Interview with Adfidence CEO

Written by:

Tom Triscari, Jacek Chrusciany

Published

Sep 25, 2023

Read time

5 min

Our CEO and Co-Founder Jacek Chrusciany was interviewed by Tom Triscari in Quo Vadis Green Shoot AdTech Interviews. The two discuss the importance of campaign setup and its most common issues. They also touch upon other opportunities for advertisers like getting the naming convention right across different platforms and addressing brand suitability. Jacek concludes campaign setup governance areas are of strategic importance and major bottom-line impact.

Link to the original article: Adfidence CEO AdTech Interview in Quo Vadis


A reprint of this article can be found below.


Q: Why is campaign setup so important?

Jacek: You need to realize that buying digital media is just setting it up on the platforms — nothing more and nothing less. So if you want to really know how you buy your media you need to analyze the campaign setup. All media decisions are finally done in the campaign setup, not in the media planning presentations, Advertisers deserve to have full transparency on how they actually spend their media budgets. Optimizing campaign setup to align with the media strategy and marketer policies is crucial for boosting media efficiency and reducing brand risk. Digital media is bought in auctions, so you can think of the campaign setup as the detailed specification of the bid. Campaign output objectives are effectively predetermined by the setup — the rates you pay are a function of who you want to reach, with what frequency, on what placements, etc.

However, as setup options become more intricate, errors can easily occur, leading to wasted budgets and brand vulnerability. These errors are often inadvertent, stemming from the fast-paced nature of the industry. Default platform settings are frequently left unchanged, even when they don't align with the advertiser's objectives. Moreover, when cost is the primary KPI, there's a temptation to broaden targeting, relax frequency limits, or opt for cheaper but lower-quality inventory. Given the error-prone nature of campaign setup and the potentially costly consequences, we advocate for making quality assurance a paramount responsibility of the media team.

Q: What are the most common campaign setup issues you see?

Jacek: We classify setup issues into 3 categories:

  1. Media productivity issues that lead to budget waste

  2. Brand suitability issues that cause brand risk

  3. Naming convention issues result in an inability to learn from data to inform the future marketing strategy.

An example of a particularly costly mistake is not setting a frequency cap. It’s not the most common one, but whenever it happens, the consequences are dire. In our tests, we have observed an almost 70% drop in campaign reach for a campaign with no cap vs. one capped at 3 impressions/week.

Another common problem is including subscale quality inventory in the mix. For example, much has been written recently about the Google Video Partners inventory failing to meet Google’s own quality standards. Even when advertisers introduce a policy to steer away from such inventory, those inclusions still happen because: 1) media platforms include expanded inventory by default, 2) such inventory is generally cheaper, so if the setup is not being monitored but the CPMs are, it is tempting.

Not leveraging fully the media platform’s capabilities is yet another common source of waste. For example, we often see Meta campaigns restricted to a particular placement, e.g., Instagram Story. A missed opportunity here is not including the Facebook Story placement which can reach exactly the same audience but may be cheaper. In tests, we’ve seen double-digit reach gains for campaigns running on both placements vs. just one. It’s about finding the obvious and acting on it.

The list goes on. Another common productivity issue is delivering creatives that don’t leverage the full real estate of the placement. Scroll through an Instagram feed and you will notice horizontal ads. The feed ad placement has a 4:5 aspect ratio, so the advertiser paid for a slot that can cover the majority of a mobile phone screen, but provided a creative that didn’t even fill half of it!

Q: What about brand suitability?

Jacek: Brand suitability issues typically boil down to including inventory that is not brand-safe. This happens either because media platforms’ defaults are left unchanged or exclusions are not selected. For example, the default content filter setting for Facebook and Instagram feed ads is “Expanded”, which includes: physical or emotional distress, social issues that provoke debate, substance abuse or crime, mature sexual or suggestive topics, profanity, injury, gore, bodily functions, and more. The majority of non-monitored Meta campaigns run with this default setting. Similarly, an advertiser will likely find that a majority of non-monitored Google DV360 don’t exclude any of the sensitive content categories.

