Ad Fraud Schemes Detected By DoubleVerify Jumped 70% in 2021

The explosive growth of connected TV advertising has left a wave of fraud schemes in its wake, according to a new report from DoubleVerify.


DoubleVerify says the number of fraud schemes it uncovered jumped by more than 70% from 2020 to 2021.

Schemes targeting CTV and video could have stolen as much as $8 million a month from advertisers had then not been detected. Publishers would have been defrauded of $140 million.

The ways crooks aim to steal ad dollars via fraud have become increasingly sophisticated. Some of the fraud attempts DV detected last year were named OctoBot, Sneaky Terra, ViperBot and SmokeScreen.

While fraud attempts were up, brand safety in digital advertising improved, with violations falling 9% in 2021, the second-consecutive year of decline.

Security improved in North America, with the rate of fraud and sophisticated invalid traffic decreasing, but the regions still has the highest fraud rate at 1.5%, which drives up the global average.

Brand suitability violating in the U.S. also dropped by 10% in 2021.

The attention paid to digital ads increased and more advertisers turned to CTV. Video completion rates hit 71% in 2021, up from 67% in 2020 and 62% in 2019. For CTV, the video completion rate was up 3% to 95.6%

“The good news is that verification is working,” said Mark Zagorski, CEO of DoubleVerify. “DV’s first-ever Global Insights Report, published in 2017, reported display viewable rates at 52% and video viewable rates at 59%. Now, they are near or above 70%. Additionally we saw brand safety violations decrease for the second year in a row, while the number of fraud schemes we were able to protect our clients from increased. Based on our stats, it is clear that verification technology is making the internet stronger, safer and more secure.”

One factor improving media quality and performance in pre-bid verification. This allows advertisers to reduce by evaluating programmatic impressions for brand suitability, fraud and location before the bid takes place. Advertising adopting pre-bid verification saw post-bid violation rates falling 6%.

DV clients now see just 10% of their potential buys resulting in violations across all quality measurement criteria.

DoubleVerify’s 2022 Global Insights report is based on an analysis of more than one trillion impressions delivered across over 2,100 brands in 80 markets. ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.