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Through the Cannes Looking Glass: Measurement in 3D Environments

When it comes to safeguarding the internet, there are no shortcuts. In the realm of advertising in 3D landscapes, there is no shortage of bad bots attempting to manipulate the allocation of your budget. That means drawing your attention from the audience to their ad fraud operations. 3D environments continue to grow in captivating ways, encompassing mobile, PC, console, the metaverse, and more. We cannot adhere to the same standard protocol employed in the 2D industry. In an ideal world of converting authentic humans via the marketing funnel, fairness would prevail, and you could accurately measure results, but fraudsters do not abide by the concept of an even playing field. 

This is precisely why HUMAN, in collaboration with our partner ANZU, organized a panel at Cannes called 'The Advertiser's Rainbow Road: Measurement in the Metaverse.' Liat Barer, VP of Product for ODEEO; Joe Cady, EVP of Advanced Advertising & Partnerships at NBCUNIVERSAL; Ben Fenster, Chief Product Officer of ANZU; Tamer Hassan, CEO & Co-Founder of HUMAN; and Emma Raz, Director of Commercial at NUMBER EIGHT, convened to engage in an open dialogue about safeguarding new gaming ecosystems from malicious entities and implementing comprehensive measurements, attention-based strategies, and industry-wide standards to create an inclusive space where all participants thrive.

The Journey to Standards and Reliable Data

The measurement of success often relies on a myriad of differentiating metrics. This is especially true when new areas of potential are starting to emerge. There are so many possibilities when it comes to 3D advertising, but there are very few standards when it comes to how we measure success. The challenge is to get advertisers to understand the rapidly growing value of in-game ads compared to legacy 2D, while also capturing the attention of the consumer base. Meanwhile, it is crucial to prevent fraudsters from taking advantage of the current lack of cohesive standards. 3D environments are building worlds that it's good business to be a part of. The problem at hand is defining effectiveness from all perspectives and delivering impact. In real time, we are all working towards establishing protocols for an industry that is only 25 years old.

A common point of discussion among the panel participants was the metric of attention and the need to engage real humans to ensure conversion is possible. NUMBER EIGHT, a behavioral intelligence platform, detects the player's personality as they engage in gameplay to understand the gaming environment. Emma Raz, their Director of Commercial, stated, "Measurement is one of those things that we talk about in every conference... I think attention is one of the keywords that we have all heard. We've all discussed it, and if we look at this space, there is still a long way for us to go. Because even defining what that means to us? What can it look like? Then understanding how we can measure it at scale in a way that is actually comparable between different environments."

There are 3 billion gamers in the world, indicating a vast and expanding audience. The task for everyone on this panel is to figure out how to capture consumer attention for their products. That is what makes these environments so unique - you receive undivided attention from those who participate in the 3D ecosystem. HUMAN's role is to ensure that the eyes they aim to attract belong to authentic humans, thus avoiding wasted budget, time, and resources. This speaks to both consumer attention and protection against ad fraud. Strategizing that only impactful content passes through is pivotal. As well as making sure you are getting trustworthy  returns. You can not get real measurements or conversions if your data is coming from bad bots. 

 As Raz pointed out, the real game in 3D advertising is being relevant,”I think what we're seeing here is relevancy. Because when you decide in the game, you're trying to connect the environment. We're trying to make the ads relevant to the environment. That's really what grabs people's attention. So, if we're looking at research, we are exposed to about 6,000 ads a day. Our brain automatically blocks everything that we don't need because it's a processor, it protects us from overheating. We're just blocking information we don't require. The more relevant we can make the advertisement to the user at that point in time, the more likely we are to grab their attention. A great way to do that is by connecting the game environment to the ad or by being something relevant. Another effective approach is understanding the player and ascertaining who they are and what they're doing to capture their attention.``

How We Get to Measurable Solutions 

Attention, relevancy, standards - they all intertwine as pathways to help us reach our end goal. That end goal is understanding how to best reach the audience and captivating their attention. Tamer Hassan, CEO & Co-Founder of HUMAN wants HUMAN to be there for you as a form of protection on this journey, “From the HUMAN perspective, our first principles were ensuring that there's a real person on the other side. Almost every single bot that we've ever seen is brand safe and viewable. That leads to data contamination. We're often asked to protect measurement from being contaminated. HUMAN’s first priority is making sure it's clean and accurate (data) going in.”

The best way to make sure you are getting the solid foundation of measurements is by having great data to start. What you do is just as important as who you do it with. As Joe Cady of NBCUNIVERSAL said you can’t put a price on a premium partner that helps ensure you are putting premium content out into the environment, “Partnering with a premium partner, you're partnering with someone you trust. You're partnering with someone who you know will do what is needed to keep your campaign safe, and if something goes wrong, you know they'll be there to make it right. I think that's another angle on safety and fraud.”

Cady later went on to discuss how to incorporate trusted values of measurement in this space. “I think it's important to have third party measurements for sure. I think that's one of the standards that is now present in in-game advertising. So you don't need to take someone's word for it.”

Hassan, who believes proper security leads to sufficient measurements, gave his viewpoint,  “I think from the third party perspective, one of the most important things about anti-fraud is collective protection. We have to make it more expensive for attackers, and that's one of the reasons why everybody should not try to do it in house…in cybersecurity, the more you can protect across an entire ecosystem, the better advantage you have against attackers.”

The Destination is Known

We are all in a results-based business. We feel that the best results come through genuine partnerships. These panels are a bad actor's worst fear because it signifies fewer places to hide. We know where we want to go when it comes to the landscape of 3D advertising; these conversations help get us there. The audience and environment are there; we just have to work together in establishing protocols. As Hassan said, “the industry is very young, it's 25 years old, finance is over 250 years old. We're finally getting to a place where we have real standards. We have real best practices…I think one of the missing gaps is visibility on the standards that we already have, and how well and consistently they're implemented.”

It’s a road to progress fueled by evolution and commonalities. This is evident in how Cady approaches his thought process,  “I think once brands start to participate in in-game advertising, I think they'll start to see the results, and they'll start to learn, but it doesn't all need to be figured out on day one. There's room for innovation and exploration.”

Hassan echoed his sentiments in closing, “I completely agree with Joe, that advertisers are hungry, they want to engage in new areas. But I think back to the promise of programmatic, which is data lead, right? All the data, the variability, the capability, all of that. I think leading with data, delivers confidence in a new area. Showing that you can actually measure it and what kind of impact you're having, it unlocks everything in a new environment.”

Check out the full panel on measurement in 3D environments here.