Interview

AITech Interview with Sanjaya Molligoda, Co-Founder, iion

Sanjaya Molligoda, Co-Founder, iion

Changing technological tides have helped Sanjaya build the world’s first self-serve ad platform for the gaming ecosystem. Delve in to learn more!

1.Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your career before iion?

Believe it or not, I am a qualified medical doctor. I found my true calling with digital media and the internet and switched careers almost 20 years ago. I was fortunate to meet one of my fellow co-founders Wout 17 years ago and have since been involved in a number of startups, a sale of our business, and an ASX listing, to boot.

2. What was the inspiration behind beginning your career in this industry?

While studying medicine in my early 20s, I was drawn to the internet and began learning SEO/PPC in my free time as a hobby. I also immersed myself in the earliest forms of display ads and started doing affiliate marketing, which helped me earn enough to pay for my master’s degree. This journey led me to the realisation that my true passion was not medicine, it was digital media. And I haven’t looked back since. It was truly the best decision I ever made.

3. According to you, how is AI shaping the future of marketing?

We are already witnessing the birth of the next iteration of the internet (some call it web3, etc). I see the next generation of the internet as a 3D version of what we now call a website – immersive in nature and immensely discoverable. And AI is going to shape this future immersive internet, which will be created using generative AI with ML-driven marketing features (like we already see programmatic media benefitting from) built in.

4. How can brands ensure they reach their target audience with mobile games?

To reach a brand’s ideal customers, you need to have the right tools across all gaming environments and gaming platforms. A platform that can bring your first- and third-party data to life while also having contextual and attention metrics sorted after the deprecation of the third-party cookie will enable this.

5. Are AI-driven machine learning algorithms a key to understanding customer preferences?

Yes and no. With the deprecation of the third-party cookie, it will soon be near impossible to do remarketing-based algorithmic ML. Therefore, first-party data coupled with a combination of contextually relevant placements and attention metrics to drive awareness will be key in the coming years. ML, in a contextual and attention-led manner, is the driver in a world where privacy is paramount. Together with brand uplift and survey studies, this recipe will give brands the upper hand in determining customer preferences.

6. Can iion’s advertising solutions be customised to meet client needs?

iion’s self-serve ad platform ‘immersiion’ was purpose-built for the gaming industry. The platform enables clients to set up campaigns granularly across all three IAB gaming environments (in-game, around the game, and away from the game) as well as across a multitude of gaming platforms (web, app, console, PC, Cloud, and e-sports).
immersiion also provides clients the ability to target their ideal market precisely via data segments and contextual relevance. Its creative builder simplifies the process of making engaging ads that drive high ad recall. Very soon, immersiion will also give access to attention metrics and enable clients to perform brand-lift studies in the same platform. immersiion also has self-serve and managed options, as well as a channel partner and reseller program.

7. Can you highlight some features of the immersiion advertising platform?

  • immersiion is the only platform to target all three IAB gaming environments (in-game, around the game and away from the game) in one place
  • immersiion allows clients to target any audience segment with contextually relevant placement across those environments
  • Clients can create engaging, standard, rich media and video creatives seamlessly inside the same platform, A/B test creative
  • immersiion offers real-time reporting to measure reach and performance metrics
  • immersiion targets the trifecta of media ad formats – display, audio and video – inside its holistic game-tech platform
  • immersiion is purpose-built for gaming and gaming alone
  • immersiion provides a simple, intuitive user experience with both self-serving and managed services for agencies and brands
  • immersiion is the only platform that targets media across mobile, pc, console, cloud and e-sports gaming platforms
  • immersiion is soon to be the only gaming ad platform with both brand uplift studies (BLS) and attention metrics incorporated in reporting

8. Could you tell us more about your work culture, and what makes iion’s culture unique?

At iion, we believe that cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths. Our team members come from around the world. In fact, we have approximately 16 nationalities, bringing a wealth of diverse experiences, cultures, and skills to our workforce.
We’re a little geeky but massively approachable – outgoing even. Our teams love being helpful to our partners. And I believe we’re best characterised as early adopters who are forever curious and passionate about exploring new fields and technologies. While we know a lot, we’re far from being ‘know-it-alls’.

9. What are iion’s plans for expansion and growth? Where do you see it in the coming years?

We have very ambitious plans to become the benchmark in advertising and monetisation across all digital worlds and see gaming as a stepping stone to future virtual worlds.
To achieve this, we are expanding the tech/product, sales, and operations capabilities in key regions like Australia, Singapore, the UK, the US, and more. We are aiming to double iion’s size by the end of 2023.

10. Could you share a motivational quote that inspires you the most?

I’m a very positive person and go by the following mottos in life:
“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited about what could go right.” – Tony Robbins
“You should never regret anything in life. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, put it down to experience.” – Victoria Holt
“Remember that life’s greatest lessons are usually learned from the worst times and from the worst mistakes.” – Anonymous

11. What is that one piece of advice that you would like to share with budding marketers?

Take your chances, create opportunities, and don’t stop trying. To stay ahead, keep a research and study schedule. You must be learning all the time to evolve and grow with the times.

Sanjaya Molligoda

Co-Founder, iion

Trusted by 200+ publishers across 50+ countries, iion is the leading advertising and monetization platform reaching audience segments across all gaming environments. Founded in 2019 with a mission to redefine monetization and advertising for gaming, iion has offices in Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Netherlands, Portugal, Philippines, Singapore, Turkey, United Kingdom and Vietnam.
Learn more at iion.io.

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