Today, we'll be talking to a company that was able to revamp its strategy and optimize its cost-effectiveness by taking ad fraud measures. We’ll be interviewing BEAD Inc, a company that has been running TIREHOOD since 2016. TIREHOOD is a tire company that many may not know about, and to combat ad fraud, they've done an incredible job with their marketing efforts. Their head marketer Mr. Sakai took us through the details.
- Inconsistencies in application and communication with ad agencies
- Lack of internal know-how regarding ad operations
- Building an in-house system from scratch
- Built a working in-house marketing system
- Built a protective system that detected and blocked ad fraud
- Improved ROAS (Return on Ad Spend)
From knowing nothing to operating their in-house system, this is a story of how BEAD Inc. was able to beat the odds and increase their ad effectiveness.
Q: It’s a pleasure meeting with you today. Kicking off, could you please give us a little info about BEAD?
A pleasure to meet you as well. BEAD Inc. is a company that operates TIREHOOD, which is a brand new kind of e-commerce tire service company that deals with tire purchasing and reservations for tire changes.
I think just about any car aficionado enjoys the act of picking what kind of tire they want on their car, but for the common car owner that may not be the case. What sets us apart is that by using our service you can easily select the most suitable tire for your needs and get it at a bargain. This is one of our strengths since we do not have a physical store. Plus, any purchased tires can be sent directly to any designated store for a replacement, so all you have to do is go to that store to pick up your tire upon purchase. It’s a fairly new business so I guess we could be classified as a niche industry, but thanks to your help we have many people who use our services.
Q: That certainly sounds like a unique business. As you mentioned, since it’s a relatively new kind of service, I imagine there must be many areas that you paid attention to, particularly in marketing. Did you ever have a hard time implementing any marketing initiatives?
Right. There were days where it was pure trial and error, but there were particularly two big issues we were having problems with. The first issue had to do with using ad agencies. Now, this isn’t to talk ill about agencies, but I think because our service is new, not to mention how niche the business is, I don’t think we met eye to eye. Specifically, they had a pretty shallow understanding of our service, no sense of speed in the marketing, and a general feeling that they omitted some things in their communication. Looking at the work that the agency had done for us, I thought that we could probably do this by ourselves. From that point on, after thinking over the amount of labor and cost-effectiveness of the whole ordeal, I concluded that I wanted to do it, that is, make it in-house.
The second issue is related to the first; we didn’t have any marketing ‘specialist’ within our company. We take pride in saying that all of our employees know their stuff when it comes to tires, but we would be lying if we said we were knowledgeable when it came to marketing.
So, thinking back to cost-effectiveness and operating ads with only our resources, I concluded that doing things in-house was the best course of action, but how we were going to do that was where I got stuck.
Q: So how did you increase your know-how and go about making things in-house?
Some employees knew a little bit about marketing, so we just pressed forward through trial and error.
What we were very thankful for was that there were web media and seminars that we could utilize to learn about how to operate web ads. So by using those resources we were able to learn the basics and occasionally consulted with acquaintances in the industry about any questions we had to deepen our understanding. Currently, we are smoothly expanding our business.
*BEAD Inc. started operating TIREHOOD in 2016.
Reasons for implementing ad fraud countermeasures
Q: Could you share with us how you became aware of ad fraud?
I first became aware of the issue both when I was talking with an acquaintance and from a blog I read.
When I was looking at our advertising budget, things looked alright on the surface, but I wanted to find out how our ads were doing so I decided to dive a little deeper. I thought that if there was a slight chance that we were wasting our advertising budget because of ad fraud, we would have to think of measures to tackle it.
Q: What made you decide that you needed measures against ad fraud?
When I learned about the concept of ad fraud, I didn’t know whether or not measures were needed. I thought that before we should do anything, we should find out if ad fraud was even happening on our ads. So while researching, I came across Spider AF. Based on the results of the diagnostic from your free demo, we could effectively decide then and there whether or not doing something is needed.
Going through the diagnostics, I was surprised to find that, though it was not much, ad fraud was occurring in our ads.
Q: Based on the results of your diagnostic, and after finding some ad fraud on your ads, you ended up using Spider AF. Could you tell us the reason behind that?
