In the dynamic world of business development, experience and expertise are paramount, especially within the intricate landscape of ad tech. Céline Gauthier-Darnis, the Executive Vice President of MENAT & APAC at Equativ, brings her extensive background in fostering growth and strategic partnerships to the forefront of the ad tech industry. With a deep understanding of market trends and a penchant for innovation, she has successfully navigated the complexities of this realm. In this exclusive interview with Adgully, Céline sheds light on her approach to bridging the gap between advertisers and publishers, her insights into Equativ's programmatic solutions, strategies for navigating the ever-evolving digital landscape, team management in a fast-paced environment, and Equativ's unique communication and marketing strategies. Furthermore, Céline delves into emerging trends and challenges within the MENAT and APAC regions, revealing her plans to tackle these issues head-on. Let us explore the dynamic world of ad tech through the lens of Céline Gauthier-Darnis, an industry trailblazer and a driving force behind Equativ's success.Can you tell us about your experience in business development and how it relates to the ad tech industry?Business development involves creating and implementing growth strategies to expand a company's market presence, increase revenue, and enhance profitability. My business development expertise is grounded in fostering growth, innovation, and strategic partnerships to thrive in a dynamic and competitive landscape such as the ad tech industry. It has also helped me understand market trends, form strategic relationships, and continuously adapting to the evolving needs of advertisers, publishers, and consumers.As the EVP MENAT & APAC at Equativ, how do you ensure that the interests of both advertisers and publishers are effectively served?In my role, its key is to act as a bridge between advertisers and publishers, ensuring that their interests are aligned and that the partnership benefits all parties involved. This involves proactive and transparent communication, strategic decision-making, and a commitment to fostering a healthy and sustainable ecosystem within the ad tech industry. Additionally, it’s important to recognize that the needs of advertisers and publishers may differ. I work closely with my team to ensure we create customized solutions to align with our client's specific needs and goals.Could you share some examples of programmatic solutions that Equativ offers to advertisers in the UAE?Thanks to Equativ’s holistic ad monetization platform (Adserver/SSP/Buyer Tools/DSP), brands can achieve greater efficiency through their advertising spend and publishers can act with certainty and have the control they need to provide the right blend of transaction models, channels, format (Display, Audio, Video, CTV, Mobile) and audience data to deliver true value path optimization to brands. On top of that, our programmatic solutions including PMPs, auction packages, and contextual targeting solutions, enable a more streamlined and accurate ad transaction across various platforms and screens and help our clients reach their target audiences with the right message in the right environment.How do you approach the challenge of connecting advertisers with their target audience in the ever-evolving digital landscape?Navigating the ever-evolving digital landscape requires a combination of data-driven insights, technological innovation, creative messaging, and a deep understanding of your audience's behaviors and preferences. Adapting to changing technologies, consumer behaviors, and industry trends are essential. Here are a few strategies we work with our clients to leverage:A holistic approach to tap into multi-channel strategies that span across a variety of formats, devices, and platforms to ensure a consistent brand experienceData-driven insights to gain deeper insights into their target audiencesAudience segmentation to leverage first-party data to create more precise audience segmentsContextual targeting to ensure ads are placed in relevant contextual environments so that ads resonate with their target audiencesMeasurement and optimization solutions to continually establish, track and optimize against KPIsHow do you effectively manage and motivate your teams in a fast-moving environment? Can you provide examples of how you have successfully structured and managed an office to optimize productivity and efficiency?In this fast-paced industry, keeping your teams motivated and engaged is essential. I tailor my management style to each team member's preferences and strengths, and coupled with my enthusiastic and hands-on leadership approach, I always want to ensure my teams are feeling motivated and inspired.Here are a few ways I ensure this:Clear communication (and a lot of it!). Transparency and open discussions are essential to making teams feel inclusive and part of the teamEncouraging autonomy and trustRecognizing and celebrating achievementsFocusing on professional growth and identifying new opportunitiesContinued education in ad tech for my teams (always changing!)And have fun! I want my teams to feel excited to come to work and feel they are part of contributing to the success of the company.Communication and marketing play a crucial role in the ad tech industry. How do you approach these areas to effectively promote Equativ's services and attract clients?At Equativ, developing a comprehensive communication and marketing strategy is vital in the ever-changing ad tech industry in order to promote our services, attract and retain clients, and build trust by clearly explaining our solutions and the value they can expect by working with us. I love working with our central marketing team and my local team of marketing specialists to come up with new and creative ways to not only establish a strong brand presence and showcase our innovative global solutions but also connect the Equativ brand with the local community in the APAC/MENA region by tailoring our data, insights and strategies. Whether it’s through thought leadership, content marketing, social and events, to me, it’s always about ensuring a customized approach!In your opinion, what are some of the emerging trends and challenges in the MENAT and APAC regions when it comes to ad tech, and how do you plan to address them?Connected TVThere is a growing demand from advertisers in the MENAT/APAC region for CTV advertising. Currently, we have successfully executed campaigns for various industries targeting American and European audiences, specifically in sectors like hospitality, tourism, and real estate. While the inventory in the Americas and Europe is robust, publishers in the MENAT/APAC region are still in the process of developing programmatic solutions. However, we maintain an optimistic outlook and anticipate that the market will soon catch up. Once this happens, we will be able to effectively target the local audience through CTV formats.Retail mediaEvery e-commerce player has a gold mine to uncover. With the end of third-party cookies, the market is exploring the power of first-party data to unlock new targeting opportunities. Equativ provides a privacy-first addressable solution for retailers to monetize their data. This technology creates a new revenue stream for advertisers and an alternative to cookies to run highly targeted campaigns. Advertisers are almost ready technically to unlock this opportunity.Gaming advertisingOver the past 18 months, Saudi Arabia has invested $8 billion in global game companies with the objective of positioning itself as the primary global hub for the games and esports industry by 2030. These investments have been made through the public investment fund known as Savvy Games Group, and they mark just the initial phase of their plans. The group aims to allocate a remarkable $38 billion to establish 250 game companies, including developers, publishers, and studios, by 2030. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the gaming industry is projected to generate a revenue of $6 billion by 2027.By 2025, the global esports audience is anticipated to reach 318 million enthusiasts, with the MENA region accounting for 15% of that figure. This substantial gaming audience presents a significant opportunity for advertisers to connect with the market and captivate their customers by offering innovative experiences.Moreover, there is great enthusiasm surrounding the potential achievements in this field. Key performance indicators (KPIs) such as the View Through Rate and the Click Through Rate tend to be higher, indicating the advantageous timing of engaging with customers while they relax and enjoy their favorite games.