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Peo Persson of DanAds: “It takes knowledge to get attention and time to build the relationships that are needed to garner success”

It takes knowledge to get attention and time to build the relationships that are needed to garner success. As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Peo Persson. Peo Persson, the co-founder and CPO of Danads, (www.DanAds.com) is a provider of […]

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It takes knowledge to get attention and time to build the relationships that are needed to garner success.


As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Peo Persson.

Peo Persson, the co-founder and CPO of Danads, (www.DanAds.com) is a provider of self-service advertising technology. A digital marketing strategist with a background in consultancy and entrepreneurship, Peo has held a number of senior roles in the media and IT industry with almost a decade’s worth of experience working in ad-tech innovation. Prior to founding DanAds in 2013, Peo was part of the founding team for Hybris Empire, a digital media and advertising company.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

My interest in media and automated technology began in 2007. It was while working in digital sales at a company owned by The Swedish Publishers’ Association (SvF) that I noticed the industry was lacking in vital automation tools needed to streamline sales and ad operations. This, in turn, could free up publishers’ sales, AdOps, accounting, and management teams so that they can focus on more mission-critical and value-adding tasks that impact the bottomline.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

The world of programmatic advertising (the automation of buying and selling online advertising) has, in the past, been blamed for contributing to the lack of transparency within the advertising industry. And, for a long time, this has very often been the case. At DanAds, we’re working to democratise the online advertising industry for everyone and bring much-needed transparency back into the supply chain.

Publishers who sell their advertising inventory off programmatically via tech giants like Google, often lose a large proportion of revenue to intermediaries in the supply chain, such as media agencies and trading desks, with whom the publisher has little to no involvement with. These complex supply chains make it very difficult for brands to see where their budgets are being spent. In fact, according to Hamish Nicklin, Chief Revenue Officer at The Guardian, for every £1 spent on its ad inventory, only 30p actually makes it to its back pocket, meaning the vast majority of the money that advertisers think they are paying to premium publishers does not actually reach them.

Despite most relying on these tech giants to some extent, they have long been given free rein in this space and it has given them an anti-competitive advantage. Due to their market dominance, if a smaller publisher wants to offer its inventory, they have little choice but to use one of the self-service platforms offered by the big names and, consequently, these trillion-dollar companies are able to capture around 35% of the value from advertising campaigns purchased from newspapers and other content providers in the UK. This is as shocking as it is concerning particularly when we consider the value of opening up additional revenue streams for traditional publishers as the world shifts away from print, towards online.

The problem is that many smaller publishers, unlike some of the big tech giants, may not have the expertise or resources to build their own self-service platform through which advertisers can buy ad space and, as a result, are stuck in an inefficient cycle of utilising third party-controlled, non-transparent programmatic sales. Ultimately, an industry where all the small and medium-sized businesses are forced to advertise exclusively through the biggest tech giants is considered to be an undemocratic one.

At DanAds, our goal is to disrupt this cycle perpetuated by traditional programmatic advertising and help to democratise the online advertising industry. Publishers are increasingly looking to invest in more cost-efficient, speedy and seamless advertising tech to compete with Google and other tech giants for buyers’ interest and dwindling revenues. As such, self-service platforms are invaluable to the survival and competitiveness of these outlets, who lack the expertise or resources to develop and maintain their own. By providing digital publishers of all sizes, from Bloomberg Media Group and Hearst Magazines, to Hulu and Tripadvisor, with a white-labelled and fully customizable self-service advertising solution, we can help to give control back to the advertisers, lowering the barrier to entry for business of all sizes, and help publishers receive a greater share of advertising revenue than they would from traditional programmatic ad purchases.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The funniest mistake was definitely when DanAds was first starting out. I was taking on the roles of Sales, CPO, CTO, CMO, and also support, like a human swiss army knife. Over time, I learned that I need to rely on other people, specifically, people who have greater knowledge in the area in questions, to take care of my baby.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

My greatest mentor has been my co-founder, and DanAds’ CEO, Istvan Beres. He always tells me, “you are not perfect, but you are perfect for doing what you do.” Having trust and confidence is everything when working in a startup like DanAds. We work with some of the biggest media companies globally and it’s important to always remain grounded and surround yourself with people who you can trust, and who trust you and, Istvan is that for me.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Often, people become so used to something being a certain way that they neglect to question whether or not it should be that way. Within the advertising space, for example, Google and Facebook have complete market dominance. Until recently, this was simply the way it was. If you wanted to sell off your advertising space programmatically, you had to go through Google. Disruption in this space is long overdue, and society and law makers alike (such as the Competition and Markets Authority in the UK, and the Justice Department in the US) are beginning to take steps to ensure that platforms with ‘Strategic Market Status’, like Google and Facebook, do not engage in exploitative or exclusionary practices.

Being disruptive has taken on a new and exciting meaning because, as a society, we are no longer content with just sitting by and allowing injustice of any kind to play out in front of us. Competition within the tech industry works in cycles and we have seen this in the past with telecommunications giants such as Nokia and Sony Ericsson, as well as with companies like IBM in the consumer banking industry. But change can’t be achieved overnight. Large-scale reformation of the advertising industry is definitely necessary and the more ‘disruptors’ there are that to help bring an end to the monopolies led by big tech, promoting greater competition and transparency and putting downward pressure on intermediaries’ fees, the better.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

It takes knowledge to get attention and time to build the relationships that are needed to garner success.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

Every week we are adding more and more publishers to our growing network, from local newspapers to some of the biggest household names. Our technology is also evolving with plenty of new and exciting integrations happening all the time, including our recent partnership with Matchcraft, that enables advertisers to buy and manage their social media campaigns, without the need for human interaction or manual handling of assets, and with full transparency.

The world of self-service advertising is growing rapidly and we’re excited to be an integral piece of the positive change puzzle.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades”

I always believe that everything is possible and that we need to look to the future with a positive outlook. We, as individuals, have the power to change the world.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

We all live on the same earth, and in the inspiring way that the world came together to fight COVID-19, we all need to do what we can to help and support the other citizens of the world in dealing with epidemics of other kinds.

How can our readers follow you online?

Website: https://danads.com

Twitter: @DanAdsSelfserve // @perssonpeo

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/danads/// https://www.linkedin.com/in/peopersson/

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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