ADOTAS — Industry Veteran Jasper Mullarney is Vice President of Direct Response for Adknowledge, the fourth-largest digital marketplace behind only Google, Facebook and Microsoft’s Bing — and the largest among privately held digital advertising companies. A native of Wicklow, Ireland, Mullarney has 11 years of experience in online advertising.
What’s your role within Adknowledge?
I oversee the sales, account management and production functions for our Direct Response organization externally branded as AdStation. I spend a fair amount of time in other areas – product, strategy, compliance, etc.
How long have you been with the company?
I started in 2002 and was actually one of the founding employees of Adknowledge. I’ve worn a lot of hats over the years, from business development and sales to operations, strategy and product. I left to run a smaller agency for a little while and returned late last year. It’s a fairly common theme for people that leave to come back – Adknowledge is a pretty great place to work.
Adknowledge is known as a success story, but I’m not sure many people know what exactly you do. Why do you think that is?
I think early on we were very good at building technology but not very good at marketing or PR. I remember TechCrunch’s coverage of our $200M round in 2011, it was written as if they couldn’t believe it – we just weren’t on their radar as being a big player. Prior to that we had essentially reinvented the email marketing space with almost no fanfare – if you weren’t a client or an investor you probably didn’t know about it – but it was very lucrative for us. We’ve completely revamped our marketing function in the past few months, so that should mean our future successes will be communicated more effectively than past ones.
So, aside from reinventing email – what DO you do?
At our core, we’re a data company. We’ve been building behavioral targeting technology for a decade, so were sort of big data before big data was a thing. Early on, it allowed us to optimize more effectively than the competition and drive ROI, we still do that, but now we’ve got businesses with overlapping reach. We’re just beginning to take full advantage of that, but it’s the future of the company – holistic, ROI driven, granular campaign execution, across all digital mediums. Right now that means email, social (through AdParlor), display, content (Engage) mobile apps and our new video product.
Are there any misconceptions of Adknowledge that you’d like to correct?
We are not an affiliate network! We sort-of used to have one, but we eliminated almost all of that business. We still do some affiliate work, but AdStation is much, much more sophisticated than that and serves a far more diverse market than most people expect.
What’s next for the company?
We just acquired SocialWeekend, adding some tremendous assets and talent that complement our other businesses very well. I think we’ll continue to grow individual business units while also discovering and leveraging the synergies within each. In parallel to that, our international presence is scaling rapidly. The goal is to make the whole much greater than the sum of the current parts, on a global scale, which is an incredible opportunity.