Using PlayThru on a video ad campaign, for example, Bacardi offered users the chance to skip a video ad by pouring a virtual drink. At face value this seems to be a good tool for verifying human impressions, but Trenda said campaign performance also increased as a result of incentivizing user interaction.
“What’s counterintuitive and interesting about it is the after-campaign brand metrics are much higher,” Trenda said, citing a 12% increase in awareness and 40% increase in favorability among users who are offered the task. “You actually perform better when they don’t watch your ad.”
Perhaps most importantly, as Are You a Human has expanded to 13,000 sites, it has collected data on which users are human. Trenda called it the “the ad industry's only data set that quantifies which users are actually human” and said the company is shopping that data to publishers and agency trading desks.
“The single biggest determinate of ability to drive performance is just eliminating that bot traffic,” he said.
The next step for Are You a Human is its partnerships with large publishers, whom it’s working with to provide its CAPTCHA replacement service while also collecting more data from higher volumes of users for a more compelling data set.
The company has 10 employees in offices in Detroit and New York, and Trenda said headcount is expected to triple this year as the company works on finalizing a Series A round. To date, Are You a Human has raised $3.4 million.