Founded in 2009, Glow was the brain child of CEO, Damian Routley and COO, John Helstrip. They had worked together for four years prior to founding the company and the approach they took was to consult first for two years in order to learn as much as they could about the emerging media landscape before building technology that serviced a need they would identify through this process. This technology would then become the primary vehicle behind Glow’s growth over subsequent years.
Damian Routley has more than 15 years of experience in the digital advertising space. Prior to founding Glow Digital Media he served as Client Services Director at TradeDoubler, a UK based provider of digital marketing services that serves over 138,000 publishers spanning 18 countries. Earlier in his career he worked as Group Director at The Search Works where he oversaw the paid search and SEO strategy for a diverse range of clients, and before that was Account Director for Enhance Media, an online provider of SEM services for blue-chip clients such as T-Mobile, PwC, Capgemini and AXA.
John Helstip has worked in high profile marketing positions in some of the UK’s largest and fastest-growing companies. John was Product Management Director during the de-regulation launch of 118118 and later led the delivery of 118118.com. He was also part of the team that launched the Scoot.com brand and he developed GWR’s (now GCAP) New Media products. John is a specialist marketer across the full mix from Brand to NPD, with a deep understanding of digital media. Most recently he led the successful launch of products across Europe, Asia and – through resellers – the US and Australia that allow publishers, advertisers and agencies to manage effectively their online Search, display advertising and affiliate campaigns.
Mona Parmar has worked in the digital advertising space for over seven years. Prior to joining Glow she spent years helping clients at both TradeDoubler and Search Works achieve success with their digital campaigns. At Glow, Mona is responsible for the on-boarding of new clients, working with them to achieve success with their Facebook campaigns, as well as educating them on Facebook best practices. She also works closely with the product and development teams to identify client and market requirements needed to help shape the product road map.
“Glow helps our clients find their most valuable audiences through social media, starting with Facebook,” explains Lorry Destainville, Glow’s Product Development Director. “Our social ad management platform – ‘Glow Machine’ – enables advertisers to build, manage, optimise and evaluate Facebook advertising campaigns”.
“The Glow Machine is a best-of-breed advertising platform that works seamlessly with a range of third party tools to improve campaign management, targeting, optimisation and tracking to yield best results for our clients. Our experienced, professional and multilingual account management team are experts at Facebook advertising strategy and execution. We handle clients’ Facebook advertising needs from start to finish or offer the option of a licensed service through a simple and attractive UI. Glow works with an extensive client base across a number of verticals, driving real business results whatever
Glow specialises in gaming, E-commerce, automotive, financial services, FMCG, travel and entertainment. “We have developed a high emphasis around mobile,” explains Destainville, “helping our clients build a large install base and then helping them to continue to engage customers within that app environment. But our heritage lies in the desktop environment and we perform very well for pure direct response campaigns. We trend towards more direct client relationships, but also work with some of the most advanced agencies in the world, such as our global relationship with M&C Saatchi Mobile.”
Glow also prides itself on good communication with clients and its knowledge of the market, as Destainville explains: “Because we’re working across a huge range of differing objectives, we’re picking up knowledge that we can apply to answer lots of different challenges. We’re also doing this across every major internet market globally, so that makes the quality of our advice and conversation much better. Specifically with the Glow Machine, we’re helping with large scale, sophisticated campaigns and improving efficiency across every element of the workflow: creation, optimisation and insight.”
Glow very much evolved into what it is today. The first iteration of Glow was a technology consulting business helping direct response advertisers to understand the value of the different media channels they used. A lot of its early work was strategic consulting and software development on tracking, attribution and data projects. Coming from a technology background within paid search and performance display, this made sense.
“We first encountered Facebook Ads and their potential mid-way through 2009,” says Destainville, “we took a decision early on to focus our efforts on first learning as much as we could about this emerging and rapidly evolving channel, then once we knew how to run campaigns well and had some experience in the problems people faced, we started building our platform. Two years of continuous development, improvement and learning later, we’re one of the top 12 companies serving this space globally.”
Notable clients on Glow’s books include M&C Saatchi Mobile, Betfair, Booking.com, Mercedes Benz, US Bank, Playdom, King, Pretty Simple and Harrods. Glow helped King make Candy Crush the number one game on Facebook and mobile, helping build on its 152.2 million users world-wide. “The Glow Machine was able to find the most valuable users on Facebook and target them with the right creative at the right time, resulting in increased game plays,” explains Destainville.
Glow assisted Motain in pushing their ‘Football App’ – resulting in 65 thousand installs. The key focus for Motain was to acquire users with the most potential to interact, engage and participate with their online community through the app. Therefore users with the best potential for Life Time Value were more important than number of installs. A complex campaign was launched across five key European markets simultaneously and managed from the Glow HQ. After a short testing period Glow used a number of methods to target the right users, including Precise Interest Targeting and Team/Player specific ‘Clusters’ to refine the right demographics. Glow exceeded Motain’s target CPI, maintained its relevant position within both App stores and helpped further grow the app community with valuable users.
Another success story was Rosetta Stone, which – following a successful test period – sought to use Facebook as a source for lead generation by running a competition to win three free language courses to attract prospective new customers.
Last year Glow became one a small group of ‘Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developers’. I ask Destainville what this means for Glow and what advantages it provides.
“The Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer status – in the words of Facebook – is “the highest distinction of excellence we have ever offered our marketing partners”. We’re incredibly proud to have been awarded this designation as it a real testament to the value we provide and the technology we build. With this, we are able to gain access to unique product releases before the rest of the PMD community. This has a direct impact on our existing client base as they are first to benefit from the results. We also attract large clients who demand large scale, high performance campaigns and the results to match. As an SPMD it is all about scale and staying in control when doing so. This experience of working with some of the large ‘power users’ in the world has given us the experience and expertise to continually deliver results and exceed expectations – even our own!”
In 2013 Glow opened offices both in Los Angeles and, more recently, in New York. Destainville tells me about what has been achieved thus far in the USA and what they hope for the next 12 months: “The majority of the SPMD’s are based out of the US and as the largest and most successful SPMD in Europe it was a natural move to establish ourselves in North America. Here the Facebook market is competitive, but the daily active users (DAU) and overall Facebook adoption from business and consumers is so much greater we felt as though this was a natural step to allow us to spread our wings and let the Glow Machine work it’s magic.
“The next 12 months will see us building on this international expansion even further. We are already working with clients across Europe, Latin America and Asia and are planning entry into these regions over the coming months.”
Glow has recently advertised for Account Managers fluent in Mandarin, French and Russian. I ask how key these other international markets are to Glow’s future plans… “At Glow we understand the importance of clear and open communication with our partners – understanding their goals and objectives and working closely with them to establish the right KPI’s for their campaigns,” explains Destainville. “With a growing list of global partners we felt it absolutely necessary to be able to provide local language support for as many customers as possible and so we have sort to bring on the best and brightest multilingual account managers to ensure this task is fulfilled.”
Another recent move for Glow was appointing GameOn Marketing. “GameOn seemed like a perfect match for Glow,” says Destainville. “Glow has always produced excellent results for gaming partners and the synergy with GameOn seemed too good to pass up. Having a PR agency who understands digital across the board makes communication that much easier. Glow recognises the need to be first, and working alongside GameOn enables us to reach the market that much quicker; the time in delivering our top stories to the right readership is streamlined and conveyed in the right fashion and tone.”