Q&A with Adrian Watkins, Growth & Marketing Director, APAC at Ad Colony

Media 7 | September 21, 2021

Adrian Watkins, Growth & Marketing Director, APAC at AdColony, is a full-service digital sales and marketing veteran with expertise in strategy, innovation, transformation and growth across blue-chip companies and SMEs and in different continents. Adrian specializes in leading cross-functional teams, creating and executing strategic plans, building effective sales and marketing teams, forging partnerships and representing businesses both on stage and in the boardroom.

We’ve now reached the tipping point in the evolution of NFTs where you can no longer afford to misunderstand what is happening around you for fear of missing out on the defining opportunity of a generation.



MEDIA 7: What inspired you to build such a successful career in digital sales and marketing?
ADRIAN WATKINS:
Although these days I’m known for ‘growth & transformation’, sales and marketing to me are the two functions that can influence change across the entirety of a business. It touches most departments including strategy, sales, data intelligence, technology and even finance. As Sales & Marketers, we get to place ourselves at the heartbeat of a business, truly listening to what our customers and clients are saying, reacting to feedback and weaving stories and product roll-outs that address concerns excites new business and acquire new customers while being able to share this knowledge both internally and with the market.

I began my career as a writer before moving deeper into technology and partner management, before finding my sweet spot in commercial with Virgin. Fortunate to work at a senior level across multiple MNCs in different continents including two Virgin companies: News Corporation and ViacomCBS, I also helped grow the potential unicorn theAsianparent (as Chief Strategy Officer), and have built, sold and advised on various startups. Much of my focus has always been commercial strategy, sales, marketing and data analysis - all of which I loosely group under ‘growth’. I now lead Marketing and Growth in Asia-Pacific for AdColony - part of the Nasdaq AdTech darling Digital Turbine which is the largest independent platform that leverages unique on-device technology across major carriers and telcos with direct SDK supply, powering access to high-value consumers from their first & earliest device interaction, throughout their device journey, with a core focus on mobile and gaming marketing in Asia-Pacific.


M7: AdColony was once again named the Best Mobile Ad Network by 2021 Adweek Readers’ Choice: Best of Tech awards. What was the strategy behind achieving such prestigious recognition?
AW:
Adweek's Readers' Choice Awards are fast becoming one of the most important ones in North America, and growing internationally (Adweek's audience is mostly in NA, but they are growing!). Since it's voted on by Adweek readers, our strategy was simple: Raise awareness. It's a reflection of the work we do with brands and agencies throughout the year. Fortunately, the people think we're doing a great job, as AdColony won the award in its inaugural award in 2019, was runner up in 2020, and reclaimed the crown this year.


Be as prepared as possible, but take calculated risks.



M7: What are some of the benefits that AdColony offers its clients through its advertising and marketing platform?
AW:
AdColony has a unique reach for advertisers. Now that we're able to access both AdColony's direct inventory as well as Fyber's, our direct supply footprint eclipses everyone but Google when we look at the app environments Fortune 500 brands care about. There are other synergies we're working through that tap into the value of Digital Turbine's On-Device technologies (more exciting news to come on those in the future).


M7: According to you, which is your preferred marketing channel and why?
AW:
Gaming (especially via a mobile phone) is the most exciting and innovative marketing channel that exists today. Mobile gaming is on track to surpass $120B in spends globally. Based in Singapore, Asia-Pacific is home to 54% of the world's gamers & is the fastest growing market. Players have spent more than 1 trillion hours playing and an additional 25 billion hours watching gaming streams, which is more than the time spent on social media and watching television. Everyone is now a gamer. Global brands such as Unilever, Gucci and Mercedes are embracing gaming as they know that and can’t afford to ignore the genre. For instance, did you know that almost 80% of mobile gamers are female, more than 75% of mums are mobile gamers, and more than 80% of the high income segment audience are mobile gamers? The potential that gaming holds has also been identified by media giants like Netflix and Facebook, who are exploring gaming to further drive user engagement on their platform, with Netflix planning to introduce games on its platform, and Facebook using gaming as a pivot to its ‘Metaverse’ ambitions.

