Ad Ops All Stars: Jade Graves, MobileFuse

by Kathleen Booth, on Oct 13, 2021 6:26:35 PM

Jade Graves

When it comes to ad ops, Jade Graves has worked across many different sides of the business.

From his early work as a sales engineer at Burst Media, to working as a sales manager and later manager of ad platforms at Nexage, to his role as director of programmatic sales at Rythym One, and now, as Senior Director of Publisher Business Development at MobileFuse, he's had an opportunity to learn what makes ad ops teams - and media businesses successful. 

Jade's experience has also given him deep insight into the mobile advertising world, including the opportunities and challenges it poses.

This week on Ad Ops All Stars, Jade talks about his career journey and what aspiring ad ops leaders should do to build their skills, along with his take on the top challenges facing the ad ops world today.

Listen to or watch the full episode, or read the transcript below, to hear Jade's story.

Resources from this episode:

  Apple Podcasts  


-- Article Continues Below --

Read the Case Study

How cleanAD Completely Eliminated Malicious Redirects, Freeing up 60 Hours of AdOps Effort per Week, for Venatus Media

Read the Case Study

  -- Article Continues Below --






Kathleen: Welcome back to the Ad Ops All Stars Podcast. I'm Kathleen Booth and my guest this week is Jade Graves who is the senior director of publisher business development at MobileFuse. Welcome to the podcast Jade.

Jade: Thank you for having me Kathleen, looking forward to this.

Kathleen: Yeah. I love that you're a fellow New Hampshire person. I grew up in New Hampshire and when I saw on LinkedIn that that's where you were located I got all excited because most people I've talked to in my life who have ever been to New Hampshire generally have been there either to go skiing or for summer camp but very few have spent much time living there so cheers to fellow New Hampshire people.

Jade: Definitely not a lot of ad tech people out of New Hampshire.

Kathleen: Yeah. It's definitely an unusual place to be located for that for sure. Well, we're going to get into a number of things relating to ad tech to your career and where you work but before we do that, I have an ice breaker question that I love asking people and I'm going to ask you which is, if you had to describe what you do for a living to a five year old, how would you do that?

Jade: Yeah, I would definitely probably say it's actually a similar conversation with anybody that's not familiar with mobile where the simplest answer is, whether you're on your iPhone, iPad, playing a game, reading a news article and you're shown an ad, we have something to do with showing that ad based off of data that you've potentially been going through purchasing whatever games you're playing. We are one of thousands of people that do it but we are the ones that are showing the ads based off of some reasoning.

Kathleen: Got it. Well, and definitely the games you're playing reference is key for a five year old because they're all online playing games.

Jade: Yeah.

Kathleen: Well, tell me a little bit about MobileFuse, what does the company do? How long have you been there? And what is your role right now?

Jade: Yes. So I've been there a little over four and a half years, definitely a unique aspect of my career which has kind of continued to grow. So MobileFuse as a whole depending on how you look at them because it actually has a unique aspect of our business are a unique brand advertising platform that provides end to end solution whether it'll be in-app, CTV, digital out of home that's powered by our direct sales team of, I guess we're around about 30 in the US. We've been around for about 12 years now, over the last seven years built out a technology called Mindset Targeting. So just think of right time, right message, right frequency based off of some sort of data API, whether it be Ibotta for shopper marketing data, Capital One for also shopper marketing data, Cubic for location data, Near Allspark for demographics. We're basically analyzing all the data that we have coming in to figure out what kind of cohorts those people actually fit into.

Kathleen: So are you building your own kind of, I hesitate to use the term but, your own FLOC?

Jade: Yeah, pretty much. So right now and it does kind of tie into one other aspect which we can jump into later with just IDFA deprecation and cookieless targeting. But the idea is, as we see these users we get to know exactly what their kind of daily kind of habits are, what their affinities are for apps that they go to or places that they go to, how long they're actually there to figure out exactly not just the right message and the right time but also the right creative asset given you could be running in the morning based on location data, we can tell that you're always on the move 7:00 to 10:00 AM so we're going to serve you a banner versus a video ad. Because if you're actually in a game you're only going to be there for whatever couple of seconds but we might be able to see that you're ectatic on a field for longer durations of time, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, probably a sports man, better time to serve you an actual video ad where you're going to be more engaged.

