Martech Interview with the Chief Operating Officer, KERV Interactive – Marika Roque

Marika Roque from KERV Interactive talks about the significance of interactive videos in the martech industry and what impact AI & ML have on Video Marketing


Interactive video solutions are empowering both brands and their creatives alike.

1. Tell us about your role at KERV Interactive?
I am the Chief Operating Officer at KERV. I manage the sales, strategy, product, along with other client facing teams. I am responsible for our voice facing the public- at a macro level while also making sure that we have the smoothest possible solutions to fulfill our promises at scale via process. I partner with other internal leaders to grow and evolve the technology. We are a technology company at our foundation and core, so we must both teach and listen to the market all at the same time while making sure our story and message is resonating. We have been working on interactive technology via our patent and shoppable video solution for years, so it is important to us and part of my responsibility, that we continue to lead in the space. Lastly- I manage our culture. We are a nimble technology company, but our people are our most important asset and without them we would not be where we are today. I spend a lot of my time thinking about how to better serve them.

2. Can you tell us about your journey into this industry?
I began my journey into the industry a little over 15 years ago in radio. Coming from the University of Texas where I focused on interactive and digital advertising at its infancy, I quickly realized that I needed to get into a larger market and into a digital role. I moved to Chicago and began my agency career at Starcom Worldwide, working in the famous and beautiful Leo Burnett building. While there, I worked on new business along with the Microsoft B2B account when that was won. I worked on a highly technical part of the business that targeted a very niche ITDM (IT Decision Maker), which was very difficult at the time. In short- I assisted in building out the beginnings of what is now that agency holding group’s in-house DSP. I moved between a few agencies working on brands like Newell Rubbermaid- Sharpie and Papermate, and Zales. At that point, I transitioned into the technical side at Sizmek and then at Lin Digital before I found myself managing through several acquisitions there. I have been at KERV since leaving Nexstar, which was the 6th acquisition I worked through as a senior leader at that company (Lin Digital, Federated Media, Dedicated Media, Media General, Yashi, Nexstar).

3. How has the technology-empowered advertising industry and companies?
Our technology is extremely precise so it gives our customers the power of their own pixels within their produced video assets. We turn passive assets into active experiences. Yes- we can make things shoppable and drive ROAS but we can also do so much more than that within this extra dimension of interactivity that we provide. We deliver earned time spent with brands, maximizing buy-side economics while also providing unmatched optimization and analytics- remember- everything we do is down to the pixel level. We can empower advocacy by giving names and faces to the Black Lives Matter movement, while also removing proxies as we bridge the gap between consideration and purchase for retailers and brands alike as ecommerce gains more and more momentum and importance during the Pandemic.

4. How would you say interactive video solutions are impacting the adtech industry?

Interactive video solutions are empowering both brands and their creatives alike.

They can now more frequently update messaging throughout video creatives, they can pull consumers more directly through to their destinations or products of interest, and they can more precisely engage consumers through digital activations. Second to the creative experience and the utility solutions our technology can empower, interactivity flips client KPIs that were created due to proxies in the space such as completion rate, on their heads. We can help customers think beyond the viewable view and complete by providing active-earned time spent opportunities. We can report back on what objects or object categories are resonating most with certain groups of users. We can empower analysists to define intention and interest through touch pattern data. We can truly bridge historical proxies to success and provide useful insights along the way. This will create new KPIs, new analytics and new possibilities.

5. What according to you is the impact of AI and ML on the objects and object tagging?
Speed. We have a huge IR library at KERV and frankly, the most precise at that, due to our patent. This library is fueling object and product recognition so quickly that we are crafting up live solutions for sectors such as sports, where they need revenue to replace in-stadium ticket sales. Along with speed- the AI/ML also removes many of the manual elements to product tagging that not only save time but allow products to be redirected to accurate information and link outs if items go out of stock, all in near real-time. The more we hone into this, the more of a dynamic and real-time solution we have- the more opportunity we will create as we remove the barriers of time, lift and relevance.

6. Can you explain to our audience about the programmatic distribution feature in detail?
Our technology can be traded programmatically via a VPAID tag agnostically across most devises, SSPs and DSPs. This agnosticism makes it very simple to test and activate the technology within the OLV media and tech landscape that exists today. Not only can we provide the opportunity to trade on interactive video that has true in-video object level interactivity but our tags also allow the ability to seamlessly optimize on action and earned time spent versus completion and click.

7. Why would you say top-level and scene-level data is imperative in reporting?
This data is showing what user groups are interested in by organizing where they are spending time throughout video creatives.

The data can quantify the highest value scenes and then within the scenes that saw interaction, the highest value objects. These touch patterns often look very different between different audience groups, even when analyzing against the same base creatives.

The retargeting that can result from this data is also unmatched and I have never seen the type of performance that comes from those audiences. Think- categorical hover data can be used to retarget with, down to the object level. The precision and real-time nature are key.

8. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
My team is full of experts in their craft. Without them- our technology would not be where it is today. Their attention to detail allows us to support and push our clients thoughtfully into innovation. The team has created and works within the most thorough processes while producing the most beautiful customer facing stories, whether they are told through our marketing materials, our product and pushing its feature sets or through the performance facing the market. We are scrappy, agile, and pristine all at the same time. We all beat to the same Kerv heartbeat but each member of the team has a very unique value that they provide, whether it is graphic expertise, data expertise, UX, media planning, execution, customer service- you name it.

9. What movie inspires you the most?
Hidden Figures & Wonder Woman

10. What movie character do you best resonate with?
Katherine Johnson from Hidden Figures. She was constantly shining in a room full of men. She wasn’t invited- she was smart enough to be needed in the room.

11. Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone? (screenshot of homepage or app page)
1. I will begin with the data as this is my personality 😊


3. I am bilingual and had started to forget my second language, so I have been using Duolingo to stay sharp. I study my second language daily as I haven’t been back to Mexico in years.
4. I use LinkedIn, Slack and mail for work- on a daily basis
5. Personally- I use my Peloton app a lot for workouts, UberEats for COVID food delivery and Instagram to stay connected.

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.

Prior to KERV, Marika worked as the Vice President of digital operations for Mass2, a division of multi-billion-dollar corporation Nexstar Digital LLC. Marika also spent three years and served as Vice President of digital media activation at LIN Digital, an online advertising and media services company that is now part of Nexstar Media Group. Marika has held senior-level positions for leading advertising agencies including Sizmek, GSD&M, FCB Global, and Starcom MediaVest Group. Marika holds a Bachelor’s in Advertising from The University of Texas at Austin, which she achieved while also participating as a D1 collegiate athlete.

KERV is a patented interactive video platform that utilizes sophisticated Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning techniques to quickly transform any video content into a fully interactive and trackable experience. Built on cutting-edge, patented technology, individual objects are identified by their pixel edges in any video stream. KERV technology recognizes depth, dimension, and objects within a video just as the natural eye does. Every frame, in every scene, of any video to be an immersive, interactive experience for consumers.

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