Gaming as a marketing channel is constantly evolving at lightspeed. In fact, gaming marketing feels like the next monumental industry shift which hasn’t happened since the launch of Social Media or Search Marketing - this feels like the next big industry evolution.

Let’s explore just a few examples (and buzzwords!) of innovation that are happening right now which marketers can’t afford to miss:

The Metaverse: Simply put, the metaverse is the intersection of entertainment, gaming and communications, with its own ‘play economy’, and ignoring conventional business models. It's the experience of choosing a digital avatar, creating original work, finding a connection with virtual experiences to match those offline, and valuing digital goods on a par with the physical. We can game, shop, buy land, use digital items for real-world purposes, lend money, and more. Right now, businesses are considering their future roles in the metaverse. For example: Gucci sold a virtual bag for more dollars than the real thing in the platform Roblox, Nike dropped virtual Jordans in Fortnite, Coca-Cola launched avatar wearables in Decentraland, Sotheby’s has an art gallery your avatar can wander, and $191M was transacted on “play to earn” blockchain game Axie Infinity in its first 30 days.

The future of content, e-commerce, and engagement is in the metaverse. Our job as business leaders and marketers is to prepare for that future today for our own businesses but also to help facilitate this new channel for brands and their agencies.

NFTs & Collectibles: We’ve now reached the tipping point in the evolution of NFTs where you can no longer afford to misunderstand what is happening around you for fear of missing out on the defining opportunity of a generation. NFTs are innately valuable due to their constrained supply, and community drives much of the early value of projects. Digital collectibles are already a major part of the online gaming experience, creating longer-term value for the collector (e.g. Axie Infinity), and now real-world utility is next: imagine holding an NFT which gives you exclusive access to content, product launches, or events. This brings amazing opportunities for brands to innovate in their marketing strategies. Mobile advertising campaigns using NFTs can be distributed programmatically across digital platforms, offering personalised gifts or vouchers to customers. Brands can monetise ads multiple times by turning them into NFTs; increase equity via storytelling and collectibles; create buzz in the lead-up to events or product launches via early access tokens.

I expect to see more brands jump in and start to experiment with releasing digital collectibles. For brands, this is an opportunity to generate additional revenues and engage with a core fan base by creating exclusive experiences.

In-game adverts which simulate IRL advertising: The most wonderful thing about working in the digital ecosystem is that it nevers stands still, and this is true when it comes to gaming as a the leading innovative marketing channel. Outside of block chain, the most recent example is the emergence of adtech companies which enable brands to programmatically serve posters inside games (think ‘Virtual Digital Out Of Home’). The leading company in this sector is Anzu.io, which for the first time, enables ads in game to be fully programmatically targeted, safe, and verifiable.

However, as with all technology, there needs to be supply and demand: For supply, as free-to-play games continue to gain momentum and infiltrate all game genres, games studios will be forced to change their way of thinking to see in-game advertising as a sustainable business model if they want to continue making games relevant and accessible in this highly competitive landscape. For demand, this is where Marketing and innovation really comes to the fore because with any new product it takes time for brands and their agencies to truly wrap their heads around it. AdColony (which sells Anzu exclusively in Asia-Pacific) is already ahead of the curve as several international brands have already embraced this recent channel.

Education, ultimately leading to adoption, which is achieved through cohesive and often innovative marketing, is critical here: whether through thought-leadership articles, sharing infographics of latest case studies, discussing with like-minded people on panels, or just with peers in the pub! - a compelling narrative, backed with data, is critical for success.


I expect to see more brands jump in and start to experiment with releasing digital collectibles.



