Qayed Shareef has two decades of experience in the digital marketing industry, having built and lead successful teams in both start-up environments as well as in mature, large-cap companies. He founded and is currently the CEO of Adaptive Media, a programmatic audience and content monetization provider for website owners, app developers and video publishers who want to more effectively optimize content through advertising. The Makegood recently spoke with Qayed about Adaptive Media’s recent hires and partnerships.
The Makegood: Adaptive has become a strong and solidified company as it has brought more executives into the ranks. What have these executives done for the company thus far? What do you expect to see from them in the future?
I’ve used the analogy before that Adaptive Media, as a company in the fastest-growing sectors of advertising, content and technology, is unique because we are in essence a public company that is also a “startup”. When I founded my company and reverse-merged into Adaptive Media a year ago, I believe it made us very appealing to people who are the very best at what they do, but were tired or weary of going the traditional VC or PE-backed startup route. A “been there, done that” kind of mentality. We were fortunate to start hiring some great executives and partners last year, and so far this year have been able to add some really distinguished people like E.J. Hilbert to our Advisory Board to help guide our anti-fraud initiatives, Bryan Nguyen as CTO, Todd Miller as VP of Compliance, Kevin Yamano as VP of Product Marketing, and Nick Lynch as VP of Content Syndication. All of these executives are off to a very fast start, because they know, and are well-respected in, the industry. There are more of these types of “best in breed” appointments coming soon too. It’s an exciting time for us, and as we enhance the sophistication in our systems and offerings these executives will play an integral role in our positioning and marketing in the future.
The Makegood: Adaptive recently announced a partnership with Beanstock Media. What was the reason behind partnering with Beanstock, and how has this positively impacted Adaptive?
It’s a really important partnership for us. We have a lot of respect for the Beanstock Media team. Our proprietary mobile ad serving platform, called Ember, was the rationale behind the partnership. The Ember platform powers Beanstock’s mobile ad supply, and allows us to better scale, optimize and monetize that inventory. It’s a perfect fit for their premium publishers looking to maximize yield, as we optimize through a combination of higher CPMs, fill rates, filtering, and price floors. It helps Adaptive Media showcase what Ember can do, and how we can perform at scale for publishers, content owners and Application developers.
The Makegood: Adaptive has elected E.J. Hilbert onto its Advisory Board. How has he been an integral part of the company, and could you elaborate on why there seems to be such high levels of fraud in programmatic advertising?
E.J. is the foremost expert in this area. I would put his knowledge and insight against anyone in the industry, and the fact that he’s helping us is a major advantage. Todd Miller also has deep experience, and between the two of them leading our efforts, it sets us apart – no question. As for the fraud question, it’s an important one that the industry has had to deal with for a long time. The Wall Street Journal recently referenced a study by the IAB which concluded that 36% of Web traffic is considered fake. One executive called what’s happening with fraud a crisis. It’s clearly an area that is important to everyone in the industry, especially as advertising dollars continue to flow to online, video and mobile channels at a record rate. This is why I’m happy we’ve got the best people in the industry leading our company in this area. As I mentioned on the Makegood website last year, we rolled out a product that can help pinpoint traffic sources as either robotic or fraudulent, or what some refer to as “hijacked”, and we provide one of the most proactive solutions for combatting fraud in the marketplace today. We are a strong proponent of fraud detection, as its pervasiveness only hurts those of us in the industry, and we are helping clients deal with fraud detection proactively.
The Makegood: Where do you see the mobile and video industry heading? How can online video leverage TV advertising, and vice versa? What media technology are you seeing used more and more frequently?
Adaptive Media, through our technology, really specializes in cross-channel, cross-device solutions. More and more, this means mobile and video. The trends in both user consumption and ad spending are undeniable. Brand Advertisers want more and more to get their message out to a relevant audience in those two channels. Publishers want to better monetize their inventory in those two channels. This is where our platform comes in, by being able to programmatically align these different goals. I recently sat on a panel which talked about the implications of online video to the TV advertising business, and how the two are blending. TV is still “king” when it comes to ad dollars, but we’re seeing a shift in how dollars previously allocated to TV ads are now being put towards rich media and more immersive and engaging ad solutions across different screens. I see developments like this only accelerating.
The Makegood: As your 4th Quarter earnings report approaches, where do you see the company heading in the future?
Adaptive Media is very happy, but not complacent, about our growth trajectory over the last year. We will continue to make improvements to our technology platform, one of the key elements of our business. The focus will be twofold: One, increasing performance for our publishing partners through better efficiency, higher fill rates and better CPM’s; and two, collaborating with our Agency and Brand advertising partners to provide better strategies and return on ad spend. We believe our solution puts us at a competitive advantage for cross-channel and cross-device demand today. But we also are really thinking longer term about positioning ourselves to be at the nexus of TV advertising, digital advertising in general, and content monetization through our custom video player.
The Makegood: Thank you, Qayed.