Q: Getting campaign naming conventions right across different platforms has always been a train wreck. What do you see?

Jacek: Naming issues are widespread. We’ve run a study on a subset of new accounts connected to the Adfidence platform and saw fewer than 60% of campaign assets conforming to the advertiser’s taxonomy.

Q: It sounds like easy wins. How big is the opportunity for an advertiser?

Jacek: We work with some of the most forward-thinking media teams who constantly seek ways of improving their media execution. Even those advertisers see 20-25% opportunity to improve media productivity by correcting setup issues.

The impact of risk reduction is more difficult to quantify, but when we score clients’ media execution on the brand suitability dimension they typically start in the 60s and their scores improve to 80s within a few weeks from the introduction of monitoring. This means half of the hidden risks get eliminated.

It’s not easy to put a number on the value of taxonomy compliance. Obviously, without standardized naming, it’s really difficult to draw insights from past campaigns and inform the future media strategy. We see an average taxonomy compliance rate of around 60% for our newly onboarded clients and those clients reach +95% within 2 months with our toolset..

Q: Why hasn’t this been addressed yet?

Jacek: First and foremost, it takes a leadership decision in the media team to take accountability for campaign quality. You have to acknowledge that trusting the “hands-on-keyboards” teams (agency or in-house) to always get it right is not an acceptable approach.

You may also want to reevaluate media KPIs. If you assess campaign success purely on cost, you will get low cost! But if you don’t look “under the hood”, you won’t know that impressions had low viewability, were served outside of your target audience, or served in a non-brand-suitable context. Cost metrics are only useful after confirming the campaign was executed within the right guardrails.

Implementation is simple and simple is what advertisers have been asking for a lot lately. The software reads data from ad accounts via existing APIs and immediately generates insights. A few years ago, getting ad account access quickly could have been problematic for a global, multi-brand advertiser operating in multiple markets with multiple agencies. By now, advertisers have largely reclaimed their brands’ accounts in media platforms from agencies and centralized ad accounts access management so integrations are increasingly frictionless and quick.

We see quality scores improve immediately when media campaign monitoring gets implemented, even without any changes to the media buyer’s incentives. Our motto is simple: “What gets measured gets managed” — once you start measuring quality, it improves.

Q: What is the key message our readers should remember?

Jacek: Campaign setup has formerly been perceived as an operational area, but in fact, it is strategic and is a key driver of marketing performance. While setup issues may sound low-level and technical, harnessing them can drive significant bottom-line impact really fast.


Interview with Adfidence CEO

Written by:

Tom Triscari, Jacek Chrusciany

Published

Sep 25, 2023

Read time

5 min

Our CEO and Co-Founder Jacek Chrusciany was interviewed by Tom Triscari in Quo Vadis Green Shoot AdTech Interviews. The two discuss the importance of campaign setup and its most common issues. They also touch upon other opportunities for advertisers like getting the naming convention right across different platforms and addressing brand suitability. Jacek concludes campaign setup governance areas are of strategic importance and major bottom-line impact.

Link to the original article: Adfidence CEO AdTech Interview in Quo Vadis


A reprint of this article can be found below.


Q: Why is campaign setup so important?

Jacek: You need to realize that buying digital media is just setting it up on the platforms — nothing more and nothing less. So if you want to really know how you buy your media you need to analyze the campaign setup. All media decisions are finally done in the campaign setup, not in the media planning presentations, Advertisers deserve to have full transparency on how they actually spend their media budgets. Optimizing campaign setup to align with the media strategy and marketer policies is crucial for boosting media efficiency and reducing brand risk. Digital media is bought in auctions, so you can think of the campaign setup as the detailed specification of the bid. Campaign output objectives are effectively predetermined by the setup — the rates you pay are a function of who you want to reach, with what frequency, on what placements, etc.