M7: What do you believe are the top three marketing challenges in the post COVID-19 era?
AW:
In fact, there is one MASSIVE one. Marketing has evolved - brands and agencies need to embrace this change. COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way we engage with content, shop, and hang out with our friends and family, with people now more glued to their screens than ever before - and this is again where gaming leads the charge for the ‘new normal. Gaming apps are even larger than the top entertainment apps. Across Asia-Pacific, the top gaming apps consistently take in at least 1.5X monthly active users (MAUs) compared to the top entertainment apps, and mobile gamers are prominent across all age groups and genres. This means a brand’s potential customers are already there, but more importantly, is the brand there yet? When benchmarking consumer behaviour since COVID-19, more than 90% of mobile gamers have bought luxury goods online in the last year, mobile games contributed to 77% of total app revenue in Asia-Pacific, and the top gaming apps across Asia-Pacific hold higher MAUs than the most popular OTT (over-the-top) apps.


M7: What is your advice to aspiring marketers stepping into such a dynamic market today?
AW:
Be as prepared as possible, but take calculated risks. How? Through as tried and tested framework of:

(1) Discovery is key: Read everything you can, talk to friends and colleagues, reach out to leaders in your industry and ask them for a Zoom or a coffee meeting - you’d be surprised how many people are willing to help when asked

(2)  Plan: Have a clear, orientated (and data driven) plan: marketing works best when it is layered, tracked, and optimised. 

(3) Iterate: just because you executed a plan, it doesn’t mean it was (i) right (ii) will be successful

(4) Data: data is truth. Ignore it at your peril. Learning to determine insights from it is crucial

(5) Upskill: there are so many free online courses available, if you aren’t dedicating at least 10% of your month to upskilling, then you should be!

(6)  Trust your instinct: if it feels wrong, it probably is!

(7) Learn: from your mistakes… and then go again! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, everyone does. Just control the fallout and use this knowledge to iterate better next time.

I can guarantee you that for every person who isn’t going through the above, there are many more that are; Competition is fierce, ensure you can stand out as the leading light as much as possible.

ABOUT ADCOLONY

AdColony, a fully-owned subsidiary of Digital Turbine, Inc., drives business outcomes that matter for brands & agencies expanding their reach with the power of mobile, and helping app publishers grow via monetization and user acquisition tools. AdColony has a reach of more than 1.5 billion monthly users across the globe and is known for its award-winning video creative, with cutting-edge ad engagement innovations like Instant-Play™, Aurora™ HD Video, Playables, and more.

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Metaverse Platform Metarix Announces Diamond Partnership with Tenset

