Content Roundup: More Isn’t Merrier — AdTech Flotilla — Google’s € Bill

Here’s some of our fav MadTech news from June:  Will pubs keep winning in the header bidding game? (Catch up our Header Bidding Roundtable here) – The Tech Armada  – Google’s Euro Fines – Two Retail Giants do Battle…

Anything juicy we missed? Tell us on Twitter, Facebook… or button it up on LinkedIn.

More Isn’t Merrier: Redundant Header Bidders Are Destabilizing The Drum, Jun. 27, 2017

Pubs love header bidding, but now pubs have an average of 10 header bidders…
#HeaderBidding #Pubs

Google Hit With Record EU Fine BBC News, Jun. 27, 2017
Google Shopping may account for 74% of all retail-related ads clicked on its SERPs. Will Google make changes or pay $14M a day?
#International #Search #Financial

Walmart Telling Vendors to Stop Using Amazon’s Cloud Business Insider, Jun. 22, 2017
With Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods and Walmart’s purchases of Jet.com, Modcloth, and Bonobos – the war is officially on.
#ECommerce #Retail #Showtime

Top 6 AdTech Companies to Watch in 2017 Entrepreneur, Jun. 16, 2017
Advertising trends tend to be short-lived…will these six companies have red-letter years?
#Madtech #OnesToWatch

Cannes Briefing: The Battle Of The Ad Tech Yachts Digiday, Jun. 20, 2017
You may have missed being there, but you don’t need to miss the yacht LUMAcape.
#MadTechFlotilla #Cannes17 #OverdoingIt

 

UPCOMING INDUSTRY EVENTS

July 5 – 9  /  Apple WWDC, San Jose, CA

July 10 – 14  /  Esri User Conference, San Diego, CA

July 17 – 18  /  Digital Publishing Innovation Summit, New York, NY

July 23 – 25 /  MMA Mobile CEO Summit, Napa, CA

 

Header Bidding: 5 Videos, 8 Numbers, and 12 Remarks You Should Read

The Industry Index Header Bidding Roundtable Roundup

Every month, Industry Index gathers MadTech leaders to discuss trends, hot topics, and new technology in the industry. We’ve written recently about Header Bidding (see the exchange shakeup and winners and losers) and that was before we decided to to open it up to some key industry players at our recent Roundtable to sort out where it’s all, er…. Headed.

Here We Go…
Header bidding is not a brand new idea, But from all the chatter, it sure seems like it.  Kelvin Pichardo, Director, Product Marketing at PubMatic, thinks the growth is directly related to the functions that header bidding enables, more so than the mechanics behind having a tag in the header. He was kind/smart enough to break it down for us:

The Complexity Is Simple.
Header bidding exposes all inventory to a large cross section of demand simultaneously, and more competition has improved CPMs. But with demand comes a huge pile of problems additional complexities. Latency, cookie syncing… along with the simple complexity of deploying a header bidding solution.

 

Browser-Bashing
According to Maggie Neuwald, VP, Enterprise Accounts at MediaMath, “With browser-side, there is a limitation of the number of calls and, due to second price auctions, it isn’t a unified market.” Yes, browser-based solutions afford publishers a significant level of control, but the highest bids don’t always win thanks to inefficiencies found in putting the auction load on users’ browsers.

What’s interesting is the effect that users are unaware they have in header bidding auctions, as calls are originating from their machines. Doug Lauretano, SVP and GM at Media.net stresses that these are individual calls happening to individual demand sources. “We threw out the word latency…  browsers weren’t made to operate like this. Browsers were made to show content to users – not to do these complicated AdTech calls. Hence the shift – that’s why server-side is important.”

There Is No “I” in Header Bidding
Header bidding cannot be viewed as a, “set it and forget it philosophy,” offered Michael Hannon, VP, Yield and Revenue Optimization at Purch. There needs to be total transparency when it comes to pageviews, bounce rates, demand sources, DFP, and pulling relic data on a daily basis. There should be a proactive acknowledgment of the responsibility that publishers have in implementing header bidding. Stephanie Layser, Director, Advertising Technology at News Corp stated that, “For too long we have been looking at engineering and page experience separately from advertising, and that’s where we have gotten ourselves into a lot of issues. If we start looking at ourselves – on a daily basis – holistically, and getting our teams working closer together, there will be better communication.”

