Tapjoy’s Steve Wadsworth thinks mobile ads are driving a creative resurgence unseen since the 1960s.

Tapjoy’s Steve Wadsworth is quite a busy guy. He’s actively transitioning from CEO to Chairman of the Board, but that hasn’t stopped him from sharing new thoughts about a major resurgence of ad creative — something Steve believes was inevitable thanks to mobile technologies.

“When the internet came along in the 1990s, advertisers saw it as a chance to reach more consumers more cost-effectively than ever before,” Steve explained in a recent Forbes article. “Advertising became more about volume and efficiency than branding and creativity, and as programmatic automation took over, as it has throughout the last decade, that divide only deepened.”

To Steve, this dynamic was a stark contrast to the Mad Men-styled golden age of advertising in the 1950s and 60s. Brands had far more freedom to experiment with ad creative, and while not every advertisement worked, those that did were engaging and memorable.

Yet Steve’s experiences with Tapjoy led him to believe a new golden age is underway. While his full article explores this trend in detail, we’d like to highlight a few key examples:

Smartphone hardware opens new technological possibilities

The standard magazine or television set doesn’t come with touchscreens, accelerometers, or gyroscopes. Yet the standard smartphone includes all of these technologies — and in the hands of advertisers, they are remarkable creative tools.

“There remains a blue-sky opportunity for marketers willing to push technical boundaries to develop high-impact, high-engagement ads for their products,” Steve says. “It takes an intimate understanding of brand identity and a comprehensive grasp of technology. But that particular combination is becoming more common as a growing number of digital-first millennials grow in their careers, bringing with them a wealth of environmental knowledge that can be brought to bear on the modern advertising landscape.”

More creative formats, more creative flexibility

Mobile advertising is unique because advertisers do not have to rely on a single creative format. Interactive videos, rich media, playables, and other creatives can all be used alongside each other and target specific audiences.

“When consumers can tap, swipe, pinch, flip and do a number of other maneuvers with their screens to interact with ad content, there’s no end to the ways that advertisers can engage their audiences,” Steve notes. “And while some advertisers are using rich media ads in basic yet effective ways, such as to showcase a carousel of their product images, others are using them to offer mini-games and other types of unique content experiences that are so engaging they almost don’t feel like ads.”

TV is passive, but mobile apps drive interaction

The vast majority of advertising was passively consumed until quite recently. With the debut of new creative formats mentioned above, the interactive potential of advertising has grown immensely.

“With mobile about to surpass TV for consumers’ time spent, apps are becoming a primary vehicle for ad delivery,” Steve explains. “While TV is a completely passive experience, mobile apps — and mobile games in particular — require consumers to interact with the content, making it a much more active, engaging experience. We’ve found that mobile gamers are nearly twice as likely to feel engaged and three times as likely to feel focused when compared to users of social media apps.”

You can read the full article for more of Steve’s thoughts, but one thing is clear: we’ve only just scratched the surface of what mobile ad creative can accomplish.

What is ROAS, and what does it mean for your marketing campaign’s success? Find out in our latest article!

Tapjoy is proud to announce that our Chief Revenue Officer Shannon Jessup has been named “Mobile Growth Leader of the Year” by mBolden, an organization that aims to champion women in leadership positions working in the mobile, digital, and tech industries. The award was issued at Mobile Growth Summit in San Francisco, CA, earlier this week.

In nearly a decade at Tapjoy, Shannon’s hard work and dedication have been integral to our success. Her formidable knowledge and skill, particularly in sales and operations, are matched by her inspiring leadership. Shannon truly cares about her team and has been a joy to work with. This award is well-deserved, and the entire team at Tapjoy is very proud.

Mobile Growth Leader of the Year was one of only four awards mBolden gave out at MGS; the others were the Champion of Women Award, Rising Star Award, and People’s Choice Award. Shannon is in great company among the other inspiring winners: Miriam Aguirre, SVP of Engineering at Skillz esports; Taylor Gobar, Senior User Acquisition Manager at Hopper; and Sheryl Tullis, Head of Marketing and Communication at TA Group Holdings (and former Co-President at mBolden).