Metarix | May 21, 2022

Metarix, a project that aims to revolutionize the virtual world and provide an interesting and satisfying experience to a huge number of people announces its diamond partnership with one of the most trusted launchpad platforms Tenset.Metarix, a project that aims to revolutionize the virtual world and provide an interesting and satisfying experience to a huge number of people announces its diamond partnership with one of the most trusted launchpad platforms Tenset.The Metarix is a smart contract platform built on its own Layer 2 Blockchain experienced (but not limited to) in its Metaverse. The project is in its early stages of building, currently building its blockchain, followed by metaverse, DEX, NFT marketplace, SDK service, WEB3.0 platform, P2E game, and the other stage 1 production attractions and experiences. The tech industry and financial world are merging into one and it’s happening on the only platform that is sustainable throughout political affiliation, inflation, gender, race, creed, etc.- the blockchain. Throughout the countries of the world, everyone from everywhere is feeling the shakings of uncertainty and instability. Financially speaking, a lot of people are hedging against inflation and even their own local currency for something that is deflationary and has the potential to increase in value over time solely relying on supply and demand to determine market value. It is estimated that only 4% of the world’s population is using cryptocurrency at this moment. Years ago, game developers toyed with the ideas of an open-world concept game, where there was a freedom to roam and interact as the player saw fit. For the first time, there was a bit of freedom in gameplay that attracted millions to that niche of gaming. From RPGs, MMORPGs, GTA’s, etc., the hunger for freedom in the digital world had manifested to a point of creation. That passion for free gameplay, the desire to create beyond the limits of humanity, and the dream of financial freedom and economic stability had a baby- it is called The Metarix. The Metarix is a metaverse built on the foundation of its own Layer 2 Blockchain called the Metarix Chain. The currency of this token and metaverse is MTRX. Diamond Partnership with Tenset Metarix has managed to land a diamond partnership with tenset which is one of the most trusted launchpad platforms. They are launching a presale in partnership with Tenset and few of their products will be launched soon. Metarix is one of the best projects in recent times for being innovative in building a complete decentralized ecosystem for Gaming, NFT's and Metaverse. The Metarix offers a platform that allows other crypto programs, games, NFTs, and decentralized exchanges (DEXs) to run inside or outside its metaverse. But inside, you’ll see islands, properties for sale, houses, beaches, mountains, businesses, attractions, mini-games, concert halls, arcades, shops, NFT marketplace, banks, and software development kits that will be the game development center to help the average joe design his own iteration of the 90’s arcade game he was addicted to, or the teen creating his own viral NFT. Metarix has truly put the power to design and create wealth as the user chooses. Metarix has an NFT marketplace to support the games, music, and NFTs created with the SDKs, as well as a DEX to support the cryptos created via the new games and the games hosted in the Metarix Metaverse. This ecosystem is governed by the MTRX (Metarix Token), which is in Presale starting May 20th. Expect the token launch to happen after all presale events and IEOs. This is a project to keep an eye on. The road map is very ambitious, and the project has a proven development team that can get it done at a high level. Users can connect to the presale page and invest or watch the development unfold before their eyes. Metarix’s website is metarix.network. All inquiries can be made to support@metarix.network. About Metarix METARIX is a decentralized metaverse built on its own layer 2 solution blockchain. Filled with an ecosystem of P2E gaming, functional NFTs, web3 commerce, business endeavors, virtual real estate, concerts, live venues, content creation services & more. The governance METARIX token will be available via PRESALE starting 5/20/2022.

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VIRTUALIZATION

New Virtual reality platform eyeora brings the metaverse to the masses

eyeora | June 23, 2022

Virtual reality (VR) technology company, eyeora, launched a ground-breaking social VR platform to bring the metaverse to the masses by making it easier, cheaper and quicker for anyone to create, share and monetise VR content and experiences.The platform, comprised of an app and turnkey creative studio*, has been built specifically for non-technical people, empowering everyone to become VR content creators. With no technical skills or coding expertise required, users can now create, edit and share their own VR content in minutes, using simple drag and drop functionality to auto sync multiple camera angles and save time and money on post-production. The only self-managed monetisation platform in the metaverse, eyeora enables anyone to generate income and sustain a career in the metaverse. Content creators, artists, entertainers, influencers, athletes, businesses and brands can create their own 3D life-like avatar, customised VR rooms, 360 video content, and host high-quality, immersive VR events and experiences in the metaverse, with the ability to publish content directly to eyeora's social VR app and to multiple headsets. "The birth of the metaverse means we're going to see a paradigm shift in how consumers and businesses share content, socialise and communicate with each other in more immersive ways. eyeora not only provides a destination for people to enjoy immersive entertainment experiences and events, but an easy and affordable way for everyone to create, share and monetise content in the metaverse." -Daniel Corazzi, CEO and Founder of eyeora Users of the platform comprise of 'creators' and 'explorers' (fans). Creators can use eyeora's turnkey studio to build, personalise and monetise VR rooms and events via subscriptions, pay-per-view or advertising. Explorers can participate in free and ticketed immersive events, socialise with friends in virtual hangout rooms, attend corporate training, have a backstage sporting experience, or attend a music concert in the metaverse in the eyeora hologram stadium. Unlike other VR platforms, with eyeora explorers are always guaranteed a front row seat and VIP treatment, enabling them to get closer to the music and events they love. eyeora has the backing of high-profile entrepreneurs in the tech, music and entertainment industries, including former Spice Girls manager Chris Herbert; Tech Top 100 Entrepreneur Richard Pursey; and John Revell, co-creator of Ginger Media alongside Chris Evans. Artists and companies already using the platform include CeeLo Green, Ro James, Bridget Sarai, Dontae Winslow, Avehre and the BBC. The platform can be accessed through an iOS or Android mobile app, PC desktop or VR headset. VR content creators can create and manage content using the eyeora studio on a computer, while those consuming the content can verbally chat and move around freely in the metaverse using a mobile VR insert headset or growing number of standalone VR headsets. Basic access is free with advanced subscriptions for creators starting at £9.99 a month. To learn more, watch the video here. The eyeora creative studio consists of: A 3D room editor enabling creators to customise their own VR rooms by uploading digital assets or copying and pasting URLs from online channels. A 360 content editor enabling creators to upload and create 3D 360 video experiences by simply dragging and dropping hotspots in their videos to create a sequence. A hologram editor enabling creators to create and place multiple holograms in their VR Room zones and sync with presentations. A stadium editor enabling creators to create their own immersive concert experience including holograms, stage lighting, cinema screens and crowd animations. Event manager enabling creators can create free or pay per view events and manage attendance and revenue with other creators or partners. About eyeora eyeora is a ground-breaking technology company that is redefining how virtual reality (VR) content is created, shared, experienced and monetised. Driven by a passionate belief in the power of VR to enhance everyday life, eyeora's platform makes the metaverse an affordable, safe and accessible space for everyone to experience and sustain a career in. The only self-managed monetisation platform in the metaverse, eyeora's turnkey studio provides entertainers, athletes, brands, rights holders, influencers, businesses and educators with all the tools they need to create, share and monetise content quickly, easily and cost efficiently, with no technical skills needed. More information can be found here.