Kathleen: That is so interesting that you guys are able to, A, get that targeted but, B, the insights that you can form around that are really fascinating as far as the implications they have for the types of creative you would feed.

Jade: Exactly, and it's been a very empowering aspect of our company. I've been in programmatic for a long, long time and me coming into this company where I was brought in as a programmatic subject matter expert to help our IO business that was based on the Mindset Targeting transition to programmatic buying. Simply meaning, instead of working with the agency on an IO, figuring out that agency if they do programmatic which side of business does programmatic and based off of that, figuring out ways to construct PMPs that were still using relevant data but helping them understand kind of the ebbs and flows and pipes and funnels to get from that agency from their trade desk to whatever the DSP is to our pool of direct inventory. That was kind of the first part of my business in MobileFuse which I was there for about a year and a half.

Jade: So all demand focused, branding agency focused, spent a bit of time in our product and data strategy for about probably six months also helping us sell a location verification solution. And then just kind of given the adapt of industry changes and compliances, started pushing my company. We really needed to focus on instead of SSPs, a direct publisher strategy given that such a large percentage of our business is based on direct sales. We actually needed to start having direct publishers because the brands and agencies and DSP partners that we're going to work with eventually they're going to start saying, hey, we will only buy from you if that publisher is direct, simply meaning, direct agreement, direct payment path, which is now transparent based off of things like sellers.json and the publisher supply chain and whatnot.

Kathleen: Yeah. So am I correct then? Did I hear you right that when you joined the company it was all direct?

Jade: All direct. So it was basically, we were building out the programmatic stack but also the programmatic kind of sales team. Obviously as programmatic was growing at that point we also wanted to build our own technology which now we have a number of patent solutions that help enrich our overall offering for our direct sales team. But we wanted to grow our programmatic offering just as I think almost anybody in the programmatic space would say how long or what percentage of your company could be IO based on programmatic. Everybody is going to guess programmatic is going to be the largest percent which technically we're still probably about 70% direct sales, that's a managed business which is pretty shocking. But a lot of that is based off of kind of all the data enrichment that we can do from a direct sales standpoint versus something that we can actually offer in a private marketplace where we're not the targeting DSP and whatnot.

Kathleen: Now give that you started at the company when it was all direct and now there is roughly as you said, I think 30% programmatic, talk me through what that looked like in terms of how did the team size and composition change and I imagine there were some complexities around just tech stack and the things you needed to do you to support that. What did that process look like?

Jade: Yeah. We're actually still a pretty small team as far as people that are managing strategy or product, obviously we have a lot of account executives that are helping, people that are managing campaigns and whatnot. But from the operations standpoint, luckily a few of us are veterans in the space one of them being my EVP, Daniel Keith, of which I've worked with now on and off for probably about 12 years, we've kind of already gone through this process between trying to do it here. She was at RhythmOne prior, I was at RhythmOne for a little while before that it was kind of Nexage/Millennial where we were all involved in what we were going to build out from an exchange and what we wanted to do from a programmatic standpoint.

Jade: So when I started, there was only a team of three, me included, more on kind of how we're going to figure out the pipes and technology. Obviously we had a products strategy team but that was also one and then we had a couple operations people on integrating and managing SSPs. And then we had one person that was assigned based off of previously doing IOs to actually go out and pitch kind of private marketplace deals, integration opportunities with DSPs into our platform. So when I started four and a half years ago it was basically as far as the key components, probably a team of six or seven. And it's growing, still hasn't grown a ton and I think that just shows the types of talent that we have and kind of the multitudes of different hats that we've all held within multiple companies over the last number of years.

Kathleen: Yeah. And I was going to say just the nature of programmatic because I've talked to some people who've gone the opposite direction, they've gone from all programmatic to adding a direct business and that has a much different implication in terms of growing team size but the reverse, adding programmatic in, you can do so much more with less I feel like.

Jade: Oh, 100%. I think if nothing else from an operational standpoint and this grows across any device, any screen, managing a direct sales team and actually having the technology that you're either building in-house or leasing whatever the media cost is from a different vendor is very challenging. There's just a whole different set of rules and how you're managing that direct sales team, how you're getting the inventory in, how you actually need to match the inventory. Perfect example, us making a huge shift from being a 100% SSP I think it was about two and a half years ago to almost a 100% direct to publisher now which that as an ad ops side of it, we still needed to support the direct sales team. But a lot of what we were doing was based off of this direct sales team effort so if you don't have that direct sales team component, there were obviously a lot more eases to entry.