You Lose, SSPs
The consensus from all participants was that SSPs have lost. It will be more than a challenge as they try to differentiate themselves with the supply amongst publishers looking exactly the same from one to another. First “latency” was a trigger word, then “commodity”… SSPs could have used a safeword…

Layser was the first to be predictive: “There is inefficiency in [browser-based] header bidding. I also believe that once you move to server-side header bidding that the SSP model collapses — but I believe that people will have one partner that will have direct integration with different DSPs. But the question is — people used to use one or two SSPs anyways, so are we just collapsing back to just one SSP? I don’t know exactly what it is. I tend to hope that the future has less to do with getting demand from other people and using their third party demand, and  more of it has to do with utilizing publishers first-party demand and the relationship that they have with their users.”

 

Big Cookies
Moderator Jonathon Shaevitz addressed that we cannot have a header bidding conversation without putting Google… (and Whole Foods Amazon) in the middle. The room chattered with recognition, and after a brief pause and some darting eyes across the table, he then noted that Facebook also has to be included to ensure that the conversation stays proactive. More darting eyes. More nodding.

Neuwald stated that when working with a variety of DMPs, there is a loss of data that is related specifically to cross-device, person-based identification… that’s the information of true value. Ahem. Layser added, “The biggest value is the ID, knowing that this is an addressable person. That is the greatest value that they (Google, Amazon, Facebook) can identify and the smaller guys don’t have that as much.”

It seems that the tri-opolies (you read that right) may always be at the forefront of MadTech. This comes up at every single Roundtable, and Layser gets the credit for this field goal: “Everyone’s digital ad growth is 1%, where Google and Facebook is around 40-50%.” Boom goes the dynamite.

I Might Like You Better If We Tech Together…
Data is important, but doesn’t mean anything without cookie matching. Megan Latham, Global Head of Advertising Operations at Bloomberg believes that cookie matching across platforms needs to be addressed and implemented.

Neuwald adds that, “The only limitation is just cookie matching and we see up to 90% matches with our partners… so it’s something that is easily solved. It just requires standards, transparency, trust, and some coopetition (you read that right, too), which this industry is luckily good at. But we need to up the ante on people-based identifiers, and this is a long term strategy.”

 

By the Numbers
Participants were asked to pick a number, any number, they deemed relevant to the current state of header bidding. Here are the highlights… make sure you give proper attribution as you throw these one-liners out at your 4th of July barbeque:

  • “Every 1 second delay in a page load can result in a 7% decline in sales – per second – and 16% decline in consumer experience.” — Maggie Neuwald
  • “Marketers who have adopted a full-funnel approach have seen a 532% ROI increase, based on a Forester Economic Impact Study.” — Maggie Neuwald
  • “There are between 4-6 million queries per second that some DSPs listen to.” — Ari Paparo
  • “When you think that header bidding hit a tipping point about 2 years ago, and the amount of traction it’s gotten, across all forms… it’s really upended an industry in 2 years. Makes you wonder what the next 2 years will look like.” — Doug Lauretano
  • “On average, 385 individual calls are needed to load a single page (of a sample of about 20 different premium publishers’ websites.) That includes images, text… everything.” Doug Lauretano
  • 13% of impressions go to the private auction space. This needs to grow to bridge the gap between the publisher and the buy-side to pull the buyer’s further up the yield curve.” — Matthew Lehman
  • “$45.9 billion is predicted to be spent in programmatic display by 2019, and will count for 84% of US display revenue, which shows why there are 636 vendors out there – because the money is being generated and people are jumping on the wagon.” — Megan Latham

We Don’t Need No Stinking Badges…
Our Roundtable was certain about one thing: Header bidding (despite the valiant efforts of the Roundtable) is still complex, and still evolving. We managed to scratch the surface together, but left a few things on the table. One thing that wasn’t addressed: AdWeek recently reported, ”The IAB Tech Lab announced an initial outline for what it’s calling ‘Standard Header Container Integration with an Ad Server,’ a nine-page document from the Header Tag Task Force.” (Emphasis ours.) Seriously… we hope they get uniforms and badges. That’s our prediction, anyway.


The Header Bidding Crystal Ball


Have a Great Summer, Don’t Ever Change…
July is a big deal at Industry Index — We’re launching our new site, working on some top-secret- amazing, and planning our next Roundtable for September. Want to know when all these things are happening? Sign up on our mailing list, and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Content Roundup: Squad Goals — Naming Your AI — Tasty Charts and Graphs

Here’s some of our fav MadTech news from the last two weeks — pubs & techies team up to solve targeting issues, proper care and feeding of your new AI…  And if you missed out our OTT Roundtable, catch up here.

