Evan Rutchik of Ogury: “Provide something creative for us to get to know you”

Overall, the brand protection suite we have built at Ogury completely streamlines the advertising process to protect advertisers while delivering a completely personalized experience for consumers — we aim to protect mobile users (or consumers) by ensuring the data that we collect is only done so with a consent for use approach (or opted in approach). If […]

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Overall, the brand protection suite we have built at Ogury completely streamlines the advertising process to protect advertisers while delivering a completely personalized experience for consumers — we aim to protect mobile users (or consumers) by ensuring the data that we collect is only done so with a consent for use approach (or opted in approach). If a consumer chooses to not share their data then Ogury does not collect any data. Therefore consumers are always able to trust that their data is secure and better protected by our technology.

This follows along with our company’s commitment to the Ogury Brand Protection three pillars: Data safety, ensuring traceable and trusted consent in compliance with GDPR and CCPA; Brand Safety, by vetting all partners to ensure appropriate content for our advertisers; and Fraud Prevention.

As a part of our series about cutting edge technological breakthroughs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Evan Rutchik, Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) at Ogury. He has managed award winning media campaigns since 2007, previously holding senior roles at digital media leaders on both the technology and agency sides of the business. After joining Ogury in late 2016, Evan has been responsible for scaling the company’s US sales and business effort from the New York City office. Here he has overseen record growth as well as established Ogury’s reputation in North America, opening offices in 10 major US cities. Previously, Evan served on the board of the IAB Mobile Center of Excellence. He often moderates and speaks on panels across the world as an expert thought leader in mobile marketing, first-party data and consumer privacy. Evan holds dual degrees in Management and Advertising from Syracuse University and an MBA from NYU Stern.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’ve been in the technology industry for more than 11 years managing award-winning media campaigns and teams on the tech and agency side. I got the entrepreneurial bug when I was working in a small (yet mighty!) media agency and was asked to launch our digital new business team, while simultaneously continuing growing our digital scope with our existing clients. I went out and secured some big wins for the agency right away, and I saw the immediate impact my wins had on hiring, innovation, growth and overall excitement of the employee base (and of course, ownership). I used the power of all our ad tech partners plus our own proprietary tech to win these accounts, and I knew from that moment I wanted to continue building and growing businesses. While there, I went part-time to NYU Stern MBA to get into the financing side of technology as I was eager to help tech entrepreneurs solve as many advertising problems as possible, but realized I had more interest in actually being part of the early stage startup to shape the culture, the organization, and drive hyper growth. This was definitely a pivotal point in my career growth and taught me a lot about myself.

During that time in my career and education, I quickly developed a deeper interest in further understanding how technology can deepen and improve the relationship between consumers and brands. How privacy and data rules and expectations were evolving globally, and that there was a huge disconnect and lack of education around consumer consent. I also felt that brands and publishers needed to work together to better unlock and understand the value of their mobile assets, and surprisingly, this idea wasn’t being adopted on a larger scale.

In 2016 I was given the opportunity to reinvent the way brands, publishers and consumers interact in the U.S. when I joined Ogury — I was actually the first US hire for the global firm! Now, as we have 90x the number of people in the U.S. since I joined, in my current role as chief revenue officer, I am responsible for growing Ogury within the US and further establishing its reputation, while also leading the company to achieve over 100 million dollars in revenue growth in under three years. As we are now truly in the era of digital integrity, it is even more important that we continue to educate and innovate ad tech to push the industry in the right direction.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I’ll go back to my very first job. I had graduated from Syracuse and moved to Hoboken, NJ with two of my good friends, who I am actually still friends with today, and did so without a job. While this was terrifying, I knew that I would find something as I was incredibly motivated to get started with my career.

The first night out, we had met up with some other Syracuse friends and began to talk about jobs. One of my friends told me she just was offered a job to work at Prometheus. But she had turned down the offer and said “no” because she wasn’t interested in the accounts she’d be working on. I immediately asked her for the hiring manager’s email address, and sent him an email on the spot saying, “I heard my friend isn’t interested in working for you, but I am.” He wrote back to come in the next day at 9 a.m. if I wanted the job. I went in the next day with no suit jacket, no notebook, and probably hadn’t shaved or had a hair cut either, explaining that I had just moved in and everything necessary was still in a box somewhere in my apartment and not pressed. He forgave me, I got the job and started the next Monday. This ended up being one of the hardest summers of work I went through ever, as it was just the two of us pretty much working through upfront time on massive accounts. However, I learned a lot about tenacity and grit, and it set me off on my career path.

Can you tell us about the Cutting edge technological breakthroughs that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?

