“Any ‘off’ media is intended to go hand-in-hand with mobile media.” Alvaro del Castillo, Founder & CEO of TAPTAP
Source: La Publicidad
The growth of TAPTAP, as well as the programmatic advertising ecosystem, is the central theme of this conversation with Álvaro del Castillo, Founder & CEO of TAPTAP. The company, already present in eight markets and with representation in six others, has focused on the mobile as the media par excellence in terms of advertising and as a source of data.
In which countries is TAPTAP currently operating?
TAPTAP currently has its own offices in seven markets, Spain, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Argentina, Mexico and the United States. We also have commercial representation in Italy, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Panama and Uruguay.
What expansion plans do you have?
Our growth is organic and international expansion is defined by operational results. Our vision is very long term, and with no rush. In this way we’ve opened six international subsidiaries since 2015, and today we’re a multinational company. More than half of our team is outside of Spain, as well as our sources of income. We’ll continue opening new markets at the same rhythm. In fact, in January 2019, we started operations with our own new subsidiary in Portugal, and there are already concrete plans for new openings in other countries throughout 2019.
How are they operating abroad, and how has the expansion developed since the birth of TAPTAP?
One of our characteristics as a company is the scalability of our technology and therefore of the solutions we offer. It’s almost an obsession in TAPTAP to develop technology that can be easily replicated in any part of the globe. Each new market, as it grows, certain skills are acquired to offer the best possible local service, but the technology and solutions we offer are the same in all markets. Today we have operations teams in Madrid, Bogotá and Mexico City. At the same time, another of our obsessions is that in everything we devise, once we see that it acquires traction in the market, it has to end up on our Sonata platform. We’re a company with our own product and we’re very proud of it. And therefore, we offer our clients several ways of working based on their needs. It’s this flexibility that allows us to have more than 400 traders operating directly on the platform, others connected via API, and at the same time many others for which we manage their operations internally in TAPTAP.
How has the company evolved from its birth to becoming what it is today?
TAPTAP has evolved a lot since 2010, but the fundamentals remain the same. The commitment from the beginning was to invest in our own technology to provide differentiation and adaptability in an ultra-competitive market, and this continues to this day. Personally, I think one of the turning points in TAPTAP was the injection of capital from Nauta Capital in 2012. Their commitment to TAPTAP not only validated the project, but also helped to base the transformation of TAPTAP to what it is today. Our focus on the application of location intelligence to advertising, along with our ability to implement value-added solutions in a scalable way through our Sonata platform, makes us unique. All our solutions start and end in Sonata, which allows us to grow in a controlled and consistent way globally. That’s why the evolution in TAPTAP is constant and intense, and being a company that reinvents itself over its own product means that the pace of learning and knowledge we get from the adtech/ artech sector is very high.
How is the advertising ecosystem seen now? How are you coping?
The growth of the digital advertising market in general continues to rise, and especially for TAPTAP. Since 2010, we’ve been experts in advertising in the mobile medium, and we’re already seeing how the medium is becoming the first digital medium in investment, and the second medium in investment behind TV. We’ve been preparing for this moment for almost a decade, and we’re very excited to see that our commitment to innovation providing unique solutions in the mobile environment will continue in full swing for many years. The mobile medium is by far the fastest growing advertising investment, but it’s not a watertight environment. The omnichannel that every advertiser yearns for, as well as the union of the advertising sector with that of marketing, is catalyzed via the smartphone and therefore, with a product consolidated between adtech and martech, we’re inventing the future with our customers. This is coupled with the imperative need to unite the physical and digital world to offer global results on the return of investment in marketing or advertising. We’ve been preaching this vision since 2012, and with Sonata, the union of adtech and martech becomes tangible at the same time as the off and the on.
In October we celebrated the DOOH Forum. What role does mobile and TAPTAP play in this area?
It’s natural, any “off” medium is destined to go hand-in-hand with the mobile medium. OOH is perhaps one of the first off media where we see the synergies more apparent. Since 2015, TAPTAP has been developing the OOH-Mobile business based on the technology provided by Sonata. We’re contributing geospatial intelligence in the profiling of outdoor audiences to help a correct and efficient OOH campaign planning. We’re also dynamizing in real time the advertising of the external environment based on the audiences present in each circuit. Finally, we’re measuring the omnichannel attribution of the medium where the positive correlation between OOH and the mobile medium is evident. There’s an empirical need in the advertising market, and especially for traditional media, to prove their net contribution to the media mix. The OOH-Mobile tandem is leading the traditional digitalization, and will be the model to be followed by the rest of the off media.
