Risk and compliance: Brand safety, ad fraud and CTV

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 12 December 2022
Imran Masood

This is the second article in a miniseries about risk and compliance. Read the first article here, along with perspectives from InfoSum, Scope3, Quantcast and The Australian Data and Insights Association about what risk and compliance means to them.

AdNews spoke with Imran Masood, ANZ country manager at DoubleVerify, about brand safety, the risks that ad fraud presents and why, if playing in the CTV space, advertisers need to work with providers who can offer comprehensive protection.

What risks do brands need to be aware of around brand safety and ad fraud?

"The WFA predicts ad fraud will become the biggest market for organised crime by 2025, worth $50 billion. For advertisers who are not protected, ad fraud results in wasted spend, skewed performance metrics, and ultimately, lost revenue. 

"There are many different types of ad fraud - including bot fraud, spoofing, injected ads, hijacked devices and more. An example of fraud can be impressions that do not originate from the publisher's web page, mobile application, or via their inventory monetization partners.

"Injected Ads are inserted into the user web or app via browser toolbars or extensions, or via adware or malware by third parties not associated with the content publisher. These can appear in front of advertiser’s ads without the publisher’s approval and can affect how quickly a website loads resulting in a poor user experience. These are just a few of the ways ad fraud may manifest - all with the aim of siphoning dollars away from unsuspecting advertisers. 

"As with fraud, advertisers who do not consider brand safety and suitability as part of their media strategy - ensuring their ads are aligned with content that is not objectionable or harmful to their brand values - run the risk of jeopardising their brand reputation and eroding consumer loyalty and trust.

"Organisations should not only gain further understanding of ad fraud and its techniques, but they should also work with a third-party verification provider to gain transparency into the ads they are running and to measure and protect their campaigns by ensuring they are investing in quality inventory and impressions. Ideally they would: 

  1. work with fraud-certified platforms, especially on CTV; 
  2. ensure the web and app publishers they are working with have adopted ads.tx or app-ads.txt - a method used to indicate who is authorised to sell a publisher’s digital inventory - or are TAG verified, therefore have taken actionable steps to verify their identities; and 
  3. adopt rigorous standards to fight online fraud, piracy, malware and lack of transparency in their inventory, ultimately aiming to create a transparent inventory supply chain ecosystem."

With emerging channels such as CTV, what challenges do brands face? 

"Fraud follows ad spend, and emerging channels like CTV are the perfect target for ad fraud, as industry technology standards have yet to be agreed-upon, CPMs are high, and demand is outstripping supply.

"The most recent CTV fraud scheme that the DV Fraud Lab uncovered in August this year was a new variant of LeoTerra, that it first identified in July 2020. The new variant spoofs IoT (Internet of Things) devices, including smart refrigerators and smart watches, in an attempt to hide fraudulent behaviour. DV estimates that LeoTerra’s latest variant has cost unprotected advertisers up to $10 million this year alone.

"Australia is more exposed and at risk as it is strongly invested in CTV, with 22% of the market’s video ads landing on a CTV device, compared with only 2% for the rest of APAC as reported in DoubleVerify’s 2022 Global Insights Report. Australia’s CTV market leans more heavily on programmatic than the rest of the world too, with 64% of Australia’s CTV video ads programmatically sourced in 2021 versus only 52% for the rest of the world.

"While programmatic is efficient for driving scale, it can be challenging to control for quality due to a lack of widely-followed standards and generally opaque supply chains. Australia also saw 29% higher overall post-bid violation rates for programmatic vs. publisher direct CTV video buys in 2021.

"Without measurement and verification, advertisers cannot have a full picture of their media quality or performance, even in premium environments. For more assurance in the quality of their media buys, advertisers can work with providers who can offer comprehensive CTV protection in the industry, with MRC accreditations for detecting and avoiding fraud/SIVT and brand suitability violations, in addition to providing relevant performance metrics for CTV."

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at adnews@yaffa.com.au

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