Anything juicy want to share? Tell us on Twitter, Facebook… or button it up on LinkedIn.

SQUAD GOALS!

TV Industry Mobilizing to Secure Its Fair Share  AdExchange, May 15, 2017
Fox, Turner and Viacom recently announced an audience targeting alliance.
#targeting #consortium #publishers #adtech

MadTech v Goliath Media Post, May 4, 2017
Team sports continue as tech throws-in to rival Facebook and Google on the targeting front.
#targeting #adtech

PROPER AI PARENTING.

Why Tech Companies Like IBM & Amazon Give AI Human Names  Adweek, May 24, 2017
Watson, Alexa to Einstein (and the disappeared Hemingway) – Who named these AIs?
#AI #ibm

Salesforce CEO Uses AI to End Internal Politics  Business Insider, May 18, 2017
Executives face being pointed out as needed specific attention by the company’s AI Einstein…
#AI #salesforce

TWO TOO BIG?

Google Knows When Its Users Buy Stuff  The Washington Post, May 23, 2017
Google’s hands are now on billions of credit card transaction records. They “declined to detail how the new system works.”
#o2o #privacyIssue #google #PII

Facebook & Google Dominate Web Traffic, But Not the Same Business Insider, May 24, 2017
80% of referral traffic comes from just these two – Facebook for lifestyle, Google for tech and business. Do you agree?
#referral #monopoly

THE MORE YOU KNOW…

The State Of Programmatic Direct In 4 Charts  DigiDay, May 16, 2017
Due to open-exchange being “a proverbial black box,” programmatic direct ad spend has increased 50% in 5 major countries from 2015 to 2016. And publishers are moving away…
#programmatic

UPCOMING INDUSTRY EVENTS

June 6 – 8  /  Social Innovation Summit, Chicago, IL

June 7 – 9 /  99U Conference, New York, NY

June 17 – June 24  /  Cannes Lions, Cannes, France

June 21  /  Roundtable: Header Bidding, New York, NY

 

Let’s Talk About Chatbots

AUTHOR NOTE

We sent our summer intern, Rebecca Shaevitz, to her first MadTech event. She returned with fresh insight on the role Chatbots are beginning to play in the ecosystem… Well worth a five minute read.
– The Industry Index Team

Knowing almost nothing about Chatbots prior to attending “Chatbots: More Than Hype” presented by ROKO Labs, I figured I’d walk away with an understanding of what Chatbots do and how they are relevant in the MadTech space. To be honest, the ins and outs of chatbots are still a bit unclear to me – the Chatbot ecosystem spans many different platforms, user demographics, and designs.

Despite my confusion, I did pick up a few key takeaways:

  1. Chatbots can be implemented into almost any platform. Why is this important?
  • Companies do not have to create an entirely new technology to take advantage of their benefits. A platform that may be struggling with user navigation or the specific operations of a user interface can implement a Chatbot. If done correctly Chatbots can work… almost like magic.
  • Chatbots can be continually updated to stay relevant to users’ needs and interests.
  1. Chatbots can be powerful tools for platforms to engage users, smooth-over confusing steps in technologies, or simply entertain. However, design and function must be highly intentional to ensure intended purposes are achieved.
  • Failures are largely due to language processing issues, outdated designs, inappropriate tone, and poor visual cues.
  • Chatbots without clear intentions (or those which are poorly implemented) may do more harm than good, alienating or confusing users.
  1. User involvement should be viewed as an important aspect in the creation and design process.
  • Users can indicate which Chatbots/Chatbot features will be most useful during the selection and testing processes.
  • Users may spread the word about new Chatbots, providing a first line of promotion for these new technologies.

I’m still unsure of a good deal of the Chatbot ecosystem. Maybe that’s because Chatbots are constantly evolving; maybe it’s because their potential is only just being discovered. I do know that the next time I interact with a Chatbot I’ll have a better understanding of how to assess its efficacy, as well as a greater appreciation for its development and complexity.

3,500 MarTech Companies and Counting…

At Industry Index we’re obsessed with organizing, categorizing, and segmenting the Industry. We’re tracking 5,000+ tech companies across MarTech/Adtech, as we like to call it — MadTech. Our tracking is expansive — e-commerce related companies, social media, chatbots, augmented reality, salestech, marketing automation… the list goes on.    

Meanwhile, there is a lot of great research occurring all around us. One data point that caught our eye was published on Chiefmartec. They recently announced that they now track over 3,500 MarTech companies, up from 2,000 in 2015 and 1,000 in 2014.  

