Fraudsters Follow Advertisers To CTV: Report

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DoubleVerify has today released its 2020 Global Insights Report, providing a market-by-market benchmark on the state of media quality for global advertisers.

With in-depth analysis of brand suitability, fraud, viewability and performance, the report addresses key issues that advertisers face today as they seek to maximize return on their digital investments. The report also offers a view on emerging trends — including the sharp rise in CTV fraud, and increase in the rate of brand suitability incidents on mobile app inventory — that may impact the way advertisers think about cross-channel marketing, targeting, privacy and more.

“Brands are increasingly demanding greater clarity and confidence in their digital investments, as well as evidence of campaign performance that drives real business outcomes,” said DoubleVerify CEO Mark Zagorski.

“This report reflects the critical challenges affecting the ad ecosystem worldwide, giving us the data needed to work together to find solutions.”

CTV booms . . . and fraud follows

CTV has become the fastest growing digital media channel and, not surprisingly, the highest growth environment for fraud. Since March 2019, DV has identified 1,300 fraudulent CTV apps. This bad behaviour shows no sign of waning — over 60 per cent of those 1,300 fraudulent apps were detected in 2020 alone. DoubleVerify also detected a 161 per cent increase in fraudulent CTV traffic rates in Q1of 2020 vs. Q1 of 2019. Moreover, while bot fraud accounted for 26 per cent of fraud incidents overall, it was responsible for a whopping 78 per cent of fraud incidents on CTV.

“Fraud follows ad spend — especially within emerging channels like CTV, where measurement technologies are not widely adopted and demand outstrips supply,” said Zagorski.

“It’s interesting to note that bot traffic, the most basic type of fraud, is back in this high-growth environment — which means it’s manageable. We expect CTV will continue to be a strategic area of focus and innovation for the company, as we see the opportunity to develop new performance metrics to build media buyers’ confidence and help accelerate the shift of linear TV dollars to CTV.”

DV also found that while CTV fraud impacts both programmatic and direct buying channels, inventory transacted through DV-certified programmatic marketplaces saw the lowest incidence of fraud, followed by direct and other programmatic supply. In fact, Non-certified programmatic CTV saw a Fraud Rate over 11x higher than CTV transacted through DV-certified marketplaces, and approximately 9x higher than publisher-direct buys.

Brand Suitability Block Rate drops 3 per cent YoY

Globally, the overall Brand Suitability Rate increased 14 per cent YoY to 7.6 per cent. This describes all brand suitability violations — including both impressions that were blocked, and those that were measured and found to be outside of a brand’s suitability parameters. While the Brand Suitability Incident Rate increased across all devices year-on-year, the increase was most notable on mobile app (+32 per cent) — but increases were also seen on mobile web (+19 per cent) and desktop (+17 per cent).

The Brand Suitability Block Rate, which describes instances in which advertisers elected to block their ads from serving, also increased for mobile app (+7 per cent), but declined for mobile web (-5 per cent) and desktop (-4 per cent) — resulting in an overall Block Rate decline of 3 per cent year-on-year.
“This is occurring as brands are becoming more sophisticated and nuanced in how they execute their suitability policies, with a growing awareness of the need to balance brand protection with the ability to scale and support trusted publishers,” said Dan Slivjanovski, CMO of DoubleVerify.

In terms of campaign performance, News publishers see highest engagement

DV’s analysis of ad performance across content verticals found that News content had the highest Engagement Index (122), outpacing Sports (112), Personal Finance (111), Technology and Computing (86) and Music (77), among others. Engagement is a measure of end user interaction with the device, content or ad, and is part of DV’s predictive performance solution for advertisers, called Authentic PerformanceTM.

“We encourage brands for whom news is suitable to strongly consider continued support of trusted news publishers within their media plans — further supported by the high user engagement associated with this content,” said Slivjanovski.

“That means refining the use of reach-extending tools like page exceptions that allow advertisers to run on high-value, high-volume news sites and entry pages — like home pages — to maximize scale without compromising protection. Advertisers increasingly are activating more sophisticated and precise suitability settings to ensure brand protection without jeopardizing campaign delivery or reach.”

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