FreakOut Global COO, Adtech
Narayan Murthy Ivaturi has over 15 years of experience in Revenue Leadership Roles with various AdTech companies. He has held a vast array of positions across several notable global companies like Yahoo, WPP and also played revenue and strategy roles with young entrepreneur led startups. In a career spanning across APAC and international markets, Narayan gained in-depth experience in Client Management, Sales, Media Planning, Strategic Planning and M&A.
His established and diverse career began in India with DDB in client servicing and brand management, which included television production, packaging, printing, market visits and brand planning. When the digital wave swept across the industry, Narayan embraced it early in his career with TribalDDB and handled various digital projects and multi-faceted campaigns including mobile-specific ones. He then joined one of the world’s largest AdTech companies of its time, Yahoo, as part of their performance team. He specialized in both brand and performance digital campaigns across several categories including travel, classifieds, jobs andreal estate. Narayan then took on a major challenge by joining a young but powerful mobile company Vserv, and quickly rose to the ranks of VP – Global Revenue, managing offices across SEA, Middle East, US & UK.
In 2016, Narayan moved to Singapore as the Head of Mobile and New Technology for Mindshare Asia Pacific. In this role, he worked on Integrated Mobile Marketing strategies, connecting physical and digital realms seamlessly with technology innovations like Surfaces and Wearables. Commerce has been an integral part of the journey in connecting the users to their logical goal of purchase, and Narayan worked with Mindshare’s existing clients on enabling e-commerce for their brands, including working with leading e-retailers in the region.
In his remit as a Global Chief Operating Officer, Adtech Business for FreakOut, Narayan works with all 19 local market teams across the globe on business strategy, programmatic, supply, sales, technology and new business growth. Narayan is also a part of the M&A team for FreakOut Adtech Group lead by the CEO, and he additionally looks after the group’s existing investment portfolio.
Narayan began working at the age of 19 selling vacuum cleaners. Although the job wasn’t as glamorous as media, he had a greater goal. He stayed the course, and was awarded the mantle of “Star Sales Person”. With the money he saved, Narayan funded a portion of his MBA degree. It was while pursuing his MBA that Narayan was introduced to media during a guest lecture – and it was love at first “impression”.
Subsequently, an internship at FCB India was followed by a larger role at Mudra DDB, where Narayan worked on campaigns for major FMCG brands. After four years of branding experience, Narayan entered Digital as South India Business Head for Tribal DDB.
It has been a rollercoaster ride ever since – from web to mobile to finally, unlocking the programmatic puzzle. While mobile remains his core specialty, a holistic understanding of the digital marketing ecosystem has enabled Narayan to establish himself as a revenue leader and trailblazer, managing offices across US, UK, South Africa, Middle East, India, and SEA.
Across his inspiring journey, the secret to Narayan’s success is that he has always considered himself a student, fuelled by curiosity, in the ever-evolving media and technology ecosystem.
Mobile advertising has certainly come a long way from the days of small invisible banners, many involuntary clicks, bad user experiences to richer media and highly engaging ad solutions. This has happened due to multiple technologies like better screens, HTML5 and higher internet speeds. There are many more developments occurring in the world of mobile advertising that are going to have long lasting effects on it. Some of the key ones that are definitely going to make an impact are as follows:
AR & VR – With better and efficient cameras in phones and higher data speeds, the virtual and augmented experience for users is growing very rapidly today and this ushers in a new wave of content producers to feed AR and VR devices and apps and as a result, more advertising opportunities.
Voice Search – One device that is constantly present with the user is his/her phone. With SIRI, Google Home, Amazon Alexa getting more and more popular, people are often using voice to search and interact with devices. This trend again is going to see a lot of opportunities for brands to become more relevant in the user journey. We believe there will be a rise of audio ads in the days to come.
Chat Bots – With more data available for brands about their consumers, chat bots are going to grow more with a higher level of personalization, especially in areas like customer care, feedback and grievance redressal.
Mobile will also see an unprecedented growth in programmatic advertising that would be enabled by technologies like header-bidding and better data availability.
We, at FreakOut, believe that programmatic buying would be the future of all advertising – not just mobile or desktop, but also DOOH, OTT and TV. We have been investing in technology and companies that provide a differentiated approach and deliver a better experience to our clients. Some parts of our Native and Video inventory are already available through programmatic and this year we are aiming for 100% of access through programmatic either through PMPs or Open RTB channels.
FreakOut’s approach has always been to deliver more engaging formats like Native and Video. Our primary product across the 3000 odd publishers that we work with is Native Ads. With CSS customization, our ads look and feel closest to content layout and color scheme, hence delivering a seamless user experience and higher engagement. Even in video, our outstream video solution delivers a rich experience and higher completion rates. Many global brands work with us on these key deliverables and continue to increase their association with us across the 19 global markets that we are present in.
Transparency is a big motivation, I talk about my successes and failures openly.
My first advice would be to improve your knowledge. There are many new technologies and ways to execute digital campaigns that are emerging around adtech and if we don’t keep ourselves updated, a new wave of people will make us redundant. Try and allocate 20% of your time for learning something new and innovative that will make a difference in the near future.
Be Original, Be Realistic, Be Bold
To write a book, and make my company a global force to reckon with.
A big programmatic video and native launch across the global markets.
To choose people first and organization next.
Thought of the Day:
“Every accomplishment begins with the decision to try”. I really believe in a leap of faith with people and businesses.
Most used App?
Slack – my day starts and ends with slack.
What Else to Know?
I owe a big part of my success to my Wife Asha and my kids – Varsha and Rishi.
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