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Social Media Portal (SMP) interview with ClicksMob's Chen Levanon

Tim Gibbon (Social Media Portal (SMP)) - 30 July 2015

Chen Levanon from ClicksMob, the mobile advertising platform



ClicksMob logoSMP: What is your name and and what do you do there for ClicksMob?

Chen Levanon (CL): I'm Chen Levanon and I'm the CEO of ClicksMob.  I oversee the company and am responsible for the daily operations and management in regards to all aspects including our 30 team members working across all departments: advertisers, publishers, business development, media buying, technology, finance and marketing.

SMP: Briefly, tell us about ClicksMob, what is it and what does the company do?

CL: ClicksMob is a fast-growing performance platform for better mobile advertising. We’re solely focused on providing a marketplace for advertisers and publishers to buy and deliver mobile traffic. Our focus enables excellence on iOS, Android, Windows phone, or mobile web as long as it’s mobile and performance - we’ll deliver advertising or monetization that gives increased ROI.

What distinguishes ClicksMob is the enhanced performance we deliver for advertisers and publishers, our outstanding service and support provided by our dedicated team of account managers, and our proprietary technology.


SMP: When was the company funded, how many people work at ClicksMob and how is the company funded?


CL:
ClicksMob was founded by four serial entrepreneurs in 2012.  As a completely self-funded company, we’ve been profitable from the third month of operations, which is unique within the industry.  Being self-funded and developing our own proprietary technology has given us an important freedom by enabling ClicksMob to focus solely on and perfect performance mobile marketing.

We currently have 30 employees. 

ClickMob homepage

SMP: Who are your target audience and why?

We have two core audiences.  We target advertisers wanting to maximize their campaigns by getting quality users in large scale. We also target publishers who want to monetize their traffic.

SMP: What were you doing before you joined ClicksMob and why do you work in the mobile space?


CL: I began my career as an investment banker on Wall Street, spending several years at leading investment and financial institutions where I led key international projects.

I chose the mobile space because it is booming with exciting opportunities and mobile advertising is growing exponentially as companies start to recognise it as “the next frontier”.  
   
SMP: Briefly, what what does a typical day look like?

My job includes managing a group of 30 employees, business development through interacting with advertisers and publishers, managing the operations of all departments within the company, executing reports that update the board of directors and our cofounders on target obligation and expenditure goals, and facilitating the planning of strategic and operational goals.

A typical day starts when I wake up at seven or depending on when my infant son wakes me.  I eat my breakfast while preparing my son for day care.  After dropping him off, I start my phone calls on my way to the office. Every day I have a morning meeting at 10am with my operational team for 15 minutes where we discuss any issues that occurred the night before, and also catch up on a personal level.  We have a very friendly culture at ClicksMob.  Following this, I sit with my managers and review results from the day before and how we will improve upon them today and throughout the coming months. Then I work to solve any internal issues inside our various departments, while making a point of seeing how our employees feel. Then, I meet with our CFO and ensure that all payments are paid and paid on time.

One of the highlights of my day is when I receive updates and pictures from my son’s day care about his day - what he ate, when he slept, or did something new.  During the day I also have meetings outside the office with clients.  I usually eat lunch with my co-workers, and then eventually I finish the day in the office usually at 6pm so I can come home to feed and give my son a bath.  When he goes to bed at 8pm, I often have conference calls until around midnight or emails to catch up on from throughout the day.  At least once a week, I try to have a day or evening with my husband or girlfriends. 

SMP: What makes it a great job?

CL:
The people that work at ClicksMob are what makes my job truly great.  I was employee number one, after our four co-founders created ClicksMob, and I have always been able to hire the best, which is why I can say that it’s been our people from the beginning that have defined the excellence we strive for.

Photograph of Chen Levanon CEO of ClicksMobSMP: What are the challenges that you’ve encountered and how are you overcoming them in what you have been doing so far at ClicksMob?

CL: While others raise funds in order to operate, that has never been our strategy and we prefer to be a self-funded business. There are a lot of disadvantages and also great advantages to this, but there will always be challenges along the way.  With the right human resources, leadership, and efficient operations we have been able to be profitable from the third month and it’s given us the ability to be independent and focus on our core business and strengths.

SMP: What are the high moments of what you have been doing so far?

CL: There have been many highs, but one that tops the list would be when we had a flood of clients join us citing our outstanding service.  One of our competitors started offering something they thought was a great idea: 24/7 service for their customers.  As it turns out, the company just couldn’t deliver on their promise and their service actually slowed down after their new offering! When lots of new customers (both advertisers and publishers) joined us because they had heard about the exceptional customer service offered by our team of dedicated account managers, I realised quite how special what we have built is.

SMP: What do you see as your biggest challenges and opportunities for your sector and the competition that you have?

CL: The challenge we face is to make mobile advertising better. There are many sophisticated fraud schemes that exist and it’s always important to have a contingency plan and know how to manage fraud when it happens. When these situations arise we must have systems in place that work to solve any issues immediately, which ClicksMob has implemented.  We're able to improve from learning from mistakes made in the past.  For example, we had an experience some time ago with a traffic source that created a fake user on social media in order to drive traffic. As soon as we discovered it, we stopped working with the traffic source, and coordinated closely with the advertiser to solve the problem and minimise any damage.

