DV values lasting client relationships because they build on our mission to make the internet stronger, safer and more secure. Advertisers who work with DV for more than two years record on average a 28 percent lower brand suitability violation rate than more recent adopters. These outcomes contribute towards the overall health and strength of the advertising ecosystem. DV’s client partner team supports brands and agencies around the world and cultivates strong relationships built on trust, which optimizes real business outcomes in the process.
This installment of DV’s Ask The Experts series features Anna Rufo, Senior Client Partner in EMEA. Anna is responsible for fostering DV’s partnerships with brands and agencies across the DACH markets. Below, Anna outlines the industry trends she anticipates and why media quality is so fundamental to digital advertising.
How did you begin working in this field?
Originally from Moscow, I studied international business and finance on a dual diploma program that provided me with an opportunity to learn from excellent professors from two different business schools. This was my first experience living and working abroad. After graduating and working for a few years at Mercedes Benz, I moved to London in 2011 where I started my digital career, with a focus on digital travel, developing partnerships and leading business expansions for TripAdvisor.
I eventually decided to take on a new challenge and shifted toward advertising, where I was introduced to a completely new industry and its dynamics. I moved to Germany nine years later, just before Covid started. Recognizing my opportunity to start a new career, and thanks to my extended network, I learned about an opportunity to join DV.
Digital media quality measurement can be very abstract. How would you describe it in layman’s terms?
Online media publishers add placeholders — or advertising inventory — to their content. Brands pay to place their messages near engaging content. Their ads can only be effective if they create touch points with real people, which means the impressions aren’t wasted on fake user interactions and bots. For ads to have their intended impact, they also need to be viewable and delivered in the right geographic markets. The technical term viewability characterizes the prominence and screen duration of an ad, a precondition for users to digest the advertising message. Finally, the context in which the ad appears needs to be considered safe and suitable for the brand.
While there are environments such as illegal content where no advertiser wants to place an ad, there are additional subjects that are uniquely sensitive to individual brands. For example, a high quality news article about an aviation accident may not be suitable content for an airline that is encouraging consumers to fly more, but it may be appropriate for an insurance provider reminding people to stay safe.
What are the most common misconceptions about media quality you come across in your work?
Before I speak about media quality, I’d like to briefly touch on general third-party verification. Independent third-party verification was previously misunderstood to be sugarcoating ad inventory, limiting reach or adding friction to media transactions. This is not the case as clients recognize the crucial role of ad verification to establish trust in the ecosystem. By making sure that ad placements are of high quality and that they perform well, we are helping advertisers and brands achieve better results.
It’s often misunderstood how important media quality is when it comes to digital advertising. But high media quality is not a proxy for campaign performance, and it should not be considered a luxury for campaigns that stand out for their high brand recall or low CPA. Quality is the critical foundation that allows advertising to be effective.
This holds true across all advertising channels, including user-generated content (UGC) platforms and social media. Requiring a login and having the ability to tailor messaging toward a specific target audience doesn’t automatically mean the network’s content and advertising environment it creates are safe and suitable to the brand.
As advertising channels proliferate, it’s essential to work with a partner like DV that understands your brand’s business and values and can enable the brand to enforce the same standards of quality and protection across all environments in a technologically robust and scalable manner.
Where are you located and how do you support your clients in Germany?
Our team of business directors, enterprise sales directors, client partners and account managers is distributed across central Europe.
Based in Düsseldorf, Germany, I support partners and clients across three markets: Germany, Austria and Switzerland. I often collaborate with our international product, analytics and global strategy teams to compound valuable insights and regional trends for local brand and agency clients.
Staying close to my clients is important to me. I’m glad we’re able to meet clients in person again. It‘s more fun and personal. I missed that while working remotely full-time.
Lately, many of my clients and I have looked at the benefits of activating ad verification across every campaign and channel — something that can be called an “always-on” approach.
How has the “always-on” approach helped your clients?
It’s important to understand that digital marketing is not a sequence of short bursts. It’s a continuous process which involves developing brand perception and utilizing relevancy with target audiences to drive conversions. This can only be successful if ad verification is applied to all ad placements, providing a holistic view on media quality and effectiveness across all channels and environments.
A long-term analysis of this measurement data offers a robust foundation for media planning and optimization.
How can brand advertisers maximize their reach while staying protected online?
Digital advertising is meant to reach real people. Protection against ad fraud and brand safety and suitability violations may seem contrary to that goal. If advertising touch points are measured in viewable impressions alone, post-bid blocking and pre-bid avoidance seem counterproductive. This is only true, however, if they’re implemented incorrectly.
A heavy use of keywords and inclusion/exclusion lists inevitably leads to overblocking which limits reach. A multi-layered and nuanced approach that builds on a thorough understanding of what is generally unsafe and what an advertiser deems to be specifically unsuitable to a given brand is key. Transparent and robust content classification is essential to determining effective brand suitability. Advertisers who partner with DV, for example, can decide to avoid certain contextual categories like Alcohol in addition to certain content within a category by risk level. The ability to quickly and accurately classify content allows advertisers to manage brand suitability at scale.
What trends do you see happening in the German digital advertising industry?
Currently, I see many measurement gaps closing which truly makes it possible to verify everywhere. Previously, the German digital media and advertising industry was facing challenges in video measurement. But DV’s recent 2023 Global Insights Report shows that Germany’s video viewability measurement increased by over 90 percent in 2022. At the same time, Germany saw an 8 percent increase in its video viewability and is now on par with the U.S.
Similarly, I’ve seen more clients advocate for independent measurement on social media. As brands find social media advertising an attractive way to engage audiences, they discover that platforms aren’t immune to quality concerns. It’s becoming common practice to include social media sites in their “always-on” verification strategies.
At DV, we help advertisers protect their brands across all environments and make controlling media quality and performance simple and efficient everywhere.
If you’d like to learn more about how DV can support your digital advertising outcomes, contact us here.