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A Quick Guide to Connected TV (CTV) Ad Frauds

Posted by Huzefa Hakim | May 1, 2023

A Quick Guide to Connected TV (CTV) Ad Frauds

The problem of CTV ad frauds can be directly proportional to the COVID-19 pandemic which created various advantages and disadvantages for the programmatic ecosystem. While many people migrated to streaming content using devices connecting directly to the TV and gaining a theatre-like experience, marketers were quick in realizing that CTV ads carry a huge potential. Thus, they started inflating their spending on such ads. In fact, CTV ad spending in the United States increased by over 100% between 2019-2021- from $6 billion in 2019 to $14.4 billion at the end of 2021.

While such investments started rising, there was no chance that the fraudsters would leave this stone unturned and not capitalize on the opportunity. Along with the ads, CTV ad frauds also started rising to the extent that in the first quarter of 2022, over 20 percent of traffic to connected TV programmatic advertising was invalid in the United States.

This calls for a better understanding of CTV frauds on our part. Let us understand these types of attacks in detail-

What are CTV frauds?

Connected TV encompasses the devices that connect to a television and are used for streaming video content of various types. This includes Xbox, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, PlayStation etc.

This is slightly different from Over the Top (OTT) wherein the video content is streamed using the internet and delivered directly to the user. In CTV, a cable subscription is required to connect devices and stream the content subsequently. This technique of advertising is highly preferred among advertisers as it increases the range of audiences that can be captured and the number of conversions also increases, especially during the holiday season such as mid-October.

Connected TV frauds usually occur when fraudsters generate faulty impressions on advertisements served to the CTV audiences using a variety of techniques which can skip vigilance. In purchasing inventories for CTV advertising, a lot of players are involved and the system is quite complex which makes it more difficult to track any invalid impressions.

Types of CTV frauds

1. Device Spoofing

As the name suggests, this technique of CTV ad fraud involves the fraudster employing only one device and impersonating it as multiple devices generating impressions on the ads. An important fact to be noted here is the device used for generating the engagement is real. The only thing being faked is the number of devices being impersonated. There have been several cases of bots being used to spoof millions of devices and generate as many as 500 million + ad requests daily.

2. IP address spoofing

This technique is similar to the previous one with the only difference that instead of multiple devices, the impersonation takes place with regards to IP addresses. This means that an ad can receive multiple impressions from one single location itself. However, the fraudster would spoof the IP address of multiple locations from the same location thereby playing around with the geographical reach of the ads and creating an impression that users across several countries are viewing the ad.

3. SDK Spoofing

This technique involves simulating app installs from genuine devices of the users without any app being installed in the real sense. A nightmare for those employing the CPI model of payment, the fraudsters use malicious code in the install links sent to the users. The moment the links are clicked, the installs are faked and the advertiser’s budget is affected.

Impact of CTV Frauds

a) CTV advertising is a category which has some of the largest CPMs in the industry ranging from $35 to $65 due to the value addition provided to the brand. For advertisers looking for low CPM rates while willing to take advantage of the advantages offered by CTV ads, fraudulent publishers may charge less CPM compared to those with a legitimate inventory. As a result, it becomes easier to lure advertisers and carry out fraudulent activities.

b) Blind-folded as approaching a publisher with high traffic, advertisers do not pay attention to the quality of inventory and fall prey to imposter views. An inflationary number of clicks only makes them look at the positive side without realizing that there might be something fishy in the background which exhausts their budget.

c) Publishers with legitimate inventory may lose out on monetization opportunities either if their inventory is affected by IVT or when they lose bid requests to fake publishers with an illegitimate inventory.

ClearTrust's CTV Solution

ClearTrust's CTV Solution is the answer to combating fraud in your CTV inventories. With our advanced filters and cutting-edge technology, we can help you identify and eliminate fraudulent activities effectively. Gain access to detailed reporting and analytics to understand your traffic sources better, enabling you to make informed decisions. Our experienced team is dedicated to providing you with a robust solution tailored to your specific needs, ensuring the protection of your CTV campaigns. Say goodbye to CTV fraud and let ClearTrust's expertise safeguard your advertising budget. Contact us today for a comprehensive fraud-fighting solution.