Email Marketing Platform Adestra Nabs Google Exec Matt McGowan As President

MattMMatt McGowan, head of strategy for Google’s America’s ad agency business, has jumped to UK-based email automation platform Adestra, where he will serve as president, effective immediately.

McGowan spent two and a half years at Google, where he supported sales to big brand and agency buyers.

During his tenure, Google made major inroads into brand budgets, particularly in video with the launch of programs like Partner Select and Google Preferred, which promised buyers premium access to YouTube and partner video inventory.

“Programmatic mobile video was the most valuable dollar Google could go after in terms of its market cap,” said McGowan. “My job was to make sure there was a three-way dialogue between advertiser, agency and Google. The acceleration of viewing on YouTube all came down to where the consumer was spending their time, and that behavior had changed significantly.”

Now, by joining Adestra, which he has served in an advisory role for several years, McGowan says he’s in a prime position to plan for similar consumer shifts – just with email and mobile.

Adestra employs 111 people and expects headcount to reach 160 this year. The company has grown its revenue 40% year over year for the past decade, McGowan claimed, and it raised a $7.2 million Series A round in January to help fuel future growth and headcount.

Many hires have come from enterprise and data platform companies including leadership at Oracle, Salesforce, Acxiom and Google. 

“We want to be the global leader in contextual, one-to-one digital marketing focused on email,” said McGowan. “Ninety percent of the industry is still batching and blasting, not offering dynamic email that’s customized based on a consumer’s behavior and location.”

Adestra helps companies like Crabtree and Evelyn, Thomson Reuters and Lloyds trigger emails based on location or other contextual data points in real time. Its business model includes software licensing and service options for clients who need ongoing support.

McGowan doesn’t see the large enterprise platforms as competitors so much as other dynamic email platforms like Sailthru and Maropost.

Although Adestra is focused on dynamic email that factors in points like location and marketers’ CRM or social data, McGowan predicts there could be more paid media opportunities around customer acquisition down the road versus only email retention.

“There’s been a complete refocus on logged-in, email-based data with Google’s Customer Match [and Similar Audiences] and Facebook too,” he said. “The thing with email is it has more [longevity, whereas something like a] push notification disappears.”


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