Tell us about your journey into technology.
Before joining WeQ as Managing Director, I’ve been passionate about creating technology and tech-driven digital marketing solutions for quite some time. At the age of 20, I stumbled upon the world of affiliate marketing by accident and once I realized its potential as a business model, I started buying and building domains. That’s where my tech-entrepreneurial journey began. Then, over 15 years ago, I moved onto developing one of the largest German internet domain portfolios and digital marketplaces, which led to a number of successful exits with digital companies.
One of my companies, BrowserGames.de, was acquired by the European mass media company ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE. From there, I also developed three additional ventures that were also funded by ProSiebenSat.1. Following that, I co-founded AdEx, one of the leading decentralized DSPs.
How did you launch your journey into the field of data science and analytics?
I started exploring the field of data science and analytics with AdEx, the data management platform company that I founded in 2013 which I exited in 2017.
Today, Ad Tech companies such as WeQ need to process incredibly vast amounts of data, and in order to do this, we hired big data science experts and developed our own proprietary algorithms to power our network.
How do you prepare for an AI-driven world in a tech-heavy marketing industry?
Machine Learning is the foundation for Artificial Intelligence, and this is how we have prepared at WeQ to integrate AI into our platform. We have built Machine Learning processes for our media buying and implemented strong fraud-detection solutions in the advertising campaigns we are running, and are leveraging this framework to feed into our AI system.
How do Automation and Big Data come together at WeQ?
As organizations now need to encourage cross-channel marketing, there is more emphasis placed on brand safety than ever before. At WeQ, we process several hundred billion data points from our partners. Based on the learnings from these statistics WeQ Technology can make informed decisions to protect our customers. We work exclusively with premium advertising inventory and offer our customers full transparency, by giving them access to the various advertising placements up to the individual publisher level.
Tell us more about WeQ’s role in the fight against Mobile Advertising fraud.
Brand safety is becoming a key concern for advertisers, our partners. We believe it’s our duty to identify key pain points in the advertising industry and to develop and acquire innovative solutions which address these points.
We all need to come together with transparency, data sharing, and solutions in order to fight against the ever-evolving threat of ad fraud. So, we’ve been working heads-down for many months on developing our proprietary fraud prevention solution, WeQ SHIELD, which we hope will have a major impact in the AdTech industry. It’s a comprehensive solution that meets compliance needs while acting preventatively on fraud challenges in the mobile ad industry.
How could AI and Machine Learning solve ad fraud for marketers?
Our WeQ SHIELD fraud detection solution is based on AI technology, which unlike other manual or statically automated systems in the market today, uses Machine Learning to constantly adapt our mechanisms for detecting suspicious behavior.
We use Machine Learning to comb through hundreds of millions of events and data points daily such as installs, post install events, traffic distribution, and device and the operational system variations. This builds a knowledge base that helps predict and take action against any malicious behavior.
Elaborate on your playbook for AI for Mobile Advertising technology. What challenges do traditional AdTech platforms suffer in dealing with ad fraud metrics?
Traditional platforms process huge amounts of data, but they don’t use the data in the defense of the advertiser. Doing a manual analysis on chunks of data never gives the full picture on patterns that a machine can easily identify. Recognizing these patterns gives WeQ SHIELD the edge and technological advantage, over traditional platforms.
The Crystal Gaze
What are the major challenges for intelligent mobile technology companies in making the platform more accessible to local communities? How do you overcome these challenges?
Local communities are the winners of the mobile evolution, as we now see areas with a poor internet connection being able to access the world via their smartphones. If we talk about business in those areas, then we have to predict what their digital learning curve would look like: If they got into the internet recently, they are more likely to use Facebook to access content on the internet.
At WeQ, our technology and the performance marketing capabilities can adapt to those different behavioral patterns and serve the best advertisers to the needs of each user, wherever they are.
What are your predictions for 2019-2020 in the field of Machine Learning/AI for mobile AdTech?
Emerging technologies that were exploratory in 2018 will take center stage in 2019 and into 2020, including blockchain, which is helping to create a new model that uses a cryptography-encrypted pipeline to ensure that target audiences actually get the ads that are delivered.
Blockchain is expected to address transparency, reduce fraudulent attacks and address flaws in the OpenRTB system. Additionally, I believe that the development of more advanced AI- and Machine Learning-based ad fraud detection systems will come in 2019 as well.
What AI start-ups and labs are you keenly following?
In all fields of science and business, there are plenty of interesting startups that push the boundaries of what we know — probably too many to list here. I normally follow the people in those fields who are behind impressive technological growth. However, I also recently read about IntelligentX who invented the world’s first beer brewed by Artificial Intelligence — as a German, I really have to follow those guys!
What technologies within AI and computing are you interested in?
I and my team are very interested in Machine Learning as it’s at the core of our business offering. WeQ is all about achieving measurable results for clients worldwide and our proprietary Machine Learning technology is at the core of WeQ. It enables us to deliver optimal results at a fraction of the cost, according to specific KPIs.
WeQ’s proprietary technology is continually developed by an in-house team of Machine Learning experts, developers, and data scientists — in order to deliver the most targeted, optimized, and scalable mobile advertising solutions. This allows our clients to focus on what they do best: building great apps and growing successful brands.
As an AI leader, what industries you think would be fastest in adopting AI/ML with smooth efficiency? What are the new emerging markets for AI technology markets?
In addition to our own industry of AdTech, the financial industry will be the fastest to adopt AI/ML technologies with the greatest efficiencies. In terms of resources for big data scientists and automation technology, the financial markets are way ahead of others, so they’ll be quickest to adopt and adapt.
In terms of emerging markets, the automotive industry combined with IoT is bringing intelligence to transportation, so I’m looking forward to seeing what the future brings here.
What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
In general, it’s important to stay informed as there is a constant need for innovation. Working in this industry does not only mean that we have to be aware of the trends but as a business, we also have to work in an agile way to ensure that changes are continuously made to stay ahead of the curve. The challenge of “working smart” is also the most exciting part: adapting fast to improve our offering and doing it well. On a smaller scale, I am a fan of Slack for keeping up with instant “work chat” — it has become the most important means of communicating for my company WeQ and therefore indispensable.