Interview with Hew Bruce-Gardyne

Q&A: Hew Bruce-Gardyne

A recognised thought leader in data analytics and modelling, Hew has spent the majority of his career finding new and innovative ways of making data analytics transformative for businesses that span industries. 

As principal analyst at Sumerian, a provider of big data analytics for retail and investment banks, Hew was responsible for optimisation modelling and analysis for big-name financial clients across the globe. He was also the CTO and Head of IT Analytics for Registers of Scotland, a department within the Scottish Government that maintains records related to land, property and other legal documents.

We are looking forward to hearing from Hew at this year’s Digital Day.

You launched TVSquared in 2012. What’s it all about and who should be using it?

We created TVSquared six years ago after learning that TV advertising, a $212 billion global industry, had no accurate, timely way to measure and optimize campaign performance. Having worked for years in the financial services space, which has pioneered and embraced the use of big data for decision-making, I found this to be shocking. 

We set out to make TV measurable and optimisable, which we did with our ADvantage platform. We’ve made TV a performance-marketing channel - just like digital - which can be measured and optimised in near-real time. More than 800 brands, agencies and networks in more than 80 countries use ADvantage to improve the effectiveness of their TV campaigns. Typically, our clients see RoI improvements of 30% or more. 

In terms of who should be using it: anyone who advertises on TV, regardless of industry or size. Let me preface that with, anyone who advertises on TV and wants to see it drive immediate, measurable response. 

When it comes to TV advertising, what should marketers be doing to make campaigns more effective?

Continuous measurement and optimisation are the keys to successful TV campaigns. 

Traditionally, TV was used solely for reach - creating long-term brand awareness and recall-ability. And while brands still use TV for branding, the channel has evolved into a driver of direct response. Close to 90% of all TV viewers watch with second-screen devices in-hand or nearby. This is the age of the active-participation viewer, where all it takes is a swipe of a smartphone to engage with a brand. 

You’ve got offices in Edinburgh, London, New York, Munich and Los Angeles. Where is the biggest take-up of your services? Why do you think that is?

The U.S. has the largest TV ad spend in the world and is also our biggest and fastest-growing market. It’s due to many different factors, but the complexity and diversity of the country’s TV industry and geography are key drivers. We’re also seeing a lot of advertisers in the States put ad spend back into TV due, in part, to the many issues surrounding digital media (fraud, fake news sites, etc.) that has impacted brand safety.

You’ve recently raised a further £6m in funding to boost TVSquared’s market expansion, bringing your total funding to £21m. What does that mean for the future of the company?

The latest round of funding is going toward TVSquared’s sustained global growth plans - accelerating expansion into new markets and continuing our R&D efforts.  

What advice would you give to someone who was considering taking the leap into launching a new business?

It may seem obvious, but the most important starting point is having a good product. You have to know where you’re adding value and why, and then let the product do the talking. Don’t let “perfect” be the enemy of “good.” Get something in front of users early and get their feedback. Fail fast and amend quickly. 

Surround yourself with good people - and keep them. Don’t try to do everything yourself, rather build a culture of teamwork, trust, communication and accountability. 


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