However, as setup options become more intricate, errors can easily occur, leading to wasted budgets and brand vulnerability. These errors are often inadvertent, stemming from the fast-paced nature of the industry. Default platform settings are frequently left unchanged, even when they don't align with the advertiser's objectives. Moreover, when cost is the primary KPI, there's a temptation to broaden targeting, relax frequency limits, or opt for cheaper but lower-quality inventory. Given the error-prone nature of campaign setup and the potentially costly consequences, we advocate for making quality assurance a paramount responsibility of the media team.

Q: What are the most common campaign setup issues you see?

Jacek: We classify setup issues into 3 categories:

  1. Media productivity issues that lead to budget waste

  2. Brand suitability issues that cause brand risk

  3. Naming convention issues result in an inability to learn from data to inform the future marketing strategy.

An example of a particularly costly mistake is not setting a frequency cap. It’s not the most common one, but whenever it happens, the consequences are dire. In our tests, we have observed an almost 70% drop in campaign reach for a campaign with no cap vs. one capped at 3 impressions/week.

Another common problem is including subscale quality inventory in the mix. For example, much has been written recently about the Google Video Partners inventory failing to meet Google’s own quality standards. Even when advertisers introduce a policy to steer away from such inventory, those inclusions still happen because: 1) media platforms include expanded inventory by default, 2) such inventory is generally cheaper, so if the setup is not being monitored but the CPMs are, it is tempting.

Not leveraging fully the media platform’s capabilities is yet another common source of waste. For example, we often see Meta campaigns restricted to a particular placement, e.g., Instagram Story. A missed opportunity here is not including the Facebook Story placement which can reach exactly the same audience but may be cheaper. In tests, we’ve seen double-digit reach gains for campaigns running on both placements vs. just one. It’s about finding the obvious and acting on it.

The list goes on. Another common productivity issue is delivering creatives that don’t leverage the full real estate of the placement. Scroll through an Instagram feed and you will notice horizontal ads. The feed ad placement has a 4:5 aspect ratio, so the advertiser paid for a slot that can cover the majority of a mobile phone screen, but provided a creative that didn’t even fill half of it!

Q: What about brand suitability?

Jacek: Brand suitability issues typically boil down to including inventory that is not brand-safe. This happens either because media platforms’ defaults are left unchanged or exclusions are not selected. For example, the default content filter setting for Facebook and Instagram feed ads is “Expanded”, which includes: physical or emotional distress, social issues that provoke debate, substance abuse or crime, mature sexual or suggestive topics, profanity, injury, gore, bodily functions, and more. The majority of non-monitored Meta campaigns run with this default setting. Similarly, an advertiser will likely find that a majority of non-monitored Google DV360 don’t exclude any of the sensitive content categories.

Q: Getting campaign naming conventions right across different platforms has always been a train wreck. What do you see?

Jacek: Naming issues are widespread. We’ve run a study on a subset of new accounts connected to the Adfidence platform and saw fewer than 60% of campaign assets conforming to the advertiser’s taxonomy.

Q: It sounds like easy wins. How big is the opportunity for an advertiser?

Jacek: We work with some of the most forward-thinking media teams who constantly seek ways of improving their media execution. Even those advertisers see 20-25% opportunity to improve media productivity by correcting setup issues.

The impact of risk reduction is more difficult to quantify, but when we score clients’ media execution on the brand suitability dimension they typically start in the 60s and their scores improve to 80s within a few weeks from the introduction of monitoring. This means half of the hidden risks get eliminated.

It’s not easy to put a number on the value of taxonomy compliance. Obviously, without standardized naming, it’s really difficult to draw insights from past campaigns and inform the future media strategy. We see an average taxonomy compliance rate of around 60% for our newly onboarded clients and those clients reach +95% within 2 months with our toolset..

Q: Why hasn’t this been addressed yet?