Sure, you can quibble with the exact number, but the pace of growth is undeniably astounding: It doubled from 2014 to 2015, and then grew 87% again between 2015 and 2016. Simultaneously, tremendous consolidation continues. It seems like every week there’s another deal.

Why the tidal wave of growth?

1)It’s the money.
All signs point to the explosion of investment capital, sheer number of startups, and expansion of the MarTech ecosystem. Pick your favorite statistic:

  • MarTech spending is expected to reach 10% of overall budgets for Fortune 500 companies by 2024 (up from 1% in 2014)
  • MarTech spending reached $12B in 2014
  • MarTech spending will reach $120B by 2024

2)There are additional compelling reasons for the proliferation:   

  • It is easier than ever for brands to try and test tech.  
  • Most new tech have APIs that allow faster deployment and integration
  • The SaaS model reduces tech acquisition costs – lower risk to try
  • The proliferation of tech drives more targeted “point” solutions; tech deployments can be for single campaigns or trials
  • Previously siloed data and systems can now be integrated and leveraged with relative ease
  • Most importantly, customers are expecting more and better engagements with companies – Personalized, fast, authentic… IMMEDIATE!

Marketers ultimately need to remember the real reason they’re investing in MarTech: To better understand current and potential customers with the purpose of driving sales. Companies need to make sure that their marketing stack—regardless of the vendors that they work with—provides deep customer intelligence and paints a holistic picture of the customer.

 

What does this mean for MarTech buyers?

  • First and foremost, the phone will keep ringing, emails will be chirping, LinkedIn messages will fill your inbox.  
  • The market is difficult to understand and sort out. Understanding the differentiation of companies within a category can be agonizing. You need to start with a different perspective:
    • It is incumbent on buyers to start by developing a general understanding of the type(s) of tech that are interesting.
    • You need to focus more attention on developing your own requirements.
    • Finally, consult the data. More and more companies are utilizing research to produce content, and much of this research is extremely useful.  However, you need to be a smart consumer of data/content. There is a BIG difference between research studies, true thought leadership, and long, glorified sales pitches.

What does this mean for MarTech vendors?  

For starters, doesn’t it feel like there is more competition? That’s because THERE IS MORE COMPETITION.

As Industry Index began planning for its website relaunch for this summer, we began with a basic question:  Where are the boundaries of MadTech and how do we organize our data?  

This lead us to explore vast numbers of companies, and where they sit in the ecosystem.  It was immediately apparent that not only were there many more companies, but the boundaries had expanded. And, while many of the new entrants are narrowly targeting a single problem, most companies are now, unlike five years ago, selling solutions that inherently include data, products, and integrations with other technology types as basic table stakes.  

So what does it all mean…

  1. Despite all the M&A activity, the marketplace is growing more crowded.
  2. The lines between tech categories are getting very murky.
  3. More MadTech products are being sold directly to brands – sometimes because the agencies are reluctant to test, but more often because data integration requires direct relationships with brands.
  4. Marketers are increasingly trying/buying tech, but companies’ product lifecycles are shortening.
  5. Most MadTech vendors continue to dance in the dark, not knowing the basics: the whos, whats, and whys of their prospect lists. Vendors are too willing to attempt to stretch their product capabilities in exchange for a few more dollars of revenue.

5 Minute MadTech – Sales Automation and Marketing Automation: Part 3

Where have you been? Thanks to the internet,  you can catch up on Part 1 and Part 2 here.

What allows Sales Automation (SA) and Marketing Automation (MA) to be on an upward trajectory? Tech, baby. As we move into the automated future, the friction of MA/SA implementation should be first to go. The star of the show, ladies and gentle-bots: Artificial Intelligence.  

Waves of Innovation

Gartner has represented the constant growth of SA through different “waves”:

  • “Wave 1: Client-server and desktop based sales systems”
  • “Wave 2: Web 2.0 and API-based sales systems”
  • “Wave 3: Algorithmic SA with predictive analytics and AI”

Waves 1 and 2 were gnarly, but we’re on the front end of the big kahuna – #3. Tech is simplifying the sales process by automating – and thereby accelerating – communication between sales and marketing departments. Knowledge Tree states, “Automated analytics about the performance of content can be automatically shuttled back to marketing so they can see which content performs and which doesn’t. The result is that teams can invest in assists that win and eliminate low-performers.”

