Ad fraud continues to remain a massive challenge: Eric Kirtcheff, Essence

SVP, Global Ad Operations, Essence spoke on how Essence ensures brand safety in an era where online fraud has become more common than ever

Eric of Essence

For large scale media agencies, monitoring content is becoming a massive challenge as they do billions of impressions a year. However with smart technology solutions the task is getting easier but there are still issues that need to be addressed.

In an interview with exchange4media, Eric Kirtcheff, SVP, Global Ad Operations, Essence spoke on how Essence is ensuring brand safety in an era where online fraud has become more common than ever.

Edited excerpts:

How would you define the ‘Essence advantage’ when it comes to delivering effective marketing solutions for your clients?

I think the biggest advantage is that we work across disciplines or across practices. I normally head operations practice but I work hand in hand with the activation teams to deliver solutions. I don't worry about just my own discipline; I worry about all the disciplines. So it is that teamwork that really leads to that advantage which Essence is known for.

When it comes to putting out content, how do you ensure brand safety for your clients? Tell us a bit about the checks and balances that you follow?

We take multiple approaches.  So you can't just use one solution. You can use the platform itself and look at the safety tools that they have available; obviously you need to monitor that on a daily basis. But beyond that, monitoring content is not enough as new things come up and you need to constantly update. So as I said it is not about having one solution, what may work for Google may not work for Facebook so you have to look for different solutions for different platforms.

When you release campaigns on mass level, how do you balance the human and machine interference as far as monitoring of content is concerned?

We do around 150 billion impressions per year. That not only creates challenges from the monitoring point of view, but even if you put it into a spreadsheet it creates problems that are engineering and infrastructure related. We have to constantly update our tools to account for these types of large scale problems and that is the kind of problem we would like to solve. We are constantly working on making this process better and we have been doing this for years now.

What would you call the biggest challenge in ad operations today?

One of the biggest issues in ad operations is ad fraud and it continues to remain a massive challenge. I would say that we do a good job of blocking it. What is frustrating at times is that vendors cannot block it because they don't have the tools to do that. Also since there's a lot of money to be made out of ad fraud, it is one of the hardest things to monitor in ad operations.  

Has the awareness about ad fraud increased and are clients paying more attention to it?

The fact is that nobody wants to pay for the anti-ad fraud. In the last few years there is a positive sign of clients paying more attention to issues like ad fraud than before. However many clients are still depending on in house solutions without having the skill sets or the tools to deal with this massive challenge.
 

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