Jacek: First and foremost, it takes a leadership decision in the media team to take accountability for campaign quality. You have to acknowledge that trusting the “hands-on-keyboards” teams (agency or in-house) to always get it right is not an acceptable approach.

You may also want to reevaluate media KPIs. If you assess campaign success purely on cost, you will get low cost! But if you don’t look “under the hood”, you won’t know that impressions had low viewability, were served outside of your target audience, or served in a non-brand-suitable context. Cost metrics are only useful after confirming the campaign was executed within the right guardrails.

Implementation is simple and simple is what advertisers have been asking for a lot lately. The software reads data from ad accounts via existing APIs and immediately generates insights. A few years ago, getting ad account access quickly could have been problematic for a global, multi-brand advertiser operating in multiple markets with multiple agencies. By now, advertisers have largely reclaimed their brands’ accounts in media platforms from agencies and centralized ad accounts access management so integrations are increasingly frictionless and quick.

We see quality scores improve immediately when media campaign monitoring gets implemented, even without any changes to the media buyer’s incentives. Our motto is simple: “What gets measured gets managed” — once you start measuring quality, it improves.

Q: What is the key message our readers should remember?

Jacek: Campaign setup has formerly been perceived as an operational area, but in fact, it is strategic and is a key driver of marketing performance. While setup issues may sound low-level and technical, harnessing them can drive significant bottom-line impact really fast.


Interview with Adfidence CEO

Written by:

Tom Triscari, Jacek Chrusciany

Published

Sep 25, 2023

Read time

5 min

Our CEO and Co-Founder Jacek Chrusciany was interviewed by Tom Triscari in Quo Vadis Green Shoot AdTech Interviews. The two discuss the importance of campaign setup and its most common issues. They also touch upon other opportunities for advertisers like getting the naming convention right across different platforms and addressing brand suitability. Jacek concludes campaign setup governance areas are of strategic importance and major bottom-line impact.

Link to the original article: Adfidence CEO AdTech Interview in Quo Vadis


A reprint of this article can be found below.


Q: Why is campaign setup so important?

Jacek: You need to realize that buying digital media is just setting it up on the platforms — nothing more and nothing less. So if you want to really know how you buy your media you need to analyze the campaign setup. All media decisions are finally done in the campaign setup, not in the media planning presentations, Advertisers deserve to have full transparency on how they actually spend their media budgets. Optimizing campaign setup to align with the media strategy and marketer policies is crucial for boosting media efficiency and reducing brand risk. Digital media is bought in auctions, so you can think of the campaign setup as the detailed specification of the bid. Campaign output objectives are effectively predetermined by the setup — the rates you pay are a function of who you want to reach, with what frequency, on what placements, etc.

However, as setup options become more intricate, errors can easily occur, leading to wasted budgets and brand vulnerability. These errors are often inadvertent, stemming from the fast-paced nature of the industry. Default platform settings are frequently left unchanged, even when they don't align with the advertiser's objectives. Moreover, when cost is the primary KPI, there's a temptation to broaden targeting, relax frequency limits, or opt for cheaper but lower-quality inventory. Given the error-prone nature of campaign setup and the potentially costly consequences, we advocate for making quality assurance a paramount responsibility of the media team.

Q: What are the most common campaign setup issues you see?

Jacek: We classify setup issues into 3 categories:

  1. Media productivity issues that lead to budget waste

  2. Brand suitability issues that cause brand risk

  3. Naming convention issues result in an inability to learn from data to inform the future marketing strategy.

An example of a particularly costly mistake is not setting a frequency cap. It’s not the most common one, but whenever it happens, the consequences are dire. In our tests, we have observed an almost 70% drop in campaign reach for a campaign with no cap vs. one capped at 3 impressions/week.

Another common problem is including subscale quality inventory in the mix. For example, much has been written recently about the Google Video Partners inventory failing to meet Google’s own quality standards. Even when advertisers introduce a policy to steer away from such inventory, those inclusions still happen because: 1) media platforms include expanded inventory by default, 2) such inventory is generally cheaper, so if the setup is not being monitored but the CPMs are, it is tempting.

