Fraudsters Will Always Follow the Money

In the ad space, wherever money goes, the opportunity for fraud follows. The growth of streaming TV content among audiences and investment by advertisers in the media type has made connected TV (CTV) a prime target for fraudsters recently, presenting new opportunities to siphon money from unsuspecting marketers. Despite the on-going threat of ad fraud, marketers are not predicted to shy away from CTV, which will be a bright spot in 2021 according to eMarketer. Increases in content consumption and improvements to targeting and measurement capabilities have piqued advertisers’ interest in CTV. Overall, CTV ad spend will increase from $11.36b in 2021 to $18.29b in 2024.

 

 

Last month, Moat made headlines by uncovering StreamScam, the largest-known CTV ad fraud operation uncovered to-date, which exploited CTV ad insertion technology, spoofing more than 28.8m U.S. household IP addresses to trick buyers into thinking their ads were being served to real households. Similar schemes could become more common as advertisers turn to cheaper, less trustworthy buying options amid skyrocketing demand for CTV inventory.

 

 

Last year, Pixalate, a firm that monitors ad fraud, estimated that 22% of programmatic OTT and CTV ad impressions were served as invalid traffic. Currently, most CTV inventory is bought and sold directly or through private marketplaces (PMPs), which makes it nearly impossible for fraudsters to spoof impressions. However, while ad fraud rates are highest on open marketplaces, fraud can also happen within PMPs.

Given the significantly complex ad environment, fueled by ever-changing technologies, it’s nearly impossible to eliminate fraud completely. However, there are certain steps advertisers can take to protect their brand and budget—ensuring exposure to fraud is minimal and ad spend is directed where it’s intended.

 

1. Understand The Risks

The first, and most important, step is to be fully aware of the logistics of this problem and the potential consequences it brings. CTV ad fraud succeeds by going unnoticed—it’s a threat that is hidden in plain sight. Advertisers and agencies need to exercise more diligence regarding the media partners they choose to work with and how their ad spend is being used. Because a dollar that goes to fraud is a dollar wasted.

So what’s going on? The increase in demand and prices for CTV inventory has set the stage for two (dangerous when combined) things:

  • Advertisers that are attracted by the lower prices of the open market.
  • Fraudsters that are attracted by the high demand and premium they can charge on fake CTV inventory.

 

 

2. Seek Out Premium Content Using Reputable Inventory Sources

When it comes to media inventory, you really do get what you pay for. CTV is still relatively fraud-resistant if advertisers stick to direct buys. CTV-focused supply side platforms have taken many steps to prevent fraud from flowing through their pipes, while premium content providers have begun to offer greater transparency in ad buys and measurement. Premium content identification through third-party tools and solutions can help advertisers navigate available inventory options. Working with reputable sources of inventory from the start is a strong preventative step for brands and agencies.

 

 

3. Prioritize Transparency

While safeguards are in the works—the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) recently released an authorized digital seller function (ads.txt) for CTV—widespread adoption could take awhile. Initiatives like ads.txt and app-ads.txt have increased transparency in the supply chain and many reputable publishers limit the number of authorized resellers with which they’ll work. Transparency into where ads are serving is critical to ensuring ads are being served in the right place.

 

 

4. Apply Contextual Targeting Data Layers

New technologies and methodologies have created new benefits into contextual solutions. By layering brand safety and contextual relevance at the content level, advertisers can deliver their messaging via content which is not only appropriate but also relevant. The behind the scenes mechanics of content-level contextual categorization creates an extra layer of defense to fraud.

 

 

5. Utilize Insights to Monitor Campaign in Real Time

When it comes to fraud, the industry is in a constant race against fraudsters. As a marketer, you want to be able to detect, fix, and prevent fraud as soon as possible. In-depth campaign insights into where, when, and who your ads are being shown to provide the necessary data to ensure your campaign stays on track (and your ad dollars stay out of scammers’ pockets).

 

 

How Digital Remedy is Fighting back

As CTV fraud increases in scope and sophistication, it is critical for marketers to work with trusted partners that have the experience, knowledge, scale, and ability to identify and block new threats as they emerge.

In the fight against ad fraud, Digital Remedy has established strong relationships with the best industry leaders to protect our clients against both monetary damages (revenue, CPMs, etc.) and loss of trust and reputation. These partnerships, in combination with our competitively intelligent Flip solution, which utilizes advanced anti-fraud technology, ensure our clients’ ads are served by real publishers, shown to real people, and are reaching their target audiences.

 

Kevin Jones – VP of Media Buying

“Digital Remedy partners with MRC-accredited verification partners, Moat and Protected Media, to ensure all of our OTT/CTV inventory sources are high quality and invalid traffic (IVT) free. We continually work with our verification and inventory partners to identify suspicious activity, root out new methods of IVT, and stop ad fraud at the source. By integrating Protected Media’s innovative CTV cybersecurity ad fraud technology into our Flip solution, we ensure every impression Digital Remedy serves is validated and provides the highest possible level of brand safety for our clients.”

 

Click here to discover Flip, our OTT/CTV attribution platform, powered by Protected Media’s patent pending ProtectedTV solution.

Learn more about our partnership with Protected Media here. For more information on how CTV ad fraud works, why CTV is so susceptible, and to brush up on your terminology download our white paper.

Looking for more industry trends? Stay updated on more insights from Digital Remedy by following us on LinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.