Jade: And then there's also different costs, fluctuations, direct sales teams have a higher cost of margin because you're paying somebody to go out and pitch directly to a brand or agency or you're managing benefits or whatever the case is where I think almost any large platform that's programmatic that just has DSPs and SSPs and taking percentage of margin in between the bidstream and the auction and then the bid response, there's just a lower cost of doing business in that side of it. I mean, definitely there's benefits to having a direct sales team which we've seen but I think you also need to have a unique offering which I've been wildly successful bringing on direct publishers specifically just because we have a direct sales team, it's brand focused, we have to have a direct contract with that publisher or they can't get access to the budgets that we're winning.

Kathleen: Yeah. And do you have any goals around as you think about the future? Are you still looking to grow the programmatic business as a percentage of total revenue or?

Jade: Yeah. Right now we're growing probably about, I'd say I think our last report was around 70% year over year. So it's growing quickly but a lot of that had to do with us kind of shifting to a mindset of build versus buy, we decided to build and start actually having control of that product set. So once you are no longer limited by whoever you're using from an exchange standpoint, whether that be Magnite, OpenX, Xandr, we were always kind of driven programmatically by whatever their limitations were so we decided to shift models, build our own proprietary stack and start kind of controlling our own destiny which made a massive shift in change in who we could partner with and what kind of advertising and what PMPs we could support and who we can integrate versus who we can't integrate.

Kathleen: That's really interesting that you decided to go that route. Are you able to share it all? What was the cost benefit analysis that you did because I think lot of people have looked at that and chosen to go the other direction so I'm curious, what was it that tipped the scales for you?

Jade: Yeah. I don't transparently have exactly what the cost analysis is but I can tell you at least from going this path in previous companies, there's always going to be a cost of doing business. If you can start to see that there's additional incremental revenue and positive growth that you can control while your price is still increased a bit for using that technology, but you still have a 100% of control of that destiny. And, I mean, you have to have the experience in-house to be able to build that and that's-

Kathleen: And maintain it because that's the other thing I think people don't think about with buy versus build is, once you've built it then there's constant ongoing maintenance to make sure nothing breaks.

Jade: Exactly. And I think also a lot of it is just because we've gone through this path of talking to the larger vendors that offer DSP buildouts, Xandr, any other bid switches, whoever the larger vendors were and it just always came to, can you build exactly what we want and what flexibility do we have moving forward to kind of change and pivot. A simple thing would be CTV, some platforms will allow you to run it, others will say, hey, you can't run CTV unless it's a 100% exclusive which I don't think anybody has exclusive CTV in inventory so that was kind of something that stopped us. So once we got to the point where, okay, we want a 100% control of our destiny, we are confident in our engineering team that they can build us out something that's scalable, let's start down this path. And I honestly coming from other companies that have tried this and ended up some ways positive and negative depending on how they went. Again, it's a strong battle with a small company but what they've been able to build right up to this point has been extraordinary.

Kathleen: That's great. Now, I want to rewind a little bit because you've been with MobileFuse for I think you said around four years, right?

Jade: Yeah.

Kathleen: But you've had quite a varied career and you alluded to some of the positions you've been in and your career has spanned roles across the different functions of advertising. So can you maybe trace back to, how did you even first get involved in this field?

Jade: I will try and keep it somewhat short given the time here. So I used to be a sales engineer for a video conferencing company that was acquired by Polycom based off of where I live in New Hampshire which makes a lot more sense to you. Most of the other companies that supported video com team were more in the Boston area, I didn't want to make the commute, ended up finding this small company in Burlington, Mass that was looking for a sales engineer for an ad surfing technology which considering I was installing video codec and large installs for large companies whether it be Goldman Sachs, the Department of Defense backend.

Jade: At that point I said, okay, I know what an ad is, I know what the technology is supposed to do, this kind of gets me into something interesting and allows me not to go to Boston so I just kind of jumped in. And through the progressions just actually as I started to follow through ad serving solutions, enterprise solutions, I started moving more to the demand side of it were I could start seeing what the sales teams were doing and I wanted to evolve my career.

