This interview was first published by Marketing in Asia.
Hey, Luke. How’s it going? Welcome to Marketing In Asia and it’s great to have you with us today. Truth be told, I am excited to know about you and TrafficGuard! So, Luke, let’s start with getting to know TrafficGuard.
TrafficGuard’s ad fraud prevention is trusted by some of the world’s leading advertisers including APAC’s own Gojek and Bukalapak. Ad fraud in APAC has been forecast to cost $56 billion in 2022. And that is just the media cost – there are countless other ways that ad fraud impacts businesses including poor advertising optimisation due to the presence of fraud in data and time wasted reconciling media volumes with advertising partners.
When we started building TrafficGuard over five years ago, we wanted a truly proactive solution to ad fraud, that stops it before it impacts businesses in any way. In an effort to address all the indirect costs and challenges of ad fraud, our solution keeps ad performance data clean and helps businesses scale and optimise their advertising confidently.
We also wanted to build a solution that works for other businesses in the supply chain – not just brands, but for ad networks and agencies that want to protect their clients. Our mission is to drive trust and transparency in the digital advertising ecosystem – making sure businesses in the advertising supply chain have the ability to stop fraud in their inventory is critical to this mission.
All around the world right now businesses are grappling with ways that the COVID-19 epidemic is affecting their businesses. Now is a time for many businesses to make sure every single ad dollar they spend goes to genuine advertising engagement – not bots and ad fraud.
Luke, you have over 18 years of experience in managing and growing various digital marketing, internet and mobile technology companies. Now, you are well-known as the Founder and Chief Operating Officer for TrafficGuard, please, tell us about yourself.
I’ve been in the adtech industry for almost 20 years. Right before TrafficGuard, I ran a performance advertising network in North America for almost 10 years. At the network, we struggled to find a solution for ad fraud that actually worked. Everything in the market had limitations in terms of channels; only provided reporting, no actual mitigation; and they missed a lot of fraud. The need for an effective and scalable solution to ad fraud is what drove us to build TrafficGuard.
For the last five years, towards the end of my time at the network until today, I have been bringing together this awesome team of engineers and data analysts and scientists that pioneered TrafficGuard. They were with us through the network journey where we found the most value in using their skills to prevent ad fraud, as a key component of advertising optimisation that is often overlooked. We initially ran TrafficGuard in a closed beta for a few years while we were building real-time mitigation capabilities and training ML models. We launched TrafficGuard as a SaaS solution in 2019 and since then it has won numerous awards – most recently it was awarded the Best Anti-Fraud Solution in the Future Digital Awards which was a really big achievement for our team.
The journey with TrafficGuard has been immensely rewarding. We really are reimagining ad fraud prevention and it is awesome to see it helping so many businesses across the advertising supply chain to protect their, or their clients’, ad spend.
I believe and correct me if I’m wrong, not only does TrafficGuard’s real-time fraud prevention keep your traffic clean and increase reach, it also drives return on ad spend and helps you grow. Walk us through this.
Innovative marketers around the world are starting to recognise a substantial growth opportunity in TrafficGuard’s ad fraud prevention.
Firstly, with proactive fraud prevention, ad budgets generate real advertising engagement – as opposed to fake or invalid engagements.
Secondly, advertisers get greater reach – they can onboard new traffic sources knowing that they are protected from ad fraud. We know that some companies are deterred from using ad networks due to the perceived risk of greater ad fraud. Ad networks are a great way to reach more users and with a fraud prevention solution, companies can more confidently use these networks to grow their customer base.
Reactive approaches to ad fraud means that companies often suffer from skewed data and end up spending time and resources analysing and identifying problem areas. With TrafficGuard, real-time prevention means that fraud has no chance of infiltrating campaign metrics, so data stays clean and decisions are always optimised.
With optimised campaigns and clean data, companies can invest more time and resources in identifying valuable users to get the most out of them – targeting high-value customers is key to growing any business.
Each of the above factors reinforce each other, resulting in better advertising ROI. When your advertising engine is running on clean fuel (fraud-free data), it is way more effective – giving you all round better advertising results.
In fact, one of our customers, Rappi (biggest on-demand delivery app in Latin America), recognised that ad fraud prevention is an effective tool for growth and has since enjoyed a 25% increase in return on ad spending as a result of enjoying cleaner traffic and being able to allocate budgets better.
When it comes to marketing, what are your strategies for TrafficGuard, Luke?
Ad fraud impacts businesses in a variety of ways. We want to keep shining a light on these issues, and crusading for prevention. Too many businesses and industry bodies are waiting for some silver bullet to ad fraud but the reality is that every business needs to take steps to protect their ad spend and they can do this now.
We want to help businesses understand that they can do this and continue to educate the industry on the risks, the solutions, and the opportunities to drive advertising performance.
I hope you don’t mind sharing with us your latest undertaking.
As I mentioned earlier, transparency is key to our mission, and to the overall fight against ad fraud. We know that businesses across the world are coming to terms with what the COVID-19 epidemic means for their businesses, their customers, and their marketing efforts. With budgets getting cut, it is more important than ever for marketers to mitigate the loss to ad fraud.
We want to ensure that during this difficult time and beyond, businesses have the transparency they need to make sure their ad spend is going towards genuine advertising engagement – not bots or ad fraud.
Check out our free ad fraud protection here.
How would you describe your job in five words, Luke?
Leading the team strengthening advertising.
Anything you wish to share to our readers?
Let’s get ahead of the fraudsters with proactive fraud prevention. It’s down to each advertiser and intermediary to take a proactive stance in preventing fraud in their own traffic. Do that, and not only do you protect your own budget – with a bit of dedication and the whole community taking similar measures, we may actually make the business of ad fraud infeasible to the perpetrators.
Before we end, for those who want to get in touch with you, how can they do so?