Mobile Growth Summit in San Francisco is an annual event that drew about 1,500 attendees in 2019, according to its website. The summit is billed as “the world’s largest mobile growth conference,” and MGS also hosts other events worldwide throughout the year.

Once again, Tapjoy would like to congratulate Shannon on being named the Mobile Growth Leader of the Year, as well as all of the women showing extraordinary leadership in the mobile and tech industries.

Former Chief Product Officer takes over as CEO while Steve Wadsworth transitions to Chairman of the Board

This week we announced Jeff Drobick as our new President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Drobick takes over for Steve Wadsworth, who transitions from his role as CEO to Chairman of Tapjoy’s Board of Directors.

Jeff Drobick has served as Chief Product Officer (CPO) of Tapjoy since 2013, driving the company’s overall product vision and strategy while overseeing its product management, design, engineering, devops and data science teams. Prior to Tapjoy, Drobick served as CEO of Geeknet Media and also spent nearly 12 years at eBay, where he held technology positions such as Vice President of Customer Service Technology and Vice President of IMD & Product Development. Prior to eBay, he spent nearly 8 years in Accenture’s global technology practice.

As Tapjoy’s CPO, Drobick worked closely with Wadsworth to lead the company through a period of tremendous innovation. He helped establish the company as the leader in mobile opt-in, value exchange advertising and claim significant market share in the areas of app monetization, rewarded video, rich media and programmatic advertising. Drobick’s appointment to CEO ensures a seamless transition and continued oversight of the product initiatives and commercial outreach fueling Tapjoy’s momentum.

“It is a great honor to follow in Steve’s footsteps as we continue to drive innovation and growth for mobile publishers seeking better monetization and advertisers seeking a highly engaged audience,” said Drobick. “We have a great leadership team and passionate employees helping our customers reach about 800 million consumers every month. That’s pretty remarkable, and the partnership across our commercial, technical and functional teams is a key driver behind the results. I’m also excited to continue working with Steve as Chairman, and as CEO I will carry forward our mission, vision and values for our customers and shareholders.”

Steve Wadsworth has served as CEO of Tapjoy since 2012. He was previously President of Disney Interactive Media Group and SVP & Chief Financial Officer of Walt Disney Internet Group. Wadsworth oversaw the company’s successful acquisitions of 5ROCKS, a mobile marketing automation and analytics company, and Tapdaq, an advertising mediation and app monetization platform. During his tenure, Tapjoy was named one of the “World’s Most Innovative” companies by Fast Company, and the company has experienced accelerating revenue growth and more than two years of expanding profitability.

“I am very proud of what the team has accomplished over the years as we established ourselves as a leader in mobile advertising and app monetization,” said Wadsworth. “The ecosystem is maturing rapidly, and with Tapjoy poised to release a number of new innovations, now is the right time for Jeff to take over. He is a great leader with exceptional vision, and he was the obvious choice to serve as our next CEO. I have the fullest confidence in him and the team to continue driving the industry forward and creating value for all of our customers, partners and stakeholders.”

Wadsworth will take over as Chairman from Warren Jenson, who was elected as Tapjoy’s Non-Executive Chairman in 2013 and will remain as an independent Board Member. Jenson is currently President, CFO and Executive MD of International at LiveRamp. He previously has held senior leadership positions at Electronic Arts, Amazon.com and National Broadcasting Company (NBC).

Jenson said, “Jeff’s promotion to CEO is a natural progression for the company as we look to capitalize on its success. The Board and I have 100 percent confidence that Jeff’s leadership and ability to execute make him the perfect person to help Tapjoy generate positive returns for all stakeholders while delivering innovative advertising and app monetization products to the market. We are extremely grateful for Steve’s significant contributions over the last several years, and we are delighted that he will continue to lend his expertise as Chairman of the Board.”