Box checked for automation – but what about AI? CRMs are the biggest intersection of sales and marketing departments. According to Medium, “AI applications in CRM is just a tip of the iceberg. As AI technology strengthens, CRM which is ripe for disruption is going to be the biggest beneficiary moving from being a system of records to a really helpful tool helping organizations become more efficient and productive.”

As long as the machines don’t rise up against us, the future is looking much smoother.

MA, FTW

The Huffington Post quoted a Gleanster study which, “…reports that 90% of respondents report regular and periodic use of Marketing Automation for large-volume email campaigns.” The article continues to explain that MA, “has revolutionized the way organizations are managing their time and targets.” Now the best possible prospects are given time to convert, saving time, energy, and money.

Data integrations and predictive analysis will be the main focus for MA growth, via AI integration.

The Huffington Post continues, “The most valuable use of AI in marketing is to enable personalized conversations with customers, knowing their goals, ambitions and profiles. This type of personalized communication eliminates spam, which often plagues marketing today.” Digital natives know when they’re being spammed, unwillingly part of  chain emails, etc., and the lack of personalization is an instant red flag. In spite of this, in recent years many have concluded that mass emailing works… but does it? This answer isn’t so black and white.

Personalized one-on-one conversations can now move beyond simple list segmentations. “…Visitors can expect to have a unique conversation with the brand, based on their specific needs. Dynamic ad copy, one-to-one emails, customized website and mobile experience, AI will make hyper-personalization possible at scale.

AI may allow MA to practice safe marketing. Rather than communicating with promiscuity, the personalized approach that AI has introduced will reach mass audiences creating interactions that are aligned with actual individuals, rather than more vague segments.

Wrapping It Up…

AI has expanded well-beyond sitting on your kitchen counter (ordering your paper towels and surreptitiously shilling for Burger King.) It’s being implemented across MadTech, and SA/MA are no exception. If only we could get it to open the pod bay doors.

5 Minute MadTech — Sales Automation and Marketing Automation: Part 2

Now that we’ve washed SA/MA’s laundry, let’s start putting it away.

The goal: Achieving harmony and interoperability between SA and MA to drive (and optimize) customer acquisition. In our 5 Minute MadTech series on Account Based Marketing, we explained the importance of lead generation quality over quantity, i.e., that it’s better to fish with a spear than a net. SA and MA leverage this idea by removing labor-intensive tedium from the process. It’s a complex ecosystem, though. Which is more important for your goals? How do you achieve the right balance?

The critical factors: Complexity and Transactional Volume.

Sales Automaton vs. Marketing Automation explains which tech should take the lead  based on these two factors. Here’s our breakdown of that explanation:

  1. Low Complexity, Low Transactional Volume
    If your business has a short sales cycle with a low sales volume, SA may not be the most important tool to consider. Simply put, “The effort of tracking every opportunity is more work that it may be worth.”  Higher importance: MA
  2. Low Complexity, High Transactional Volume
    “Marketing Automation is critical for the non-complex sale, where the speed and volume of transactions are the core of the business.” MA assists in identifying and nurturing prospects until the final sale can be executed, with lower costs per customer acquisition. Higher importance: MA
  3. High Complexity, Low Volume of Transactions
    It’s extremely important to implement SA. “There are multiple stages and meetings to a new client acquisition, and you want to be managing the information around each.” Higher importance: SA
  4. High Complexity, High Volume of Transactions
    “In this environment you need [MA] to attract and nurture a high volume of prospects through the initial buying process.” This allows the sales team to manage the pipeline with SA to depict who’s extremely close to the purchase decision point. SA & MA get equal weighting

According to The Huffington Post the digital marketplace “…has set a fast pace to lead conversion, and businesses have no time to lose on customers that may not convert at all. Sifting through leads consumes time and energy that can be utilized more effectively.”  How are MA and SA evolving their tech to achieve even more value from automation?

In our next 5 Minute MadTech, we’ll dig into recent MA/SA tech innovations in measurement and analytics, and uncover how artificial intelligence may be the next big thing in the category. Are the robots getting their own, smarter robot overlords?

Content Roundup: Wind Beneath Twitter’s Wings? — There Will be blood Data — Amazonian AdTech

Here’s some of our fav MadTech news from the last two weeks — Who’s down with OTT? Time to break up Big Data? Social media soars? Marketing automation, and more…  Plus, this coming week, we’ll go deep on our blog about Amazon’s next move in digital media space..

Anything juicy we missed? Tell us on Twitter, Facebook… or button it up on LinkedIn.

