The partner spotlight is a weekly series where we go behind the scenes with some of the companies that make VendorDB great. Next up is Hook QA!
Name: Hook QA
Locations: Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Los Angeles, California.
Year Founded: 2015
Specialties: Hook QA provides specialized quality assurance services to all tiers of the digital advertising industry, from global brands and agencies to independent production companies and development shops. Founded from within Hook Studios, an award-winning interactive development company, we have proven systems and processes that are designed to seamlessly support digital marketing timelines, challenges and technical requirements.
What inspired you to start your company?
Hook QA was born out of a stealth—yet very valuable—division of Hook Studios, when we noticed a growing gap in digital agencies’ quality assurance offerings. Part of our team has a background on the agency side: Stewart had launched CP+B’s QA team and ran it for years, while Dave had tried to get dedicated QA in-house at another large shop. Through our combined experiences, we realized that QA work often comes in waves. It is hard to find good freelancers available for when you need to scale-up, yet few truly bullet-proof third-party QA companies specialize in the ad industry and its unique needs.
There’s sort of a soft wall between our two companies, but technically, we’re an independent shop. This gives us the freedom to work with other advertising agencies and brand clients. We want to work with everybody.
How did the partners meet?
Dave and Stewart worked together at CP+B in 2008. They immediately became and stayed friends. When the Hook partners were thinking of expanding and making QA its own independent business, Stewart was the only person we could imagine starting another company with. We decided that it made sense to “get the band back together.”
What was the first job someone hired you for?
The Chobani.com redesign with Droga5. Chobani was Hook QA’s first stand-alone project. The Hook team already had a great relationship with the folks at Droga5, so when we casually mentioned our idea of starting Hook QA they jumped on having us help them out.
What is the smartest work you’ve seen in the past year that didn’t come from your shop?
We’ve noticed a lot of great work on Google Androidify around the holidays. A host of different agencies worked with Google Creative Lab to create this multi-disciplinary campaign. (Full disclosure: Hook QA handled all the quality assurance on the project, but we’re commenting on the creative aspect.) It moved really quickly and leveraged ideas in a way that made it smarter, bigger.
What is your biggest challenge at the moment?
Keeping up with the constant fragmentation in the mobile and tablet space. Android already had very serious issues with fragmentation because of the different sized screens and capabilities across device manufacturers. And now we’re starting to see fragmentation in the iOS space, too. There are six different Apple devices, plus the legacy devices to test on. This trend will continue as devices get further specialized for different uses.
What advice do you have for agency producers or creatives?
QA early and QA often. There are now so many devices and platforms that need to be considered for any digital project that hiring a single producer or developer to “moonlight”on QA is a risky proposition. At Hook QA, our team is adept to the constantly changing set of requirements that are inherent to the quick-turn digital advertising projects. We have over 50 devices in each of our office locations, so there isn’t a platform we CAN’T test on.
There is nothing worse than working through a long project and getting ready to deploy, only to have a client or other key-stakeholder find a critical bug at the last minute because a platform was under-tested. We try to be the producer’s and creative’s secret weapon against last-minute bugs.
What is the best thing about working at HookQA?
Well, we are officially launching right now, but we’ve sort of been in “stealth mode” for the past six months. During that incubation period, we began to realize the breadth of clients and assignments we could work on. On any given day we might be working on apps, sites, banners, digital out-of-home, virtual reality and newly trending wearables. It is fun to see all the amazing projects companies are dreaming up and building today, and it’s thrilling for us to be asked to make sure what they’re developing is rock-solid!