We also announced the promotions and expanded responsibilities of several executives, including Shannon Jessup to Global Chief Revenue Officer; Benjamin Chen to SVP & GM, Global Developer Relations; Sarah Chafer to SVP, Global Performance; Emily McInerney to Global VP of Marketing; Surendra Pathak to SVP of Platform Engineering and Moonsik Kang to SVP of Engineering.


Tapjoy Appoints Jeff Drobick Chief Executive Officer was originally published in Tapjoy on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Meet Raul de Novoa, our Staff Data Engineer on the Data Science team.

Tell us a little bit about your role, describe the impact you have in your role.

I’m the administrator of the internal reporting tool (MicroStrategy). I really enjoy this position because I get the best of both worlds: I’m at the intersection of the Business teams (who need the data) and the Data Science/Engineering teams (who generate and store the data). I’ve been here for almost a year and I’m still learning every day.

What’s your favorite thing about working out of the San Francisco office?

The people! I love the interaction, the energy, the talent, Micha’s funny labels around the office 🙂 The great location is also a plus, of course.

How do you define success?

That’s a tricky one – in a competitive setting, the meaning of success is usually clear: either you win or you don’t. At a personal level though, I’d say it’s a moving target, and more of a combination of factors: a healthy dose of ambition, an ever-curious mind, fulfillment in your goals, a reasonable amount of freedom, but also balanced by a sense of contentment: success is great, but don’t forget to be happy along the way.

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?

Spending quality time with good friends, and if there’s music involved, even better!

Name one thing you’re willing to spend more money on to make sure you get the best quality.

A great gift. If it’s the right gift for the right person, then it’s always worth it.

Interested in learning more about our team? Stay tuned for the next installment of the Tap Into Our Team series!

Meet Amy Juarez, our Strategic Account Manager on the Performance Sales team.

What’s your favorite thing about working out of the LA office?

The people! It’s a small office, but I get to work alongside a great group of smart, energetic, and hilarious individuals. Plus, Jeff has a really good dog that visits a lot.

What is the biggest challenge that you face working at a global company like Tapjoy and what’s the greatest opportunity?

To answer both questions at once, there is so much to learn! In my role, being able to understand how Tapjoy operates within the industry requires that my attention extend beyond the trends and practices in my region. Right now I work with clients in LA, Montreal, Buenos Aires, and Tel Aviv (just to name a few) and I’m constantly challenged to approach my work from a global perspective. Working at a global company like Tapjoy with dynamic teams all over the world does not just open up doors to client partnerships and new business, but also invites a diversity in ideas and innovation that is super beneficial to my work and is really exciting to be a part.

What’s the coolest thing you’re working on right now?

In the last month or so, I’ve been working with one of my clients on some global launches for their big, new gaming titles.  While launching and optimizing new ad campaigns isn’t at all out of ordinary in my role, it’s always fun to see a client really kill it in app store rankings and to know we’ve contributed to that success.

What are you currently watching on Netflix?

Way too much Forensic Files.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that others would be surprised to know about you.

I once sold Snoop Dogg some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups at a snack bar I was working at. I didn’t have enough change at the time and I greatly overcharged him. Does anyone know Snoop’s Venmo handle? I owe him like $18.

Interested in learning more about our team? Stay tuned for the next installment of the Tap Into Our Team series!

Tapjoy’s Jamie Williams recently moderated a panel discussion entitled “How to Target and Grow Mobile Users” and uncovered unique branding insights that have the potential to benefit every app category.

Earlier this week, our Games Account manager Jamie Williams took to the Mobile Venture Summit stage in Los Angeles. Her panel was called “How to Target and Grow Mobile Users”, and it explored the key acquisition and retention challenges marketers face in a mobile-focused world. The end result was a fascinating discussion that crossed industry backgrounds, thanks to DraftKing’s Jayne Pimentel Peressini, LegalZoom’s Chelsea Lynn-Schulz, and IMVU’s Lomit Patel.

Throughout the panel, one recurring theme was that mobile-first marketing is about far more than placing ads on mobile platforms. Brands must put in the research and effort to find out their audience’s specific needs, and how they interact with the platform itself. Even once that is established, developing engaging creatives that integrate with the mobile experience can be a skill set in itself.

