Scott Swanson is currently the President of Global Ad Sales at Opera Mediaworks, the world’s leading mobile advertising platform. Prior to Opera Mediaworks, Swanson founded Mobile Theory, consulting firm 47 Media, and was the GM and VP at Glam Media. The Makegood recently spoke with Swanson about Opera Mediawork’s acquisition of Mobile Theory.
The Makegood: With Opera Mediawork’s acquisition of Mobile Theory, you became President of Global Ad Sales at Opera Mediaworks. How was the transition from CEO of Mobile Theory to President of Global Ad Sales? How will your role differ in this position?
At Mobile Theory, my position largely involved expanding the company’s leadership in the US, and we were able to do so by focusing on developing deep partnerships with mobile publishers and app developers. And I’ll always view building intimate relationships as part of my responsibility. In that sense, the transition to my new role has been smooth, especially as Mahi (Mahi de Silva, CEO, Opera Mediaworks) and I are so closely aligned on the company’s overall vision. There’s one thing I couldn’t be more thrilled about—since I joined Opera Mediaworks, my role has really taken on the world stage. We have several global acquisitions under our belt with fantastic mobile ad networks: Mobile Theory, 4th Screen (UK), Hunt (Latin America) and apprupt (Germany). We can have large-scale conversations with brands like Samsung and Coca-Cola about innovative mobile marketing solutions that reach their most important emerging markets. I’ve always been passionate about ad creative, so this role just brings me closer to what I love about our industry.
The Makegood: The acquisition was logical, since Opera Mediaworks powers the mobile ad economy. What are the services that Mobile Theory provides, and how do they add to Opera’s performance?
Mobile Theory was first and foremost a relationship and service business. We built our reputation on exceptional client service and quick turnaround times. After the acquisition, we were merged with the tech platform that underlies all of Mediaworks today, AdMarvel — the mobile ad server and platform, that was acquired by Opera in 2010. That gave us the opportunity to combine know-how, great client service and creative capabilities with powerful mobile ad-targeting technology, and that is when things really began to take off for our businesses.
The Makegood: What sort of strategy will you implement in order to most efficiently and effectively sell ads globally?
I’ve got a few mantras. The first is one for how we want to work with ad agencies: as partners, not vendors. We’re not in the market to sell ads, we’re in the market to create solutions and take advantage of all that mobile advertising makes available. The second is that I would like Opera to be seen as the undisputed thought leader in mobile advertising by the end of 2014. That means we are being smart, innovative and thoughtful. We aim to do a great job with research and case studies that really help to move the industry forward.
The Makegood: Will you be working on any projects that seem to be a continuation of your role as CEO at Mobile Theory? Are you excited for any particular projects in your future?
The entire executive team and entire sales, ad ops, account management and support teams have all decided to stay on and join me in this next chapter — going global! At the beginning of this year, though, we took a few of our more product-focused tech people, including the former CTO of Mobile Theory, and launched our new Innovation Labs. This is a five-person team focused exclusively on working with agencies to develop first-to-market mobile ad products that will inspire clients with the full potential of mobile advertising. We think innovation has to come from all sides: client, agency and the “publisher” (us), so we’ll be putting a tremendous amount of focus on our innovation team.
The Makegood: What do you see for the future of the company as a whole? Are you looking forward to any new developments?
Opera is the only mobile advertising tech company that is profitable and more than 17% of all display mobile ad traffic globally goes through our plaform. That means we can continue to do acquisitions and add fantastic new talent and technology to our team. We just completed the acquisition of apprupt and we constantly on the lookout for new great companies to add to the Opera family. I’m sure you’ll see very cool things from our Innovation Lab. See, it’s hard to buy things on your mobile device today. I believe that Apple and Google will soon make it the easiest device to buy with. Using fingerprint technology and their vast troves of credit card data, imagine how mobile advertising will be revolutionized when people can purchase simply by touching their thumb to their phone? It will be revolutionary, and will lead to a massive influx of spend as marketers will be able to attribute marketing directly to sales.
The Makegood: Thank you, Scott.