Ogury recently announced the addition of our own proprietary App Spoofing Prevention technology and a partnership with DoubleVerify to strengthen our commitment to fight fraud in advertising. Ogury’s new enhancements add two layers of fraud prevention to ensure ads are delivered to real humans in their intended environment before the actual ad is served — proactive vs. reactive solutions. This helps people’s wallets and for anyone invested in a brand, this technology will improve your shareholder value. As all advertisers that use it will end up with significantly less wasted money and more effective advertising.

Coupling this inventory safety solution with our consent-first data safety solution, the choice driven advertising ecosystem we’ve built allows mobile users, or consumers, to choose how they share data and engage with ads. This also ensures they will receive ads from brands that they are more interested in while knowing they are being respected in how their data is collected and used. This makes their mobile experiences more relevant and safer.

How do you think this might change the world?

I think that our new proprietary technology will clean up the app spoofing issue that exists in the ad industry, at least for those that leverage the technology. Before this solution, advertisers had to serve an impression to know if the app was spoofed, this causes all sorts of brand safety and integrity issues. It’s like touching a hot stove to determine if it’s actually hot. Guess what, it is. With Ogury, we can pre-determine if the bid coming from the app is actually coming from an app on the users’ device. This eliminates the potential for spoofing, ultimately saving brands a ton of money, preventing legal issues, and lowering the chance of reputational risks for running on nefarious apps.

Overall, the brand protection suite we have built at Ogury completely streamlines the advertising process to protect advertisers while delivering a completely personalized experience for consumers — we aim to protect mobile users (or consumers) by ensuring the data that we collect is only done so with a consent for use approach (or opted in approach). If a consumer chooses to not share their data then Ogury does not collect any data. Therefore consumers are always able to trust that their data is secure and better protected by our technology.

This follows along with our company’s commitment to the Ogury Brand Protection three pillars: Data safety, ensuring traceable and trusted consent in compliance with GDPR and CCPA; Brand Safety, by vetting all partners to ensure appropriate content for our advertisers; and Fraud Prevention.

Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

I’m not sure I see how our app spoofing and brand safety technology could become an episode of Black Mirror. Although, I am sure some more creative people than me might find a way! However, I think I have already seen an episode that includes users’ data being collected against their will or without their proper consent. The best part about what we do and the larger idea of consumer consent when it comes to data collection is that we allow people to stay in the driver’s seat and that they have the choice and the power in the decision process.

The big drawback here falls to the players that choose not to ask for permission before collecting consumer data and who do not respect the user. If 2020 is any indication of the direction we’re heading when it comes to the value consumers place on their personal search habits and data, I expect people will continue to evaluate their choices in a much more educated manner. Our technology gives consumers the option to opt in and then subsequently opt out of data collection if they no longer want to be a part of the ecosystem. Therefore, it gives consumers complete control and confidence over their own data and ultimately how it is used, collected and stored.

We deeply value the privacy and protection of mobile users and always ask for user consent and permission when working with publishers.

Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?

Currently, the ad tech ecosystem has major issues with fraud, toxic data and unsavory content. According to a report from Juniper Research, invalid traffic and fraud schemes were estimated to have siphoned 42 billion dollars from advertisers across the globe last year by misrepresenting impressions, clicks, conversion or data events to generate revenue. A particular vulnerability in the mobile in-app space is app spoofing, which is when a fake, low volume or unsafe app disguises themselves as a more premium app to garner higher cost-per-mile, or CPMs. 
 We recognized that the industry needed major renovations in the sense that there weren’t enough technologies available to protect publishers from fraud schemes, which led us to create and release our new proprietary technology and establish a ground-breaking partnership with DoubleVerify to strengthen our fraud prevention pillars. In doing so, we also employed multiple levels of security to further ensure advertisers were protected pre-bid, enabling these companies to run virtually fraud-free campaigns.

What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?

We need to ensure advertisers and publishers are on board with and are willing to admit that ad fraud, toxic data, and app spoofing are real problems that can and will cause them to lose money, risk legal and reputation issues, and infuriate the consumer!

As an industry we know that invalid traffic and fraud schemes steal billions of dollars from advertisers every year and are a massive obstacle to advertisers who want to make an impact with their consumers, while also building a trusted and long lasting relationships. The main driver in this equation of adoption is with the advertisers and the brands. The more advertisers that require true data safety and the more publishers that only adhere to brand safe practices, the less fraud and reputational risks there will be from their consumers.

With our own proprietary App Spoofing Prevention and the new partnership with DoubleVerify, we think we have built something truly unique that combats these main challenges, saves advertisers and publishers money and ensures that consumers view their brands favorable for a long lasting trusted relationship.

What have you been doing to publicize this idea? Have you been using any innovative marketing strategies?