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VIRTUALIZATION

Teleperformance Takes the Lead in the Metaverse and Strengthens Its Games Market Leadership

Teleperformance | May 31, 2022

Teleperformance (Paris:TEP), the global leader in outsourced customer and citizen experience management and related digital services, held a new and ground-breaking Games and Esports convention called Teleperformance PXP with more than 500 attendees in person and 80,000 unique streaming viewers across the different channels. The convention featured several panels of experts with discussions on Esports, Games, Metaverse and Web 3.0, and was the stage of the official opening of Teleperformance’s first Global Esports Arena and Metaverse Center of Excellence located in Lisbon, Portugal. This was the venue of an international Esports tournament, where some of the best teams and top players in the world participated. Teleperformance gathered the foremost opinion leaders from all over the world for this memorable convention, where they engaged in live panel discussions with other international experts on Esports, Games, Metaverse, Web 3.0, and more, providing the latest insights on next-generation digital interactions. Eefje “SJOKZ” Depoortere, the host of the event, says: I'm very excited to have been invited to Lisbon for the grand opening of the Esports arena. I'm thrilled at the opportunity to visit the beautiful city, see the great new venue, and meet many of my fans. Thank you Teleperformance. About Teleperformance Group Teleperformance (TEP – ISIN: FR0000051807 – Reuters: TEPRF.PA - Bloomberg: TEP FP), the global leader in outsourced customer and citizen experience management and related digital services, serves as a strategic partner to the world’s largest companies in many industries. It offers a One Office support services model including end-to-end digital solutions, which guarantee successful customer interaction and optimized business processes, anchored in a unique, comprehensive high touch, high tech approach. Nearly 420,000 employees, based in 88 countries, support billions of connections every year in over 265 languages and around 170 markets, in a shared commitment to excellence as part of the “Simpler, Faster, Safer” process. This mission is supported by the use of reliable, flexible, intelligent technological solutions and compliance with the industry’s highest security and quality standards, based on Corporate Social Responsibility excellence. In 2021, Teleperformance reported consolidated revenue of €7,115 million (US$8.4 billion, based on €1 = $1.18) and net profit of €557 million. Teleperformance shares are traded on the Euronext Paris market, Compartment A, and are eligible for the deferred settlement service. They are included in the following indices: CAC 40, STOXX 600, S&P Europe 350 and MSCI Global Standard. In the area of corporate social responsibility, Teleperformance shares are included in the Euronext Vigeo Euro 120 index since 2015, the EURO STOXX 50 ESG index since 2020, the MSCI Europe ESG Leaders index since 2019, the FTSE4Good index since 2018 and the S&P Global 1200 ESG index since 2017.