Jade: So I jumped into mobile strategic DSP account management where I worked with the likes of Turn back in the day and Datazoom for integrations because it was still somewhat on the technical side and then evolved from there. Just really wanting to get more into kind of a direct sales side of it only because one of the jobs that they pitched when I was at Nexage was, do you think we could build out a direct sales team? I said, well, I know the tech, I've already sold before I could figure out the agency's standpoint, let's see if this works. And after that I just kind of shifted to this mindset that I actually know both the tech, the sales process and the product that I can start jumping around and instead of just being in one channel I can start joining companies that are just growing. They'll probably need somebody that has multiple hats and I can come in and say, yes, I can help you with your programmatic strategy whether it be direct sales, products or marketing strategy for that matter.

Kathleen: So now you're in MobileFuse which is focused on mobile obviously. Talk to me about what is unique and challenging and different about the mobile environment in particular.

Jade: Yes. So one of the unique aspects I think with in-app publishers in general when they're trying to integrate new partners is there's a lot more resource time because you're typically talking SDKs and you got to do swapping in and swapping out, there's a lot more A/B testing just because it's just a lot more complex than just adding a JavaScript tag on a HTML page. So one of the easy things when we first started this whole venture is that I wanted to at least focus on is that, at that time I wouldn't technically define us as a tech company from a publisher side because we're not an SSP, we don't do optimization, we didn't have an SDK at that point. All we were doing was driving direct demand to these publishers and the biggest hurdle at that point was, do you have an SDK? No.

Jade: Okay, great. Now that we don't have to talk about an SDK how can we work with you? And then at that point we could say, we work with MoPub mediation solution, or now we also work with obviously Nimbus and the dev team. So it was always making sure that from a barrier or hurdle of the entry that we kept everything very low to start getting adoption. And I think that took a big consortium effort to understand as a company that we wanted to make sure that we stayed this kind of common ground and until we got to a point where there was a unique opportunity to inherently add complexities whether that be an SDK or whatever the case may be.

Kathleen: So I want to go back now to something that we sort of started with which is your identity solution because there are so many right now. And obviously Google has its own solution and it has postponed rolling that out at this point, I think everybody recognizes it's going to happen at some point or another. Why did you guys decide to try to develop something yourselves on that?

Jade: It was more so need of necessity. So we started talking about IDFA deprecation back in WWDC. We'd heard about it a few times, I have just because I've been in the industry for so long, reached out to a few people to be like, what do you think the real possibilities are? And we've always kind of had a contextual solution but it wasn't necessarily built to be an ID solution. So once we started kind of looking into it obviously almost all of our efforts when we're talking about targeting have to match what our direct brand and sales teams are doing from a standpoint of kind of scalability, is it something that actually works? And one of those things wasn't necessarily to build an ID kind of overall solution as we get into CTV, whether that's cookieless or IDFA or AID whenever they deprecate that it was to build a way that we can marginalize the overall loss of not having the device ID or cookie while still driving massive impacts and performance for the branding agencies.

Jade: The way that we were able to do this is we basically combined a bunch of what we call our mindset data to start figuring out different audience, cohorts and segments that we could tell these certain types of people were going to, whether that be through app affinity, we did some indexing with Comscore, We worked with Kochava, we also worked with another company called Near. It's basically just evaluating audience funnels so that we don't have to rely on an ID, we can just say, hey, we know this channel that we've already created a segment for has a certain audience kind of propensity and we know that will deliver and perform for these types of advertising.

Kathleen: That's great. So looking to the future, we just talked about probably one of the biggest challenges that I think has faced the advertising industry in the last few years which is identity. Looking ahead, what do you think are the next kind of three biggest challenges that the advertising industry is going to have to deal with going forward?

Jade: Yeah. I mean, I still think as the progression with IDFA deprecation, AID, whenever that happens, that's going to have the biggest impact because that is something that affects large percentages of the revenue stream that is all based off of performance advertising. That's where the big CPMs come in, that's where you figure out your cost of analysis of lifetime value versus what you should be paying. But I think the other aspects and obviously just compliances right now are going to have a huge impact because there's always something changing whether it be some of the rules with privacy ledgers with iOS 15 and what they're going to allow the users to see and what they opt into, or obviously CCPA and how that grows or GDPR. I think those are always going to have an impact but I think right now they're getting to a point where they're manageable.

