This week's review of ad fraud and quality in the digital advertising space.
1. Server-Side Ad Insertion (SSAI) primer: The hidden driver of ad fraud in OTT/CTV
Pixalate firmly believes that invalid SSAI is the largest risk factor to OTT/CTV advertising. Using Magna’s most recent OTT ad spend forecasts and Pixalate’s analysis, invalid SSAI alone will threaten $500 million in ad spend by 2020.
Despite these high numbers, the industry at large does not acknowledge that SSAI can be used for fraudulent purposes, and, upon learning of the dangers of SSAI, they don’t know what they can do to protect their investments.
Pixalate is here to help. We are publishing a series of blogs to take a deep dive into all things SSAI, starting with a primer on the topic: What is SSAI, and how can it be abused by fraudsters?
2. Ad fraudsters exploit massive loophole in OTT
"Programmatic ad tracker Pixalate has some disturbing new evidence that the burgeoning OTT ad marketplace is highly susceptible to fraud," reported MediaPost. "Specifically, fraudsters are abusing the widespread use of 'server-side ad insertion' (SSAI), which is used in 38% of all CTV/OTT programmatic ad transactions," the article noted. "When SSAI is used, Pixalate data shows that it’s fraudulent 26% of the time."
3. Verve taps Pixalate for ad fraud prevention
Verve, the leading platform for location-powered programmatic video and display marketing, this week. announced the implementation of Pixalate’s MRC-accredited invalid traffic detection solutions across the full expanse of the Verve VelocityTM platform.
"According to a Q4 2018 study from Pixalate, mobile is especially vulnerable with global fraud rates reaching 20.4% for in-app display and 29.6% for in-app video," the press release reads. "For Verve, integration with Pixalate is a strategic move designed to safeguard clients’ steadily increasing investments in programmatic mobile advertising."
4. Scammers use 'cipher-stunting' to masquerade bots as humans
There are "ballooning instances of 'cipher stunting' – a [Transport Layer Security] (TLS) tampering technique that helps malicious bot activity masquerade as live human traffic on the web," reported ThreatPost. "The idea is to avoid the web client fingerprinting technologies that help security tools and human analysts to differentiate between legitimate clients and impersonators/bots," ThreatPost added.
5. IAB study shows marketers split on how they define OTT
"In an Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Advertiser Perceptions poll, half of US marketers defined OTT as streaming video other than live TV that appears on any screen (mobile, PC, TV, etc.)," reported eMarketer. "And 48% of respondents defined OTT as streaming video other than live TV that appears exclusively on a TV screen."