A leaner AdRoll looks to small businesses for Australian growth

A leaner AdRoll is looking to grow the Australian business now its local operations are stabilised, Marius Smyth, the company’s VP for EMEA and APAC has said.

Dublin-based Smyth is responsible for running AdRoll’s Australian operations from Ireland following the company’s December restructure, which saw most of its local staff made redundant. 

He told Mumbrella the local cuts had been about refocusing the business on its original market.

AdRoll’s Smyth: ‘I don’t believe the yardstick for success is how many people we have in an office’

“Historically we had gone a little bit upmarket, focusing on larger customers and bigger agencies. With that refocusing with the product it meant we had to make some changes. It was less about cost cutting and more about allocating resources,” Smyth said.

The restructure saw the Sydney office reduced to seven people from a peak of over 25, as the company shifted its priorities away from bigger clients.

Following the shake up, AdRoll purged its senior management and announced a refocus of the business on a small business market. The changes also saw company president Toby Gabriner replace founder Aaron Bell as CEO.

“We looked at the business and thought ‘where are we getting the most traction?'” Smyth said about the restructure. “‘Where is the place that we believe we should be building a product for?’ Really, our heritage has been in the medium to small business space.”

“So we asked ‘how do we reallocate resources within the business to give us the best opportunities to drive that?’ There were some parts that were impacted, and Australia was part of that.”

Smyth rejected the view that managing the APAC region from Dublin would be difficult, saying: “I’m really looking forward to the challenge. I think with small businesses, whether they are in EMEA or APAC, are generally trying to optimise for one or two things. If we provide a platform that does that, it will be a great opportunity for them.”

For the moment, AdRoll is focusing on the Australian market for its APAC footprint, with the business not intending to open an office in South East Asia at present.

“In Australia we’ve definitely validated the opportunity… then beyond that we can work from there,” Smyth said.

“Our strategy for Australia was to stabilise the business, try and keep the customers we had and try to grow from the base we had.

“We’re now in what I hope will be a period of growth.”

Smyth also claims AdRoll is moving on from its retargeting roots, with the company looking at offering broader services to the SMB market.

“We’re trying to move away from being known as a retargeting company,” said Smyth. “It’s where we began, but what we’re trying to do now is offer small, ambitious brands the way to optimise their performance across all display advertising. Retargeting is part of what we do, but not all of what we do.

“We turned profitable last year, which is no mean feat for an adtech company,” he concluded. “Over the longer term, we want to become the platform of choice for small business, so they can go against bigger brands with greater resources.”


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