- Business Insider named 10 advertising executives to its list of 100 people transforming business.
- They include a direct-to-consumer visionary, TV advertising power player, and the CMO behind whacky ad campaigns.
- See the full list of the 100 people transforming business here.
The $221 billion US ad industry is being upended by the rise of digital ad giants, fragmented consumer attention, and marketers’ ever-increasing pressure for results.
We identified 10 visionaries who are disrupting established sectors from the outside or transforming legacy ones from within. Read on to see the full list of 10 people transforming advertising.
Profiles compiled by Tanya Dua, Abby Jackson, Lauren Johnson, and Lucia Moses.
Colleen Aubrey, the global VP of performance advertising at Amazon, is charged with winning over big brands
Colleen Aubrey is taking on the duopoly.
The long-time Amazon employee helps advertisers understand Amazon’s sprawling array of ad formats and e-commerce tactics. Aubrey is especially focused on persuading big brands to advertise on Amazon by offering them better measurement and discovery tools.
The goal is to combat the digital ad dominance of Facebook and Google, which together gobbled 57.7% of US digital ad budgets in 2018, according to Pivotal Research. Amazon had a 4.1% share.
"Amazon has done a really great job in solving shopping for products, and we haven’t really cracked the code on how customers shop and build affinity for brands," Aubrey told Business Insider.
In one example, she’s rolled out a feature called Stores, which marketers use to design and merchandise their own digital storefronts and view stats like traffic and sales. She’s also working to get brands to adopt a metric called new to brand, which measures the number of people who purchased a brand for the first time in one year as a result of seeing an ad.
Randy Freer, the CEO at Hulu, has grown Hulu faster than any other streaming service
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
We’re living in a world with more ways to watch TV than ever.
But even with all that competition and little more than a year on the job, Hulu CEO Randy Freer grew Hulu faster than any other streaming service in 2018, adding 8 million customers, a nearly 50% increase.
Hulu’s grown by leaning more heavily into original programming like "The Handmaid’s Tale" and "Castle Rock" and tinkering with price structures, most recently dropping the ad-supported service to $5.99 a month from $7.99.
The pricing change will drive even more growth according to experts who say ad revenue will balloon to $2.7 billion by 2021, up from $1.5 billion in 2018.
Hulu is still operating at a loss, and with roughly 25 million subscribers it still lags behind Netflix’s 58 million US customers. But Freer expects Hulu to grow even more in 2019 than it did in 2018, and wants to see Hulu get to 50 million subscribers to cement its streaming dominance.
"This is still a business where you need to scale in order to be competitive," Freer told Business Insider.
Tara Walpert Levy, the VP of agency solutions for Google and YouTube, is keeping controversy-shy advertisers on YouTube
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
YouTube has its eyes set on TV, and it’s Tara Walpert Levy who will be pitching advertisers to buy YouTube ads through big upfront deals again this spring.
Walpert Levy spearheads Google’s relationships with advertisers and third parties that marketers use to vet YouTube’s measurement and tweak creative. As more consumers stream video content on smart TVs, YouTube is pushing advertisers to invest digital and TV budgets into the platform.
"Networks aren’t so much the gatekeepers to what is the hottest content right now — it’s the viewers themselves who are determining what matters and influences culture," she told Business Insider.
Along the way, she’s had to deal with brand-safety concerns of ads appearing next to objectionable content. But Walpert Levy has gotten YouTube’s biggest advertisers like P&G and AT&T to return to the platform by explaining changes that the Google-owned site is making, like using machine learning to weed out offensive comments.
- P&G has overhauled how it works with agencies, reducing media waste by 20% and saving upwards of $1 billion in agency and production fees
- The former CEO of ad-tech company Undertone is building a ‘mini Accenture’ for direct-to-consumer brands, and just made another big acquisition
- Seeking nominations for the most innovative chief marketing officers in the world 2019