Features

24 Hours With…Integral Ad Science’s Niall Hogan

24 Hours With... spotlights the working day of some of the most interesting people in Asia’s marketing and media landscape. Today, we hear about a day in the life of Niall Hogan, the managing director of IAS South East Asia

6:30am:  I’m a morning person, and always wake up early. These days of course, I don’t need an alarm clock. My seven-week old daughter, Klara wakes us up like clockwork. Klara is busy telling her mum, me, the condo, and the world, that she is hungry and wants feeding. I love this time of the day. I get ready quickly and always spend some time chatting to her before I go to work. She’s well fed, happy and just starting to make some noises and being responsive.

7:30am: I scan through my emails on my phone to check if there are any urgent ones that need attention. My email inbox is always full. As my New York HQ closes for the day and Australia office has started theirs, there is inevitably something that needs immediate attention. My boss, Stephen Dolan, is based in Melbourne, and three hours ahead of us, so there is normally a few questions from him that I need to answer. We might jump on a quick call if there is something urgent to deal with.

8:30am: I’m a big fan of current affairs, world news, and politics so I spend my short 25-min commute with my nose buried in my iPhone. I subscribe to a couple of British papers, and like to keep in touch with the news and sport at home. I am a big fan of Chelsea FC, and have a couple of season tickets at Stamford Bridge.

9:00am: If you’re connected to me on LinkedIn, you probably hate me. There is so much news in our space; whether it be brand safety, viewability or fraud, there is always something to share. Sometime three or four times a week. My LinkedIn posts probably peaked in February and March with all the YouTube brand safety news. It was front page news for weeks and very relevant to what we do as a business, so I shared it. I’ve worked in digital since 1999, and I’m passionate about it being a great medium that we can be proud of. Sharing these articles is my way of raising awareness of the issues and hopefully making a small difference.

9:30am: My first meeting of the day is an interview. We are doubling our team in Singapore, and I am busy interviewing account managers. I’ve met a great bunch of 30-somethings over the last two weeks and I feel confident that I can hire two candidates. I’m a big believer of hiring great personalities and look for candidates not only for the job they can do, but also what they will bring with them to the office – new perspectives, new vigour, new ways of working. At the end of the day, we spend up to 8 hours a day with each other and I want to work with good people.

10:30am: I have a call with an agency in Hong Kong, who are interested in looking at brand safety on YouTube and their other digital buys. Since relocating to Singapore in January, I have made at least four trips to Hong Kong in a short space of time. They were very receptive to our meetings and we have made good progress. Hong Kong has an amazing pace to itself and moves to its own rhythm. I love visiting the city. I had an amazing dinner there last month at a restaurant called Ho Lee Fook, which in English means: good fortune for your mouth. I just like the play on words. I highly recommend it.

11:00am: Brand safety is a hot topic right now and I have been invited by an agency to talk to their digital team about media quality and how they can talk to their clients about the importance of these topics. I’ve done a few of these talks over the last few weeks and the one thing I am most impressed by is just how many women work in the digital media planning and buying departments – a lot more than what I found to be the case in the UK. One of my meetings a week ago was attended by 29 women and 1 man. It made me wonder why there are so few women in ad-tech then. I interviewed 10 people for the two account manager roles and there was only one female applicant. Food for thought?

12:30pm: If you know me, you will know that I am not an natural athlete. I find fitness hard work, but I do try. I signed up with Virgin Active at Raffles place in January, and I go 2 or 3 times a week. Mostly spin. 45 mins of of hard work and I always feel much better on the way out compared to the way in. I grab a wrap or salad on the way back to work. If I’m not at the gym, and we are on a team lunch, we can normally be found at Din Tai Fung in Chinatown. Everyone’s favourite.

14:00pm: I grab 30 mins with Mel Tay, our sales director, and we review some test data that a new client has been running with us. When clients start to work with us, it’s nearly always the first time that they have seen the kinds of data that we can share with them. We shine a light onto media quality; and we spend a lot of time educating and consulting clients on this new and insightful data. Sometimes the conversations can be quite tough – like “why are 55per cent of my ads not being viewed by anyone?”. I’ve got a great small team in Singapore, and Mel, Alex and John are real super stars.

15:00pm: I’m speaking at an IAB event this afternoon at LinkedIn offices. The panel is hosted by Sebastien from J&J, and the other panelists include Phil from UnRuly, and Joe from Comscore. We address brand safety, but also touch on other topics like fraud and viewability. Its great that the IAB wants to tackle these issues head on, and raise awareness for everyone within digital marketing. It’s a good session, well attended and lots of interaction from the audience.

16:30pm: The IAB session ends and I take the short walk from LinkedIn offices to the UIC building on Shenton Way. We are growing the team in Singapore from four to eight, and I have no doubt by the end of the year that we will 10 or 12 on the ground. I’m viewing a new office space that is being opened by JustCo in July. The look and feel is very similar to the space they have on Robinson Road, which coincidentally, is where the IAB are based. I spend most of my days in and out of the office meeting clients or agencies, so I’m not really fussed about where the new office is but I think its important to provide a good working environment for our team. The new office will be a spacious new home as we continue to grow over the next two years.

18:00pm: I get home around 6pm. I live in the East, near the Old Airport Road hawker market and next to Dakota MRT. I like the separation between work and home and you can’t beat the feeling of arriving to home off the short MRT journey, especially on a Friday. My wife and I normally walk the baby around the canal that is next to our condo. Its only two kilometres and sometimes we stop for a cheeky cider at a bar called Tuckshop.

19:00pm: Babs, my wife, tells me all about her day and what she and Klara have been up to. I’m conscious that I’ve got a regional role, with lots of travel, so I try to ensure that when I am in Singapore, I spend as much time with my wife and daughter as possible. I’ve heard loads about Club Street and all day drinking on Sundays, but haven’t really experienced that side of Singapore yet. Am I missing out?

20:00pm: My final work commitment of the day – a marketing call with the lovely Joanna Lin in our NY office and Maddie Tumkur, who is a consultant helping us in Singapore. We discuss  numerous projects, talking opportunities, and a couple of events that we have sponsored.

21:30pm: I’m not a night owl, and am rarely up after 10pm on a school night, unless we have a client dinner or event. Were taking 14 people from mindshare for dinner next week, but most nights by 9:30pm I’ve got just enough time to watch one of the two box sets that we are currently involved in: Narcos season one and Line of Duty season two. Both gripping dramas in their own way and a good way to unwind and say goodbye to the day.

22:00pm: Lights out

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