 

The World’s Most Valuable Resource Is No Longer Oil. It’s Data. The Economist,  May 6, 2017
The attention economy demands a new approach to antitrust rules as Google, Facebook, et. al., become
the new Standard Oil…
#finance #bigData #monopoly

YouTube Is Adding 40 Original Programs With Celebrities and Creators Adweek,  May 5, 2017
YouTube is going after traditional television ad dollars with exclusive new programs, and the brands who cut them off weeks ago are coming back…
#video #ott #youtube

Twitter Makes The Case For Live at Its Inaugural NewFronts AdExchanger, May 2, 2017m
Twitter added 9 million new users in Q1 after several quarters of disappointing earnings. Is it getting its wings back, thanks to livestreaming?
#social #emerging #twitter

Amazon Confirms Advertising Will Become A ‘Meaningful’ Part Of Its Business The Drum, Apr. 28, 2017
Bezos and co. prodded other parts of adTech with the launch of its cloud-based header bidding product in December…
#finance #amazon

5X More Marketing Automation Vendors Added Than Removed MarTech Conference  Apr. 26, 2017
If you bet on consolidation over the past six years, it’s time to pay your bookie…
#marketingAutomation #crowded

 

UPCOMING INDUSTRY EVENTS

May 15 – 17  /  TechCrunch Disrupt, New York, NY

May 19 – 22 / International Conference on Virtual Reality, Hong Kong

May 24  / Roundtable: OTT & Audience Targeting for Video, New York, NY

May 31 – June 2  / Digiday Programmatic Marketing Summit, Scottsdale, AZ

 

Your Second Helping: Influencer Marketing Fraud with Gil Eyal

CEO & Founder of HYPR, Gil Eyal talked with Industry Index about how the Influencer Marketing sector will label, prevent even simplify fraud as the industry continues to grow.

II: How much do you think fraud is impacting Influencer Marketing? With continued growth, will fraud continue to grow?

GE: Just like any other form of digital marketing, influencer marketing is extremely susceptible to fraud. In fact, the whole industry is structured in a way that encourages influencers to inflate their numbers – both follower and engagement numbers by paying for bots to follow them or engage with their post. Some might argue that, like in sports, the fact that a large number of participants take performance enhancing drugs requires anyone who wants to remain competitive to take them as well. The same applies to influencers inflating their online presence, and this is just getting worse.

II: Where do you see fraud most prominently in the Influencer Marketing sector? Why this platform?

GE: Number inflation is prevalent across the board. Instagram is particularly susceptible to violations as brands have very limited tools to measure campaigns – there are no outgoing links to track and limited information on actual views. Vanity metrics like ‘shares’ and ‘likes’ are easy to manipulate, and influencers do it intentionally and unintentionally.

II: Through the growth of Influencer Marketing, how are platforms going to label, prevent, or simplify fraud?

GE: Social networking platforms haven’t shown any inclination to take action. They have enough to worry about with traditional advertising, and one can argue that they aren’t doing a great job of preventing fraud there either.

Influencer networks or marketplaces share the incentive for bad behavior. They want the biggest influencers making the most money.

Third party platforms that focus on data and analytics like HYPR will have to do the job for them.

II: Do you think programmatic is a pressure point when it comes to measuring Influencer Marketing? What is the most effective way to track and monetize Influencer Marketing?

GE: There currently is no efficient Influencer Marketing solution that truly operates programmatically. The industry might be moving that way, and if it does, those platforms will be the first to suffer from fraud unless they can develop ways to identify fraud effectively. Like traditional digital marketing, it will be a never-ending race because fraud results in significant amounts of money changing hands with limited risk to the perpetrator.

A proper solution (programmatic or otherwise) will ensure that payment is only made after results have been verified against fraud. There are multiple technologies that can do it. We take an audience sample and look for red flags – significant lack of activity, following of other accounts that are known to be bots or fraudulent, odd locations (a huge audience in a random country), and specific language analysis algorithms that identify out-of-context or grammatically-incorrect behavior.

II: How has fraud muted the impact of Influencer Marketing? How will the industry move past this friction?

GE: Influencer marketing is in its infancy, and as a result, brands are unaware of the scale of fraud taking place. As they become more familiar, they will demand evidence to support validity of audiences and campaigns. Tools are being built in anticipation of these requirements, and we see with our clients that they are changing the business model to ensure payment is made after results are delivered.

For the industry to survive the massive levels of fraud, it will need to develop tools that measure true value and shift away from vanity metrics – tools that speak in the traditional digital language. Cost per click, conversion rates and ROI, as opposed to ‘likes’, ‘shares’ and ‘comments.’