IP Zone: Leverage the relationship between users and the location of their IP addresses in a cookie-free, safe and scalable way.

Behavioral: Combine first party with network analytics and enormous scale to define custom audience channels that are optimized to sites with high brand engagement.

Demographic: Reach the right audience based on demographic characteristics such as age, gender and income.

Mobile Device: Target users by mobile device type (Smartphone, tablet, etc.), carrier and operating system.

Geo-Location: Target your audience residential cluster, proximity to retail locations, campaign level DMAs and more.

Contextual: Place a relevant ad in front of a user who is reading content that contains specific terms.

Buying Power and Quality

Let’s be honest. Your ad ops are limited by your access to only a handful of channels and DSPs. You want more reach and better prices, but don’t want to sacrifice quality in order to achieve those goals. Digital Remedy has access to a vast multitude of channels based on relationships we’ve cultivated over nearly 20 years in business. That means we get the best prices, have personal relationships, and don’t get sent to voicemail when we call.

It also means that we can execute omni-channel ad ops for better prices than an internal team, while ensuring the quality is up to industry standards. On top of access to all sorts of specific audiences we’re able to to leverage first- and third-party data across all your campaigns and pivot across platforms based on results. Any campaign, any budget, any platform, any audience. Digital Remedy backed by AdReady is restriction free ad ops….and what could be better than that?

Resources, Time, and Overhead

When was the last time you enjoyed balancing budgets, reading resumes, dealing with aggressive sales teams, or wasting years of time for small gains in performance. By partnering with Digital Remedy you get the full support of $30m in OPEX including marketing teams, sales teams, and a dedicated 24/7 ad operations team. No hiring new employees for media optimization, business development, or account management. No months of training and on-boarding. No long meetings crafting sales materials. Just your team focused on making deals, and our teams and tech focused on supporting and executing those deals in a tech-enabled, digital ecosystem designed to get the most out of any KPI.

Reporting and Support

How nice would it be to have all of your data and insights in one location. We don’t mean an excel sheet sent out once a week with complicated charts, or an XML file with pages and pages and pages of tables (what is this, 2003?). We mean a fully customizable dashboard reporting in real time, or as real time as possible. You get to decide the how, what, and when of the reporting you’re seeing. And that’s ALL of the how, what, and when’s. If you want to see breakouts of all of the individual campaigns in your system, done. If you want broad scope comparisons of all of the campaigns in the last year, done. If you want to see CTR’s for specific audiences and compare them to CPM for your best performing advertiser but limit the scope to campaigns greater than 30k, done. All of this is at your fingertips with the AdReady Dashboard, all in one place.

Jessica Cortapasso

With more than a decade of experience in human capital management, Jessica Cortapasso serves as VP of Human Resources at Digital Remedy. After graduating from Muhlenberg College, she quickly recognized her passion for people and entered the workforce in Human Resources where she gained expertise in employee relations, designing strategic benefit plans, and the development, implementation, and curation of corporate engagement initiatives for big-name brands and small companies alike. Becoming a member of the Digital Remedy family in 2013 while simultaneously acquiring her Masters Degree in Human Resources Management and Development from New York University, Jessica has steered company culture through significant events ranging from acquisitions and a rebranding, to the development and application of our Core Values that shape our daily business practices. Cortapasso resides in Brooklyn, plays competitive volleyball, and loves spending time with her nieces.

Erez Feld

Responsible for the financial and legal practices of Digital Remedy, Erez brings 22 years of experience in precision financial analysis, growth management practices, strategic acquisition, and investment leadership. A graduate of Hofstra University, Erez began his career modeling for corporate finance, and expanded his accounting prowess in the real estate sector. Erez joined Digital Remedy in 2008 as a senior accountant, and helped to create and build an accounting department that could support the rapid growth of the company and aligned with those needs. Over the past 12 years he has evolved through various positions at the company within the finance discipline, supervising and mentoring additional finance personnel, while growing under the tutelage of Michael Fleischman, former CFO of Digital Remedy. Today, he leads the Finance Department by supporting high-level projects such as acquisitions and restructuring, and is responsible for overseeing all financial assets, establishing financial procedures, controls, and reporting systems.

Michael Fleischman

After a successful career as an accomplished Fortune 500 financial professional leading Corporate Finance and Strategic Planning at Cablevision Systems Corporation and its programming subsidiary Rainbow Media Holdings, Michael currently plays a role in the overall management of Digital Remedy including direct responsibility for all financial-related activities including accounting, financial planning, M&A, legal, insurance, real estate and banking relationships. Michael brings more than 25 years of media experience at Cablevision and Rainbow Media and during his career was instrumental in the launching and managing of a number of cable television networks including 10 Regional Sports Networks across the US, American Movie Classics, Bravo, and the Independent film channel as well as the structuring of corporate partnerships with companies including Liberty Media, NBC, Fox/NewsCorp and MGM. Additionally, he was the finance lead on a number of professional sports team acquisitions including Madison Square Garden, the successful IPO of Cablevision and a tracking stock at Rainbow Media.Michael was involved in the creation and launch of Rainbow Advertising Sales which was one of the Cable Industry’s first Local Advertising Sales Divisions.

2021 Industry Trends Newsletter

2021 Industry Trends Newsletter

Join our mailing list for the hottest takes and deep insights into the industry trends for 2021.

You have Successfully Subscribed!