Perspective - The impact of AI on media quality

By Imran Masood | 12 December 2023
Imran Masood.

The AdNews end of year Perspectives, looking back at 2023 and forward to next year.

The mainstream availability of AI applications has simultaneously created opportunities and challenges for the media and marketing industry. We are already seeing the impact these applications are having on media quality. They will certainly create more complexity and risk for advertisers to navigate.

So, what does this risk look like? One of the most alarming reports I've come across this year is from European law enforcement group Europol, about the rise of AI generated online content.  AI has been used by reputable news organizations for 8+ years to create legitimate news stories.  But bad actors use AI as a megaphone, to create and amplify disinformation in the form of videos, images, and text on an unprecedented scale. We saw this in Australia during the Voice referendum with a spike reported in the volume of deepfake content and suspicious social media accounts spreading misinformation.

It’s alarming that the disinformation that can be generated using AI has become so convincing. In the last few months, we’ve witnessed unauthorised deepfakes of celebrities including Tom Hanks, YouTuber Mr Beast and CBS anchor Gayle King used to promote products, prompting legislators around the world to begin taking action. However, it remains to be seen if that will be at all effective at holding back the coming tide of deepfakes and synthetic news when the upside - whether that is money or political influence - is so high.

A study from earlier this year revealed 19% of the programmatic bidstream (19% of the bids that go through platforms like The Trade Desk or Google DV 360) is Made for Advertising (MFA) type content. This is up from 7% in 2020.

Clearly, this creates more challenges for advertisers who want to reach quality audiences and avoid MFA content. It’s also bad news for the planet as, according to Scope3, MFA sites generate 26% higher carbon emissions than non-MFA inventory.

Fraudsters are also going all in with AI. In 2023, DV has identified twice as many individual mobile app fraud schemes, 137% more audio fraud schemes, and 92% more CTV fraud schemes than previously seen.

The rise in fraud schemes is largely due to AI getting really good at imitating devices, looking like something that it isn’t, mimicking a connected television set, or a valid mobile device. It’s certainly been a year of rapid innovation for fraudsters.

Next year

The good news is that 2023 was also a year of rapid innovation for those of us trying to protect media quality within the industry. To aid the fight against bad actors that use AI, we have deployed AI solutions of our own, continuously improving them to be faster and more effective than ever before.

We’ve introduced a number of highly sophisticated and innovative AI-powered solutions to protect brands from MFA sites, drive stronger attention and promote quality and performance. In the last 12 months, DoubleVerify’s ability to create classification models has accelerated by 300%; and those models are 20 to 40% more accurate – making it easier for advertisers to invest dollars away from risky sites and content toward high-quality media.

However, in 2024 there will be dozens of elections across the world, including what is expected to be a contentious US election, which, combined with an already charged global political landscape, means we’ll see an uptick in inflammatory and synthetic content. This means brands will need to have robust mechanisms in place to protect themselves against investing hundreds of millions on potentially damaging impressions placed near content that isn’t fit for advertising purposes.

Imran Masood is Country Manager AUNZ for DoubleVerify

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