April 12, 2023

Paying It Forward: A Belief And A Business Model - Episode 100 Recap of James Heller, CEO of Wrapify

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In this episode 100 guest spotlight recap, host Tim Rowe recaps his interview with James Heller, CEO of Wrapify, the first performance-driven ad platform built on the gig economy and the first three-time Inc 5000 company in OOH.

Check out the original conversation here.

And get dialed in with Part I of Measurement Series - Impression Counting vs Attribution Reporting

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Welcome to OOH Insider, the first podcast made just for media and marketing executives about how to create alchemy in the real world - blending marketing art and marketing science to create brand experiences that drive impact you can measure.

My name is Tim Rowe and for the past three years, I’ve been interviewing industry experts for their unique insight on this topic and today’s recap is of episode 100 with James Heller, CEO of Wrapify, the performance-driven ad platform built on the gig economy and the first 3 time inc 5000 company in OOH

Let me get this one out of the way up front - at some point, we all benefitted from someone giving us a shot, so pay that shit forward.

It’s the natural order of things - givers gain, and for me, almost four years ago James gave me a shot at interviewing him on the very first episode of this podcast. 

Two important footnotes on that: 1) I knew absolutely nothing about OOH and 2) I knew absolutely nothing about how to “do a podcast”

Because of that, well, you and I have been on this journey together and there’s a lot left for us to discover together.

That’s the first key takeaway from not only the episode we’re talking about but also just about James as a person. Eventually, we will all need someone to take a chance on us for one reason or another. Maybe it’s in a professional relationship or maybe it’s in a personal one, but here’s to making a few well-placed bets.

Another thing I’m reminded of by James is that the common thread between everyone I’ve interviewed, executives, founders, thought leaders, anyone excelling at the thing they love most, is that they didn’t quit. They were either to stubborn to stop or too passionate to be turned away, but either way they just kept going.

Regardless of background, upbringing, where they went to school, IF they went to school, how many times they’ve failed or succeeded before, anyone who is excelling at the thing they love has just kept going.

Okay, now into the nitty gritty. At one point James makes a comment about how if as an industry we just focused on conquesting digital ad fraud dollars that we would double or triple the size of the industry. So, I wanted to see for myself how the math checks out and whether or not this could be a viable position for an entire industry (save for programmatic dooh who has their own fraud problem to solve). 

Here’s the math, global estimates for digital ad spend is between $570B and $660B for 2023.

Ad fraud impacts different digital ad formats differently, but the 10% figure seems to be a conservative estimate everyone can agree on. That means, that $57-66B is going to end up as waste this year.

But that case isn’t strong enough by itself. It’s emotionally engaging, frustrating for sure, so let’s balance that emotion with a bit of logic.

Let’s pretend you have an ad budget of $100 and that you are committed to a 100% digital ad strategy. Off the top you know that $10 of that is straight waste, so pull out a tenner and light it on fire. That means you’re spending $90 of your $100 on reaching real people. Awesome. Now this doesn’t much matter if all of your competitors are using the same strategy. Everyone is being impacted about the same, but let’s pretend you’re actually not interested in being the same as everyone else and you want to capture your unfair share of the market.

Still using that $100 ad budget, you peel $10 off the top for OOH and spend the other $90 on your digital strategy. You still take the same 10% fraud whack on that $90, which is $9, so $90 becomes $81. You know that your $10 of OOH is fraud free because, well, there are only real people in the real world, with the exception being the occassional NPC. $10 OOH investment plus your $81 of digital after fraud = $91 effective ad dollars on that original $100 budget.

“It’s only $1 difference, what’s the big deal?”

It’s actually a 1% difference, and without getting into how it makes your digital ad strategy work better and yield a higher return on a pure ad spend basis, what’s the value of 1% extra a month?

This is called “the aggregation of marginal gains”  and is more simply thought of as compounding interest. 1% better than your competitor each month for 12 months? Well now you’re THAT much further ahead.

