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5 Questions with Dave Marquard, VP Product Management at IAS

Loretta Shen

Ad fraud, brand safety and viewability are three key issues facing digital marketers today. With notable industry leaders openly calling for clean and transparent media buys, the demand for media verification has never been greater. We sat down with Dave Marquard, VP Product Management, at Integral Ad Science (IAS), a measurement and analytics provider specializing in verification, to discuss these pressing topics and how the Datoroma and IAS partnership is pushing the industry forward and the future of measurement.

The need for metrics such as ad fraud, brand safety and viewability has been a constant trend this year. What’s your POV on how marketers should be thinking about ad verification?

Marc Pritchard, P&G’s Chief Brand Officer, did a good job of calling on the industry to raise their standards when he said “The days of giving digital a pass are over—it’s time to grow up. It’s time for action.” He called for the adoption of third-party verification across all media buys, validating the idea that advertisers should be actively monitoring every single impression that they buy. We believe that all advertisers should heed his advice; the baseline of all campaigns should be viewable, brand safe and fraud free and third party verification should be running across everything, regardless of whether it’s the open web or on social platforms such as Facebook or YouTube. Without third-party verification you just can’t be sure of what you’re getting. This dedication to transparency definitely reflects our world view and we will continue to bring more transparency to advertisers through in-house development and collaborative initiatives. That’s all goodness and that’s what we want to continue to expand.

Why is the Datorama and IAS partnership important? How does it benefit marketers?

The Datorama and IAS partnership is really helping to bring clarity to crucial marketing platforms. In particular, we’re doing exciting things with Twitter, Snapchat, and Yahoo! Gemini. With Twitter, Yahoo! Gemini and Snapchat, IAS provides viewability and ad fraud measurement, then feeds the data to Datorama, creating a platform that shows each partner what their performance looks like across all advertisers that we measure on. Datorama helps them see clearly where they’re doing well and where they need to improve, based on IAS data, so that they can go take corrective actions. Meanwhile, advertisers are reassured that they can get true, accurate third party measurement on Twitter, Snapchat and Yahoo! Gemini in one central place.

All of these integrations will move the industry towards a better state of transparency and ultimately, optimization.

How would these partnerships and data integrations have been handled in the past?

It’s common knowledge that each publisher, social network, media platform and ad tech provider processes and outputs data in different and sometimes very complicated ways. The result is an extremely high cost and lengthy integration process for each partner that takes us away from our mission of helping advertisers reach consumers across all their channels. With Datorama we’ve really been able to accelerate and improve upon delivering value to our clients, all in a cost and time efficient way that scales to the volumes we need very seamlessly.

There seem to be a few verification contenders in the field. Why should marketers work with IAS?

There is no other verification and optimization company that provides holistic, independent solutions for marketers. We recognize the ultimate goal – helping our clients reach consumers, no matter what device or environment their ads appear on. We have a lab dedicated to fighting ad fraud and our solution is rooted in three pillars: behavioral and network analysis, browser and device analysis, and malware analysis and targeted reconnaissance. The result is a comprehensive and continuously evolving ad fraud detection platform that can surgically distinguish real human impressions from fraudulent impressions on campaigns. In addition, we’ve been working to improve brand safety for advertisers since our inception in 2009 – staying ahead of issues such as fake news and hate speech as our society adjusts to a politically charged environment. We’ve been the leading innovators in the viewability space, launching a first-to-market open source SDK for mobile in-app viewability measurement in order to push the industry forward toward universal measurement. Finally, similar to Datorama, we offer a platform that centralizes and harmonizes data, rather than forcing advertisers to work with disparate data sets.

What’s the future of verification and measurement in general?

As I mentioned earlier, verification is the baseline, but ultimately we want to help advertisers optimize for success and increase their campaign value. One major way to achieve this is through measuring at the consumer level in addition to the the impression level. Through our studies, we’ve found that the vast majority of consumers are underexposed. For most campaigns, 70-85% of consumers are served no more than one viewable impression and 50-65% of consumers are exposed to ads on the campaign for a total of five seconds or less. So, we want to help advertisers expose people for the right amount of time and get insights along the lines of “people saw this ad for 30 seconds and actually went out and bought something”. That’s really where we want to go.

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