Inspirational Woman: Idil Canal | General Manager of AdTech, AppLovin

Meet Idil Canal, General Manager of AdTech, AppLovin

Idil Canal

Idil Canal is General Manager of AdTech at AppLovin, a leading marketing software company providing developers a powerful set of solutions to grow their businesses. She is responsible for building and managing long-term relationships with AppLovin’s mobile developers, publishers, and demand partners to supercharge their growth. Throughout her career, she’s led the software development and delivery of business solutions and services at various tech startups focused on mobile. Idil holds a BA from Brown University and is originally from Istanbul, Turkey.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role 

I grew up in Istanbul, Turkey, later graduating from Brown University with a BA degree in Economics and Entrepreneurship. I am currently General Manager of AdTech at AppLovin, where I lead the product development and growth of AppLovin’s software solutions. I joined AppLovin in 2018 when the company acquired MAX, AppLovin’s in-app bidding-based monetization solution. At MAX, I was the Head of Product, and prior to that I led the software development and delivery of business solutions and services in various tech startups focused on mobile.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

While I never sat down and planned my career, mobile has always been at the forefront for me. Since my very first job, I’ve been working with different software products at the intersection of mobile and programmatic buying. Whether it was media buying for agencies on mobile, monetizing apps or just developing mobile SDKs.

I joined AppLovin through the acquisition of one of our software solutions, MAX, where I was the Head of Product back in 2018. Before AppLovin, I was Global Head of Technical Solutions at MoPub working closely with mobile publishers and programmatic buyers. Having worked with the top names in the mobile space, the potential of growth and how far innovation can take the market further was clear. Being able to deliver the best software solutions in mobile has been a fascinating experience – and still has massive growth potential.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

Being a woman with no engineering background in one of the most complicated and competitive industries has not been the easiest. Over the years, I have come to learn/appreciate that there is no failure – there are lessons to be learned. I followed my own path with a curious mind and believed that hard work pays off. A growth mindset has been essential in my own career growth.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Building and growing MAX from the ground up, to now leading the monetization platform at AppLovin, which included the successful integration of AppLovin’s monetization solution, MAX, with MoPub’s mediation platform. This was following AppLovin’s acquisition of MoPub from Twitter at the start of 2022.

Following the acquisition, my team was focused on understanding the needs of MoPub publishers and buyers, and supporting them in making the transition to MAX as smooth as possible. Together, MoPub and MAX have created the most comprehensive, powerful, and efficient set of integrated features available for developers to increase revenue, improve efficiency, and exceed demand for greater competition and massive supply.

Prior to the integration, I played a key role in the launch success of MAX. As of Q4 of 2021, over 90% of the largest publishers had committed to migrating to our unified offering, and nearly 45,000 apps are now monetizing with MAX.

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What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I really think it’s the people I’ve met in the industry who have inspired me to achieve success. Throughout my career, I have come to meet exceptional people through those I have worked with and the entrepreneurs I’ve had the privilege to partner with. They are talented, humble and always eager to do more. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to work with such an amazing community – they get to focus on what they do best, and we can help them achieve growth and results for their business.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

In tech, it’s essential to keep innovating to ensure you are staying ahead with new improvements and innovations – and it’s also exhilarating. It keeps us all young and motivated to do better. I love the pace of mobile innovation and the people working in the ad tech business. Technology evolves rapidly but mobile moves at lightning speed.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

I believe we have come a long way in the last 10 years in identifying those barriers and finding ways to break them. There is still a long way to go but I do recognize that there will always be barriers — new or old, big or small. Having a supportive and open environment to identify our blind spots is the first step to addressing them. That falls on women, men – all of us.

What advice would you share with women looking to have a successful career working in technology?

It took me ten years to find a leader and a work environment that allowed me to bring my true self to work. I would advise women to do the work, show up, trust in yourself, and know that you deserve better. Reach higher and do not settle for less.

Personally, to pay it forward (since my very early days), I have made it a priority to hire for hunger and then teach the technical skills on the job after. I am a true believer in the “see one, do one, and teach one” methodology. It has helped me build great products with teams led by exceptional women.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

It takes a village to maintain a healthy balance between my personal and professional life. Networking with leaders from other companies in our industry is quite important to me to have fresh perspectives and to stay connected in the ever-evolving world out there. I also have benefited from reading a lot of autobiographical novels and memoirs of leaders that I look up to and relate to including Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger, and The Hard Things About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz.