How Interactive Video Transforms Marketing: Q&A With Marika Roque of KERV Interactive

“Interactive video helps brands stand out from their competition while enabling a lean-in experience for consumers to receive all the information they need in one place.”

Imagine if your customers could shop for a product they just saw on their favorite Netflix character while streaming online. It’s a future that’s not too far. Statista projected that $11.44 billion U.S. dollars would be spent on product placement in the United States in 2019. Marika Roque, chief operating officer at Kerv Interactive talks about how brands can innovate their online advertising strategy in 2020 with interactive video.

In this edition of MarTalk Connect, Roque draws from the experience of the interactive video campaign run by Neiman Marcus and Vogue. She further throws light on how interactive video can boost content marketing efforts on both mobile and desktops.

Key takeaways from this Q&A on interactive video and the future of video marketing:

  • Learn to revolutionize the way advertisers can communicate in 2020
  • Top three advantages of using interactive video for marketers
  • The latest in interactive video and the future of video marketing 

Here are the edited excerpts of our conversation with Marika Roque of Kerv Interactive on interactive video marketing:

Marika, please tell us about your career path, what your role is at KERV Interactive, and how you bring about exceptional results in your role.

I began my career in Chicago at one of the largest agencies within the Publicis holding company. At the time, programmatic and DSP were not common phrases, but at Starcom Worldwide we were aiming to lead the industry by building an in-house infrastructure that would allow us to focus on buying audiences and eliminating waste. IT decision-makers as a target audience for my very large Microsoft B2B client was not an easy one (especially given the technical capabilities at the time). Solving this large problem and paving the way for programmatic infrastructures/trading desks, as they stand now, was foundational for my technical and operational career.

From there, I went on to work at DraftFCB (now FCB) to dip my toe into the consumer side. I serviced the strategy and activation for Newell Rubbermaid brands, including Paper Mate and Sharpie. After moving back to Texas, where I am from, I worked at GSD&M on brands such as Zales (leading to an acquisition), Sizmek (where I led a successful team post multiple acquisitions and rebrands), and Lin Digital.

At Lin Digital (the digital arm of Lin Media), I led the operations teams through several successful mergers, including a multi-billion-dollar acquisition by Nexstar. Through these experiences, I learned the importance of an agile, yet process-oriented organization, and creativity in resourcing to allow managing a successful P&L while building new and innovative, profitable products, tall orders.

Human capital is so important, even as technology continues to grow and assist us. Having the right people in place is one of the most important pillars to driving a successful organization. The importance of the teams I managed and empowering those teams and individuals to function with excellence to allow the runway for creation has never been so clear.

Here at KERV, I am the chief operating officer. I currently manage our go-to market strategy, sales and supporting teams, as well as client services, sales strategy and performance behind the product as it pertains to our customers. We are a technology company, so I pride myself on the ability to partner with all stakeholders to service what we are building, while also connecting that strategically with what we are hearing in the market, from our existing customers’ performance and balancing with future vision. Those who I work with know that they are here because we are building something together, exceptionally.

In what ways can interactive video revolutionize the way advertisers and consumers communicate in the digital media landscape?

Video real estate is a valuable commodity, and its pixels are the DNA. Pixels precisely and accurately define each product within videos. More importantly to the consumer, what you touch/click is what you get. KERV’s patented, pixel recognition artificial intelligence makes videos more powerful and much more valuable by connecting precisely defined products directly to consumers. With object-level recognition, there are no missed targets like all the other “bounding box” interactive technologies.

KERV connects unique products, defined by pixels, directly to consumers who have the power to interact immediately, providing value to all parties involved (brands, consumers, retailers, publishers, etc.). KERV allows brands and content creators alike to monetize all the pixels within their video content. 

Custom messaging is provided directly to the consumer without leaving a video experience. Users that choose to interact with products within a video are presented with additional messaging as the brand desires, creating a multi-level storytelling opportunity. In addition to adding text to each object, unique URLs are assigned so objects can all be linked, creating a “shoppable” and informative experience. Allowing users to interact with a video rewards the customer with relevant information as they navigate the experience. KERV’s tech shortens the path to conversion as consumers don’t have to leave the ad to research additional information needed to commit to purchasing.

KERV provides the only technology that literally can’t miss in terms of connecting precise objects within a video to a consumer who is interested.

What are the top 3 advantages of using interactive video for marketers to design their advertising and brand strategy?

  1. Creates a two-way conversation with the consumer versus a flat one-way asset
  2. Increases performance, Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS), time spent, and/or click-through rate depending on KPI
  3. Increases consumer lifetime value while garnering object-level intention data on groups of users

Recently, Neiman Marcus and Vogue launched an interactive video experience. What are the 3 key learnings for marketers from this innovative marketing strategy?

  1. You don’t have to force users to interact, you just have to provide an intuitive stage for them to do so (over 40% of users interacted with the experience driving a positive ROAS)
  2. Allowing users to click through on specific objects cuts their path to conversion. It is also measured by ROAS and uses positive GA data to correlate value with more precisely driven clicks.
  3. Making branded content a more immersive experience led to not only sales but additional time and conversation with consumers on their terms.
Neiman Marcus x Vogue Presents: A Night At Neiman Marcus

What are your top tips for brands just starting out on a video content strategy? What should they prioritize? As consumers’ attention spans shorten, what are the implications for marketers?

Brands should prioritize the quality of the video content they are producing. Today, consumers are spammed with ads that is adding to the shortened attention span. Interactive video helps brands stand out from their competition while enabling a lean-in experience for consumers to receive all the information they need in one place. As consumer attention spans continue to decrease, it’s important for brands to captivate their audiences quickly. Interactive video is a way to bridge the gap and increase video engagement.

Although passive attention spans are decreasing, interactivity allows video to transform which leads to an increase of 591% in user activity. Consumer’s attention spans are shrinking for content that talks at them not for content they can immerse themselves in.

Can interactive video content boost marketing success on mobile and desktops? How does interactive video perform on each of these mediums?

We take a mobile-first approach to our user experience, given the time spent on mobile devices, but interactive video content can boost marketing success across both devices. We do believe that unique optimizations and communication styles/click paths should be utilized per device.

Performance cross device is dependent upon the campaign, but both our Desktop and Mobile averages significantly outperform industry standards for activity, interaction, and click-through rates.

Marika Roque, COO at KERV Interactive

Is interactive video more suited to a B2B or B2C audience? What are the best practices for both spaces?

Interactive video is customizable and suited for either type of audience. Our technology has been used across many industries including retail, automotive, travel, hospitality, and more, with goals of increasing brand awareness, increasing engagement, boosting conversions and sales, etc. Depending on the content owner’s desired outcome, the platform can be individually tailored to work for either B2B or B2C audiences.

What does 2020 have in store for the interactive video marketing landscape? 

The landscape is continuing to grow as more large brands are leaning into the data-driven and interactive intelligence side of video. Interactive video will become more mainstream with advertisers who are looking to optimize their video strategies in a more effective and thoughtful way.

The process and dynamic capabilities will continue to get faster and faster as AI and technology get smarter and more integrated. The data game will continue to progress and intensify as videos gain more and more dimension and touchpoints.

Marika Roque, COO at KERV Interactive

Thank you, Marika, for sharing your insights on interactive video and the future of video marketing. We hope to talk to you again.

About Marika Roque: Marika Roque is the Chief Operating Officer of KERV Interactive, a multi-award-winning interactive video company revolutionizing the performance of digital advertising with its patented technology. Marika is a top expert in digital media, recognized by her peers for her knowledge and advancement of the advertising industry, where she has been a leader and innovator for over a decade. 

About KERV Interactive: Based in Austin, Texas, KERV Interactive is an advanced interactive video technology company and is revolutionizing the future of video engagement through dimensional storytelling. KERV’s digital advertising platform was built on cutting-edge, patented technology and adds extraordinary value to brands, agencies, and creative and data-science teams by creating audience-to-brand connections within video like never before. Leveraging breakthrough machine learning techniques and AI with unmatched processing speed, the KERV technology recognizes depth, dimension, and objects within a video just as precisely as the natural eye. KERV enables every frame in every scene of any digital video to be an immersive, interactive experience for consumers. 

MarTalk Connect is an interview series where marketing technology companies that are making a difference, connect with us and share their stories. Join us as we talk to them about their product journeys, insights on the categories they serve, and some bonus pro-tips.

