Today we’ll close out our series on fraud, continuing our DoubleVerify Q&A with their COO, Matt McLaughlin, focusing on trends effecting the industry and recommendations for combatting fraud.
Q: What do you see as the #1 issue facing the industry in terms of the buying and selling of digital video? Bots, masked inventory, viewable etc.
At DV, we believe those issues roll up to a bigger idea around the lack of transparency into the digital video supply chain. The DV mission is to build a better industry by providing solutions to both buyers and sellers. As part of that mission, we launched our Video+ solution to protect digital video investments by blocking against low quality sites and non-human traffic from advertiser’s video campaigns, and we provide suppliers like SpotXchange inventory quality management solutions that provide an extra layer of insight and visibility into masked URL inventory — one of the greatest challenges facing programmatic media buying.
Q: As mobile continues to grow, what do you all see with regards to mobile fraud? What, if any, limitations exist on detecting and combatting mobile fraud?
The most common forms of mobile fraud are actually very straightforward. As of now, it doesn’t make financial sense for fraudsters to engage in mobile bot fraud simply because it’s expensive to perpetrate and generates very little revenue due to low CPM’s.
The two most prominent forms of mobile fraud are geo fraud and hidden ads. Geo fraud is when an app or website represents the location of the user without actually knowing where the user is. They might know the user is in the US, but represent to advertisers that the user is currently in a specific area of Chicago. Or the seller might have no idea where the user is and simply pick a geolocation that is known to be highly desirable.
Hidden ads are a throwback to the early days of display advertising and the method is the same, albeit in different environments. On mobile, many apps, including top-of-the-app-store, call ads without ever displaying them in a way that users can see them. Whether they’re displayed but intentionally out of site, or they’re placed behind the GUI itself, the user is never actually shown the ad.
Q. If a publisher realizes they have some issues with the quality of their traffic and are dedicated to cleaning it up, but doesn’t know where to start, what best practices or recommendations can you share?
The absolute best place to start is the IAB’s guidelines for traffic buying. Nearly every publisher on the web is paying for traffic, whether it’s directly sourced, from content recommendation engines, or through SEO. This means that users are being driven to your site from a variety of places, and it’s important to be inquisitive about who your users are, how they got there, and what the economics look like. Online advertising is often arbitraged but if you paid X to get a user to your site and you just made 10x showing impressions to them, how is that possible?
From there, working with a fraud prevention company like DoubleVerify is the only way to ensure that your users and traffic are authentic. DoubleVerify offers real-time fraud prevention products for publishers that help them stop bad traffic at the source.
A big thanks from the Spot Product Team for joining us for our series on Fraud. If you haven’t had a chance to read them, catch up on our previous posts in our series on fraud.
- Fraud Series Part 1: The Irresistible Allure of Ad Dollars
- Fraud Series Part 2: Hidden Ads
- Fraud Series Part 3: Botnets & Hijacked Devices
- Fraud Series Part 4: Proxy Traffic
- Fraud Series Part 5: Domain Bait & Switch
- Fraud Series Part 6: Q&A with DoubleVerify, the Leading Industry Performance Innovator
- Fraud Series Part 7: Q&A with DoubleVerify, Top Trends & Recommendations