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VIRTUALIZATION

Metaverse Platform Metarix Announces Diamond Partnership with Tenset

Metarix | May 21, 2022

Metarix, a project that aims to revolutionize the virtual world and provide an interesting and satisfying experience to a huge number of people announces its diamond partnership with one of the most trusted launchpad platforms Tenset.Metarix, a project that aims to revolutionize the virtual world and provide an interesting and satisfying experience to a huge number of people announces its diamond partnership with one of the most trusted launchpad platforms Tenset.The Metarix is a smart contract platform built on its own Layer 2 Blockchain experienced (but not limited to) in its Metaverse. The project is in its early stages of building, currently building its blockchain, followed by metaverse, DEX, NFT marketplace, SDK service, WEB3.0 platform, P2E game, and the other stage 1 production attractions and experiences. The tech industry and financial world are merging into one and it’s happening on the only platform that is sustainable throughout political affiliation, inflation, gender, race, creed, etc.- the blockchain. Throughout the countries of the world, everyone from everywhere is feeling the shakings of uncertainty and instability. Financially speaking, a lot of people are hedging against inflation and even their own local currency for something that is deflationary and has the potential to increase in value over time solely relying on supply and demand to determine market value. It is estimated that only 4% of the world’s population is using cryptocurrency at this moment. Years ago, game developers toyed with the ideas of an open-world concept game, where there was a freedom to roam and interact as the player saw fit. For the first time, there was a bit of freedom in gameplay that attracted millions to that niche of gaming. From RPGs, MMORPGs, GTA’s, etc., the hunger for freedom in the digital world had manifested to a point of creation. That passion for free gameplay, the desire to create beyond the limits of humanity, and the dream of financial freedom and economic stability had a baby- it is called The Metarix. The Metarix is a metaverse built on the foundation of its own Layer 2 Blockchain called the Metarix Chain. The currency of this token and metaverse is MTRX. Diamond Partnership with Tenset Metarix has managed to land a diamond partnership with tenset which is one of the most trusted launchpad platforms. They are launching a presale in partnership with Tenset and few of their products will be launched soon. Metarix is one of the best projects in recent times for being innovative in building a complete decentralized ecosystem for Gaming, NFT's and Metaverse. The Metarix offers a platform that allows other crypto programs, games, NFTs, and decentralized exchanges (DEXs) to run inside or outside its metaverse. But inside, you’ll see islands, properties for sale, houses, beaches, mountains, businesses, attractions, mini-games, concert halls, arcades, shops, NFT marketplace, banks, and software development kits that will be the game development center to help the average joe design his own iteration of the 90’s arcade game he was addicted to, or the teen creating his own viral NFT. Metarix has truly put the power to design and create wealth as the user chooses. Metarix has an NFT marketplace to support the games, music, and NFTs created with the SDKs, as well as a DEX to support the cryptos created via the new games and the games hosted in the Metarix Metaverse. This ecosystem is governed by the MTRX (Metarix Token), which is in Presale starting May 20th. Expect the token launch to happen after all presale events and IEOs. This is a project to keep an eye on. The road map is very ambitious, and the project has a proven development team that can get it done at a high level. Users can connect to the presale page and invest or watch the development unfold before their eyes. Metarix’s website is metarix.network. All inquiries can be made to support@metarix.network. About Metarix METARIX is a decentralized metaverse built on its own layer 2 solution blockchain. Filled with an ecosystem of P2E gaming, functional NFTs, web3 commerce, business endeavors, virtual real estate, concerts, live venues, content creation services & more. The governance METARIX token will be available via PRESALE starting 5/20/2022.

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