Interview with Daniel Avital, Chief Strategy Officer at CHEQ
In this interview, Daniel Avital, Chief Strategy Officer at CHEQ discusses the need for firms to move past mere metrics to take preventative actions, the mindset change for effecting transformation and how great tech can help solve some major issues in ad fraud
Tell us about your product/business and your specific role?
CHEQ is a cyber-security company looking to completely transform the ad-verification industry. We are doing this by introducing military grade AI, capable of preemptively tackling the core issues of brand-safety and non-human-traffic, at scale and with great accuracy.
As CHEQ’s Chief Strategy Officer, my role is to formulate and articulate our company’s strategy, and to make sure all our different verticals (from product to sales and marketing) are on course to execute that strategy.
What is the core issue your product/technology aims to address and what sets it apart from the other players in the market?
Ad-verification vendors have been tasked with protecting advertisers online and ensuring that their ads don’t appear alongside negative content, or get served to fake, bot traffic. The issue, is that the first generation of ad-verification solutions are built like analytics tools – or in other words – they are built to measure and report the damage, after it has occurred.
At CHEQ, we have developed the first platform in the verification space, which acts autonomously and preemptively and can prevent the damage before it occurs. How does it work? We analyze both the user and the content on the page in under 20 milliseconds, allowing us to make a decision before the ad is rendered. In that tiny window, we look at hundreds of different user parameters (behavioral anomalies, data discrepancies) to determine if the user is human or not. Simultaneously, we analyze the page’s content using Natural Language Processing, to determine the nature of that content and whether it is “brand-safe” or not.
What’s the one industry, sector or role that your technology is most relevant to?
What are some of the common challenges your customers approach you with?
Brand safety and ad-fraud are the absolute top concern for digital advertisers around the world. All major advertisers are making this a top priority and are actively seeking solutions. The greatest frustration out there, is the fact that verification vendors are drowning their customers in reports and analytics, but measuring the problem doesn’t solve it. At CHEQ, we’ve moved past measurement and provided our customers with a completely autonomous and preventative solution, alleviating them from all the manual labor that goes in to processing reports, while ensuring real brand-safety. One of the greatest challenges we’re currently working on, is pioneering audio and video brand-safety. Until now, no verification vendor has provided a quality solution across these mediums, but we are now making huge progress on these fronts and are developing the first effective cross-medium solution.
Using technology to effect transformation usually starts with a transformation of beliefs and mindsets. How do you consult enterprise clients and help them make that important shift in mindset to move ahead on a particular project or implementation?
We feel that our enterprise clients (major brands, advertisers, agencies) have grown to believe that brand safety and ad-fraud are problems that we’re just going to have to learn to live with. The best they expect is to measure the problem, and to then leverage the data to provide incremental improvement. It’s quite amazing to see how ad-verification has become almost a rubber stamp, allowing advertisers to say “well, we can’t really solve the problem, but at least we’re doing something”.
What we’re doing now, is changing that mindset by showing advertisers how great tech can actually solve these issues, and that they don’t need to settle for anything less.
Give us an example of an enterprise meeting a digital transformation goal through your product?
Many of our clients are looking to streamline their brand-safety operations, which today require quite a bit of manpower, to oversee buying, process reports and optimize campaigns. CHEQ provides a fully automated solution which renders all this manual labor redundant, allowing advertisers to re-focus their energy and resources on other domains of their business.
What present or upcoming technologies you think have the maximum potential to accelerate enterprise digital transformation?
We feel that all the work we’re doing around brand-safety, particularly in the fields of NLP (Natural Language Processing) and audio / image / video recognition will be pivotal tools in future digital transformation. These are all fields where great progress has been made, but there’s still so much more we can do, and the closer we get to perfecting these sciences, the easier it will be for digital advertisers to make real-time, accurate decisions.
What’s your go to resource – websites, newsletters, any other – that you use to stay in touch with the explosive changes happening in the digital space?
HBR (Harvard Business Review) is a personal favorite of mine – It’s a classic publication, and yet they always manage to stay ahead of the curve. Other favorites of mine include MIT’s “Technology Review” blog, and Futurism.com.
Read a good book lately on digital transformation that you’d like to recommend to us?
I highly recommend Doug Stephens’ “Reengineering Retail”. It’s a great look into one of the most challenging fields of digital transformation, focusing on industry giants like Amazon, Ebay and Alibaba.