Insider’s View: Ad Tech & MarTech Q&A With David Brown [Part 6]


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Have you ever purchased something online and then seen an ad for that same product afterwards? The team at Adavow are fixing that.

And we caught up with the man behind it all – David Brown, Founder & Chief Exec – for our latest installment of Insider’s View: Ad Tech & MarTech Q&A.

David is no stranger to startups – he’s played a key role in the growth and development of a number of eCommerce and data analytics startups for over 2 decades. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and follow Adavow on Twitter.

1. Can you tell us a little bit more about your expertise in the Ad Tech/MarTech industry?

I come from a web analytics background where I’ve spent the better part of the last decade helping large brands measure and interpret data related to their websites and online campaigns. I also spent a few years working with publishers around copyright protection and live content publishing.

Currently, I run a startup called Adavow where we reduce the amount of wasted ads served to consumers who have recently made a purchase, and I’m also one of the co-organisers of AdTech Meetup London — the world’s largest meetup dedicated to ad tech with over 1,550 members.

2. What specifically does your company do, and how does it fit into the larger digital marketing picture?

Adavow is a data-aggregation platform that takes metadata from online purchases and turns it into segments that advertisers and ad networks use to exclude users who have recently purchased a similar item. By eliminating wasted impressions, advertisers are able to increase their base click-through rate (CTR), which leads to more conversions and ultimately more revenue.

Our system is platform agnostic — we do not have any preference for any advertiser, ad network or agency — and sits as a ‘black box’ between the various ad networks and retargeters sharing information without revealing sensitive advertiser information.

3. What types of technology platforms (data analytics, media buying, etc.) do you use every day to meet your job demands?

We use web analytics (GA & Piwik PRO) for our corporate website and standard SQL data analytics for our internal systems.

We’re not doing any media buying at the moment, but will certainly look into the usual platforms, such as AdWords, and display advertising as we begin to scale.

4. What do you see as the single most disruptive force coming to the world of Ad Tech/MarTech?

As a startup, we go to and participate in A LOT of pitch events and the one trend that we’ve noticed is ‘intent marketing’. It’s still early days, but as the concept grows in popularity I believe we’ll start to see some very interesting companies coming along that will be able to very accurately determine user intent and serve relevant ads at the right time. Of course, there will be a corresponding need for a platform like ours to ensure that once the users have converted, other advertisers stop targeting the ‘old’ intent.

5. What are in your opinion the biggest challenges that the Ad Tech/MarTech industry face?

We believe that over the next few years, data ownership will become a huge concern for brands. Data privacy rules are already tightening and data ownership will follow. There are already a few organisations focused on shifting data ownership rules from companies (who collect and store customer information) back to consumers (who don’t get any real value from giving away their data). The effect of this is that companies will no longer be allowed to collect and store user information — even for their customers.

For example, customers will no longer be required to register with companies – companies will have to register with users and will only be allowed to access specific information. Some users may only make their data available if companies are willing to pay for it each time it’s used.

6. There are thousands of companies in the Ad Tech/MarTech industry and the whole ecosystem gets more complex every year. Do you have any recommendations for marketers how to navigate this space and choose the right vendors?

I think the best way to navigate all the choices is to understand your strategy and what you’re trying to accomplish before thinking about tools and vendors. Stick to the ones that support your particular set of challenges. It’s easy to fall into the trap of looking at all the new things coming out and thinking, “maybe we should try that”. Understand your business, have clear goals, find the tools that solve your issues and don’t get distracted.

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