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SSAI Webinar Recap: More Transparency is Needed to Combat Ad Fraud Risks

Pixalate recently hosted a webinar titled: “The Price of Anarchy in OTT/CTV: How Fraudsters Exploit Security Gaps in SSAI.”

This webinar reviewed the use of Server-Side Ad Insertion (SSAI) in OTT/CTV, including latest industry standards, measurement challenges, ad fraud risks, and more, featuring expert insight from:

  • Amit Shetty, Sr. Director of Video & Audio Products, IAB Tech Lab
  • Ian Trider, Director of RTB Platform Operations, Centro
  • Jeremy Smith, VP of Sales Engineering, Telaria
  • Chris Schwarz, Product Manager, Pixalate (host)

You can watch the full webinar recording here. Here are the key takeaways from the event, in the words of our panelists:

What does SSAI mean for the OTT/CTV industry?

  • In some cases, SSAI is a technical necessity and help to unlock certain sources of premium inventory
  • SSAI means the buy-side shifts from directly verifying details about the client device to a system in which the buy-side needs to trust an intermediary service
    • This shift is difficult to accept given the trust/transparency issues that already exist

What are the latest industry standards for SSAI?

  • For SSAI, pay attention to these specs: VAST 4.x, Open Measurement, SIMID
  • Refer to Pixalate’s blog for more details about industry standards for SSAI

Reporting limitations when SSAI is used

ssai-reporting-limitations

  • If pixels are fired from the server-side, it leads to more possibilities for invalid traffic (IVT)
  • When this happen, it's up to the ad server and DSP to trust that the SSAI server is not fabricating the information and, if not fabricated, that it’s being passed correctly

Differences between SSAI proxy operators

  • It’s difficult to identify who the SSAI vendor is
    • Makes it hard to distinguish between real and fake requests
  • Some publishers implement their own SSAI tech, which increases the risk they could generate their own “traffic”
  • Each SSAI vendor has unique characteristics that can greatly impact the quality of the data

SSAI ad fraud concerns

ssai-fraud-concerns

  • Transparency is key: Everybody has to play fairly and share the right information
  • Significant risk in cases of resale; you can misrepresent and claim you’re selling inventory for an OTT channel, and combined with the appearance of SSAI, it would be easy to generate a lot of fraud and get away with it
  • The buy-side cannot directly measure the client device when SSAI is used 

Improving quality and transparency

  • The industry needs to make a move to a VAST 4-based stack, including open measurement and SIMID
  • Get involved in working groups
  • More solutions are needed to provide transparency as SSAI grows

Watch the full webinar for more insights

You can find the full webinar recording here.

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