Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

The Australian View: “I miss morning meetings on Bondi Beach”

The Australian View is an interview series with Australians working in the UK’s digital media and marketing industry, celebrating the people from Oz helping drive our industry to even higher levels of innovation and creativity. Next up is Giorgia Tavella, Senior DSP Sales – Agency Partner at Yahoo.

Tavella has worked in the industry for 10 years, specialising in digital and programmatic media, and has worked at Yahoo since 2019. She moved from Sydney to London with the company in 2022. 

What are the main differences between the UK and Australian industry scenes?

It’s a no-brainer but the UK and Australian industries differ significantly in size and market concentration. The UK boasts a much larger industry, which fosters a more diverse array of vendors and publishers, theoretically offering advertisers a broader range of options which is great for driving innovation, cut through and brand love. However, this plethora of options in the UK can also pose a challenge, as it becomes difficult for everyone in the industry to stay up to date with the opportunities- it can cause choice (or as I call it exploration) paralysis, whereby the number of potential activation partners is so big that it’s easier to stick with tried and tested partners, limiting your innovation.

I can only speak to London as that’s where I live, but it is such an iconic city, and there is something so special about seeing London Icons partnering with Iconic brands, like the LVMH and Yayoi Kusuma activation at Harrods (and all over London) last year.

With Australia’s comparatively smaller industry, there is less choice and less scale and it has been great to be able to reach niche markets in the UK that were really difficult to capture in AU, like culturally & linguistically diverse audiences.

What have you found most interesting/frustrating about working in the UK industry?

The impact of privacy and GDPR presents a unique challenge in the UK/EMEA. There are solutions for digital advertising in Australia that we are simply unable to activate in the UK due to GDPR regulations. I recognize the importance of GDPR in safeguarding privacy rights and The UK market has had to be far more creative in how we reach our audiences effectively and relevantly, without jeopardizing our audiences’ right to privacy.

Another challenge I’ve encountered in the UK is the siloed nature of planning and buying. With such large teams and budgets, there’s a multitude of tasks to manage, making it challenging to promote omnichannel solutions that here involve specialized expertise across different channels. In contrast, Australian planning teams are often more versatile, handling multiple channels, and their buying teams can more seamlessly integrate with one another, with the ability to offer really cohesive approaches to media activation for their brands.

What have you most missed from the industry in Australia?

Morning meetings (and swims) at Bronte or Bondi beach with agency partners—a perfect work-life balance!

I miss the flow and sense of achievement that comes from collaborating on full omnichannel campaigns, two standouts for me at Yahoo were for Tourism Tasmania and Westpac (an Australian bank). With Pubicis, we ran programmatic DOOH, CTV, display, video and audio campaigns for both brands, with device and channel retargeting, DCO, path to conversion analysis and more. It was brilliant to regularly be involved in the full campaign execution, even working with ‘offline’ media partners to ensure cohesion and impact.

What is the biggest misconception about the Australian industry and market?

The biggest misconception about the Australian industry and market is that it is ‘behind’ the UK in creativity and innovation. Australia has some of the brightest marketing and media minds, and is also often a preferred test market for many brands. Examples include the launch of Coke’s #ShareaCoke campaign in 2011 and Paramount recently announcing it will road-test shoppable TV in the AU market.

Additionally, Australia has shown relative maturity in adopting programmatic buying for DOOH and CTV compared to the UK. Research indicates that Australian advertisers are more receptive to programmatic DOOH, with 52% using it significantly or regularly considered, and an additional 36% experimenting with it, compared to only 14.1% uptake in the UK.

Also- that it’s sunny all the time! Sydney gets more rain than London on a yearly basis- you’ve now been warned if you decide to move there…

What lessons can the UK industry learn from Australia?

That sometimes being a generalist is a good thing! Embracing a generalist mentality fosters collaboration across channels, spurring innovation and removing silos.