We have been discussing the news with the press and have developed our own videos and marketing content to further educate advertisers and publishers as to the benefits of incorporating the new technology into their portfolio. For example, we have developed a specific program when it comes to posting about our new technologies on our social channels (LinkedIn and Twitter) in order to reach the right audiences. We also have shared the news on our Ogury Blog and share those posts with our clients and our audiences to drive traffic back to Ogury’s site. Oh, and we are talking to you about it too!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I am forever grateful for my wife. She is the one who originally encouraged me to pursue my MBA, my first startup ad tech job, and now Ogury. She’s given me the support and confidence to dive into something more challenging and unknown.

She has dedicated a lot of time and energy on ensuring our collective success in both our business and within our family, as I now have two small children. When I was working on my MBA application, the fifth essay asked, “provide something creative for us to get to know you,” and while brainstorming ideas, she pushed me to think more creatively and take a risk. I ended up making a “fortune teller” that as each layer opened up it revealed a tid bit about me for the application reviewers. I’m pretty sure this is why they accepted me.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I believe we all play a role when it comes to the future of our world. I am passionate about giving back to the community and have dedicated a large amount of my time to raise awareness and money for causes close to me. For example, pre-Covid I would host a bi-annual charity event that gives participants and attendees the opportunity to nominate a charity of their choice where guests can offer their donations. I also participate in the TEAL Walk and the Jimmy Fund Walk, dedicated to educating the public about and raising money for ovarian cancer. Also, with Ogury, we work with a great organization called SuitUp.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Every leader brings something different to the table. I wish I had known early in my career that the way you lead defines who you are. Over time I have learned more about the kind of leader I am and the kind of leader I want to become. What has become abundantly clear is that my attitudes and leadership style do impact those around me — most importantly, my own team. As such, I have worked hard to instill the value of teamwork, humility, grit and confidence in every person I work with, never having all the answers either, I know I have my own room to continue learning too.
  2. Manage expectations. It is crucial for managers and leaders to set and manage expectations when it comes to how the team can best succeed and work together. While it’s not possible to please everyone, leaders can better set expectations by working to make sure that everyone is working toward the same goals and has very clear expectations; and that includes how I personally manage my relationships with my own superiors.
  3. Be confident in who you are. Throughout my entire career there have been times when I have questioned the decisions I made. But over time I learned to trust my instincts and use my expertise as the guiding force to help make a difference in the work that was being done. While some may find they possess that confidence early in their career, others may struggle with the ability to listen “within” and trust their own expertise throughout their entire career journey. It’s important that leaders look to their own role models and mentors when building this confidence.
  4. Build thick skin. You’ll get a lot of criticism throughout your career — use it as fuel to motivate yourself to master the current level, and then get to the next one. You are what you make of yourself. With just a dream, Tom Brady turned into one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL for the New England Patriots, but he was drafted in the sixth round of the NFL in 2000, pick number 199, and was told he “wasn’t strong enough” and that he looked “like he lacked athleticism” while at the NFL Draft. But he did not let those comments stop him from pursuing his dreams. Eventually, his hard work, grit and strong mental makeup and leadership skills earned him the respect he deserves while on his way to becoming the legend he is today.
  5. Have fun. Not everything is going to be easy, but entrepreneurs should make sure to learn from their mistakes and even laugh about it. It’s OK to not be perfect — no one is — and it takes time to learn about yourself and your business goals. And that journey alone should not just be educational, it should be fun. When we all look back at our lives and professional journeys, we should all be able to smile about what we’ve accomplished.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

COVID-19 has separated people around the world since March, and it’s been hard for all of us when it comes to feeling connected with our friends, families and even professional peers. I’d love to find a way to bring people together again with positive discussions on important topics like equality, race and social entrepreneurship. It is more important than ever that we lean into one another and find humility so as to better understand what we can all do to make the world a better place. It just takes one person to make a difference.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
 -James Baldwin

We are all constantly evolving and changing, both as human beings and as leaders. While we all make mistakes along the way, know that the end result is as important and if we stay the course and look forward, positive change and outcomes are most certainly possible.

Some very well known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

No one could have anticipated the pandemic. But, one thing has become quite clear — marketing and advertising is more important than ever before. Consumers are increasingly spending more time on their mobile devices, not only connecting with each other but with brands. These connections can last a lifetime if done right, and as the marketplace becomes more crowded, now is the time to reconnect with your audience empathetically, and to build an even longer-lasting relationship for the future. Ogury can help make these connections.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

● Twitter: @evan_rutchik

● LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/evanrutchik.

● To read some of the articles I have authored you can follow my AW360 series: https://www.advertisingweek360.com/author/evanrutchik

● You can read more from me and other colleagues on the Ogury blog: ogury.com/blog
To learn more about Ogury you can visit our site: https://ogury.com and follow our Twitter @WeAreOgury.

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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