The Silicon Review
They say pictures speak a thousand words. While it is true that a picture does provide greater detail about an object than a written description about it, what if pictures (or videos) could really speak and provide all the minute details and nuances about everything contained in them?
While this does seem like something from a science-fiction blockbuster, a company named KERV Interactive is actually making it a reality. Using its own patented video technology and leveraging the power of machine learning, KERV makes videos highly interactive by identifying objects in the videos and allowing viewers to explore details about them on the internet. Moreover, viewers can also navigate to a shopping website to check out the objects in the video.
In conversation with the CEO of KERV Interactive, Jon Flatt
Q. Why was the company set up? And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?
The company was set up after patent was approved for the purpose of furthering tech development towards a fully automated interactive video platform, “Radius,” and a go-to-market strategy that provides a dramatic increase in value for all in-stream/out-stream video advertisers.
We have expanded the company on both the tech side and the sales side. Before going to market, we extensively tested the technology through the network we built called the DEN (Dimensional Engagement Network) – the purpose of this was to figure out user adoption. After about 30 million unique users, and 10 different versions of the user experience, we cracked the code with a non-intrusive yet intuitive experience that provides accesses to on-demand information in the video frame.
This means that while users can still click out of the video to get more information or purchase items, they can also get the majority of information without leaving the original page of interest. Thus, the video is now a version of the client’s website in the original frame. We have found that users love this as it creates a new level of convenience to get information about a product, brand or talent without leaving the original point of interest.
The performance data collected for these user interactions have shown to be incredibly valuable. Users can now get information at the point of origin and make a decision if they would like to click out. KERV’s engagement rates, including click-through-rates, have been unmatched in the history of in-stream video advertising.
We developed our technology to be agnostic across all video players and screens. We included interactive screen matching technology that allows you to use your smartphone to engage with separate screens including televisions.
Q. What challenges did you face in your initial years?
Vision: A clear and focused vision on what you want to achieve with an unwavering belief in the vision.
Challenge of building the culture – (principles): Building a company from the ground up is an incredibly difficult thing to do. Building a culture based upon three core principles is key. Effective communication, mutual accountability, and mutual respect are the cornerstones to a highly productive, engaged team that can take on big challenges and win.
Challenge of focus and flexibility – (WIN): Whatever is important now. It is crucial to stay focused on the projects and task the lead to short-term, incremental growth. I have seen so many times where companies simply lose focus on the important next steps and get enamored with projects that are much further down the road. It is vital to stay focused on result-oriented activities.
Challenge of funding: You need to fund the business according to what is necessary to build the business in incremental steps based on the overall vision. It’s important to not under-fund the business or development of the technology. However, it is important to be creative and not to look to money as your only option for growth.
Q. How successful was your first project rollout?
We developed interactive-supported Vast/Vpaid wrappers, embed and RSS distribution. This was a long, difficult project with many hurdles along the way. To name one challenge – getting the user experience that was resignation to work with all video players was a difficult task. It took quite a bit of time and effort, but we got it done.
Q. If you had to list the biggest assets to your company, what would they be?
Vision: This is the driving force behind everything we do. Our vision is to change the video and television viewer paradigm throughout the entire planet.
Q. What is the feedback you have received from your customers?
At this point, we have a 100% retention rate with our clients. When advertisers experience the increased value in comparison to standard in-stream video ads, they keep working with us.
However, on the sales side, we have made many adjustments along the way as we offer a very disruptive technology that is changing the paradigm of the industry.
The current industry measure of value for a video ad is a completed view and was the video actually in view on the user screen. It’s a very low bar and there is really no way of knowing the ad was viewed or if the user was interested. While some ads are over one click out, the current measure is not about engagement with the brand or time spent with the brand.
KERV solves this problem by dramatically increasing user engagement and time spent with the brand while garnering user engagement data to create intended groups and re-targeting opportunities from a video. KERV turns static video assets into an interactive experience for users.
Meet the visionary behind KERV Interactive, Jon Flatt
Jon Flatt is a true entrepreneur and the current CEO of KERV Interactive, a multi-award-winning interactive video company revolutionizing the performance of digital advertising with its patented technology. Receiving Lumiere Awards for “Best Interactive Brand Experience,” KERV’s technology has already been recognized for its outstanding achievement in entertainment media alongside top Oscar winners including Tom Cruise. Before working in the advertising and technology world, Jon was a successful musician who recorded for Atlantic Records in Los Angeles.