SalesTech Star

Salestechstar Interview With Harry Maugans, Founder and CEO at Clickagy

While the world is changing rapidly with Covid19 initiating a new normal; increased remote work, more online collaboration and virtual marketing and sales activities are at the core of this change. In a largely digital world where it’s easier to track your customer’s footprint, there is more need for marketing and sales to adhere to privacy norms. In this interview, Harry Maugans, Founder and CEO at Clickagy joins us to discuss the concept of privacy clusters that can come in handy while also sharing a few thoughts on overall data privacy issues.


Can you tell us a little about yourself Harry?

I founded Clickagy about 8 years ago, coming from the quantitative finance world, where I learned a lot about managing massive datasets and artificial intelligence. In the AdTech industry for over two decades, I’ve learned the industry inside and out, building Clickagy in a niche where there was a major need: high-quality data. I began my career as an IT professional while still in high school. By personally designing and coding what would later become one of the largest community-driven wallpaper websites in the world, I’ve earned the esteemed “Youth Entrepreneur of the Year” award alongside billionaire Charlie Loudermilk, winner of the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award by the Association for Corporate Growth. As the CEO and founder of Clickagy, I strive to bring a sense of truth and clarity to an otherwise opaque industry, by leading my team with a restless sense of passion and vigor.

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How did the idea behind Clickagy initially come about?

In the beginning, we began as a DSP looking to help advertisers serve display media.  We learned that DSPs were getting commoditized and the primary driver of campaign success or failure wasn’t inside the DSP itself, it was the targeting data. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how good your ad creative is — if the person isn’t in-market, they’re not going to see or buy your product. Extremely high-quality data is the powerhouse behind all successful digital marketing campaigns.

Can you tell us a little about your latest Cookie-less solution and also, how do you see the demand for more (improved) privacy measures shape up over time?

The world is changing quickly and the public has been very clear in their message that they don’t want to be tracked. Many companies are trying to navigate around those wishes, however, with the genie out of the bag, any band-aids or workarounds will end up getting squashed soon. Alternatively, Clickagy has taken a future-proof approach, which will never get blocked. We concede that 1-to-1 targeting is not the future, instead leaning on micro-clustering. We built a technology called Privacy Clusters, allowing us to persistently group 3-5 individuals who are treated the same way a single cookie was treated in the past. If the group qualifies for in-market intent, the entire group gets targeted with relevant messaging. This conveys that the person who actually expressed interest will see ads and a few other nearby people will see the same ads as “branding.” However, since we don’t use cookies, we’re able to bid on media at a much lower CPM than competitive solutions, making our cluster approach relatively cost neutral for marketers, while doubling the scale. Best of all, the person who was interested in the product gets a 1-to-1 experience, while protecting their privacy.

What do users today look for when it comes to protection of their personal information, as they navigate online channels – what are they most concerned with and how are you seeing newer innovations and solutions offer users the kind of data protection they need, can you talk about some innovations here in this space?

They don’t want their personal privacy violated. People normally don’t object to group-based targeting because it’s not considered creepy and invasive. For example, if your entire neighborhood got postcards promoting AT&T’s internet service in your mailbox, would you view the targeting as alarming? Of course not. However, if you are verbally discussing signing up for Netflix soon, then seconds later you get an offer email, that may not sit well. When it’s personal, people fight back against it. We need to protect the consumer’s desire for privacy without foregoing decades of progress toward effective marketing.

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We’d love a few thoughts about Privacy Clusters and why today’s marketer should be more open to using tools for advertising that also protect customer data and privacy?

Consumers are more empowered than they’ve ever been before. If they don’t like something or they feel like they’ve been mistreated, they will stand up and fight back. Marketers are frequently forced to walk a line between hitting their KPIs and violating consumer trust. Clickagy’s solution, Privacy Clusters, is the only solution in the world that protects consumer privacy without losing marketing effectiveness or scale.

What are some of the top thoughts you’d share with marketers as they plan their targeted advertising strategy, keeping in mind the importance of ensuring privacy and compliance?

The age of silver bullets is over. There are a number of solutions on the market that sound too good to be true: maintaining 1-to-1 data quality without being vulnerable to all the legislation and tech changes. That level of privacy invasion is going away, so marketers need to evolve their thinking, rather than trying to desperately hold on to the past. In this new age of enlightened consumers, the smart marketer will embrace the consumer’s desire for privacy, while capitalizing on behavioral data in the most effective way that’s technologically possible, and that’s what we’ve built with Privacy Clusters.

Any last few thoughts to share before wrapping up (on leadership / a favorite quote / top sales books to read, etc) or any thoughts on dealing with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic?

We’re currently in the dawn of data. Consumers are waking up to the power of data and companies are trying to figure out the most ethical way of using it. In the next few years, working closely with legislators, we will collectively forge the rails to which the (arguably) trillion-dollar data industry will continue to operate for decades to come. We’re living in the dawn of data, and that’s a huge responsibility.

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What other measures should sales and marketing take to adjust to the new normal? Catch these episodes of The SalesStar Podcast where industry leaders weigh in. 


As CEO of Clickagy, Harry is known not only for his abilities as a savant developer but also as an energetic leader looking to bring a sense of truth and clarity to an otherwise opaque industry. He leads his team with a restless sense of passion and vigor. Harry’s contagious optimism for the future of Clickagy and the opportunity to improve the data industry is taking the programmatic industry by storm.

Harry Maugans is the founder and entrepreneurial visionary behind Clickagy, an innovative data intelligence company powering some of the largest programmatic campaigns in the world. Harry’s innate ability to identify opportunities within complex markets has led to the creation of successful companies in multiple verticals, from automotive to quantitative finance.