Jade: I think the one layering factor is how will IDFA deprecation continue to impact us and continue to impact larger platforms like the Facebooks of the world. I think the more even varying concern outside of those is what we can do for kind of the growth and transparency of how to manage CTV. And I think we do a lot with CTV now and there's always the kind of concept, especially from the brand advertising standpoint, how can you prove to me that? Obviously it's easy to tell who the publisher is but how can you tell me, what episode, what the content was? And based on all of that, who are you using that's actually telling you that it's compliant based off the MRC which I don't think anybody has a good answer to. And I think that's going to have a huge impact over this year if people can start to actually figure out how to monetize it in a way that they trust it.

Kathleen: Yeah. I think you're right about that. I mean, there does seem to be just such an incredible surge of interest in CTV and the spend is following but it is a bit like the Wild West at the moment.

Jade: Yeah. I mean, it was like that in mobile a couple of years ago and based on that fact somebody is going to figure it out, Pixelate has a decent solution for Roku and Fire Stick I think. The other issue is just, one, I mean, IAB is obviously coming out with some guidelines around what they're saying you should be providing in the bidstream data so that you can look at and report on things like content and episode depth and whatnot.

Jade: But I think there's going to have to be a one of those really standalone platforms that come out and say, we can actually tell you all of this data about your audience and your segmentation, we can show you the confidence level of whether it be they define it as SIVT or GIVT like a Pixelate but for CTV. And obviously if you looked at just viewability and brand safety over the years, there's been multiple companies and I think I've had enough conversations with some companies near term that are kind of still in the stealth mode area where I think within in the next six or so months you're going to see a big turn as well as how we can evaluate the CTV space.

Kathleen: Yeah. I'm glad you mentioned a few of the players because that was going to be my next question, which is who's doing some interesting work in that area? But I think you already answered that one for me.

Jade: Yeah. I hate to be biased, we use Pixelate for a lot of things and they've been a really strong partner for us. So we talk a lot so there's a lot of guidance and ebbs and flows on that side especially on the CTV growth side of it. But yeah, there are a few players in the space that are starting to evolve.

Kathleen: So let's talk about your team for a minute. How large did you say the ad ops team has within MobileFuse?

Jade: So if you're looking at ad ops it's a little bigger, I mean, if you start looking at engineering but again, those are over multiple different products. So what I look at operations right now is basically our EVP that covers both demand and supply and then it separates into demand and supply. On the demand side we only have two people that manage again, private marketplace deals and any DSP partnerships, then on the supply side there's me and one other one as well right now. I used to cover all things sales and product strategy related, now I have some support on the sales side, and then we have four ad op reps basically operation reps behind us. So it's still a fairly small team at least the ones that are focusing on purely demand as far as programmatic and purely supply as far as managing our direct in-app or CTV publishers.

Kathleen: Yeah. And you still have, like you said, 70% of your business is still direct. So can you talk a little bit about how you manage the relationship with your sellers and kind of make sure that you're all working in sync and timing things so that you can deliver to the customer's expectations.

Jade: Yeah, no, absolutely. So, I mean, from my side, it's pretty easy, it's, what types of publishers are going to best be fitted for the brands and agencies that we work with? We put a lot of effort into vetting which again, we use Pixelate so prior to integration, prior to outreach in most cases, we can tell whatever our brand safety scores are, the SIVT or GIVT scores are, we do a full risk analysis. So outside of that is, what types of publishers fit well for our direct sales team? Even though they're not pitching individual publishers, obviously you want a wide breadth of publisher names that are going to support different elements.

Jade: And they pitch everything on data so outside of the publisher side I worked very hand in hand with them where they could just be like, hey, we need these couple of publishers because a brand or an agency wanted them on their wait list. The DSP side is very separated because they're not working with a brand or an agency, they're only working with the DSP. So it's one rep calling the trade desk saying, I would like to set up a high viewability or a high CTR private market place deal, we'll figure out the pools of the publishers that we throw in there, but they have no conversations with the direct branding agency at all.

Kathleen: Got it. Looking back on your career, like I said, you've been in so many different roles, I think it gives you very unique insight into career paths, into the skills you need to be successful in ad ops. If you were talking to somebody today who was really kind of just embarking on an ad ops career, what would be your advice for them?