There are three reasons for this. First, we wanted to have measures in place against any risks towards ROAS. Currently, we don't spend a large amount on web advertising, but if we happen to invest more towards our marketing in the future with the same amount of ad fraud on our ads, then the amount of money we waste will only increase. Even if we invest more into our budget, as long as fraud is still going on, our CPA rate will still be in a bad state. We want to be able to have the ability to monitor and quantify the risk of increased ad fraud damage in the future. In a sense, it's like insurance, because it protects you from any anxiety and risks.
The second reason is that we wanted to improve our PDCA cycle (plan, do, check, act). Because we’re operating all ads in-house, we were able to optimize our PDCA in a short period. If ad fraud is happening, it'll cause data noise, and proper hypothesis or verification would be impossible.
The third and last reason is that we wanted to do our part for society in stopping ad fraud from propagating. This is what we received from Spider AF.
We later found out that ad fraud was flowing money into criminal organizations. Choosing to serve our customers in the best possible way, we wanted to avoid doing any illegal business, no matter how indirect it may be. As marketers, we feel that we have an obligation to society to help deter this sort of activity by taking measures.
*Spider AF report data for BEAD Inc. (The numbers shown are different from the actual ones).
We picked Spider AF for their great support system and streamlined installation process.
Q: Could you tell us the reason why you decided to go with Spider AF?
There were a couple of reasons.
We were initially impressed with how simple it was to set up tags on the free demo and we felt secure with how good the support system was.
To repeat an earlier point, we had a really limited understanding of how web ads operated, so it helped us out to have a system in place that could explain the basics to us. Though we lacked the experience and confidence to operate our ads in-house, your support system was there to help make up for that.
Many unique distribution channels make up the web advertising industry and within that, we realize that we’re in a very neutral position in comparison. Because Spider AF acts as a third party, we felt that we could trust them when it came to detecting and gathering info on ad fraud.
Note: Spider Labs was the first tool in both Japan and the APAC region to have been certified by the fraud prevention division of Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG).
Q: Sounds like there were a lot of reasons! Did you have any trouble installing it?
In all honesty, none. I had my fears that it would be a complicated process, but the only work ended up being just setting up the tags. After that, we had a meeting with Spider AF, and they pretty much led the rest of the way. It was not difficult in any way.
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Q: After using Spider AF, what do you like about it?
How effective the tool is and how easy it is to operate. Reiterating the same point, we didn’t have any web marketing specialists at our company, so to make any inroads in making things in-house, we needed a tool that even amateurs could use. We also referenced material from the Spider AF Blog.
And of course, we felt at ease knowing that the tool could detect and block any invalid access coming from ad fraud. We had our expectations with Spider AF and seeing the actual report, where we could truly understand what fraud looked like, helped us out immensely.
Plus, we were able to see improvements in our ROAS. With our CPA, we saw a 30% increase in rate too. This was one of the reasons we wanted to switch from an agency. I’ve given out a lot of points, but to summarize, I think it’s thanks to Spider AF that we were able to build our in-house system.
Building a defense system based on ad fraud countermeasures
Q: Are there any ad fraud measures you want to implement in the future?
There are. We’ve been able to cut a lot of costs by eliminating damages from fraud, so we’ve been thinking about a couple of measures for the future. But unfortunately, it involves our corporate strategy so I can’t touch on that subject any further.
This is just my own opinion, but if we consider aggressive advertising/marketing development as a form of ‘offense’, I think it’s safe to assume that ad fraud measures are a form of ‘defense’ for ad operations. To deliver on our value to our consumers more positively, it is important to solidify this defense. Hence why we use Spider AF to shore up our defense.
Q: Thank you very much. I wanted to touch on one last thing, but would you happen to have a message to any companies that are thinking of starting up their in-house operations? For example, any specific things that you wish you could have done differently when you were setting up yours?
I think if you have even the slightest inclination of starting up your in-house operations, I recommend doing so. Although you may not be able to detect ad fraud by yourselves and may lose money as a result - I know it’s not my place to vouch for Spider Labs - but I feel like the sooner you use their services, the faster you’ll be able to set up your operations.
That aside, Spider AF sometimes comes up in conversation when we receive proposals from companies that operate ASP (application server protection). So I think they’ve made a name for themselves within the industry. The sooner you know that the better!
Thank you very much for taking the time to talk with us today, Mr. Sakai!
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