The opportunities in the industry are huge. Mobile advertising is still in the process of maturing, but we can look at the growth of the internet in general and learn a lot about the rapid growth in the mobile space. The sky is the limit for mobile advertising and the opportunities are endless as the market evolves quickly.  Essentially, as smartphones become more accessible across the globe, mobile will become the platform of choice for advertisers as they will be able to reach the global population where it matters most; the palm of their hands.

SMP: What separates ClicksMob services to other mobile advertising / affiliate networks out there?

CL: I’ve been referencing our people at ClicksMob a good amount.  They represent the high quality of service we’re able to offer advertisers and publishers. Aside from our strong human capital and dedicated account managers, it really is the performance and our proprietary technology that differentiates us and allows us to show advertisers and publishers real results.

SMP: What do you think is going to be the most interesting aspect regarding mobile and mobile advertising for the next 12 to 18-months and why?

Growth on mobile platforms in general has been exponential and this has naturally had a huge impact on mobile advertising.  As more and more businesses realize the need for mobile advertising, the volume of growth will continue to increase as advertising budgets are moved from web to mobile, even in the next year.  In addition, advertisers will focus more on performance and they will be ready to spend more money on actions and not only on installs. In other words, they will pay for in-app purchases or first deposits and not just a simple download. This move has already started and will increase in the near future.  Traffic sources will be more targeted and will deliver the quality users that advertisers want to pay for.

SMP: What are your top five predictions for mobile and mobile advertising next 12 to 18-months?


CL replies with:
  • There will be more cost-per-acquisition (CPA) campaigns than cost-per-install (CPI) campaigns and advertisers will be looking for more meaningful events; not just an install but also a deposit or a purchase.

  • Popularity of location-based advertising is on the rise and will continue to climb, becoming a preference for advertisers.

  • Video will become even more essential. Recently, many of our clients have started promoting their apps using video. The results have been very effective because the users viewing them are essential to their businesses.

  • Tailored and personalized ads. In order to get the quality users advertisers want, a focus on a target audience is required.

  • Focus on optimization. ClicksMob opened its sales team six months ago with a focus on optimization.  Having knowledge of a high volume of existing, quality traffic sources is key to knowing which are the best and which campaign to match them with.

SMP: What are your top overall five mobile advertising tips?

CL replies with:
  • Know your client and their needs and requirements. Each campaign will succeed only when we know the key performance indicator (KPI) of the client and what deliverables they’re looking for.

  • Know the industry and what’s trending, and what could be the next new thing. Knowing which application is going to be the next "Candy Crush" is important too.

  • Be available for your client. There is no such thing that’s impossible.

  • Flexibility. You need to shape yourself according to where the industry is now.

  • Invest in technology, it’s really the backbone. Try to provide the most user friendly platform.

SMP: Is there anything else we should know, or is there anything that you’d like to share?

CL: ClicksMob always aims to make mobile advertising better. Our goal is to provide the best service possible for both our advertisers and publishers. We say what separates us is our “tech with a touch”, and that it’s our on-call account managers always available to our clients that distinguishes ClicksMob.  Although our industry can be very technical, we never forget the human element that ensures the best possible performance for each of our clients.
 
SMP: Best way to contact you and ClicksMob?

Please feel free to email us at contact@ClicksMob.com or write us here: http://clicksmob.com/contact/




Now some questions for fun

SMP: What did you have for breakfast / lunch?

CL: I'm currently eight months pregnant with my second child, so a big breakfast is important for me.  I usually have a little coffee when I wake up and a breakfast sandwich.

SMP: What’s the last good thing that you did for someone?

CL: I organized a surprise party for one of my best friends for her birthday.

SMP: If you weren’t working at ClicksMob what would you be doing?

CL
: Maybe I would go to medical school - I have always dreamt of becoming a surgeon.

SMP: When / where did you go on your last holiday and why?

CL: I hardly take holidays unfortunately.  When you’re a CEO it's very demanding and hard to unplug.  About a year ago (when I was seven months pregnant) before my first son was born, I decided to take a “baby-moon” with my husband and we travelled around the Western U.S., to the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park and more.  Of course, that was in between attending some major conferences in San Francisco, but I was able to combine business and pleasure.
 

SMP: What’s the first thing you do when you get into the office of a morning?

CL: I make my tea and then head straight to our ClicksMob morning meeting, which sets the tone and direction for the day.

SMP: If you had a superpower what would it be and why?

CL: Some days I have to be a superwoman of sorts.  I’m a CEO and found out I was pregnant with my first child shortly after being hired, and I’m now due soon with my second (which will be two in two years).  Sometimes I feel like I need superpowers to juggle it all.  It can feel like 24 hours in a day is not enough, and I would imagine superwoman might be able to use her powers to extend the day to fit everything in.



Interview conducted in December 2014. See @ClicksMob for the latest.

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