Thought Leadership

An interview with Wego on seller cooperatives

December 16, 2015
By Marketing

Wego’s focus is equally split between flights and hotels, and in terms of location especially on emerging markets in South-East Asia and the Middle East.

Wego has been an innovator and a leader in its adoption of automated advertising in the region, and this case study details their successes as a result – including an almost 3x increase in revenues year-on-year – click here to download.

We spoke to Rick on a range of other topics not included in the case study below, among them native advertising, automated guaranteed and the possibility of seller co-operatives forming in the Middle-East and Asia – read on for the Q&A:

How important is Mobile to your Business?

Like everyone, mobile is of course an increasingly important part of our business, with 60% of our audience now coming from mobile, and three-quarters of that accessing via our apps. Since we have a diversified business model, and much of our revenues depend on referrals, for us the particular challenge on the ad side is around monetizing that without compromising the user experience, whether it be around latency or over-intrusive formats.

What is your view on the native advertising, especially around mobile?

Native is obviously an area that everyone is talking about across the industry. Where we see the opportunity, we will start to roll out more native ads in app, and we see that as natural part of our mobile product evolving – a further way to monetize without compromising the user experience.

As well as being able to offer buyers the same level of targeting on mobile as we already do on desktop, another key area is the ability to do cross-device targeting. Cross-device is especially important since a lot of the mobile shopping experience is split by its very nature, involving a lot of browsing on mobile, then conversion on a laptop. There are certainly enough solutions out there already that promise they already do this – our DMP for instance already works in this area. The question at this point in the industry seems to be which religion do you believe in – deterministic or probabilistic?

Personally, I’m still cross-device agnostic.

How big is the opportunity around automated guaranteed and what areas do you think it will mainly impact upon?

In the long run, automated guaranteed will help us get a lot more efficient as a seller: the technology allows our sales guys and account managers to save a huge amount of time and effort in terms of getting clients on board and campaigns live, as well as optimizing them from that point onwards.

As soon as the market as a whole becomes more educated around automated guaranteed and we ourselves get more experienced, it’s definitely going to be an important part of how we can continue to scale and grow efficiently in both existing as well as emerging markets.

What are your views on the publisher co-operative model?

For some of the markets we operate in, for instance the Middle East, it has already come up, in the case of others, the market is still way too fragmented and competitive for a co-op. For instance, in a country where to get more than 60-70% reach requires 10-20 publishers to come together, I’m not overly optimistic.

Where we can group with a similar, like-minded set of publishers, who feel their inventory is premium, and the offering sounds a lot better than just monetizing it by ourselves, then we’re open to ideas.

Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong could all work from a seller and buyer point of view – and a co-op in one of those regions would also be highly useful in terms of the publisher trading desk activity we run, since it would enable 100% transparency for audience extension.

What were the main reasons for partnering with Rubicon Project?

The main reasons for working with Rubicon Project, in particular for automated guaranteed are because of our long standing, prior experience of working with the company: more than with any other technology in this space, we see Rubicon Project as more of a partner who adds a lot of value, and one that we trust.

Also, it’s a business with great people and teams: a lot of companies say they’re global, but what they mean is they have one or two guys on the ground who aren’t connected that well to rest of operation. But Rubicon Project is unusual in that it’s the exact opposite.

We feel that Rubicon Project is a true global player that can match our current needs as well as where we’re heading next.


Rick Mulia is Chief Advertising & Media Officer at Wego, a travel meta-search engine headquartered in Singapore.

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