Oren Netzer is CEO of DoubleVerify, an online media verification company.
AdExchanger.com: In your recent release highlighting your $3.5 million raise, you noted your impressive list of new clients. Can you provide us more detail about the trends you're seeing in campaigns, creatives and verticals in which DoubleVerify's technology is being implemented? Does the economic slump have a positive impact on DV's business?
ON: We have been positively surprised by the amount of demand that we've been seeing this year. The economic situation is certainly one driver of this. The chain of events that led to the economic slump also made everyone realize the importance of things like accountability and compliance. But overall, the real reason for the huge demand that we are seeing has to do with a much more positive effect - the fact that digital advertising is now a key component of brand advertisers' marketing plans and that the budgets committed to digital advertising have become significant. This had prompted advertisers and agencies to ask for more accountability and transparency from their media partners. It is our job as an industry to make sure we deliver this - if we expect advertisers to continue shifting budgets online and for digital advertising to become a mainstream marketing vehicle for them, we need to give them the peace of mind, comfort and proof that their money is well spent. We as an industry will all benefit from more accountability.
How does the revenue model work for DoubleVerify?
We provide our service to the agency/advertiser or to the ad network/exchange directly. In both cases, our revenue model is volume-based.
What is DoubleVerify's technology actually verifying? And, how is this different from a feature that, for example, a third-party server can tell you such as the URLs of where the ads are being run?
DoubleVerify is doing a full compliance verification of the campaigns - looking at each line item in the campaign and verifying it for compliance. This could include verifying that ads are not delivered on inappropriate sites, or that ads are only showing up on sites that have been pre-approved by the advertiser, but this also includes verifying that the ads are delivered above the fold, that they are getting the proper share of voice, that ads are delivered on the right channel, and over two dozen other compliance parameters that we measure. Most of these cannot be verified through a pixel or a third party ad server, since the third party ad server has very limited visibility of the page on which the ad is actually being delivered. In fact, due to nested IFRAMEs that are a result of ad server redirects, most of the time the third party ad server can't even tell what page the ad is being delivered on. What makes DoubleVerify unique is our ability to "bust" through the IFRAMES and identify where the ad is actually delivered, and our ability to send our proprietary crawlers to the page to do a more thorough analysis of the page and to "screenshot" the page with the ads on it.
How do ad exchanges present special challenges to advertisers that DoubleVerify is attempting to solve?
Ad exchanges have more layers of ad server redirects and less transparency than standard network buys. The biggest issue for advertisers in this context is the fear that their ads will show up next to inappropriate content. We solve this problem by proactively and preemptively working with exchanges and networks to verify their inventory for inappropriate or unapproved sites and promptly remove them.
Can you explain how this would be integrated into an ad buyers existing ad server? How does the buyer extract the data?
There are two points of integration - our tracking pixel, that the buyer drops into their third party ad server, and a feed of the advertiser's insertion order or media plan details, that usually needs to be exported from MediaVisor or some other campaign management tool that the agency uses.
Our reporting is then available to them via our user interface and real-time email notifications.
Any thoughts on whether DV's technology can be used in a real-time bidding (RTB) and serving environment given the limited execution time of RTB?
We are exploring various ways which I cannot elaborate on yet.
How can publishers participate? In some ways, there's a "TrustE" seal of approval potential, if you will.
DoubleVerify will allow publishers that comply with certain campaign compliance criteria to be eligible to carry a "seal of approval".
Any plans to verify context? If so, do you or would you try to match your algorithm to the ad network on which the campaign is running?
We are doing something similar today, which is classifying sites into one or more content categories, based on both context and affiliation. We have close to 100 content categories that we use. Our advertising clients rely on us to protect them from running next to inappropriate content, so our data has to be consistent across all media platforms.
Can you identify the biggest issues you see with ads being served incorrectly? Where is the most waste?
Ads being delivered next to inappropriate content is a big issue for advertisers. So are international impressions, below the fold ads or ads delivered to the wrong audience, and those are also the issues we find more frequently. In fact, we sometimes find up to 80% of a campaign's impressions being delivered incorrectly. This has become so important to our clients that some of them have mandated the use of DoubleVerify across their entire online advertising spend. Interestingly enough DoubleVerify is even more prevalent with these clients than their third party ad server is.
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