Not leveraging fully the media platform’s capabilities is yet another common source of waste. For example, we often see Meta campaigns restricted to a particular placement, e.g., Instagram Story. A missed opportunity here is not including the Facebook Story placement which can reach exactly the same audience but may be cheaper. In tests, we’ve seen double-digit reach gains for campaigns running on both placements vs. just one. It’s about finding the obvious and acting on it.

The list goes on. Another common productivity issue is delivering creatives that don’t leverage the full real estate of the placement. Scroll through an Instagram feed and you will notice horizontal ads. The feed ad placement has a 4:5 aspect ratio, so the advertiser paid for a slot that can cover the majority of a mobile phone screen, but provided a creative that didn’t even fill half of it!

Q: What about brand suitability?

Jacek: Brand suitability issues typically boil down to including inventory that is not brand-safe. This happens either because media platforms’ defaults are left unchanged or exclusions are not selected. For example, the default content filter setting for Facebook and Instagram feed ads is “Expanded”, which includes: physical or emotional distress, social issues that provoke debate, substance abuse or crime, mature sexual or suggestive topics, profanity, injury, gore, bodily functions, and more. The majority of non-monitored Meta campaigns run with this default setting. Similarly, an advertiser will likely find that a majority of non-monitored Google DV360 don’t exclude any of the sensitive content categories.

Q: Getting campaign naming conventions right across different platforms has always been a train wreck. What do you see?

Jacek: Naming issues are widespread. We’ve run a study on a subset of new accounts connected to the Adfidence platform and saw fewer than 60% of campaign assets conforming to the advertiser’s taxonomy.

Q: It sounds like easy wins. How big is the opportunity for an advertiser?

Jacek: We work with some of the most forward-thinking media teams who constantly seek ways of improving their media execution. Even those advertisers see 20-25% opportunity to improve media productivity by correcting setup issues.

The impact of risk reduction is more difficult to quantify, but when we score clients’ media execution on the brand suitability dimension they typically start in the 60s and their scores improve to 80s within a few weeks from the introduction of monitoring. This means half of the hidden risks get eliminated.

It’s not easy to put a number on the value of taxonomy compliance. Obviously, without standardized naming, it’s really difficult to draw insights from past campaigns and inform the future media strategy. We see an average taxonomy compliance rate of around 60% for our newly onboarded clients and those clients reach +95% within 2 months with our toolset..

Q: Why hasn’t this been addressed yet?

Jacek: First and foremost, it takes a leadership decision in the media team to take accountability for campaign quality. You have to acknowledge that trusting the “hands-on-keyboards” teams (agency or in-house) to always get it right is not an acceptable approach.

You may also want to reevaluate media KPIs. If you assess campaign success purely on cost, you will get low cost! But if you don’t look “under the hood”, you won’t know that impressions had low viewability, were served outside of your target audience, or served in a non-brand-suitable context. Cost metrics are only useful after confirming the campaign was executed within the right guardrails.

Implementation is simple and simple is what advertisers have been asking for a lot lately. The software reads data from ad accounts via existing APIs and immediately generates insights. A few years ago, getting ad account access quickly could have been problematic for a global, multi-brand advertiser operating in multiple markets with multiple agencies. By now, advertisers have largely reclaimed their brands’ accounts in media platforms from agencies and centralized ad accounts access management so integrations are increasingly frictionless and quick.

We see quality scores improve immediately when media campaign monitoring gets implemented, even without any changes to the media buyer’s incentives. Our motto is simple: “What gets measured gets managed” — once you start measuring quality, it improves.

Q: What is the key message our readers should remember?

Jacek: Campaign setup has formerly been perceived as an operational area, but in fact, it is strategic and is a key driver of marketing performance. While setup issues may sound low-level and technical, harnessing them can drive significant bottom-line impact really fast.