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Meet Jonathan David of Tapstone

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jonathan David.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jonathan. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I grew up in Southern California and moved to a small town in Southern Oregon when I was sixteen years old. I couldn’t wait to get out into the ‘business world’ so I moved back down to Los Angeles at eighteen. Within a year I had borrowed enough money to open a retail cell phone business on Main Street in Santa Monica. The business was quite successful, and I was able to sell it when I was 25. Soon thereafter, I positioned myself as a consultant who understood how consumers like to interact with mobile technology.

An investor in one of the companies I consulted for had built and sold two digital advertising agencies, and I made it a priority to learn as much about the industry as I could. About eight years ago, at the age of 26, I moved into digital advertising full time as an employee at a digital advertising agency. It was at this company that I cut my teeth in digital storytelling, and how to weave a compelling story into optimal media buying to drive response for our clients.

After being quite happy working at an agency for four years, I couldn’t resist the urge to go out on my own. Once again, I raised debt and purchased some of the assets of the company I had been working for, and Tapstone was started! Tapstone was started as a conduit to tap into an opportunity I had a feeling was about to explode in the digital advertising industry – Native Advertising.

I’ve always loved working by the beach and while my business life has undergone some major transformations since I was a teenager, I kept the beach vibe, always maintaining a Santa Monica office. That is until earlier this year when the Tapstone headquarters was moved from Santa Monica to a larger, and more central space in Beverly Hills to accommodate for our growth.

Now as Founder & CEO of Tapstone, I am responsible for the company’s overall strategy, creative vision, product development and leading our ever-growing team to provide clients with the most effective native advertising campaigns.

Has it been a smooth road?
I know that the entrepreneurial path is traditionally meant to be paved with struggle and tough times on the way to success but to be honest (and yes, trust me, I know I’m fortunate) my journey has been relatively smooth. I’ve been fortunate enough to build several successful businesses, to enjoy the hours I spend on my work, to work with great and talented people, and for us all to be financially successful and feel rewarded as a result.

If there is one struggle to it all, it’s that naturally there is a sense of responsibility as ‘the boss’ and that while most days that’s a pressure I thrive under, there are of course moments – as I’m sure there are in everybody’s life – when it’d be great to alleviate some of that pressure for a bit.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Tapstone story. Tell us more about the business.
A few years ago, it became clear to me that native advertising was going to become the forefront of the digital media industry – as a format of advertising, it has so many advantages. Native ads typically generate greater interest and engagement than banner ads, and while traditional banner ads and pop-ups were turning consumers off, Tapstone subscribes to the old adage that “an educated customer is your best customer.” Native ad formats allow much greater education than short-form ads, and I was confident I could create a company that could help turn the tide from traditional advertising to this newer form.

Research from a host of business analysts has since gone on to suggest that by 2021 nearly three-quarters of all US digital display advertising budget will be spent on native advertising and I’m so glad we got started when we did and have been able to become a market leader.bThe company that I launched, now over four years ago, is Tapstone, a Native Advertising agency with its own proprietary technology, tools and approaches that make it stand out from the numerous businesses that have since launched into the industry.

‘Native’ advertising is advertising that takes on the look and feel of the surrounding editorial content. It looks great and helps sites provide a less disruptive experience for its users, while still deriving financial support from advertising budgets. Traditionally, native advertising has looked good, but not always meant measurable results for advertisers.

Our focus is primarily working with advertisers to drive a response of some kind, with a focus on providing the best possible returns on ad spend, at scale. As a result, the difference that Tapstone brings to the market is the ability to blend expert storytelling and the creative look and feel of native advertising, with the kind of tangible results the advertiser may have previously noted from direct mail and direct response campaigns in which consumers take a follow-up action.

To do this we engineered a more powerful approach to native advertising, called ‘Native for Direct Response’ that funnels prospects from a personally relevant and educational piece of content to a business’ website with a view to completing a specific desired action.

Our clients – major business brands in the automotive, healthcare, financial and legal services industries – love it. They get to educate prospective customer through editorial style content that readers actually appreciate rather than get annoyed by and can help inform these prospective customers in a tone and style that appeals to them, guiding them toward buying decisions that actually make sense for them.

Now I am really proud to be able to say that as the pioneer of Native-for-Direct Response, Tapstone has grown to become the industry-leading platform for the fastest growing segment of digital advertising!

Who else deserves credit – have you had mentors, supporters, cheerleaders, advocates, clients or teammates that have played a big role in your success or the success of the business? If so – who are they and what role did they plan / how did they help.
I’ve had the great pleasure of working with an amazing group of professionals that have been curated from across the globe and of course, Tapstone’s success would not be possible without each member of our talented team’s hard work, dedication and inspiration.

We’ve also had the opportunity to work with clients that have empowered and trusted us to do what we do best, encouraging the entire team to produce some incredible campaigns. We’ve been very lucky to have a lot of fun along the way and created an amazing community with our clients.

On a personal note, I have also been heavily influenced and inspired by my wife, Natalie David who creates a balance in my personal life that allows me to excel in my business endeavors.

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