Xavier Bourlard, SVP International Growth at Headway Talks Mobile Advertising

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Partner Post - MoBrain by Headway Take control of your Mobile Marketing Campaign!

Posted: June 1, 2017

Xavier has over 10 years of performance-based advertising, online marketing and mobile user acquisition experience, with a strong focus-on leading and growing the business development internationally. He heads up the mobile app promotion activities mainly focused in Europe, US, Middle East & Asia. 
Xavier will be speaking about “Measuring LTV for UA in non-gaming apps” at The Israel Mobile Summit that will be held on June 6-7. If you want to learn more please visit us here.


What is Mobrain and how are you positioned in the market? 

Mobrain is a Mobile Marketing technology powered in-house by Headway, a leading data-driven media buying company for marketers all around the world. Its proprietary algorithm allows brands to reach and engage mobile users with campaigns that include optimized CPI acquisition, real-time performance reporting and unique mobile branding. Recently recognized as a top 5 media source in mobile advertising in The AppsFlyer Performance Index 2017, Mobrain is the leading mobile advertising solution in LATAM, The Middle East and Southeast-Asia.

What types of clients do you work with?

We work with both advertising agencies and directly with brands and app developers from a number of different verticals, including gaming, travel, retail and entertainment.

What geographies are you focused on and where are you seeing the most growth? 

In mobile, we are focused on the US, UK, Germany, Spain, Middle East, and Latam.
In the US, we have a great opportunity to scale our activities by leveraging the capabilities of Headway’s new parent company, Entravision, who have a very strong reach in the country.
Southeast-Asia is another big growth area for us. Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia are some of the fastest growing countries in terms of mobile adoption. The population of those countries is more than 500 million, and almost 40% of them are smartphone users.

What are your main tips for successful mobile advertising? 

With mobile projected to reach almost 60% of global advertising spend this year, getting the most out of your mobile advertising is a must for all brands.
Here are my 5 top tips for running a successful mobile advertising campaign.

  • Know your goal in advance
  • Define the best acquisition channels in affinity with your product and your core target
  • Set up your analytic tools to track users
  • A/B testing is mandatory
  • Move fast when you need to change creatives; something within the app to attract and keep your users engaged

What challenges does Programmatic advertising face today?

Some of the biggest challenges to face the advertising industry, particularly with automated or smart technologies like programmatic, are related to ad fraud. In fact, it is predicted that up to 20% of all digital ad spend in 2016 was wasted because of fraud.
To combat this worrying trend we need to not only continue developing start-of-the-art technology to drive efficiency and achieve advertising metrics, but also have to take a holistic view of client demands, expectations and transparency. Simple solutions to complex problems are what the advertising industry has always specialised in so I have confidence that a concerted effort by all stakeholders will help to stop the rot when it comes to ad fraud.

What are your thoughts about Native ad format? Do you believe it’s genuinely possible to blend the line between content and an ad?

For as long as advertising has been around, consumers have wanted ads to be as unobtrusive as possible. Generally speaking, internet and mobile users understand the value exchange for content i.e. if it’s free, you’re going to encounter adverts.
Native ad formats allow brands to position their content in a way which gives consumers the choice to engage with advertising without being forced to view it if they don’t want to. At the end of the day the purpose of advertising is to raise awareness and drive sales, and it is difficult to achieve the latter if you are forcing unwanted content on people.
Using the correct ad formats at the right time has been made possible with the advances in data and smart technology, and native ad formats are a great way to take advantage of both of these trends.

What do you think the big themes for mobile advertising are going to be in 2017?

One trend that I believe is going to fundamentally change the way consumers engage with brands on mobile is chatbots. People first used chatbots like Siri or OK, Google primarily for handset functions i.e. setting alarms or making phone calls. However, as these chatbots have become smarter, they are now able to achieve more functions which were previously achieved using a dedicated app, for example, checking the weather or finding nearby restaurants.
I believe that every mobile advertiser will soon need a “chatbot” strategy as this will enable them to engage with consumers as they begin to use dedicated apps less often.
I also feel that there will also be a big trend towards innovative and impactful mobile video ad formats. Stationary, unengaging and uninteresting formats are being overlooked by consumers and advertisers will need to think outside the box to continue the high levels of engagement we are seeing on mobile. I predict that the development of interactive formats which messages to become the center of attention without being intrusive will be a big focus for marketing technology companies this year.

What kind of people work with you in the Mobrain team? 

The kind of qualities we look for are people who are ambitious, curious, trustful and responsible.
Mostly they should be able to make an impact within the company or within the industry. For example, I hired three of our current team leaders to help us break into Europe, and the combination of their different personalities and strong commitment to succeed drove a big part of the success of our EMEA office.

What mobile devices do you use personally? 

I recently switched to a 6S Plus to have a more comfortably sized screen for writing emails, watching videos. I try to stay far away from my laptop during the weekend and holidays!

What are your favorite apps? 

My favourite mobile apps are Instagram, Kayak, Spotify, Withings, Prime Now, Audible, Wallapop, and the most recent one I discovered is Verse: a great finance app which enables peer-to-peer money transfers.

Do you see a personal robot becoming a part of your house, your home assistant? 

Of course, it’s actually one of my dreams! People are reluctant to think about it, but if the robot can accomplish tasks better and faster than a human then surely it is worth exploring. With more robotic assistance, people can focus more on high value impact and sharing emotions or great moments together, rather than getting bogged down with just accomplishing chores.

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