Interview: Updates on Ad Verification Progresses from Oren Netzer, CEO DoubleVerify

Otilia Otlacan: We last spoke in August 2011, right after the launch of Navigator. What has happened for DoubleVerify since, any achievement that you are particularly proud of?

Since August of 2011, DoubleVerify has had several achievements. Since then, the World Economic Forum named DoubleVerify a 2012 Technology Pioneer — the award recognizes the work of young and innovative companies believed to significantly transform the way business and society operate. We are incredibly proud of the achievement as we continue to strive to bring greater accountability, brand safety and transparency to the online advertising industry. Additionally, we continued to expand in Europe — we opened a London office in 2011. Recently, we announced our partnership with AppNexus to enable ad buyers in the RTB world to use our data to proactively target brand-safe, compliant impressions. Considering the speed at which RTB is transacted every second of the day, our insight into ad impressions helps campaigns scale with maximum safety and accountability. In regards to our business vitality, we have more strategic partnerships and renewed contracts to announce, proving that we are the partner of choice to ensure brand safety, measurement and ROI in online advertising.

Otilia Otlacan: The ad verification space is getting tighter and tighter, with a number of big names competing vigorously. What is DoubleVerify’s position in this landscape?

DoubleVerify has remained a leader in verification and has become an industry standard. We work with all the major agencies to apply some level of verification on all major campaigns. Many advertisers rely on us for deeper reporting and measurement of online media and ad impressions. We verify over 60 billion ad impressions each month. Using this insight, we’ve been able to transition our offerings to deliver more than just verification and reporting. We are harnessing the insight into action, powering the targeting of impressions based on our data. We know what advertisers want to target and we know what impressions have performed the best – and we are linking the two sides closer together. This is an expansion into services and technology that help target and measure brand-safe impressions in the world of RTB and programmatic buying.

IAB’s news regarding guidelines for the conduct of ad verification reaffirms the need for verification and better measurement tools and methods in the industry. They’ve recognized that measurement technology has not matched the rate of innovation in ad buying. DoubleVerify has been the pioneer that is bringing measurement up to speed in the real-time advertising world and we are continuing to see enormous growth among advertisers, ad networks, platforms and publishers using our technology.

Otilia Otlacan: With buyers spending ad budgets over an increasing number of web properties, how can a platform like DoubleVerify assist on prevention on top of verification and auditing?

We have always offered a preventative ad blocking solution that keeps brands from appearing with unsavory, or non-compliant content. Keep in mind that content can be perfectly brand-safe or appropriate for a wide audience, but it may not comply with a brand’s requirements – such as international audiences, below-the-fold placement, placement next to competitors, etc. Additionally, our agreement with AppNexus shows we are turning insights into proactive solutions. Initially working with CPX Interactive and Dedicated Media on their AppNexus buys, we can help find the inventory they want, which results in less discrepancies and make-goods after the buy. The partnership with AppNexus is our first of several planned RTB environment integrations.

Otilia Otlacan: What type of content is most difficult to work with? Any news on the video formats getting any friendlier?

When DoubleVerify launched page-level classification to categorize content, we found that user generated content and news content changed very frequently. Considering the scale of these sites, advertisers need to have the system in place to adjust according to how these sites change content.

If you consider the Concordia cruise ship story – it’s general news that people are reading about — commentaries and reports were continually created. If you were a cruise company or a travel company, you may not want your brand to appear next to these stories. However, if you have a major campaign running with a lot of spend with many different ad networks and publishers, you need to be able to keep the campaign going while precisely identifying the content and pages you don’t want to be on. Considering the scale of the buy, only technology can handle the problem proactively. Our crawlers — used in our technology — are always on and are able to prioritize pages that change the most. With these advanced crawlers, we are able to verify 60 billion ad impressions a month.

DoubleVerify has a video solution that is similar to tracking ad impressions with our crawlers. We are able to locate where the video ad is playing, the content it is next to, etc. It will become even more useful as advertisers invest more with video this year — according to an eMarketer study, online video ad spend is expected to increase by 40% in 2012. Adoption of video ad impressions is growing, and is similar to tracking and verifying display impressions, as more advertisers, networks and platforms use this solution the more effective it becomes.

Otilia Otlacan: The DoubleVerify Trust Index for the second half of 2011 is expected later this quarter if I’m not mistaken. Can you give us a little preview; shall we expect significant movements from the previous issue?

In the Trust Index for the second half of 2011, which we will soon release, we have been closely monitoring the benefits of verification and how this technology contributes to a more trustworthy environment in the online advertising space. By comparing the difference between when campaigns use verification, when they stop verification, and what happens after, our data shows that non-compliance reemerges once verification is removed. This underscores the importance of verifying every impression throughout a campaign to make sure it is as effective as possible.

Otilia Otlacan: What are you working on at the moment?

We are focused on our real-time bidding environment solutions. With this integration, our clients have the ability to utilize our pre-bid decisioning solution. Additionally, we are developing a solution that will evaluate and tie many different measurement metrics to provide practical and actionable guidance for the ad buyer and seller.

DoubleVerify is also focused on continuing our international growth. We are growing the customer base in London and we want to bring verification standards and improved measurement in the region.

About Oren Netzer, Co-Founder and CEO of DoubleVerify

Oren Netzer founded DoubleVerify in 2008 determined to bring needed accountability and transparency to online advertising, believing revenue and profit would flow throughout the system once all players could be assured of its integrity.

A 10-year veteran at the executive level with leading online advertising technology firms, Oren was General Manager and Chief Operating Officer for CheckM8, an online ad serving and rich media technology provider, overseeing product development, operations and customer support, as well as managing its Israeli product development offices.

Oren graduated from the Interdisciplinary Center in Israel with a degree in computer science and studied electrical engineering at The Technion, Israel Institute of Technology.

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