Won’t You Be My Partner?

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This week on AdExchanger Talks: the growing importance of partnerships in marketing.

Ad tech veteran Dave Yovanno describes how his company Impact is facilitating key marketing relationships – with affiliates, influencers, biz dev partners and others. And he recalls the early days of performance-based digital advertising at ValueClick, where he worked for eight years.

Early in his time as CEO of Impact, Yovanno noticed Ticketmaster and other large clients were using the platform to manage sourcing, billing and other aspects of their deal flow with key partners. It was not a use case the platform was built for, and he realized there might be an opportunity.

“Nothing has existed until now around enabling this direct connection with partners,” Yovanno says. “There’s been no system of record for contracting. There’s been no system of record for tracking and crediting back to a partner as someone who referred a … lead. Partnerships have been around for ages. The challenge is they’ve been operating in silos.”


Earlier in his career, Yovanno was an executive at ValueClick, a company that embodied the evolution of performance-based digital advertising long before it rebranded as Conversant and was acquired Epsilon, which was in turn acquired by Publicis.

Circa 2000, Yovanno recalls, “Our revenue came from companies that were buying clicks to package their business up to an investor to go raise money,” he says. “I remember having sales reps that would have a 10-minute conversation and then a six-figure insertion order would come across on the fax machine. They were upset that there weren’t enough publishers to fill the order, [so] we’d have to start calling some publishers and get them to run these ads.”

After the dot-com bust, everything came crashing down. At one point, the company was subsisting on two advertisers – an online casino brand and a credit card company – each of which spent about $1 million a month. But from those ashes the company developed a strong data-driven optimization approach for paid media.

Working with its gambling client, Casino On Net, he says, “We figured out the early days of optimization. We figured out a way to pass unique identifiers and performance feedback so we could cut out sites that were not good for their offer. These guys were amazing. They had so many iterations of creative, they tracked lifetime value. They knew when someone stopped playing; they would deposit a little bit more in their account. It was a data science experience way back in the early 2000s.”

“I learned a lot and we started to take their experience into our meetings with other advertisers and help them figure out some of the stuff I learned,” Yovanno adds. “We started to make it work, and that was the early days of performance on the internet.”

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