Fraud, Breitbart, Travis discussed on Marketing Today with Alan Hart
For acquisition engagement and retention in of drivers careers writers eaters he served as also the CMO of G. S. N. Games and snap fish which was a division of HP he he Started his career actually coming out of MIT as a Grad studying astrophysics later switched to economics and on the show today we talk about not only his his background background in his career and kind of what makes him unique coming from a financial perspective into marketing. But we talk about. I think the largest ever fraud case. This uber and it suppliers of Performance Marketing Advertising. And we kind of diagnosis. When did that when that become real during the delete uber the buckle if you will and what was the trigger and how did they diagnose what was going on and we also talk about some of the other measurement challenges along the way that he was able to come up with interesting solutions for so I hope you enjoy this conversation with Kevin Fresh Kevin? Welcome to the show thank you. It's great to be here. Let's start with with your your background and where you started your career in any federal twist along the way. If you don't mind sure I actually I graduate college and Went into consulting because it seemed like really fun as a twenty two year old to be able to tell these fancy executives what to do exactly zero experience in an excel spreadsheet achieved spent all night working on and that was good. I did that for a few years. And then this whole dot com thing was happening and so in February of two thousand. I moved out to California during the company that was doing video on a cell phone in two thousand and so it was a bit ahead of its time but interesting I went through the whole dot dot com kind of basically bust at that company and ended up moving around a lot. A company called packet video and I started out being pricing ended up in finance finance Moving between the marketing finance and lakeside. And then yeah and then the next job. I went to pro flowers and there. I was the finance guy on the marketing team. You can imagine how popular I was going around and this is before analytics Kinda cool so just go around and like talk to market bill. That's not really incremental. You're spending more than you think. That was dumb so I made a lot of friends there but it was. It was also kind of me. Still trying to figure out I want marketing cleaner dwight kind of more analytics finance and In terms of pivotal moments. I don't know that there's too many of them in my life but one of them happened as it related to brand a brand new project we had at pro flowers. You know I was again doing analytics in finance and we decided to do this. Big Brand thing and the CEO hired brand agency unseen on that kind of stuff. And I was very skeptical at first and as the project progressed and I got more and more involved. I remained sceptical to be clear but I also realized how interesting in hard brand stuff was and how that's part of this story and I think that really sort of kind of set me a little more down the marketing path as opposed to finance path. which up until then I'd been kinda straddling the two right? It's always interesting to see somebody transition from finance finance into marketing. We've had a number of them on the on the show and it's always interesting to see what the conversion cycle was like for each person. I don't yeah no exactly win in your career after flowers you ended up but uber your most recent CMO role but tell us a little bit about what happened next from flowers. ARS also pro flowers. I went to a bunch of different. BEAT AC- type companies. So I went to snapface which was doing online line. Photos than blue. Nile spent some time at G. S. N. which was doing kind of mobile slot machines not for real money for fake money but that was still very interesting and then from there to uber and I joined Uber in the summer of Twenty sixteen delete Guber. Everyone remembers happened January. Twenty eighth of two thousand seventeen so I had four months of peace. Two of those months I was on paternity leave so is really I joined. Uber was there for two months without on paternity leave. Came back a week before. Delete over happened so that some that was a pretty interesting experience and delete Uber happened happened there was a Susan Fowler blog and there was you know. Tk kind of having that recorded conversation with the driver followed in quick succession so it was a pretty tough off time to be there. I remember when I first started Uber. I was like Oh yeah Uber. I'm so cool and then kind of March April may like when I would make like team reservations at a restaurant. I would just give my name and not really say Uber Right. The real real account you look for external markers as to how you actually feel so it was was definitely rough there and You know a lot of things they said in the press you know. We're true a lot of things that were not true as well because they sort of kind of play it up but it was really a kind of a problem culture. Will I know there. I can't remember what magazine was in recently but there is a magazine may be a bit more online online publications but there was a kind of sequencing. If you will end up story odes have the confrontation with tk and actually ended up a meeting. Jeff Jones recently. who was the president? I guess during that period were And so you're at the company at that same time it didn't feel like inside with so much swirling around on the outside of the company at that point in time. Yeah I do remember I I remember. We're in the middle of a strategic the planning session when the video of tk Kind of broke and Jeff Jones