Jade: It's a great spot to start. So I think while I didn't expect for my career path to go this way, I would say almost all my advantages and probably anybody that you've spoken to is that I have a great understanding of the technology. And it's very easy for me to keep up with industry changes just because I have the vast know of technology, sales engineering and understanding actually what's the bid request, what's in the bidstream data, what do these objects mean. On the ad op side being able to manage beyond just technology but campaigns, you start to understand, what are the needs of your team? What are the pain points of using certain technologies? Which I is also a huge value and an asset as you move from company to company.

Jade: Because if you have the ad ops background you can easily come into a new company and be like, oh yeah, we had this exact same issue at my last company, it was because of the vendor we were using. We ended up vetting a bunch of different vendors over a year but I can tell you at least after a year vetting, this is the vendor know that performed well for us, handled our campaigns specifically, and saves that new company a ton of time, plus you have just the industry knowledge of really understanding what goes on to serve a campaign. And if that goes into even the programmatic space, then you also have to kind of understand, again, how does that mean outside of your ad serving? What happens in the exchanges? How do DSP ad requests or ad responses get to your platform? Or whatever the case may be. So I think it's almost like a guideline foundation, if you have the time and you're younger and you're looking to get in ad tech, it's the perfect place to walk into.

Kathleen: And if somebody wants to position themselves for a leadership role in ad tech, oh sorry, ad ops rather, what are some specific skills that you think that they should be working on nailing now?

Jade: Again, I think it's just the career growth. The more that you can understand and grasp as far as the industry and the faster that you can relay that information, makes it much easier and much more cost efficient for your company to make decisions. So anybody that would ask me about anything industry related, whether it be compliance, whether it be in some cases creative or different vendors that we work with, I usually have a pretty good answer for them. It might not be exact but if I don't have it, I've been in the industry for so long, I know a ton of people that I can call just to confirm and do a gut check. But I think you need that full set of what's going on in the industry, if nothing else at least for your individual channel.

Jade: So if you're just ad ops, you should have a lot of background in the technologies out there, the compliancy changes, what's really happening with new vendors coming out and what's happening in the ecosystem and making sure that you have that depth of knowledge based off of whether it be going to conferences like Programmatic IO or whatever the case is that are heavily more on the ad op side or Admonsters ad ops, I think you have to have that well depth of knowledge on hand.

Kathleen: Well, all right, you just gave me the perfect segue then into my next question just like we planned it. How do you stay on top of everything happening in the industry? Because that is obviously so important with how much is changing. So are there particular sources of information that you really turn to to stay current?

Jade: Yeah. I think a lot of it is really just following most of everything that's sent to you daily and skimming through stuff. I do kind of gut checks for topics whether it be Adweek or ad exchange or is there a topic that I'm just like, whoa, I don't know about that, I should read more about it, I think those are great. There's, eMarket has a ton of data which sometimes I get interested in just because I like data and I want to see what's the propensity of ad op revenue versus what we saw last year and is there an actual growth path and is there something else we should be focusing on. So I think there's a ton of articles I think, but beyond that it's having a wealth of industry friends that if I have questions or in some cases, a lot of people reach out to me and it keeps kind of the brain moving around like, oh yeah, I didn't think of it from that standpoint.

Jade: And maybe they have more of a deeper ad operations background but they're kind of picking my brain for what they should be thinking about to better target their business for maybe bringing in direct brand sales team, so I think kind of a mixture. And lastly, the conferences I think are huge obviously with the whole pandemic, there haven't been a lot of them unfortunately but I think any of the large ones, Programmatic IO, if somebody is getting into programmatic, again, if you said somebody wants to get into a junior level, that's probably one of the most educational ones that you can go to at least to get you in at the ground floor.

Jade: And then on my side from a mobile standpoint, there's a lot of larger ones, whether it be MAU or DMEXCO or Mobile World Congress that I think produces lots of opportunities, not necessarily from an education standpoint but from a networking standpoint where you can actually meet people for face to face and you can get a better understanding of actual trust, actual knowledge and to kind of spend that time actually to pick each other's brain and go back and forth on topics of interest or industry issues that maybe they have questions on or maybe I have questions on.

Kathleen: So you've mentioned a couple times the notion of having a community of peers to turn to. Beyond just building your own network and staying in touch with folks are there certain communities in the industry that you are active in and that you would recommend?

