Adaptive Media’s Qayed Shareef on Programmatic Buying and Fraud Prevention

Qayed Shareef has two decades of experience in the digital marketing industry, having built and lead successful teams in both start-up environments as well as in mature, large-cap companies. He founded and is currently the CEO of Adaptive Media, a programmatic audience and content monetization provider for website owners, app developers and video publishers who want to more effectively optimize content through advertising. The Makegood recently spoke with Qayed about Adaptive Media’s recent success and quick rise to prominence in the industry.

The Makegood: Your Q3 report shows some very promising financial results. What has gotten your company to such a good position?

Thank you. We have had a lot of changes in the last 6 months or so; new leadership, new branding, and a much greater focus from the team in keeping the company’s core business of programmatic advertising top of mind and singular. Adaptive Media has been fortunate to strike some really important partnerships, like Treplabs, which is a joint venture with Entrepreneur Media aimed at providing application developers better tools and marketing power. We also have been more aggressive in going after acquisitions, and expect one more to close this quarter. In terms of business growth, we’ve seen strong traction in the mobile and video advertising segments as areas that advertisers and publishers are particularly focused. It’s a trend that will continue, and it’s where we’re focused.

The Makegood: You only started the company last year. With such a quick rise to prominence, have your goals changed? What has the process been like from the founding up until now?

I came on board as CEO in July 2013, and there was a lot to do and a lot of potential. We obviously had a track record before I was here as a public company, but the opportunity was really in becoming more of a digital advertising marketplace. We announced our rebranding to Adaptive in September 2013 which better communicates what we do as a programmatic marketplace focused on Display, Mobile and Video. I think as soon as we were able to define exactly what our focus was, it spurred our results and energized our business. I wouldn’t say our goals have really changed from my initial vision. We want to grow the business organically, and also through corporate development and acquisitions which we fully embrace in cases where they are accretive to the business.

The Makegood: Adaptive Media is one of the few end-to-end monetization platforms driven by programmatic algorithms. What sets you apart from your competition?

We compete in any digital marketing environment where advertising, audience and content come together. Recognizing that, and differentiating ourselves apart from the bigger guys is key, and I think our focus on the intersection of those three things is unique. Second, technology is obviously very important. But everyone claims to have the latest and greatest technology; it really comes down to how to use and scale the technology you’ve built, and have it provide real value to your end users. We focus on harnessing our technology on a real-time basis using data-driven rules and algorithms to automate the process of pinpointing relevant audiences. This is essentially what we do for our supply-side partners: help them target the most relevant audiences most efficiently. Lastly, providing partners with the ability to monetize content efficiently across multiple marketing channels, including mobile, video and online display advertising is important. Consumers nowadays don’t consume content on just one channel or one device; so being able to provide a multi-channel marketing component to our ad partners is necessary.

The Makegood: With ad fraud being such a big problem in programmatic buying, what is Adaptive doing to cut down on false impressions?

I really think it comes down to data and having the appropriate checks and balances in place for our partners, knowing that we’ll always work with them to prevent any type of fraudulent activity. We’ve invested, and will continue to invest, in the most powerful technologies to help minimize any potential of fraud. To truly do that and monitor that effectively, it is a combination of “man and machine” and we’ve got both. We recently rolled out a product that can help publishers of content to pinpoint traffic sources as either robotic or fraudulent, or what some refer to as hijacking.  Partners can expect this type of reporting from our platform with lots data and analytics to take a proactive approach to fraud.

The Makegood: Its only been one year, but the future looks favorable. What are your plans for the next year and beyond?

I would expect that in one year we will have had impressive sales growth through organic means to leverage the trends and forecasts we know are happening in the mobile and video advertising sectors. We’ve also recently announced a few smaller yet important acquisitions led by Ben Padnos and our corporate development team, and I would expect that trend to continue, where it makes sense for us of course. Finally, since we’re a newer brand to the marketplace, our goal is to really establish ourselves as a premier go-to partner for mobile and video solutions. Branding, thought leadership and corporate marketing are other areas where we will definitely become more established.

The Makegood: Thank you, Qayed

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