like excused himself from the media. And like when you're with it right into that was you know it was. We were all there. Look I mean it was interesting there. There is definitely a group of folks at the company. Who'd been there for a while? Poor like hey you know this is kind of the personality you need to have to sort of drive this amazing company in this amazing product talking about tk. And I would argue. It's true like you needed kind of someone who kind of was willing to just run through balls and and do what you need to. But as the companies have matured like we have managed to make that transition to okay. How do we ten thousand people? Twenty thousand people were no longer a little startup. We're now like the dominant player are. We can't keep acting like or start up and so they're almost two camps those who are like no no no we should keep doing what got us here and others who were saying. Hey It's great that we had that to get us here but now we need to evolve and you really Kinda felt those tensions between those these those two groups now year roll over it was Correct me if I'm wrong but is head of performance. It's marketing it's a right. Yeah so I had I started out running performance marketing which was for the US and Canada which was responsible for acquiring all the riders and drivers and actually drivers is the bigger challenge for a few tried to get an uber during rush hour. You you probably know that and then over time I was also responsible for for a marketing for crm and for analytics and insights grip. Gotcha Gotcha now in the news. And is that in a large news cycles. Oddly but in the circles that I follow there's the fraud lawsuit between Uber and it's for Viner's yes I guess providers yeah that actually relates to funnel back to serve the delete uber moment. So it's a bit of a long story but it's a pretty interesting one so so delete Uber happens and all the politics around that are going on and tk is trying to figure out how to best navigate this s and one of the things he decides to do is sort of kind of get off Leave trump's economic council that he was on justice like distance himself more neutral and a and as all that was happening our ads for writers. In this case were showing up on a break the Breitbart site and there was this company. Any group called sleeping giants which every time our ad would show up on Breitbart. They would tweet at Travis saying like Hey why are you supporting this terrible sight. So Travis would call me or Kellyn Kenny. My manager in so many words they hey what the hell are you guys doing and I would go through these long explanations of like well. It's not like we're buying ads on Breitbart It's like you know display networks and this is like waving my hands all over the place and it was like. Yeah okay fine. Just make sure it doesn't happen again. Three days later another tweet from sleeping giants with another image of our ads. Breitbart the phone call start again. The yelling starts again so I'm looking at these ads and I'm like okay. Figure out which network is clean them on their haywire. Not Respecting our blacklist. It goes on for Awhile Awhile. It's like a week and a half felt like four yards and Eventually I said look any network that it has been kind of showing these ads on Breitbart. I'm just going to cut them off so I turned off what amounted to about ten percent of our AD. Spend on the Ryder at our side and a total riders. Spend at the time in the neighborhood. One hundred fifty million dollars a year so I turned off ten percent which by the way this was not super popular because remember delete Uber. It happens we just lost a bunch of writers here. I am turning off ten percent of span but anything to sort of stop travis from kind of going after me and nothing really happened. Our number rider didn't really you know new writers didn't really go down and I'm like Oh that's kind of interesting trusting other folks that come back. Oh my God. That's amazing Uber. So cool yeah. I knew we could do that. Might not work cool. That's just weird right right so so I was happy that you know it had impacted so I started digging in and started sort of looking at. Okay let's really understand kind of what's going on here so I started kind of pulling our own kind of log files like sort of asking kind of every single network. Okay tell me exactly kind of what APP the person was in that they saw the ad that they clicked on started gains reports our own analytics team and start seeing things. That just didn't make any sense like oh there's apt to has kind of a thousand. MEU's and in theory we got three hundred and fifty thousand installs from. That's probably slight exaggeration. But there were things that were just not making sense and so we kept appealing this back to understand what was going on there. Were also other interesting things that happened. Where for example there were some stuff where someone would see an ad and they in theory would download and open the APP within like two seconds which is just right and so we you? uh-huh discovered that we had what was called attribution fraud. So normally when you think about fraud an ad fraud you imagine that it's impression pressure fraud. Where like someone there's bought sort of you know create impressions or clicking on your ads? And you're paying per impression or click or they're saying they're showing your entire or fifteen second video and they're only showing seconds. But that's that's Kinda like fraud is and so. But we weren't pain on clicks in anything like that. We were playing basically beyond the first trip. When an actual writer like swiped a credit card took a ride in the car like we knew these were actual.