Learn from Colette's 7 year experience in the mobile advertising world.

"What I love about working in mobile advertising is twofold - the constant changing landscape and the combination of skill sets necessary. Every day, I’m combining creativity with statistics, data science and finance."

Discuss your experience in the industry

I’ve been running online ads for about 7 years. I started when I built a website in college and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to make it indexed on Google. Turns out it’s always been easier to do paid marketing than organic :)

I worked for Expedia for a hot minute where I learned everything I could ever have wanted to know about SEM. Then I traded my big company in for a mobile app startup in San Francisco and never looked back.

What I love about working in mobile advertising is twofold - the constant changing landscape and the combination of skill sets necessary. The concept of advertising brings up a “Mad Men” style image of dreaming about headlines, copy and images. But in digital advertising we have so much more than that. Every day, I’m combining creativity with statistics, data science and finance.

I’ll never forget my first month at Expedia. I remember so vividly the moment that I realized I was working with multiple spreadsheets with thousands of rows and I knew there was a better way. I went to my boss and told him I thought we could automate the entire process of my job. Two years later, I have my own company where I get to do exactly that. It’s been an amazing journey, and it’s just starting.

Colette Nataf

What learnings have stuck with you, that you use in your current role?

I was really nervous when I started working for MileIQ. I felt like I was getting a big promotion and a big step up in the world, and there was no way I was going to blow it.

My first month, I start managing Facebook advertisements. I was given a cost per install (CPI) goal, and I crushed it. I remember feeling crazy proud of myself and what a great job I’d done.

Then I met with the COO. He pulled up a financial model and asked me what went wrong last month and how I planned to change my strategies in the future. Of course, I had no idea what he was talking about - I did a great job, right?

That was one of my most important early lessons. It’s not just about the number of people you can drive to your mobile app. You need to be able to understand how much money you’re spending AND how much money you’re making. That means full funnel, closed-loop marketing where our analyses are about ROI and conversion rates, not CPI anymore.

Discuss your approach to the industry

My approach to advertising is constant, regardless of the industry. For me, my obsession is how paid advertising fits into profit and loss goals of the business. How are we going to be able to achieve an LTV/CAC ratio or target payback period? What are the corresponding actions we need to take so that we can grow our company while making sure we’re constantly meeting efficiency metrics?

As for the future of mobile, I’m 100% about moving away from computers and towards mobile apps. I hate that my company now has a web app, and because I’m coming from mobile I always have this sinking feeling like there’s just too much space on full laptop and desktop screens :p

My next bet is on B2B mobile apps. We’ve done B2C. We’ve proven that people love bingo and all match games. But it’s time to move past that as we start thinking about how we can use these super-powerful devices in a new way.


What do you do to make yourself successful?

Always think about all the numbers all the time.

If I learned anything at MileIQ, it’s that I need to know my own numbers, but I also need to understand what they mean. It’s not just about whether I can hit my KPIs, it’s actually how I can cultivate a journey so that my business has sustainable and continual growth.

Move past failure quickly.

We all fail. Some of fail more often than others, but at the end of the day, we’ve got to get past it. Learn from the experience and move on.

No caffeine.

Seriously - makes me shake. I’m into perfection, not coffee addictions.

How has your success impacted others?

MileIQ was acquired by Microsoft, and as number 19, I like to think I (and my success through the paid advertising portfolio) played a role in that :)

And now I have a company where I grow other companies using AI. It’s a pretty great feeling watching our customers and their companies grow.

If I could leave you with a key takeaway from my mobile experience, I would simply say "Make your data perfect!"

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