DoubleVerify Report Highlights CTV Fraud

(Image credit: Netflix)

Connected TV is not only attracting viewers, its attracting fraudsters.

According to DoubleVerify’s 2020 Global Insights Report, fraudulent CTV traffic rates in the first quarter were up 161% from the first quarter of 2019. 

Some of that traffic comes from apps that use public domain content to hook advertisers. DoubleVerify said it detected about 800 fraudulent apps so far this year.

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

Fraud can happen whether ads are bought direct or via programmatic technology. DoubleVerify said that the fraud rate was 11 times higher for programmatic buys that are not certified by DoubleVerify than those certified by DoubleVerify. The fraud rate was also higher for direct sales, the company said.

Brand suitability violations detected were up 14%. The increase was biggest on mobile apps. 

The Brand Suitability Block Rate, which describes instances in which advertisers elected to block their ads from serving, also increased for mobile app (+7%), but declined for mobile web (5%) and desktop (4%) — resulting in an overall Block Rate decline of 3% 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.

DoubleVerify found that ads in news content had the highest engagement index, topping sports, personal finance, technology and computing and music.

“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.”

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.