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Devin Monds
Head of EMEA Sales

Devin is a dedicated and experienced media sales professional with over 15 years in the digital media space in both North America and EMEA. He most recently headed up the International Team at Adludio, the premier advertising platform for delivering strong creative on mobile devices. Prior to his role at Adludio, Devin worked on the Global Brand Partnerships team at CAA Sports in London, and was International Sales Director at LoopMe where he built out the US West Coast Sales Team from Los Angeles. With a proven track record of new business development and revenue generation, Devin has a multitude of solid relationships with brands and agencies, globally.

He relishes the opportunity to engage with new clients on a daily basis, in order to identify tailored solutions that can drive their desired outcomes. Furthermore, he takes pride in his culinary skills, often experimenting with new recipes and delivering delectable results.

    Brad Quinn
    VP of Publisher Development

    Brad Quinn is the VP of Publisher Partnerships based out of our NYC office. He has over 15 years of experience across Agencies, Publishers and Tech. At KERV, Brad leads the Partnerships team focused on content providers and distributors. He integrates KERV’s tech capabilities across ads and content to create a real‑time interactive/shoppable experience.

    David Knight
    VP of Engineering

    Before joining KERV in 2018, David Knight spent over 31 years building software products for large corporations like IBM and Schlumberger, 3-person “garage” startups and everything in between. He’s spent the last 15 years discovering and refining the tools, development process, and necessary culture that create great Engineering teams capable of meeting the special demands of technology driven startups.

    Dan Bloomfield
    VP of Technical Ad Operations

    After spending time living in New York and working for NBC Universal’s first digital operations team Daniel moved to Austin in 2009 to further pursue ad tech. During the next decade, he built a career working on interactive video first for Sizmek and then Nexstar. He immediately jumped at the idea to work for KERV and was one of the first to join the company in 2017.

    Creed Pettit
    SVP, Head of Partnerships

    Creed Pettit is an entrepreneurial sales executive offering experience in all aspects of solutions selling, team management, negotiation, organizational leadership, go-to-market strategies and momentum driven models. Prior to joining KERV, Creed served as Media & Entertainment Vertical Sales Leader, Global Business Solutions at TikTok.

    Karen Germ
    VP of Marketing

    Karen Germ is a seasoned marketing and communications professional with a nearly 15‑year history serving in leadership roles across the advertising and technology landscape. Most recently, Karen served as OAAA’s VP of Marketing where she implemented industry leading initiatives to elevate and promote the power of OOH for advertisers, agencies, partners and consumers. 

    Ryan Schoenfeld
    VP of Digital Strategy

    Ryan Schoenfeld’s career started as an intern at a smaller digital media agency while attending the University of Texas. Since then, he has spent over 15 years working in the programmatic advertising/video space.

    Bill Roberson
    VP of Media

    Bill Roberson has worked in the digital space for over 17 years, spanning Media Buying, Ad Operations, Analytics and Optimization, Account Management and now Creative.

    Grant Gorton
    VP of Creative

    Grant has been with KERV as VP of Creative for over 5 years, and has worked as a designer and creative director at agencies and media companies for the last 17 years.

    Michael Fleischman

    Michael Fleischman serves as the CFO at KERV Interactive in addition to being an Executive Residence at Progress Partners, a Merchant Investment Bank and Venture Fund. Prior to KERV Interactive, Michael was the CFO and current Board Member at Digital Remedy, a privately-held media execution company supporting agencies, publishers, and brands in navigating the complex adtech landscape of digital success.

    Previous to Digital Remedy, Michael spent 20 years at Cablevision and Rainbow Media Holdings during which he was instrumental in the launch and management of multiple regional sports networks and a number of national cable networks including American Movie Classics, Bravo, The Independent Film Channel as well as the structuring of partnerships with companies including Liberty Media, NBC, Fox/NewsCorp, and MGM. 

    A native of the New York City area, Michael resides with his wife where he enjoys biking, tennis  and spending time with his wife and three adult children.

    Taylor Pate

    Taylor Pate serves as CTO at KERV Interactive. Taylor’s experiences in the advertising and creative industry spans 14. He began his career in 2008, working as a designer, animator and art director specializing in the design and production of interactive art. Early in his career, he created 3D character animations and tools for best-selling video game series The Sims while working at Edge of Reality, who developed video games for Nintendo 64, GameCube, PlayStation and Xbox.

