Exec Seat: Q&A With AdXpansion's Nigel Williams

Since its launch in late 2009, AdXpansion has built its brand by providing innovative features and powerful optimization tools — all guided by its visionary company vice president, Nigel Williams.

Williams, well known throughout the online adult business for his leading role at the adult contextual ad network as well as his larger-than-life personality, believes it’s a “must” to help clients maximize their returns, as well as a “must” to constantly strive for new solutions.

You must be proud of your work, what we are doing, what we want to accomplish, what we have accomplished. If you can’t be proud of who you are and what you do, your teammates and clients will feel it.

XBIZ World recently caught up with Williams last month to find out more about him and AdXpansion in this month’s Executive Seat.

XBIZ: How did you become an expert in the online adult traffic business?

Williams: I’ve been working with mainstream traffic for about nine years now. About five years ago, we decided to create an adult ad network. At that time, I just jumped in, analyzed the market, talked to publishers, talked to advertisers, attended industry tradeshows and seminars, explored every piece of information that came my way and tried things for myself.

XBIZ: What does AdXpansion offer that sets it apart from competitors?

Williams: There are really three philosophies that are at the heart of what sets AdXpansion apart from our competitors:

No. 1 — Help get more people what they want. When we first decided to build an ad network for the adult industry, the free tube sites were (and still are) having the most amount of traffic. We quickly discovered that there were only a handful of advertisers dominating all the tubes and they were not very sophisticated in their advertising. There wasn’t any context with the ads for the material being viewed. Most tubes have quite a few categories like amateur, teen, milf, gay, shemale, etc; but no matter which niche a user was viewing, the ads shown were the same —not in context.

Furthermore, the ad spots on tube sites are very, very expensive. I remember the first spot I bought on a tube site. $80,000/monthly for a next-to-video spot. That is quite cost-prohibitive for an advertiser who would like access to tube traffic but only about five percent of it is relevant for their niche.

That’s when we decided to create a keyword targeted ad network and buy ad spots from tubes with the intention of having hundreds if not thousands of advertisers targeting exactly what they want.

No. 2 — The second thing that sets AdXpansion apart from our competition is our customer centric approach. My background in running brick-and-mortar or online businesses has always been with a customer intimacy focus. People don’t care about how much you know until you show them how much you care!

Because my past and present sales teams have bought-in to this philosophy, our businesses have been able to grow in environments amidst fierce competition.

No. 3 — Constant innovation. When we first started, we were first of the adult ad networks to offer an in-player solution. First adult ad network to offer text-ads with images and margin ad placements. We are also the only adult ad network to have a high volume of adult search traffic available for our text ads.

But the best is yet to come. We’ve put a lot of work into developing a game changer for adult ad networks. More on that subject I will not say. You’ll have to wait for our announcement on that.

XBIZ: Do you see adult traffic converging with mainstream?

Williams: Yes, without a doubt. When I talk with most mainstream advertisers, they do realize that there is a tremendous amount of adult traffic available at significantly lower prices than mainstream. But they (or their clients) have policies against using adult traffic. I’m quite confident that the need for mainstream businesses to grow will force some to reconsider their policies towards adult - where it makes sense of course.

I’m pretty sure that I’m not alone in my thinking. Lately I’ve seen a sharp increase of familiar (adult) faces when I attend mainstream shows like Affiliate Summit and ad:Tech.

XBIZ: What sector of the online adult business is driving the market these days?

Williams: For desktop traffic, its dating, pharmaceuticals and cams. For mobile, it’s video-on-demand, dating and cams.

XBIZ: How important is it to network at the various industry conventions?

Williams: For an online business in the adult industry, it’s critical. People need to trust you and your organization, especially since the adult traffic industry operates on a pay-up-front basis. Who wants to send $10,000-plus in advance to a person they’ve never met or a business without any good reputation?

If you want to get started and stay in this business, you must maintain a presence at industry shows. One thing is for sure, if you’re out of sight, you’ll be out of mind.

XBIZ: How do you motivate your team?

Williams: First, I motivate my team with pride.

You must be proud of your work, what we are doing, what we want to accomplish, what we have accomplished. If you can’t be proud of who you are and what you do, your teammates and clients will feel it. Nothing good will come from that.

Second, is team spirit. Playing sports as a teenager made me learn that you winning is fun, losing sucks, and the worst thing you let your team mates down. In sports and in business, you’ve got a position to fill, and you need to do it to your best if your team is going to have a chance at winning. Nobody wants to let down a teammate and everybody likes to win. Coaching my team to have a good sense of team spirit is a great motivator.

Third, I empower teammates to think and act on their own. There is a sense of ownership of responsibilities that comes with an empowered teammate. That’s always good for business.

XBIZ: What’s a typical work day like?

Williams: OMG, that’s a good question.

Typically my day starts before I get out of bed. As soon as I wake up, I check the sales and emails for anything that looks like it needs urgent attention.

After that, get to the office and see if anyone needs me for anything. Once that is done, I get back to working on our future, at least a year ahead.

But even the best plans can get derailed or delayed frequently. Being in a fast-paced online business, something always happens that would require immediate attention.

XBIZ: When not thinking about the biz, what do you like to do?

Williams: I’m an extremely social person and I like to do anything new. Meet new people, learn new skills, but most of all, I love going to new places. I rarely stop moving. I travel as much as I can. The world has many great places to discover and cultures to learn about. I get a lot of satisfaction from those new experiences.