Jade: Yeah, not really communities only because I'm more so on the vendor side and my focus is obviously on the publisher side so there's not a lot that I can actually get involved with because it's fairly niche. My knowledge is because I'm also on the sales side as well as kind of the strategy side, my job is to reach out to hundreds of publishers and figure out what their challenges are. And those kind of direct my conversations into reaching out to other tech platforms to figure out how we can better work together and if there's an integration issue, how does that work and what that looks like, so it keeps me really in touch. I have some close industry friends that we always bounce ideas off of. Obviously David from Nimbus that was on not too long ago, we talk a ton, we have a lot of fun just kind of going over the challenges, especially him from the vendor side.

Jade: I'm trying to think who else I talk to a lot. Ionut Ciobotaru I talk to a lot, I shouldn't say anymore because he's the chief product officer from the Verve Group which I think he's been super valuable just because he was a co-founder of a vending platform called PubNative, now with MGI there's been multiple acquisitions but a lot of their focus is on mobile. So he's usually the one guy I'll go to if I have a question like, you guys actually have a platform, you have an SDK you're doing testing, can I do a gut check on what I know about what's going to happen with iOS 14? And he's always been huge. I've had a lot of great conversations with Jeremy, again, from the Daily Mail just kind of going through the whole publisher sales process. Obviously I talk to Adam Grant in Time Up who is more on the technical side for Time Up which has been awesome.

Jade: I speak with, trying to think, Zach Robbie, I used to speak with him a lot from Miniclip. The larger publishers that are actually building their own tech stack are really interesting to talk to because it gives me a great idea of kind of what a publisher's mindset is, is there actual limitations? And when large publishers are building their own mediation solutions then you know it is. Another probably the biggest one, Samantha Hoffnagle actually I talked to a lot, she is a long industry friend, works for Times of India right now, she manages pretty much all the sales teams for Times of India. She's always had this really in depth knowledge on the ebbs and flows and pipes and funnels between the SSP, the DSP to actually manage a full business.

Jade: So on the vendor side when we talk about, how do you manage kind of working with these SSPs and these DSPs and manage margins and whatnot, she's always been a wealth of knowledge which has always been great because I've known her for like forever. Scott Davis is probably another guy that I talk to a lot. He started on more of the op side for programmatic for M&C Saatchi, went to British Broadcasting Group as a programmatic sales rep and now owns his own small company Petram Digital which their whole philosophy is these larger tech vending solutions they have limitations and this team wants to focus more like they're handling brick and mortar and being able to facilitate actual performance and demand and show transparency. So I talk to him a lot sometimes just on the branding agency kind of aspects and what they're doing in this space.

Kathleen: Okay. That's an amazing list. And you may or may not have answered my next question already but I want to ask it just to make sure which is, this podcast is all about featuring people who are amazing ad ops leaders, who else is doing incredible work as an ad ops leader and who should be our next guest? Did you just give the list or is there a subset or?

Jade: Yeah, there's a bunch of people in there. On the ad ops side it would either be Ionut Ciobotaru only because he is not necessarily in ops right now but he's managing across all these acquisitions and he has to understand and has always understood like the backend of what's happening in the ad op space and again, somebody that I think is one of the most knowledgeable people as far as who I talk to in the op space. I'm trying to think. Or more out of operational probably either Samantha Hoffnagle or Scott Davis, just because they've both worked on kind of the branding agency but they have to understand the back pipelines.

Kathleen: Yeah. All right. Those are some good ones. All right. Well, this brings us to the end of our time. So before we wrap up, if somebody wants to connect with you or learn more about MobileFuse, what's the best way for them to do that?

Jade: Best way definitely email, I can't think of anytime that I'm not on email. Just first name Jade then the letter and obviously you can find me in LinkedIn that's just as Jade Graves. Those are definitely the two easiest ways, but I always respond back very quickly if anybody has questions.

Kathleen: Awesome. All right. Well, I'll put links to that in the show notes so if you're interested in connecting with Jade you can head there. In the meantime if you're listening, thank you for joining us for this episode of Ad Ops All Stars. If you enjoyed it please leave a review on Apple Podcasts or the podcast platform of your choice. And to hear more interviews with leading ad ops experts, head to and while you're there, check out our resource center to learn more about protecting your user experience and your revenue. That is it for this week, thank you so much for joining me Jade.

Jade: Thank you for the opportunity. Take care Kathleen.

New call-to-action

Topics:AdOps StrategyAd Ops All Stars

Our blog

Where businesses come to learn more about protecting the points of digital engagement with their customers, audiences and users.

Subscribe to Updates