Dec 10 2014

CRAFT’s Efforts to Fight Digital Ad Fraud and Viewability Issues

Posted by: John Randall

Fraud and viewability in the digital ad space has been a hot topic in 2014. Recently, Google released a study claiming 56.1% of all digital ads are unseen. These issues should be a concern for any digital ad buyer, but can be overcome using technology and knowhow. CRAFT’s digital buying practice ensures campaigns produce the best results with the least amount of waste and fraud, providing the best value for our clients.

How is this done?

To combat fraud and waste CRAFT has taken numerous steps to empower our ad buying team with the tools and information necessary to make the most educated decisions for each campaign. This began when we built our own trading desk, CRAFT Levers. Using Levers we have direct access into our campaigns and full transparency into where and when our ads run. Using this information we can generate “black lists” of suspect websites so campaigns never run in questionable inventory. This is important because the Google study points out, “a small number of publishers are serving most of the non-viewable impressions.”

Each site our ads run on is scrutinized to determine the credibility of the site and the likelihood our ads will be served and seen. If we believe an uncharacteristic spike in impressions is the result of bots or unseen ads, we block that site for the current and future campaigns. On the flip side, when we see credible, well performing sites we select them for our “white list.” With each campaign, we are improving our understanding of which sites to run on and which sites to block.

While it is experience and knowledge that differentiates CRAFT, technology is necessary to help inform the decision making process. To do this, we enhance the human element of our ad buying operation by utilizing technologies like Integral Ad Science’s TRue Advertising Quality (TRAQ) score to analyze each ad impression we deliver. Using tools like this empowers our ad buyers by providing additional information that safeguards against potential fraud and viewability issues.

While digital ad fraud and viewability are concerning issues, waste is pervasive in all media. How many TV ads ran last night that went unseen? How many print ads in newspapers go unseen? There will always be fraud and viewability issues in all forms of advertising, but the advantage of digital is the ability to measure and make actionable decisions to counter these issues.