How does Sonata work and what does it contribute to advertisers?
Sonata is a global platform that uses the mobile medium as a source of intelligence for audience profiling, the contextual activation of digital campaigns, and the measurement of attribution in both the physical and the digital world. Sonata is tangible, it’s a platform where everything we say is seen and touched because technology exists. The details are many and impossible to detail here, but in general Sonata is mobile-centric, real time, transparent, hyper-local intelligence, sophisticated but easy, connects marketing and advertising, physical and digital, data-driven, flexible, globally scalable and, above all, aligned with the business objectives of advertisers. It’s an advertising platform that saw the light for the first time in 2013, and on which many millions of euros have been invested in a very efficient way. It started as a mobile DSP (Demand Side Platform) that’s been getting more sophisticated and growing according to the needs of our customers. Sonata today incorporates different modules for the definition and profiling of audiences, DMP, (Data Management Platform) based on specific objectives
of the client, activation modules of campaigns in digital media (not only the smartphone) offering multiple advertising formats such as video and audio that change in real time through DCO (Dynamic Creative Optimization) depending on the context of the audience at the moment of impact. BI modules (Business Intelligence) that are connected to the CRM of the advertisers. Sonata also incorporates complex multi-variable optimization services based on real-time machine learning techniques that make it easier to manage and optimize campaigns.
How is the user protected from the “fear” or worry of “What’s done with their data?” How have you dealt with the new data protection law (RGPD)?
TAPTAP is an active member of the IAB and the GDPR Transparency & Consent Framework with which we help define and follow the guidelines and best practices that are defined in the industry. Many times, we’re asked the question of whether the GDPR is good or bad for our business. In my opinion the GDPR has succeeded in establishing clearer expectations about what we all think is common sense but had not been established as a norm. That is, you have to ask for consent in a clear way, you have to explain why data is wanted, you have to explain whether or not business will be done with the data and with whom. Things that we all understand as users and that the industry can’t ignore. Therefore, personally, and from TAPTAP, we advocate transparency, and above all, clarity in standards that must be equal for all.
Which advertisers are you currently working with?
TAPTAP works for big brands that look for tangible results in the achievement of business objectives. The automotive, retail, travel, finance, CPG, entertainment and luxury sectors are the most active. Anyone who wants to take traffic to a point of sale, whether digital or physical, is a potential customer, and we work with thousands of major brands annually in all our markets.
How do you try to drive advertising in data-based media?
Sonata incorporates a DCO (Dynamic Creative Optimizer) that’s able to take into account dozens of different variables to change advertising in real time as dictated by context and user profile. Creativity is key in advertising, it’s the achievement of all the analysis prior to the activation of a campaign and is the starting point in the post-activation evaluation. We usually do campaigns with various types of ads that change in real time depending on whether the user is male or female, whether they’re young or old, depending on their interests or the context, if it’s raining, if it’s hot or cold, if the stock market goes up or down, levels of pollution, pollen, and on and on. Dynamic ads really work, but often we’re limited by too rigid advertising guidelines that don’t make it possible to dynamize the ads based on who’s watching it.
What kind of profiles are the most demanded now to work in a company like yours?
Technical specialists and campaign data analysts with a solid technological base are our most relevant needs. We’ve evolved into being a company that’s based on the analysis of information and therefore many of our incorporations tend to be profiles with a high technical level.
What expectations do you have for the end of the year, and what’s your forecast for the future?
We’re closing 2018 with the best result in TAPTAP’s history. We’re growing by double digits in Europe and the Americas and well above the market average. But above all, we’re doing so having established an efficient and profitable growth model. We also have a differentiating product that, due to being scalable, allows us to perceive greater successes in 2019, where we’ll maintain organic double-digit growth as we open new markets. The TAPTAP team must be very proud of what’s been achieved to date and without a doubt we thank all our clients for the support and daily challenges they provide us.
“Regarding the GDPR in TAPTAP, we advocate transparency and, above all, clarity in standards that must be the same for everyone.”