This fits really well with something you know I’m big into which is this idea that “allocation is the new optimization” so take that one. I’ll expand on that idea in some separate content which application to both a local and enterprise use case and how to introduce that idea in different settings.

Which dovetails nicely into another point that James makes which is really important to consider which is who the decision makers are. As we go into the next 3-5 years, increasingly more of the marketing decision makers will have only known a world with the internet, with programmatic digital as it is online, with measurement having a particular meaning to do with attribution and a feedback loop. How is your organization bridging the gap on that conversation? Are you skating to the puck?

Think about how different the meaning of just two words are from an online to real world perspective - “programmatic measurement”. On the internet, that means measuring my channel spend to a cost per action or acquisition. In OOH that could mean a dsps slick targeting, it could mean how we count impressions for programmatic planning, it could mean attribution, it could mean a lot of things. That’s the challenge and if you’re listening to this podcast then it’s likely something you’re already doing or thinking about, but ready or not, it’s here.

Which again is a perfect segue into another pain point for a lot of folks, which is how OOH media value is determined. Now it wasn’t the topic we were talking about directly, but it is absolutely the takeaway for me, that those same marketers who grew up in the digital ad world, they want to play with OOH. And why wouldn’t you? It’s the ultimate creative canvas, regardless of what generation of marketing you grew up or practice in. 

So how do we help more brands to consider budget allocation differently? How do we give more marketers the coolest toolbox in marketing that oh by the way, drives results like crazy, how do we do that?

Well, when you’re able to have bottom funnel conversations with advertisers about how OOH contributed to their bottom-line business metrics, the KPIstheycare about, it becomes less about the media COST and more about the media opportunity - whether that be to lower the overall CAC, or to gobble up marketshare, so long as the math makes sense that when I put $1 in I get $3 out, the CPM doesn’t matter a whole lot, but to get there, it means really stepping up the conversation about Measurement and Attribution.

So, if you’re looking for more content on that topic, I’ll link to Part I of a multi-part blog series that when all is said and done will be the most complete source on the topic.

And we’ve had an amazing crowdswell of momentum and support since the conference two weeks ago so as an order of housekeeping, I’d like to help anyone new here get sorted on our layout of things.

The home for everything is theoohinsider.com there you will find every episode, video, or blog I’ve produced as a part of this platform. Once you’re there, there are a few ways to get in touch and stay in touch. First is by subscribing to our email list. That’s pretty prevalent on the right hand side of just about every page on the website. Second is by subscribing on whatever platform you love listening to podcasts on so you know as soon as there is a new episode (sometimes I am behind a day on the email, I try not to clog up too much of your inbox, so definitely encourage you to subscribe which will be linked in the show notes too). I also want to draw your attention to a feature on the website that I’m really excited to start getting some use out of and that’s the microphone button. You can send me a message directly with that, about anything. It could be a question, a comment, a guest suggestion. Really I’d love to field some ofyourquestions and maybe we can even turn it into an ask me anything style segment in future episodes, I think that’d be a lot of fun.

Okay and last thing for today, again for anyone new, we use a bit of an unorthodox organization system with the seasons of the podcast. There are three primary types of content you can expect here. One are these great guest recap episodes of long form conversations distilled into the key nuggets that stand out to me. The other are the long form conversations those originate from, we call those guest spotlights. Those are industry executives, founders, thought leaders, really it’s the folks I want to learn from the most and are most available to me in my network at the given time. Lastly are OpEd style thought pieces where you and I explore different concepts or go deeper on an idea that is particularly important. So season 1 are the guest spotlights, season 2 are the recaps, and season 3 are the OpEd style episodes that don’t fit in either of those buckets.

And if you’re one of the growing companies in OOH who is hiring OR someone in OOH who is looking to write their next chapter in a growing company, then I encourage you to check out double o hired dot com, the first completely free career marketplace just for OOH, powered by OOH Insider. You can get to OOHired.com from theoohinsider.com too now, so one centralized jumping off point if you want to get started.

All right, that’s it for today. Remember, share of voice equals share of mind and share of mind equals share of market so when you have something to say, make it count.