AdTorque Edge COO Damien O’Neill discusses the agency’s niche and recent growth

AdTorque Edge - Damien O'Neill

Plus expanding into Southeast Asia and the value of being part of the IMAA

AdTorque Edge was established 18 years ago as part of John Singleton’s company STW as part of its automotive division called STW Automotive.

The division split to form its independent agency, AdTorque, which ran for 12 years before it merged with another Melbourne agency to become AdTorque Edge.

Damien O’Neill, chief operations officer, spoke to Mediaweek about its niche focus, growth in Southeast Asia and the value of being part of the IMAA.

AdTorque Edge’s growth and its niche

As COO, O’Neill noted that in addition to supporting their managing director. He also oversees delivery, ensuring operational efficiencies across the business, assisting finance teams, the team and the people and culture of the agency.

“We are at about 80 people spread across a few regions – Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and a growing team in Malaysia as well,” O’Neill added.

As a full-service agency, O’Neill noted that they can facilitate requests from technology development, website development, analytics, and reporting.

“We do traditional and digital media, but our real point of difference is that we have a very niche client group and client base. I’d say 95% of our client base is from the automotive industry, or as we say, anything with an engine.”

O’Neill said that while it is their point of difference, the agency can work with and has worked with other verticals or industries. “But a lot of our staff have spent time in the automotive industry, either with publishers or dealerships,” he said.

“That would be our key point of difference, but in saying, we’ve got a lot of people who have been in the business for a long time and are very skilled in their categories,” O’Neill added.

AdTorque Edge - logo

AdTorque Edge’s expansion and performance over the last financial year

O’Neill noted that AdTorque Edge has a couple of creative, traditional and digital clients that have been with them from the start. 

In terms of new client wins, he noted that the agency has seen plenty of growth in Asia, working with well-known distributors, particularly Sime Darby.

“We’ve been working with them for a while now, and they’re a very large collection business.”

O’Neill also noted that AdTorque Edge continues to form stronger partnerships with big dealerships in Australia.

Looking back at the agency’s performance over the last financial year, O’Neill was upbeat in his assessment, calling it “really good”.

“COVID was interesting. Because of our industry and the clients we deal with, COVID made people realise that, especially when it came to selling cars, dealerships were excited.”

O’Neill noted that much of the focus was on websites and how they could still facilitate that whole purchase online or service online.

In recent times, he noted that the agency has seen good growth. He said: “We are around 25% to 30% revenue year on year, and that’s off the back of strong work done during COVID.”

Creating a balance and the benefits of being part of the IMAA

O’Neill noted that the agency has been working on bringing back people into the office and balancing hybrid working for their people.

“It’s exciting to hear people want to start spending more face-to-face time with the rest of their colleagues. I don’t think we’ll ever get back to the days of nine to five, Monday to Friday.”

“But definitely, there’s that general feeling that people are a lot more open to coming in a couple of days a week and spending the time with a colleague,” he added.

AdTorque Edge has been part of the IMAA for over a year. O’Neill said there have been many benefits for them as an indie. Among the benefits is the exposure to publishers and networking with other like-minded businesses.

“The real value comes from the events they host, which are expanded to not just a management team, but mid-level people in the business. They may not have had the most exposure being at an indie to other agencies and publishers.”

O’Neill noted that being in the same room with intelligent and talented people to have conversations and learn from them is incredibly beneficial.

“That’s not something that’s ever really been available to the indies, outside of your personal networking skills and ability to have conversations around a very similar day-to-day business,” O’Neill added.

Top image: Damien O’Neill


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