José Luis Casas, who was appointed Global Director of Advertising at Telefónica last month, discusses sponsored data, Axonix and A2P messaging

Eurocomms.com: How would you sum up Telefónica’s advertising strategy today and how it has evolved over the past 12 months?

José Luis Casas: Our advertising products have not been commercially available for a long period of time.

As you may imagine, that means that we have learned a lot over the past 12 months.

We had to tweak some products, adjust our pricing schemes and work with new channel partners.

However, I think it’s fair to say that our high-level strategy still remains the same – building products around our two main assets: customer insights and mobile data.

What is the biggest challenge you face in executing this strategy?

Sometimes, the advertising industry moves faster than we would like being a telco company.

This is something we try to solve finding the right balance between internal Telefónica units, subsidiaries and key partnerships.

Telefónica has offered sponsored data services in Latin America since last year via a partnership with Datami. What results can you share about how this has performed thus far?

Sponsored data services performed really well in Brazil last year and they are doing even better in 2017.

We have recently launched in other countries in LatAm and we expect to repeat the Brazilian success there.

In February, Telefónica announced plans to expand this sponsored data service to its entire customer base. What evidence is there that it will work in Europe and how will it differ to what you have done in LatAm?

Europe is definitely a different market in terms of maturity.

We are being cautious here trying to find those use cases of sponsored data that can make sense for our European markets.

At this moment we are about to launch a trial in Germany.

It is three years since mobile ad exchange platform Axonix was launched by Telefónica. How are you getting on taking market share from Google and Facebook?

I don’t think we should compare us with Google and Facebook.

They have a very different DNA compared to telco companies.

As pure digital companies they aren’t limited to specific geographies.

As pure advertising companies they have a very different conception of customer privacy.

Having said all that, we think we have impressive assets to be a relevant player in the advertising space.

A2P messaging is the third area Telefónica is looking at; what types of companies are signing up to this service?

A2P messaging is and will be a relevant business for Telefónica.

Almost any big company you may imagine is using our A2P messaging service, either with a direct contract or through a channel partner.

Our current focus is to apply our big data capabilities to control fraud and enrich the product.

More widely, what would you like to see change in the mobile advertising space over the next 12 months?

I don’t think it is a secret that the mobile advertising is evolving towards a better customer experience.

That involves better ad formats, better creativities and probably less inventory at a higher price. We like that.

We really think that the industry should regulate itself and make sure that experience of the end customer is part of the equation.

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