Our ‘Profile: A Day in the Life of’ feature takes a look at some of the global professionals working across performance marketing. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the flourishing industry. This week we head to London to speak to the managing director EMEA at Nanigans, Will Ashton.


Will Ashton

Job title and company:

Managing Director EMEA, Nanigans.

In one sentence, how would you describe what the company does?

We arm marketing teams with best in class software to manage their digital advertising in-house.

What are the company’s unique selling points? 

Using predictive logic and machine learning algorithms, Ad Engine offers in-house performance marketers workflow automation, predictive optimization, deep data integrations, and real-time and lifetime reporting tools – with the goal of maximizing return on ad spend and managing workflow at scale. Over $500M in annualized ad spend is managed by marketers through our software, with around 60% on mobile.

Within the last six months/year, what stands out as the company’s major milestones? 

In 2014, Nanigans further expanded our London office and launched new offices in Singapore and Sydney, bringing our total number of offices from four to six. We also nearly doubled the volume of ad spend managed through our software this year, with $500M in annualized ad spend managed by ecommerce, gaming, and other Internet companies. This growth has been achieved on only $9M in venture capital since the company’s inception in 2010.

Back in May, we announced a move away from providing IO-based managed services to licensing our technology directly to the end user through longer term SaaS (software-as-a-service) contracts based on number of seats, number of apps/sites and spend allotments. For those less familiar with the advertising space, this is a fully transparent software business model that contrasts against traditional black box media markup and arbitrage models of the industry. Switching our focus to this SaaS model was a significant change for us, and one that has resulted very successfully, due in no small part to the excellence of our operational teams.  

To ensure Nanigans continues to build best-in-class tools and technologies, we announced a product advisory council in 2014 that works to put our product managers in regular, direct communication with more than a dozen of our top customers. We look to these customers for new feature feedback as well as longer-term strategic development. These companies represent some of the best customer acquisition talent in the industry, and we look forward to expanding this program further in 2015.

Duration in current role:

2 years

Where are you based?


Previous performance marketing-related companies you have worked at:

  • Alchemy Social / Techlightenment
  • Google

What are your main job responsibilities?

I look after our European business. At its core this means everything from pitching for new business, the training and onboarding procedures for new clients, through to the ongoing success of existing customers. I am also the face of Nanigans in the market, which means cultivating relationships with our key partners (e.g. Facebook) and peers as well as speaking at industry events and contributing to publications like yours!

Take us through what you get up to on a typical working Monday: 

Assuming I’m in the country and not on the road visiting customers or at headquarters in Boston, Mondays are generally about internal reporting and team meetings. I spend the first hour or so checking yesterday’s numbers and then preparing a top level report on the previous week. I then meet with my Account Directors to take a deep dive into the progress of our accounts over the past week and solidify plans for the upcoming one. In the afternoon we have our weekly all hands to set the tone for the upcoming week from a commercial point of view as well as update the team on product development and industry news. Throw in a bit of email and the odd client call, and that’s pretty much it.

What top three websites can you be found browsing during your lunch hour?

BBC (ashamed to say I check the Sport before the News!), AdExchanger and Growthhackers.com are probably my top 3 for news and discussion. Facebook as well of course!

What are your top three tips for someone looking to get their hands on a job like yours?

Own whatever you do. Don’t wait for people to tell you what to do – use your initiative and get the job done.

Listen to and take on board other people’s views. This not only helps other people (including your team) respect you, it also makes for better decision-making.

Understand the bigger picture. From knowing what’s going on in the industry to anticipating how a decision you make will affect your customer portfolio, to be truly strategic you need to appreciate how all the moving parts impact each other.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?

That’s hard because I’m open to a fault, so they know pretty much everything about me! They probably don’t know that I once came runner-up (“Highly Commended,” I should point out) in a Latin reading competition; it’s strange that such a competition would even exist, given that nobody actually knows how Latin was spoken.