Know Your Ad Server. Interview with Brian DeFrancesco

Brian DeFrancesco, co-founder of LKQD has deep experience in ad-tech space building and deploying large-scale ad servers. His latest venture, LKQD, is a self-service video ad-serving platform that works across programmatic, direct, and non-direct demand mediation and optimization.    

“Ad servers have evolved from being closed stack systems that provide basic operational support to open platforms that enable companies to work with vendors of their choice for ad targeting, verification, and programmatic initiatives,” DeFrancesco explained, “The role of an ad server is becoming increasingly important as it defines a company's capabilities to secure and execute ad buys in today’s complex ad tech ecosystem.”

Charlene Weisler: There are several ad-serving companies in the media ecosystem. What distinguishes LKQD?

Brian DeFrancesco: First, there were many legacy ad servers built and architected to run on Flash.  Back in 2014, we knew the future for video advertising would be mobile and HTML5, and no one was taking the mobile video advertising space seriously.  Second, we wanted to release a VPAID (Video Player Ad Serving Interface Definition) compatible solution for mobile.  We had watched the industry transition from VAST to VPAID in desktop due to the advantages of measurement and security offered by VPAID.  We build a VPAID solution from day one for mobile and have offered a VPAID compatible ad player with built in viewability detection since 2014.  We are seeing the early moving agencies adapt mobile and HTML5 VPAID at scale.  We think this will continue to be a large growth area during Q4 2016 and looking forward into 2017.

Charlene Weisler:  What is seamless video advertising?

Brian DeFrancesco: Seamless video advertising is about offering the customer everything they need to run their full business on our platform.  We offer a single self-service platform for mobile apps, connected TV, desktop and mobile web.  We have a customizable ad player, pre-built ad formats, a best-in-class mediation layer that uses a technology to automatically optimize itself based on up to the minute reporting data, paired with creative hosting, 3rd party integrations with Moat, WhiteOps, Krux, and Oracle.  Seamless video advertising is about building technology solutions to address the problems that publishers and advertisers face in the market so that they can stop worrying about technology challenges and focus on their business. We’ve recently taken this one step further with the introduction of LKQD Fusion.
Charlene Weisler:  What is LKQD Fusion?

Brian DeFrancesco: LKQD FUSION provides real-time communication and functionality 'bridges' between Flash and HTML5 video ads. This enables desktop Publishers to support video ads from all Advertisers regardless if they have transitioned to HTML5 or still utilize Flash.  LKQD FUSION partners can maximize their revenue by delivering both Flash and HTML5 video ads on all inventory while also becoming fully prepared for the inevitable end of Flash being pushed by every major browser on the market.  The technology is not focused on content recognition per se, but rather on providing publishers with a simple single solution so they do not need to worry about the codebase of the content, and can focus on running their business.  We rolled out the product publicly in July and have seen incredible traction in desktop since public launch.  LKQD FUSION publishers now have a future-proof solution for desktop to complement LKQD's already best in class solutions for mobile video, making us a platform of choice for over 200 publishers globally.

Charlene Weisler: What types of data do you collect and what metrics do you use?

Brian DeFrancesco: We use both in-house and third party metrics for measuring video ad performance, ROI, and brand safety.  These include: completion rate, click thru rate, viewability, audibility, true domain or app where ad display, human vs. non-human traffic, and many others.

Charlene Weisler: Where do you see the ad serving space five years from now?

Brian DeFrancesco: I believe open platforms will play a vital role in the future of ad tech, especially for Publishers.  Ad servers will provide the core ad delivery infrastructure (uptime, scale, real-time reporting, data management, third party integrations) that will enable companies to build their own business models on top of.  Ultimately, it’s about providing the tools for success and letting Publishers build their own strategy unique to their properties and their audience.

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