Leave it to the Israelis and their tracking technology to help save the nascent video mobile ad ecosystem from fraudsters and shady ad re-brokers.
Jeruselem-based Anyclip Media unveiled a suite of tracking tools Wednesday to help ensure brands that place mobile video ads with brokers end up on websites relevant to selling their products. In other words, mobile ads for LL Bean’s new winter jacket line should end up on the Weather Channel website … and not, for example, Porntube.
Anyclip chief executive Oren Nauman says his company’s three-pronged approach to tracking mobile and desktop video ads will help inject accountability into an emerging space that has virtually no oversight and is rife with scam artists looking to take advantage of it.
“We have seen a lot of frightening situations in the space, and we decided to take a step forward. And what we’ve come up with is a three-sided solution for the problem,” Nauman, 48, told VentureBeat from a street in Cologne late Wednesday.
While the mobile ad space will be worth about $18 billion by year’s end, the mobile video ad ecosystem is much smaller: $1.5 billion for all of 2013, up from the $722 million spent last year. But that number is expected to reach $6 billion by 2018, according to eMarketer principal analyst David Hallerman.
As it stands now, there are no clear Googles or Twitters leading the mobile video ad space. It is wide open.
“There is more money, more technology, coming to this business. And that means there are more shady and not-so-reliable operators moving in,” Nauman said. “It’s a bit of a gold rush at the moment, and you’re starting to see some interesting situations develop.”
Nauman said that in the mobile video ad space, there are no defined companies that have taken on the issue of accountability, so he and his team decided to do it by themselves. AnyClip’s new tracking technology is broken down into three categories: transparency, integrity, and durability.
According to Nauman, AnyClip’s “Play Safe Widget” analyzes and removes unsafe impressions while analyzing traffic flows to the ad in real time, with an ability to block what he calls suspicious behavior.
Meanwhile, AnyClip’s new “Play Safe” viewing technology uses proprietary risk algorithms to weigh whether the mobile video ad impressions are safe, that is, placed on a site relevant to selling the brand’s merchandise. Using the widget, mobile video advertisers and brokers can see, immediately, if their ad is viewable and on a reputable site. If not, the ad isn’t served.
At the core of AnyClip’s mobile video ad performance suite is the ability to monitor traffic flowing to the ad, no matter the source.
A so-called “Integrity Scorecard” chalks ad progress and summarizes the data into a easy-to-view format that indicates, in essence, how well the mobile video ad campaign is doing. Or failing to do.
To be sure, AnyClip Media is a video content distribution and metadata technology play. It was co-founded by Sony America’s chief executive Mickey Schulhof, and it has multiple content distribution deals with many of this country’s biggest film studios. The fraud detection platform has its genesis there because Nauman wanted to protect the integrity of mobile ad placement campaigns after seeing ads disappear, or worse, served on disreputable websites. (Toward that end, it recently hired DoubleVerify co-founder Alex Liverant as their new CTO.)
“We began noticing irregularities in traffic. So we started to monitor it, and then we decided to make it more sophisticated. When we began seeing irregular traffic to an ad, for example, we stopped serving it,” Nauman said.
“This also helps to eliminate wasted ad spend, and we’re doing it with technology,” he pointed out.
Like the straight mobile ad and gaming space, there is very little oversight in the emerging mobile video ad space. Some of those who populate call it the “Wild West,” or as Nauman said, the “gold rush.”
While the Federal Trade Commission has authority over online advertising, and the mobile video ad space, it has shown little interest in aggressively regulating such a complicated and emerging industry — apart from recently announcing intentions to begin enforcing the COPPA law, which protects children, as VentureBeat previously reported.
As for the shrewd Nauman, who retired from the Israeli Defense Forces as a captain in the paratroopers, he has intensely tracked the evolution of both the desktop, and now mobile ad sector, for years.
With AnyClip’s new tracking technology, it is his way of making money in the space while helping advertisers ensure mobile video ad campaign dollars are well spent.
“We are,” he said, “tracking the metrics of mobile video ad campaigns. We are a type of durability insurance. We needed to do something to help our different constituencies, whether they be advertisers, publishers, and content owners.
“People say that in mobile video campaigns, fraud isn’t going to happen to us, but it is.”