Andrew Shebbeare loves digital media. “I particularly enjoy the geekery, the data, the possibilities.”
However, he is also quite savvy about what it takes to build a digital agency that never forgets its responsibility to a client’s P&L. He says, “Digital marketing is like a huge box of incredibly complex Legos. You can make pretty much anything; create just about any data-- you’ve just got to be able to see the opportunities that have the potential to transform a business. That’s one of the key capabilities a modern agency needs to bring to bear for its clients.”
Andrew and his co-founders, Andy Bonsall and Matt Isaacs, started Essence in London in 2005, and within 3 years were serving clients like Google, eBay and Expedia across Europe. Andrew worked with clients in Paris, Berlin, Hamburg, Zurich, and Milan. In 2010 he moved to New York to open the first US office for Essence. This year, he relocated to San Francisco to help build the agency’s West Coast presence as US operations grow.
Andrew Shebbeare is eminently quotable as he discusses key industry issues: “Marketing effectiveness measurement is a dark art, full of spurious pseudo-science and moral hazard. Over the last two years my colleagues and I have designed completely new ways of creating proper, unbiased experiments to isolate the real impact of digital advertising on people’s attitudes and behaviors. Unencumbered by selection bias or sample size, the experiments we run for our clients isolate campaign lift with proper statistical rigor and down to a fine level of granularity.
Doing this isn’t only about generating robust statistics. It also involves processing gargantuan amounts of data. That in turn has required completely new technologies and infrastructure. Three years ago we didn’t have a Hadoop cluster. Today we parse about 3 TeraBytes of log data a day to build our unique measurement models. We’re told by some of the most respected figures in the industry that this level of rigor is completely unique-- and a differentiation that sets us apart from others in the industry.”
Andrew did not take the usual route to agency work. He worked for Capital One in Nottingham, England after leaving University, and then joined a London-based financial services start-up that was later acquired by Lloyds TSB. “I've worked in or traveled to well over two dozen countries; I feel terrible about my carbon footprint.”