    In 2012, Taylor made the shift to work in-house at an online advertising and media services agency, LIN Digital, where he was promoted multiple times in a four-year span. He worked on a variety of online, interactive projects for clients while also developing and automating internal tools and processes. Taylor then spent the next two years working as the director of engineering at multi-platform digital media company HYFN Local, a division of multi-billion-dollar corporation Nexstar Digital LLC.

    Jay Wolff

    Jay Wolff serves as Chief Revenue Officer at KERV Interactive, leading global revenue and partnerships, in addition to being the Executive Vice President of 212 NYC, New York’s leading organization for the digital advertising industry. 

    Jay’s expertise in revenue and partner growth in the advertising industry spans 19 years. Most recently, Jay served as CRO of Varick Media, and Chief Growth Officer at Boostr, the first end-to-end SaaS revenue management system for media companies. Previously, as Regional Vice President of SambaTV, Wolff built the revenue organization and east coast market from the ground up. 

    Prior to joining SambaTV, Wolff served as Vice President of agency and brand partnerships at PulsePoint; instrumental to the merger of ContextWeb and Datran Media.

    Jay holds a BS in Marketing from Syracuse University and a Certificate of Management from the University of Chicago. He resides in Rye Brook, NY with his wife and daughter, Olivia. 

    Dan Bienenfeld

    Before co‑founding KERV in 2017, Dan Bienfeld spent the previous 35 years founding six start‑ups in various verticals such as publishing, licensing, med‑tech and ad‑tech. Within these companies, he enjoyed two meaningful exits, which provided him with the ability to continue his passion as an entrepreneur. 

    Aside from bringing together ‘Rock Star Talent,’ his main focus has been raising over $50M, primarily for the startups identified above, as well as creating strategic partnerships. Currently he lives in Westlake Village, CA with his wife and two kids. In addition to his entrepreneurial journey, he also enjoys working out, traveling and an addiction to sushi.

    Gary Mittman

    Gary Mittman brings more than 30 years of experience in technology and direct marketing, as well as substantial experience in building startups to exit with creativity and agile development. Before starting KERV, he held numerous top‑ranking leadership roles, including Founder & President of Nami Media (which was acquired by Lin Media/Nexstar Media Group), CEO & Founder of Marina Communications (also acquired), and Vice President of New Business Development, Direct Response at Western International Media (now Initiative Media).

    Gary also brings a decade of experience in the entertainment industry, including managing all booking for New York City’s premiere performance night club, The Ritz, as its Executive Manager and Booking Agent, Executive Producer of the MTV concert series ‘Live At The Ritz’, a Professional Manager at Chappell Music Publishing, and started out as an Assistant to legendary Clive Davis at Arista Records.

    Andi Fenster

    Andi Fenster went into the profession of Human Resources 30 years ago, because she believed from a young age that the way you treat your employees is what you get out of them. Her goal as an HR professional has been to help create the type of work environments that inspire folks to want to come to work. She is also a Management/Leadership/Career Coach and her focus is optimizing humans focusing on the mind‑body connection. 

    “We, each, have tremendous potential and the abilities to level‑up if we choose to understand how to get the support we need to get us there. Helping talent thrive and helping them create success is my reason for doing what I do.”

    Marika Roque
    COO & Chief Innovation Officer

    Marika Roque is a top expert in digital media, data and organizational infrastructures recognized with over 15 years of professional leadership experience. Previous to KERV, Marika worked as the vice president of digital operations for Mass2, a division of multi-billion-dollar corporation Nexstar Digital LLC. Prior to Mass2, Marika served as vice president of digital media activation at LIN Digital.

    Marika has held senior-level positions for leading advertising agencies in the Austin, Texas area including Sizmek and GSD&M. She also spent years in Chicago working for FCB Global and Starcom MediaVest Group. While at Starcom, Marika was recognized for her involvement in the creation of the first agency-side programmatic pipelines and what the industry now refers to as an agency trading desk.

    Marika holds a Bachelor’s in Advertising from The University of Texas at Austin, which she achieved while also participating as a former D1 collegiate athlete.