ADOTAS – Ad verification services seem to rarely get any love from ad networks and publishers, but AdSafe Media is trying to warm up to the supply side with its new Network Monitor, an ad verification platform developed with networks and publishers in mind. Built with the assistance of leading networks and publishers, the platform provides continuous analysis of inventory, with diagnostic reporting on unsafe or underperforming pages.
AdSafe President and cofounder Kent Wakeford chatted with us about the development of the Network Monitor platform and possible consolidation in the ad verification space.
ADOTAS: Many ad networks hiss at the mere mention of the word “ad verification.” What in your mind is all the fuss about?
Wakeford: Some ad-verification services have been bullies in the industry — used by advertisers as a hammer against networks and publishers and, sometimes going as far as to effect networks’ bottom line. For networks and publishers, managing inventory quality and brand safety concerns across millions of pages and impressions on a daily basis is a challenge.
We have heard that many in the industry felt that they were no longer in control of their inventory or that they were caught between agencies and verification services. We developed our Network Monitor to help networks and publishers regain control of their inventory and greatly improve their inventory management process. What was before a manual and tedious process (e.g. verifying more than a million pages daily by hand) can now be an automated and far more efficient.
When working with supply-siders to build the your Network Monitor platform, what were their biggest concerns?
Our Network Monitor is a product purely for the supply siders so we were able to develop features that specifically met their needs. Most network and publishers we asked had two main concerns:
- Make it easier to identify high risk inventory; and
- Give me the tools to act on that information and segment off problematic pages.
We focused on those requests and built in an inventory viewer (e.g., screen shots) and analytics dashboard to let them quickly view and flag high risk pages.
What in particular in the Network Monitor platform will quell network and publisher concerns about ad verification?
This will give them the tools to proactively stay ahead of advertiser concerns by making sure that all their inventory is appropriate for advertising. Most importantly, this tool should help them drive higher revenue for their inventory. In our product development process with a select group of leading networks and publishers, we saw they were able to significantly increase the value of their inventory and thus their CPMs.
With this new platform, do you think you’re stepping into the territory of revenue optimizers/publisher platforms?
No, we’ll leave the true yield optimization to professionals like the Rubicon Projects and AdMelds of the world. That said, everyone is in business to make money more efficiently, so if we can help publishers and networks address quality and brand safety concerns, we believe we can help them drive more dollars.
Where do you see ad verification heading in the near future? Do you see consolidation in the industry?
Verification is currently fragmented across a more than 10 companies offering services ranging from preventative blocking, post-campaign reporting, creative interaction tracking and more. We believe as the IAB and other industry groups become more involved in the verification space, there will be a thinning and/or a consolidation in space with one or two companies emerging as the leading full service providers in the space.
Are you ever tempted to give a low rating to content for pure personal reasons? As a diehard Washington Redskins fan, I’d have a hard time not trashing Dallas Cowboy fan pages.
While it’s tough, especially a few weeks into the NFL season, we keep our feelings out of our rating process. Most of our rating is done by machine learning and algorithms but we also have a human verification component which uses a crowd-sourced tool to vet a sample of pages. We give specific rating guidelines in order to make sure our rating are consistent and our recruiting process is selective… So, unfortunately, I don’t think you would make the cut.