A day in the life of… Charlie Johnson, VP of geolocation company IP Digital Element
Charlie Johnson is international vice president of global location-based data and services company, Digital Element. I recently spoke with Charlie to learn more about his role and expertise, as well as his thoughts on the impact of privacy regulations on the digital advertising industry.
Tell me about your role… What does a typical day look like for you?
I start my working day by focusing on China, looking at international affairs from the commercial side of things. I’m often multitasking while I’m doing this – walking the dog or dropping the kids off at daycare.
Then I focus on calls with clients, the European based team and other prospects. Right now, I’m talking with clients and prospects about how Digital Element can help fight fraud-based businesses and improve security, which keeps me busy. When the team in the United States starts its day, I usually attend internal meetings until the evening, which ends around 8 p.m.
What has been your biggest challenge at Digital Element so far and how have you overcome it?
Although this was achieved by the whole team, it is something that stands out clearly to me. In response to a rapidly changing situation, we have made the important decision to pivot our business.
The BBC, one of our clients, was gaining press around people bypassing IPs and VPNs – a challenge to their business model. To resolve this issue – and it needed to be addressed quickly and successfully – our engineering team focused on how we can help our customers find out where these issues were occurring. Many of our customers are now using our data to solve this problem, and the decision to change our way of thinking and our course of action was absolutely necessary.
You have been named one of the “Top 50 Women in Ad Tech”. What advice would you give to other women starting out in the industry?
There is no ceiling other than the one you create yourself, and it’s so important to remember that. I encourage other women to keep punching and pushing because you can win a lot when you fight for yourself. In this industry, where technology moves so quickly and the landscape changes regularly, it’s also vital to never stop learning. Every day brings new opportunities to learn, develop and grow, so always stay open and ready for it.
What do you think of the new privacy measures that come into play?
It’s nice to see people respecting consumer choice and consumer rights because both are so important and have been neglected for too long. It should be a priority to ensure consumers are supported in that sense, so it’s great that [third party] the cookies disappear. And while IP has nothing to do with cookies, it can bridge the targeting gap – enough that some personalization can be implemented as needed, without going overboard.
What do you think consumers value most when it comes to personalization or privacy?
I think consumers want to be respected as internet users. They don’t want to be treated in a blanket, stereotypical way, but they don’t want companies intruding on their private information either. There is a balance to be struck and consumers are increasingly aware of how and to what extent they are being tracked.
While you don’t want to target people to the strictest filters, understanding users’ interests and hobbies can improve their experience. Added value and personalization must be carried out with particular attention.
What trends will shape digital advertising this year?
I expect many exciting developments throughout 2022, but it’s clear that privacy regulations are having a huge impact on digital advertising. With more and more privacy bills being introduced and with GDPR on their minds, many companies are consolidating their privacy controls.
We also see ad spend pouring into CTV; due to increased digital TV viewing in 2020 and 2021. It’s clear now that consumer preferences have changed – and the industry needs to change too.
What’s next for Digital Element?
Digital Element is working on many exciting projects and we have many more in the pipeline, including more strategic acquisitions, which will add great value to what we already do well. Our latest example is Matchbook, which combines the intelligence of Digital Element with that of Outlogic, which was acquired by our parent company Digital Envoy in late 2021, to link targetable IP address data, with or without device IDs. mobile, to a location ID.
This is deeper intelligence than what we were able to offer before and the next evolution of IP. It can be used to provide more detailed targeting data, without the risk of complying with privacy regulations, and create high-quality visit data for targeting audiences and analyzing traffic. On top of that, we will push our cybersecurity offering to the next level. Ad fraud, protection for employees working from home, and cyber intelligence for governments are all exciting areas for the future.
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