While mobile devices are certainly disruptive, they don’t always disrupt audiences in the ways you’d expect. Lynn-Schulz learned that at LegalZoom when the brand took a mobile-first approach, only to find out that audiences used mobile platforms for informational purposes, not purchasing. Desktop power users remained a high-value target audience, and LegalZoom needed to shift its strategy accordingly. “It really made us step back and retest how we’re reaching these audiences and what we’re putting in front of them,” Lynn-Schulz explained. “What we expected them to go after wasn’t what they wanted.”

In this spirit, understanding your audience is the most important mobile strategy for brands. Users are acquired through many avenues, from gaming to social media, and each platform acts as an audience to itself. As such, marketers need to use different optimization for each platform, and specifically target creatives to increase engagement. “Customers will use social media, but not necessarily buy anything through Facebook,” Lynn-Schulz said. “We have to take a step back and find an opportunity to develop the brand.”

It’s also essential to use put thought into your creatives. Mobile marketers are seeing success across several formats – be it video, static images, or playables – but they still need to reflect the needs of users. “We’ve seen success with ads that emphasize user-generated avatars and virtual worlds,” Patel said of creative that engages with gaming audiences.

Video is one of the largest creative formats, but playables are also showing promise. Peressini noted that one playable ad was so fun, users complained because it was more exciting than the actual game. That said, playables are still an emerging creative that is still undergoing development, which can be time-consuming — DraftKing has already been experimenting for an entire year. “Playables is a long game that requires testing,” Peressini said. “You have to be willing to commit for years on mobile playables to make it work.”

Despite these challenges, the experiences of Lynn-Schulz, Peressini, and Patel bore striking similarities, and shows there is more common ground between mobile marketing industries than one might think. That’s why we’re thankful events like Mobile Venture Summit exist to bring us together and generate new strategies that uplift the entire field. We’d like to thank our panelists and everyone who made this summit such a success!

Meet Timmy Smith, our Visual Designer here at Tapjoy. Timmy is part of our Marketing/Design department.

What have you gained from working at Tapjoy?
Tapjoy has seriously honed my skills as a designer. My how green I was when I first arrived and now I feel I can handle pretty much anything thrown my way. Haha. I’ve certainly also learned the importance of having the right team to accomplish your goals. It is so true that you are only as strong as your weakest link.
There are a lot of really good people that work and have worked at Tapjoy. I am fortunate for the memories I’ve gained while working with them. 🙂
What’s one thing you wish people knew about your job?
There is a direct correlation between time spent and quality of work and, unfortunately, there is no wiggle room around that fact.
How do you define success?
Is anyone yelling at me right now? Haha oh I kid, I kid… But seriously, I’d define success as “Am I a better person today to myself and to others than I was yesterday? Have I pushed myself to grow beyond my past selves?” This, of course, has many various connotations as to what “success” could be to me. Success is not a dollar sign, nor is it a title. It certainly isn’t the latest art I’ve produced. I believe it’s the respect I garner from those around me, the consistency to personal excellence that I strive towards and a continued reach for betterment for myself and the world. This world def needs more love, don’tcha think?
What’s your favorite line from a film and why?
“You met me at a very strange time in my life.” – Tyler Durden, Fight Club. After the sheer madness that is that movie, that line and Edward Norton’s nonchalant delivery of it never ceases to make me chuckle.
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
Wow, that’s a hard one. I don’t think I could just narrow it down to one specific meal. That said, I do remember a number of years ago during the holidays, while still living in Philly, an ex and I hosted a dinner party. We went to the Italian Market in South Philly and bought an Italian feast. We then cooked sausage & meatballs in a slow cooker all day long. It was so good that all of us at the party ate until we couldn’t move. I distinctly remember us all laying prostrate, turgid and completely immobilized yet supremely happy after the meal. Good times 🙂
Interested in learning more about our team? Stay tuned for the next installment of the Tap Into Our Team series!