In the latest edition of Tapjoy Talks, we sat down with our very own Tie Davidson, Senior Manager of Affiliate Sales. Tie is based out of Tapjoy’s sunny Santa Barbara office and has been with Tapjoy since 2013. We spoke with him about his role at Tapjoy, how he has seen the industry evolve over the past decade, advice he would give to affiliate marketers and more.
Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background!
I’m Tie Davidson — Senior Manager of Affiliate Sales at Tapjoy. I’ve been with the company for almost five years, but I’ve been in the affiliate space for the past 13. Prior to joining the world of digital advertising, I worked in the entertainment industry with companies such as E! Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and CED Talent Agency. The transition into advertising and marketing was quite seamless, especially because I dealt with so many studios, record labels, production companies, talents, and agencies. I’ve worn just about every hat you can think of in this business, and each role has come with its own set of challenges, but also its own rewards. I guess you could say I’m a well-seasoned veteran!
Can you tell us about your role as an Senior Sales Manager at Tapjoy, and what you’re primarily responsible for?
I was initially hired as an Inside Sales Representative, but because of my extensive background in affiliate networking, I moved over to what was formerly known as “Channel” Sales. I was quickly promoted to manager, and it became my job to establish, maintain, and build revenue positive relationships with third party clients; namely those who monetize through ad networks, agencies and other affiliate partners in the space.
For those who might be new to the industry, what is an affiliate network? And why is it important to the mobile advertising ecosystem?
An affiliate network acts very similar to an ad agency, and often serves as the liaison between the advertiser and publisher. In other words, a network is the “middle man” between the “buyer” and “seller” of ad products and media supply. Most networks do not own proprietary products, but primarily serve as the third party management arm for a direct and/or agency client. They handle everything from account management, reporting, tracking, billing, and payments.
What’s the most important advice you can give to affiliate marketers?
If you can build it, they will come — with deep pockets! The most successful networks are those who exclusively create, own and operate their content and ad products. You also have to know how to play in the current space. Even in 2018, there are so many affiliate marketers who are playing catch up when it comes to mobile and social media. They are still relying on outdated audience data and metrics from ten years ago.
What are some of the most common mistakes or misconceptions you see from your side of the business?
The affiliate space can be tricky, and to be quite frank, sometimes it can be rocky territory. Although there are hundreds of networks in the affiliate space, most people work with the same top ten. We all talk to each other, so reputation goes a very long way. That’s why it’s incredibly important to maintain positive relationships. More importantly, having integrity and a strong work ethic will lead more doors to open. In my time with Tapjoy, I’ve done my best to identify and build relationships with the best players in the industry. And because I’m so well known in the space, most people play fair when they come to us.
You’ve been at Tapjoy for nearly five years now. How has the company changed since you joined?
We’ve led the charge when it comes to product innovation and audience engagement. When I joined the company, we were still relatively new to the affiliate space. But fortunately, I’ve been able to build a strong and immensely talented Affiliate Sales team comprised of myself, Lauren Benon, and Ronald Cain. Together we’ve unlocked a treasure chest of new business and increased revenues. In fact, our small team has been driving force behind many of Tapjoy’s “first time in history” moments!
How has the industry changed in the last five years?
Mobile has certainly continued to grow. Video and Social Media (on smartphones) have changed the world in general, so of course, our industry has followed suit.
What trends or technologies do you think will shape mobile advertising over the next five years?
I think we’ll continue to see mobile video become the standard medium, particularly among consumers and their purchasing habits. Anyone who isn’t willing or able to move in that direction won’t be able keep up when the market shifts.
Have you taken up surfing since you moved to Santa Barbara?
Ha ha! I haven’t taken up surfing since I moved to Santa Barbara, however, I have opted for the second best activity — wine tasting!