David Hahn is currently the Senior Vice President of Product Management at Integral Ad Science, a global media valuation platform that is integral to the buying and selling of quality media. The company focuses on enabling adverting to appear in quality environments where they receive quality exposure. Hahn has previously worked for several start-ups, including SafeNet and Message Labs. The Makegood recently spoke to David about Integral’s accreditation from the Media Rating Council.
The Makegood: Congratulations on Integral Ad Science’s accreditation from the Media Rating Council. This accreditation recognizes the effectiveness of the company’s technology and methodology. Does this accreditation give Integral a better footing for expansion in the near future?
Absolutely. MRC accreditation is a stamp of approval and a testament to our hard work. We have been dedicated to building out a technology suite of media valuation solutions including our viewability, impression-level fraud detection and prevention, and brand safety/verification offerings. Accreditation is also not easy to get. The MRC conducts their accreditation process in a very formal, rigorous way, and it’s a strong validation that our technologies meet the highest standards for digital campaign measurement. We’re extremely proud of this industry recognition of our technology and its effectiveness.
The Makegood: Integral focuses on ensuring safe, quality media environments for advertisers, using a TRAQ Score to measure media quality. Could you elaborate on how TRAQ Scores work, and why accreditation from the Media Rating Council was so vital to the company?
Integral Ad Science’s TRAQ score is a holistic metric of media quality that scores individual ad impressions based on a number of attributes and assigns a quality score between 0-1000, where 1000 is the highest quality, and 0 is the lowest. TRAQ helps both buyers and sellers value media more effectively based on a number of environmental and exposure factors, including brand safety, page content and structure, ad viewability, share of view, ad clutter, ad collisions, and likelihood of fraudulent or suspicious activity. Both brands and publishers have the ability to pre-determine a range of TRAQ scores to block or bid upon based on their specific quality goals. For example, a children’s or family brand may choose to block all ad impressions that fall below a TRAQ score of 950, whereas a brand like MTV, for example, may be open to a wider range of TRAQ scores.
It’s important to note that TRAQ scores are determined based on a culmination of important media quality metrics, including our MRC accredited solutions of viewability, verification and fraud detection and prevention. Accreditation in these areas means that our customers can more confidently invest in higher quality media impressions knowing that our TRAQ scores are in compliance with the industry’s leading standards for digital measurement.
The Makegood: As Integral’s SVP of Product Management, what is your role, and how important do you personally believe the accreditation to be?
As SVP of Product Management, I work with the entire team at Integral Ad Science to set the strategic direction of our product portfolio and bring them to market. I believe that it’s vital for the industry to be held to high standards, especially since the digital marketing industry is in a period of rapid evolution and growth. Accreditation helps to separate the hype from the reality as buyers and sellers of digital media seek the best solutions and partners to work with.
The Makegood: What sort of challenges does Integral face, being a safety-focused media company? Does the industry constantly call for improvements in technology?
We are always investing in our media valuation technology, and this is especially apparent and relevant in the area of fraud. The bad actors – those who are perpetuating fraud and creating botnets – are constantly changing their approach and behavior to stay under the radar. So in turn we must ensure that we are consistently ahead of the game and abreast of trends. As we discover new methodologies for committing fraud, we improve our technology to address those methods head on. For example, we recently discovered that bot activity spikes disproportionately as compared to regular human web traffic during nighttime hours across the U.S. You can see a recording of this activity here. This is one of the many new insights our data science team is discovering about bots every day, but it’s a great example of how we are able to stay one step ahead while constantly improving our technology. We are doing the same thing in video, which has an even bigger fraud problem than display. In Q1 we’ll be launching new solutions for advertisers to stay ahead of video ad fraud.
The Makegood: Where do you see Integral in a few years, now that the company has earned accreditation? Do you believe that the company will expand to provide more integrated services?
In 2014, we plan to improve and further develop our technologies and services designed to help brands mitigate risk and eliminate waste while driving high performance. As we continue to evolve and expand, our goal is to be the industry standard around media quality. We do this by helping brands determine the holistic value of all media and how that impacts bottom line business and marketing goals – we’re not just telling them what to buy; we are a partner in media valuation. Today, we are the standard around display media quality, and by the end of Q1, we’ll have an expanded footprint for video, with mobile shortly following that.
The Makegood: Thank you, David.