Feb 16, 2017

in News

In Conversation: Archnashree Nellan

Q: How did you land at Precision?

Arch: I applied to Precision for an internship after I finished university at NYU. I had heard about Precision because my sister was working on the Wendy Davis campaign, and through people there, they had talked about Precision and how great it was, so I applied. I found out the day after my interview I was going to be an intern. I started and then 2 1/2 months into my internship, I got a job offer and I have been here since.

Q: Wait, you found out the day after your interview that you were going to be an intern?

Arch: Yeah, because I applied really late.

Q: Lucky for Precision. Can you walk me through a typical day in your role here?

Arch: Sure! Usually, for the Paid Media team, we check in on our campaigns first thing in the morning. We pull reporting from the various platforms our campaigns are running on to make sure that everything is performing smoothly, and then we translate that data into something that people can actually understand. But that’s the only guaranteed thing that I do every day.

Other than that, it could be anything from drafting new ads to checking how people are responding to our ads, whether people are leaving nasty comments or people are responding very positively to them. We also traffic the ads ourselves at Precision so building a paid media campaign requires a lot of work.

Q: How did you get into paid media?

Arch: I was interested in media in general — how people respond to it and what are the most effective ways to use it. I didn’t know what paid media was until I came here, but I think the overarching concepts of a really targeted message and the technology that you can use to distribute and amplify that message have been general ideas that interest me. So when I came to Precision and figured out there was a job doing that, it was a good fit.

Q: How do you see the paid media field evolving in the next 3-5 years?

Arch: I think we’re already battling with people being so oversaturated with content and media. Especially with paid media, people are so much more discerning now. If they see ‘sponsored by’ or ‘paid by,’ some people immediately respond negatively to that, so I think working through issues like that is going to be interesting to see.

Q: How do you see you overcoming that skepticism? What do you tend to get the more positive feedback on?

Arch: I think one of the most effective tactics I’ve noticed is when the messaging reflects that the team behind the content are self-aware of audience skepticism. If you seem out of touch, if the audience thinks that you think that you know better than them, they’re not going to respond to it.

Q: So you can’t sound like you’re a robot when delivering content.

Arch: Exactly. There has to be that appeal that makes people feel like, “Oh, that is what I wanted to hear.” I think the other thing that we hear a lot working on the Paid Team is people who approach us like, “Oh, I got this ad for diapers, and I’m wondering why people think that I would need that. I’m not a mom yet.” People really are aware of what ads they’re being served, so I think understanding your audience and what they want is key.

Q: Do you have a sense of how to better figure out what the audience wants or is that, do you think, where paid media has to sort of catch up in the future?

Arch: I think paid media is there, it’s just a matter of advertisers being willing to take the extra steps to really research their audience and the avenues to reach them and be willing to test which platforms perform best.

Q: To that point, what are some of the primary skills that people need in your position and in Paid in general?

Arch: One thing that I really love about the Paid Media team is that everyone has different strengths that they bring to the table — some people are better at analytics, some people are better at drafting creative, and some people are better at working with vendors. There isn’t one skill that everyone in Paid Media has to have, but definitely a general understanding of analytics is very helpful. Math is not the correct term for it, but you need to understand how numbers work and how to translate that into a way that clients and coworkers from other teams understand, that’s such a useful tool.

I think one thing that is also really interesting about paid media is it’s such an evolving field. Sometimes you can come into work and the Facebook platform is completely different. And you just have to be like, “Okay, I just need to spend an extra half hour looking into this, and I will figure it out.” You just need that kind of spirit to want to learn, and never be above figuring out new problems.

Q: I think people look at Facebook and Twitter as the two big paid platforms, but are there other platforms that are interesting to you from a paid media perspective?

Arch: Totally, I think branded content is so interesting. Like when Chipotle tried to have a Hulu series.

Q: Wait, Chipotle tried to have a Hulu series?

Arch: Yeah, it was a few episodes that were really short, but that was one of the markets they were trying to break into (Note: The series was called Farmed and Dangerous). But going back to the audience being more discerning, I think that a lot of times when you see something like that, you think, “Oh, why are they pandering to me?” but when brands can execute it well, it’s just so good.

I’m definitely interested in creative branded content and when films and brands have a seamless integration. Examples of not-so-seamless integration: I remember when James Bond started drinking Heineken in the reboot, it was like, “He drinks martinis, guys. He does not drink Heineken.” It just kind of threw off the whole movie experience. Right now, I can’t think of good examples, but I know there are good ones.*

Q: Do you have a memory about working at Precision you’d like to share?

Arch: One of the coolest things—this is going to sound so brownnose-y, everyone’s going to be like, ‘Arch’—but when I started as an intern, I went to this NYU event about the election where Stephanie Cutter was one of the speakers. Seeing Stephanie in her element, and take down this misogynistic audience member asking a dumb question (there is such a thing as a dumb question) was the most amazing thing. Plus, she recognized me in the lobby after and everyone else who attended the event thought I was super important.

*Note: Arch later followed up with the following good example: The Lego Movie – Absolutely genius!”

RAPID-FIRE QUESTIONS:

First social media platform you check in the morning: Instagram
Favorite Twitter account: @emilynussbaum
Favorite Instagram account: @artlexachung
One article everyone should read: Fear of a Black President by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Favorite headline from the last 6 months: Donald Trump is Gaslighting America
Favorite outlet or blog in general: News and Guts/TeenVogue
What was your first IM screenname (or your worst ever username): tigerkid2001
An app you couldn’t live without: GoogleMaps

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