Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Lindsay Wiles, Head of Advertising, EMEA, Wurl

Lindsay Wiles is Head of Advertising, EMEA, at Wurl. She is a veteran of the advertising technology space, having previously held roles at Yahoo and GroupM.

Who is your digital hero?

My digital hero is Ross Webster – currently a privacy consultant in the adtech space and Non Executive Director at Content Ignite – who hired me at The Weather Channel back in 2013 when he was the Managing Director & Vice President, EMEA at the company.

What has he done to win hero status in your eyes?

When Ross hired me, he was leading a team that was challenging agencies to think beyond audience targeting by promoting weather data activation as a proxy for sentiment and emotion via contextual targeting.

We were building activation products that required retail clients to allow us to combine their first-party sales data with our third-party weather data to build bespoke algorithms that would activate when the right weather condition in the right location came into play, prompting a sale both on and offsite.

Today, this is more familiarly known now as ‘Retail Media,’ but 10 years ago it was an untravelled path. Ross was prepared to give me the time and runway necessary to evangelise complex enterprise solutions and convert prospects, which takes persistence when you are delivering innovation to the market.

It’s been an invaluable experience that I’m now bringing to my role at Wurl as we look to launch similar contextual solutions such as BrandDiscovery, which matches ad creatives to the right content to generate positive attention in the CTV world.

How has his heroism helped drive digital?

Ross has now pivoted into data and privacy consulting, working for industry leaders like Lucid Privacy Group. He has become an expert in global privacy regulations who understands the commercial and technical limitations driven by privacy concerns, helping publishers navigate the complexities of GDPR, while also helping them maintain ad revenue.

What are the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?

We need someone who can safely navigate television’s transformation into the digital world as we move from linear to an all IP-based streaming business. TV has been described as having its ‘Humpty Dumpty’ moment in that it has fallen apart and we need to put it back together again. We need to retain the best of traditional TV – the trust, transparency, and brand safety – alongside the benefits of digital automation, data activation, proof of performance, and attribution – and the industry equivalent of a Rosetta Stone that fuses together the language of measurement!

I’m lucky to be working in a company like Wurl where it’s our mission to develop technologies that accelerate this shift by bringing digital technologies to CTV. 

What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?

I was given the opportunity to work with a coach a few years ago, who helped me clarify my values and my motivations. It’s my nature to be very goal-driven, and it was great to gain a better understanding of how to bring this focus into working with teams and get more enjoyment out of the journey to that goal.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of some really inspiring teams throughout my career and I’m proud of what we achieved together. This includes experiences like driving programmatic expansion across EMEA with a team of over 200 people during my time at Yahoo as Head of Platform Sales and Strategy, as well as helping to launch the Programmatic Buying Unit and the Digital Consultancy Team at GroupM, commercialising a broad range of specialist programmatic products to some amazing brands.

Now at Wurl, my focus is on expanding our presence across Europe, and developing key relationships with publishers looking to benefit from performance marketing-driven solutions on CTV. I’m pleased to have overseen the success of major partnerships to date here in the EMEA region.

Beyond these career-specific achievements, however, I’ve felt empowered as a woman in a male-dominated field to amplify the voices and visibility of my female colleagues in ad tech.

Whether it’s through addressing gender bias on industry stages by ensuring female representation or being a part of a company that values having women in leadership positions across all teams within the organisation, I hope to continue being a mentor to those – like Ross and others have been mentors to me – who may be looking to me as a source of support for navigating their careers or pursuing their aspirations with confidence.