how ads, sponsorship, products and offers are performing.
The Australian-based firm has struck partnerships with GroupM and Quantium in recent weeks. While Evans can’t confirm a rumoured TV network tie-up, he says partnerships powered by “clean first party data” will fuel the future of TV.
“Our three core pillars are analytics, attribution and activation – and all of it comes from the quality of data.”
Meanwhile, Evans thinks Covid has expedited demand for more immediate access to that TV data, as buyers trade shorter and laser-in on immediate challenges and opportunities rather than look too far backwards.
In that sense, the company aims to fill what it sees as a gap in market data provision.
“The way the rest of the industry has moved [programmatically] sets an expectation for greater agility and flexibility within TV planning and buying – and the need to take that agility on data, measurement and insights and quickly translate it into effectiveness has accelerated through Covid,” says Evans.
“That demand already existed - but the pandemic has a brought a sharp lens to expectations in marketplace around what is required right now.”
While media owners globally have been battered by Covid, Evans references latest SMI data to underline that Australia’s immediate prospects appear in better shape than most.
“That [SMI] report reflects my bullishness about TV. It is the most effective media channel and that has been proven out time and time again,” he suggests.
“Through whatever lens you want to filter - brand building and long-term econometric models or short-term activation and commercial demand generation - it does everything incredibly well through what is the most powerful and emotive form of communication.
“So TV is an incredibly strong position. Data-fuelled, it should be leading the charge in 2021 in terms of reinvigorating overall marketing and advertising.”
Covid ‘won't slow in-housing’
Prior to joining Adgile's advisory board, Evans led Vodafone’s move to in-house search, social and programmatic media. He thinks even Covid is unlikely to disrupt brands that have decided to take that route.
“In-housing is a decision that should be taken with a five-year view – and Covid is a speed bump in that context,” he suggests. “People shouldn’t be making decisions or reversing decisions on that basis. Covid may have changed the dynamics, if everyone [operationally] is now home-based, but that is the same for every business and once those dynamics are understood you can manage them.”
On the flip side, he says Covid’s role as an accelerant also applies.
“Where people see the long-term value in in-housing, I think businesses will remain in full support of what it can bring to a brand and a business.
“It is not for everyone. It is a fundamental decision to bring operational interests [advertising] into the business. If that has been properly considered, then whether pre-, post-, or during Covid, it will still make sense.”
‘You shouldn't need a privacy law to do the right thing’
Evans was involved in scoping the PwC study that failed to map the end-to-end programmatic supply chain for 88 per cent of the 267 million impressions it studied.
He has since suggested that programmatic ad marketplace is “ripe for regulation”.
On the question of data and privacy regulation more broadly, he thinks that marketers can insulate themselves from incoming impacts by taking a genuinely customer-first approach.
Too many parts of industry, he suggests, have put their own interests first, potentially exposing themselves to greater regulatory risk.
“The starting place on data and consent should be customer-centricity. You don’t really need a privacy law to tell you what it the right thing to do,” says Evans.
“If everyone is still grappling with the small print we will be stuck there forever. Whereas if everyone starts with the consumer we can build around that … So I hope people are prepared for these big changes.”
As the TV industry continues to build consented first party data, with even Australia’s laggards claiming 5 million log-ins, Evans suggests TV is well positioned for what is coming.
“I can’t think of a better place to be working right now. TV is in an incredibly strong position.”
The lack of talent isn’t going to improve in the short-term – it’s global and people aren’t going to flood in from overseas any time soon. That means employers have to take a different approach to hiring and retention, says Atomic 212° Head of Strategy, Asier Carazo. Here’s how the firm hired two strategists that it might not normally have considered – and who are now knocking it out of the park.
Curated marketplaces: How marketers can reach culturally diverse audiences – at scale – without Facebook or Google
Brands say they want to spend their ad dollars in diverse environments, but often just wind up going with the easy tech of Google and Facebook. Ironically, good tech is the answer to the Big Tech problem, Xandr’s Erika Blakslee writes. Reaching diverse audiences on niche publications – that need support – used to need individual relationships, but a curated digital marketplace has changed that, and brands can measure the diversity of their media spend and benchmark it.