It has been a busy week for AppNexus, one of the largest ad tech platforms in the industry.
On Tuesday, the company introduced a new component to its platform that will allow marketers to use their own algorithms in conjunction with AppNexus’ bidder. The company kept the ball rolling on Wednesday by announcing two new upgrades to its offering: Programmatic video support and comprehensive fraud detection and prevention tech.
AppNexus has introduced a combination of policies, products and features -- all rolled together in a packaged dubbed “IQ” -- to gatekeep ad quality.
AppNexus asserts IQ scans pre-bid data -- both manually and through automation -- to “choke off the supply of invalid or unverifiable inventory” before it's made available. The product also sets domain transparency standards that AppNexus claims will “disallow domain masking” in a bid to give marketers “full insight into the inventory they are buying.”
Also included in IQ is a money-back guarantee program initially unveiled late last year. The offering, now called “AppNexus Spend Protection,” allows marketers to get back what they paid if third-party verification partners do not certify inventory purchased via AppNexus, the company explained in a release.
"Like all markets that join buyers and sellers, the online ad exchange functions best where there is maximum trust and transparency," stated Brian O'Kelley, CEO of AppNexus. "It's very simple: advertisers should be able to see what they are buying and know what they paid for. It's a principle that benefits buyers and sellers alike.”
The company claims that in alpha phase tests of IQ, publishers saw RPMs (revenue per 1000 impressions) jump anywhere between 29% and 47%, while two-thirds of advertisers saw a boost in response rate.
The introduction of IQ comes eight months after 30-40% of the impressions on AppNexus were deemed “impossible to verify.” O’Kelley acknowledged this issue and the company has been working resolve it ever since, beginning with the introduction of the money-back guarantee program formerly called “Certified Supply”. Just months ago, AppNexus partnered with DoubleVerify to bring the latter’s pre-bid data to its platform. AppNexus also works with DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science to monitor post-bid actions.
The money-back guarantee offering is now one of the main pillars of AppNexus’ IQ offering, and it is powered by the DoubleVerify and Integral partnerships. If those measurement firms cannot verify that the buyer received the inventory it paid for, the money is returned.
It’s all part of AppNexus’ plan to improve the overall quality of advertising its clients can expect (and reduce the role it played in the problem). AppNexus’ push to include more “quality” or “premium” inventory is seen in other moves the company has made as well, not just in its fight against fraud.
For example, the company shelled out about $100 million to acquire Yieldex, a publisher monetization platform, with a “programmatic direct” future in mind -- neither fully automated nor fully manual.
The introduction of video ad-buying tech can be seen as a push toward higher-quality services as well, though it has been something AppNexus has planned to unveil for years.
"Three years ago, I announced that AppNexus was not going to enter video until we could introduce products every bit as strong as our display platform," stated O'Kelley in a separate announcement. Now ready to enter -- via a closed beta at first -- O'Kelley boasts that given AppNexus' scale, the company "offer[s] greater audience reach and data match rate than channel-specific entrants." AppNexus claims to give marketers access to 250 billion video impressions per month, including linear, in-banner and interstitial formats.
To help lead AppNexus' foray into programmatic video, Eric Hoffert has been tapped as SVP of video technology. He has held positions at Apple, Spotify, JW Player, AT&T Bell Labs and more.
This article has been updated to reflect that DoubleVerify's post-bid data, not its pre-bid data, is used to trigger the money back guarantee. Additionally, AppNexus works with Integral Ad Science for this offering as well.