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Q&A with Jacopo Gerini, Chief Commercial Officer, Clickio

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Jacopo Gerini

Jacopo’s career in digital marketing began in 2010, after graduating from Bristol Business School when he launched one of the first voucher code websites in Italy and Spain. After moving to London, he joined a leading native advertising company, where he was in charge of various digital marketing activities – including SEO, PPC, content and display advertising – and worked with major media brands, such as Reuters and The Independent.  He joined Clickio in 2015 as Business Development Manager, building the company’s client base from a handful of publishers to over 500. Jacopo is now the Managing Director of Clickio Italy, as well as Global Chief Commercial Officer.

 

WHAT LED YOU TO START WORKING IN DIGITAL MEDIA? HOW DID THIS LEAD YOU TO CLICKIO?

I started my career in digital marketing soon after graduating from Bristol Business School in 2010, when I launched one of the first voucher code websites in Italy and Spain.

A few years later, I moved to London where I joined a publishing group, running operations across various digital marketing activities – including email, SEO, PPC, content and finally a native advertising company where I worked in publisher sales and account management. Working with major media brands, such as Reuters and The Independent, as well as a large network of small and medium-size publishers, I came to understand the increasing importance of programmatic advertising, as well as the challenges faced by the publishing industry.

In 2015, I met Alexander Azarov, who had just set up Clickio to provide technology solutions for publishers. Impressed by Alex’s ideas, I joined the company as Publisher Director and helped grow the client base from a handful of publishers to over 500 publishers, signing collaborations with all the major ad exchanges and SSPs.

I have also built Clickio’s Sales, Commercial Operations and Marketing divisions, and played a role in driving expansion for the company in both the UK and abroad, establishing an office in Italy, in 2019. I am now Managing Director of Clickio Italy in addition to my role as Global Chief Commercial Officer.

 

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU? WHAT DOES YOUR WORK SETUP LOOK LIKE? (YOUR APPS, PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS, ETC.)

My typical day is very varied. Some of my day-to-day tasks are ones I used to do and still love, like analyzing publishers and optimizing their ad stack or page layout. Other tasks involve sales and pitching for new business.

However, because I run different departments that are based remotely, I spend a significant amount of time on calls, providing encouragement and direction to support the company’s growth. Since we have always been a remote-working company, we are adept at communicating in a way that keeps conversations very clear and constant for all employees.

To ensure everyone has the information they need, we frequently use Slack to reach each other across the world. Google Workspace is another important tool for us – Google Drive enables us to share documents globally, while Google Meet and Gmail are ideal for calls and emails.

 

HOW DOES CLICKIO DIFFERENTIATE FROM OTHER TECH COMPANIES, AND HOW IS IT UNIQUELY POSITIONED TO HELP PUBLISHERS? 

Something that really differentiates us in the industry is that we’re a holistic, integrated platform that offers multiple services – not just monetization. This includes offerings for site performance, compliance, and analytics, across mobile and desktop. As an all-in-one solution, we are therefore able to help publishers reduce their workload and simplify their workstreams across multiple touchpoints. Essentially, when a publisher decides to work with us, they forgo the hassle and cost of dealing with three or four different third parties to optimize their site.

We also keep abreast of the evolving industry landscape, meaning we offer a high level of support and counsel to publishers navigating changing initiatives and regulations. As a Google Certified Publishing Partner, our expertise when it comes to Google’s products and platforms– including AdSense and Ad Manager – is verified. It means publishers can trust our services to keep them at the forefront of change.

 

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO PUBLISHERS LOOKING TO CREATE AN ACTIONABLE STRATEGY TO BOOST THEIR SEARCH STATUS AND DRIVE HIGHER VISIBILITY, TRAFFIC AND REVENUE, AS WELL AS USER EXPERIENCE? 

Firstly, it’s vital publishers stop prioritizing monetization over the user experience. With ad spend picking up once more, there is huge potential for publishers to capitalize on monetization opportunities. But the introduction of Google’s user-centric metrics, Core Web Vitals (CWVs), in 2020 highlighted that most publishers still struggle with site performance. This negatively impacts the quality of the user experience, discouraging traffic and, as a result, damaging publishers’ overall revenue.

With Google’s Page Experience Update now rolled out across mobile and desktop, CWVs will be used to measure the user experience of sites, with their SERP placement ranked according to their level of compliance. Optimizing sites in line with CWVs – which focus on site speed, interactivity, and visual stability – is therefore the surest way for publishers to improve the user experience: boosting their search status while driving traffic and revenue.

 

WHAT’S THE PROBLEM YOU’RE PASSIONATELY TACKLING AT CLICKIO AT THE MOMENT? 

Compliance levels for CWVs (although improving) are still low. For example, figures reveal that only 60% of the top 1,000 media sites globally currently meet the requirements for cumulative layout shift (CLS) – measuring visual stability – on desktop. With low CLS scores resulting in roving content, the possibility of accidental clicks increases, which can lead to being behind from Google in the longer term.

We launched our Core Web Vitals Monitoring platform to provide support and assistance to those publishers not yet up-to-scratch with the compliance levels. Ensuring benchmarks are consistently met calls for access to real-time, real-user insights. Clickio’s platform provides this, helping publishers remain compliant with all three vitals by tracking their scores with page-level accuracy, and flagging immediately when vitals fall below a certain level.

Even the most minor change to a website – whether it’s a new ad placement or adapted layout – can trigger a costly fall in CWVs compliance. Publishers must therefore be able to monitor their sites in real-time to fine-tune the user experience and keep pace with frequent changes. At Clickio, we’re passionate about helping publishers achieve this; taking them beyond lab data to measure what really matters – how users experience their sites.

We’re also helping publishers understand whether they should move away from Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs). With Prism, our site performance technology, we offer them an easy-to-implement alternative that replicates many of the features of AMP, such as fast-loading mobile pages, while also providing greater flexibility and improved monetization opportunities.

 

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR AMBITIOUS DIGITAL PUBLISHING AND MEDIA PROFESSIONALS ON HOW THEY CAN DELIVER COMPELLING EDITORIAL CONTENT THAT GROWS THEIR REVENUE?

Publishers should focus on delivering high quality and unique content for their users. This could take the form of written, video, or audio content, depending on what platforms they are targeting. Being present on all traffic sources and platforms allows publishers to keep up-to-date with ever evolving trends.

I would say it’s also key for publishers to measure page-level data in order to maximize their editorial and advertising efforts in the areas that are mostly liked by users. Clickio is rolling out Insights, an analytical platform that provides page-level data for user experience and advertising. By combining user experience with the monetary data of each article, publishers can optimize investment in the areas that are most profitable, generate more advertising revenue, and better understand what content is most valuable for their users.

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