There have been numerous articles in the news recently regarding ad fraud and viewability, leading marketers to question whether or not they are getting what they paid for. Are their ads being served to real people? Are they being served while people are watching?
These are actually not new questions. Fraud and bots have challenged digital advertising since its earliest days. However there are powerful safeguards that can be implemented to help curtail the situation. Here are the top three:
- Build and evolve partnerships across the industry that define buying requirements and set standards.
- Implement third-party ad servers across all inventory, which provide visibility and control over what ads are running.
- Deploy verification solutions, which monitor inventory for brand safety, fraud and in-target delivery.
Future-Proof to Achieve Results
For an optimal solution, it is essential to understand the necessary interdependency across the industry. Agencies need to embrace the value of ad verification technology, encourage clients to participate in early testing and adoption, and activate ad verification features across all digital campaigns and inventory types to ensure cutting edge protection. The incremental cost is estimated at less than 3% of media spend, based on volume; for cost-conscious clients, activating only for network and exchanges is an option. At the very least, clients can leverage the existing verification solution built within their ad server, although features may be limited.
The ad verification providers, media teams, and media partners must closely monitor flagged impressions, work to remediate any issues, and optimize activity accordingly. Through the use of ad verification technology in Q1 2014, roughly 4% of DigitasLBi’s clients’ tracked impressions were flagged and identified as suspicious or fraudulent. Out of those impressions, 50% were never actually served due to real-time blocking capabilities. Unfortunately, as fraudulent parties continue to evolve their tactics, these will likely never be 100% bulletproof solutions.
Consider verification as part of the baseline offering to a client’s technology stack. Evaluate every solution with a detailed scorecard and custom weight for each category, according to the client’s needs. Top tier solutions to be tried and tested include Integral Ad Science, DoubleVerify, Vindico’s Adtricity, Sizmek’s Peer39, and Comscore.
Agencies need to keep informed of new technologies and practices as they arise and monitor the ever-changing landscape in order to provide best-in-class services for their clients.