ADOTAS – Sniff, sniff — there’s nothing quite like that new website smell, and it’s probably not as toxic as new car smell. In addition to a fab-looking rebranded website independent online ad exchange AdBrite has introduced video capabilities; publishers and advertisers can buy and sell preroll inventory for videos up to 30 seconds long that are compliant with either versions 1.0 or 2.o of the IAB’s Video Ad Serving Templates (VAST).
We caught up with CEO Iggy Fanlo to discuss video inventory on exchanges as well as brand safety and ad verification.
ADOTAS: So did you get the name Iggy because your parents were big Stooges fans?
FANLO: My full name is Ignacio. My parents are Cuban refugees and I was born just weeks after they left Cuba in Miami. My sixth grade teacher shortened Ignacio to Iggy and it stuck.
You’ve been at AdBrite for four years now — what developments in the ad exchange space really changed the game? What has been the most dramatic shift at AdBrite?
First Right Media with Yahoo and then DoubleClick with Google gave ad exchanges credibility. After that, it was merely a matter of time. At AdBrite, we had two large shifts. First, we went from a flat-rate network to an open architecture ad exchange (with 3rd party data and algorithms). We accomplished that over the last few years.
And now, we are taking that open platform for display ads and applying it to the video pre-roll. No exchange, other than AdBrite, works on both media formats and we will be adding other formats soon.
For how long have you been contemplating adding video inventory to the AdBrite ad exchange? Why has it become a reality now?
We thought about this for a long time. However, until the VAST standard was put forward by IAB and then adopted so quickly by publishers, it was difficult to scale. Building a video exchange is no longer about painstaking individual pub integrations, but it’s now about delivering world class targeting transparency and data to online video. Now that those things have changed, all the technology and targeting that we developed in display can now be moved onto video. It’s a brave new world.
What are your feelings about VAST 2.0? How did it inspire the video offering in the exchange?
It completely drove our move into video. And I would add one other very important data point. Auctions. We have seen clearly with Google in search that an auction delivers the highest yield for pubs. I believe that’s clearly due to a proper supply and demand equilibrium.
Virtually all commercial queries have sufficient ad demand to have bidding provide fair value. As a result, almost all publishers do not sell their own search placements. Rather they rely on third parties. So far that has been far more difficult to achieve in display, where arguably supply outstrips demand by a substantial difference. Publishers have attempted to constrain supply, sell internally and avoid price discovery in an attempt to maximize yield, but sacrificing transparency.
I don’t believe that will be necessary in online video (for non-UGC). I believe that demand is in equilibrium with and may even slightly outstrip supply. That argues strongly for the same model as search — namely an auction to quickly achieve fair value and maximize yield for publishers without sacrificing transparency.
What does “brand safe” mean to AdBrite? How do you determine inventory is brand safe and appear to the targeted consumer? Are you using an ad verification services?
We use several internal and third party systems to ensure brand safety and verification. Both with the usual suspects as well as other technologies. We do everything possible to make all advertisers safe with their placements. At the end of the day, we believe transparency is the ultimate [safety tool]. We are the only ones doing this pre- and post-buy for 100% of our impressions and with complete advertiser control at the URL level. It can’t get better than that.
Is there a different process for determining brand safety for video impressions vs. display impressions?
Yes, and we are using new third party technologies like Affine Systems to determine context and quality. But in video the scale problem is far smaller. The number of potential pubs that can deliver for brand buyers is fewer so this can be handled with a combination of automated and manual solutions.
According to a recent DoubleVerify survey, the most compliant ad exchanges and DSPs had a noncompliance rate of 6% — do you think that is a representative finding? What have ad exchanges like AdBrite done to improve their compliance rates?
Hard to tell. Verification services by definition are built around providing 100% safety. If they put a “low quality” label on something that is high quality, there is little or no downside. However, if they let “low quality” impressions slip through as “brand safe,” the consequences for their business can be severe. Their natural skew is to be super-ultra-conservative. As a result, any findings like the one you cite, has to be taken with a major grain of salt.
You claim that your exchange is 100% transparent both pre-buy and post-buy on all impressions — how can you ensure that’s true?
It’s in our user interface and our analytics. We also work with third parties to verify. We are confident that we are the only exchange doing so.
You mentioned to AdExchanger.com that AdBrite’s analytics platform goes beyond Google analytics — how? What elements within the detailed reporting have proven to be client favorites and why?
We include third party data. Currently that’s not available in other analytics tools. Also, our clients really appreciate the fact that we can track all reporting pixels pre-, during and post- campaign. It allows us to give marketers visibility into what users within the AdBrite Exchange are converting on their site.
And we give full access to our analytics platform, which will allow advertisers to take advantage of actionable insights, before spending a penny on the AdBrite Exchange. This allows our team to put together a campaign plan of action that is sure to perform better and produce quicker ROI than ever before.
Ultimately, our reporting and analytics tools don’t just report on campaign information and data, but help answer the question “why?” when a particular site or campaign performs better than another.
What other channels would you like to branch off into? What are your thoughts on mobile?
Mobile/in-app capability is not far off. It’s a clear avenue for future growth and would complement our suite of offerings nicely.