A day in the life of… director of analytics at an independent ad server
Our latest ‘day in the life’ is spent with Peter Falcone, EMEA director of analytics at Flashtalking, a data activation platform and open ad stack.
Here’s what Falcone had to say…
Please describe your job: What do you do?
Peter Falcone: As Flashtalking’s EMEA director of analytics, it’s my job to look after the company’s range of attribution and measurement solutions across the region. And following the recent acquisition of two analytical innovators — fractional attribution specialist Encore and device recognition firm Device 9 — this is no mean feat.
What I do is hugely varied. I might be managing new business engagements, representing Flashtalking at an event run by the IAB, delivering insights to existing clients, overseeing accounts, or organising internal training. There is always a new experience or project to explore.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
Peter Falcone: The nature and scope of my role means I sit across multiple teams. I work closely with the sales teams in the UK and Germany, but I also play a part in solution engineering, marketing, and several areas of account management. Above me is the global analytics head, Steve Latham — the original founder of Encore, and a highly inspirational thinker.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
Peter Falcone: Firstly and perhaps most obviously, an analytical mind is vital. To work with complex tools, comprehension of how they function is critical — whether you are marketing or maintaining them. And technical knowledge is especially key in a fast-moving industry like advertising; you regularly need to grasp the specifications of new product offerings and understand the details of the latest partner integration.
Secondly, good sales acumen is also essential to give clients the best possible service. You must be able to identify specific needs, find solutions, and ensure real value is delivered for clients at each level of the organisation.
Tell us about a typical working day… What do you love about your job? What sucks?
Peter Falcone: My job is diverse — which is one of the things I like most about it — but that does mean my days don’t follow a particular routine. There are, however, a few central elements that often make their way into my weekly workload.
This might include:
Presenting to a potential client on the lookout for an attribution provider, in a room packed with people from different sides of the business.
Having a working lunch with one of the largest agency analytics teams to discuss the latest product evolution.
Running a session with a long-standing client where we demonstrate the efficiency gains our product has delivered to the senior leadership.
Syncing with our data science team in New York to ensure all technical deliverables are progressing on schedule.
And if there’s any time left: attending celebration drinks or a ping-pong night for our latest client win.
One of the things I love about working for Flashtalking, is its eco-system friendly approach, whereby we strive to collaborate with many other players in the industry to increase the value provided to clients. Over the past few months we have announced several partnerships that go in this direction, with firms such as Adobe, Neustar, and Oracle.
What sucks is when we see the opposite approach being taken by large players in the space. The companies in question regularly impose restrictions on tools, which prove to be very disruptive not only for clients, but also agency and tech providers who have invested time and resources into tech they can no longer use.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
Peter Falcone: As a growing start-up, achieving consistent growth — so sales targets — is key. We want to be meeting each milestone on the development plan, on time. It is also crucial for us to continuously drive client retention and satisfaction.
We believe success should be measured not just by our internal sales figures, but also the achievements of our clients. Ultimately, companies approach Flashtalking in search of a means to improve engagement with their target customers and viewability. So, uplift in their ROI is good for their business and great for building our long-term relationship of trust with our client – by delivering what we promise, we can keep clients and keep growing.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
Peter Falcone: There are so many, but I can try to name a few day-to-day essentials. Slides and spreadsheets are my bread and butter, while Zoom and Skype Business are invaluable for conference calls with the US or clients in EMEA. Slack is good for fast and easy internal communications, as well as project tracking. I would also say R Studio is great to quickly crunch large data sets and visualise them in a cool way.
How did you land in this role, and where might you go from here?
Peter Falcone: From a young age I’ve always been interested in problem solving and calculations. It’s what led me to study computer science and engineering at university and I haven’t looked back since.
My interests in these areas are what kick-started my career as a software engineer for TXT e-solutions and how I came to join Google as analytical lead EMEA. Becoming part of the DoubleClick team at Google was a huge milestone in my career and it was a role that carried me through the senior ranks of attribution specialists, where I worked with some of the largest advertisers in the industry. Throughout my career, I always had my eye on Flashtalking – I was impressed with the company’s capabilities in the attribution arena, and was delighted to eventually join its expanding team.
The best thing about this industry is that it’s constantly developing and evolving. No one knows what the future holds, but one thing’s for sure; I want to be part of the journey.
Which recent ad campaigns do you admire?
Peter Falcone: A campaign I especially admire is O2’s recent Customise your Plan product introduction. The campaign showed innovation at all levels and snapped all channels from TV to digital, highlighting a tight integration between the product, creative, and media teams.
Do you have advice for anybody who wants to work in your field?
Peter Falcone: As companies become more data-driven and interconnectivity increases, those who have a real affinity for handling data will be very sought after. This means current expansion of the analytics field isn’t set to slow down any time soon – now is your time, so go and find a role that allows you to do what you love.
On the practical side, analytical ability and high proficiency in maths is a good start, but don’t stop learning. Having an agile mindset is a great asset in the ever-evolving world of technology, don’t stop seeking to enhance your knowledge and capability.