CTV advertising involves several complexities around inventory as well as the served impressions. The more the number of complexities, the more the vulnerability of an ecosystem to fraud and other digital accidents. Given the high CPM rates and the associated value addition to the brand reach, advertisers may not be actively involved in understanding the dark side of CTV advertising before deciding to invest or make the most out of it.
Before we delve deep into understanding how advertisers can avoid fraud occurring through CTV ads, let us understand what potentially may lead to such a situation.
What leads to CTV fraud?
CTV increases the number of audiences exposed to any advertisement to a large extent. This mainly happens due to the following reasons.
1. CTV inventory
When we talk about inventory, we are referring to the medium used for serving impressions to the users; the first one being the native category. Under this, the ads are displayed on the home screen of the CTV operations system. Advertisers who promote content from CTV platforms like Roku usually purchase these inventories so that the audience streaming content from these platforms is directly exposed to their ads.
The second category is in-stream. This is the most used form of purchasing inventories wherein these can be purchased directly through the CTV platforms and streaming services from brands like Disney+. Usually, these inventories can be sold by streaming services using their DSPs or via intermediaries.
Since CTV inventory can be sold through the following 2 categories, maintaining consistency in data extraction is a tough nut to crack. As a result, with a wider audience being exposed through the above-mentioned categories of inventory purchasing, the complexities also increase thereby increasing the fraud-vulnerability.
2. Device-based exposure
Unlike digital ads served through websites and mobile apps where the audience would be split either between Android, PC or iPhone, CTV audiences do not involve the single-best combination of devices used for streaming the content and serving ads. For example, a family may have an LG television and a Roku set-top box in the drawing room used for streaming video content. Similarly, another potential combination can be multiple devices connected to a Samsung TV to stream content available through Hulu. With innumerable permutations and combinations, there might be multiple categories of audiences exposed to a single type of content at the same time. This makes it challenging in terms of audience targeting and measurement of important metrics.
Given these complexities, it does not take a long time for fraudsters to employ techniques like spoofing devices to serve invalid impressions by connecting multiple devices as tracking each impression and its validity is anyways challenging.
How can fraud be avoided?
1. Direct contact with CTV vendors
For an advertiser starting with CTV advertising as a litmus test, it is advisable to contact the vendor directly who owns the CTV inventory as well as the streaming services. First-hand contact with such parties will ensure that you are well-informed about the targeting and exhibit complete control over what formats and contexts the ads appear in. While this approach comes along with the slight disadvantage of having limited reach for your ads, not relying on third parties in the initial stage will provide better viability for determining your ad spending in the right direction and for the right type of audience.
2. Keeping in the loop with the industry standards for CTV performance measurement
CTV advertising is undergoing significant changes in terms of measurement, attribution, and overall campaign performance strategizing. Owing to the slightly different viewing styles and the nature of devices employed in CTV, the last-touch attribution logic used for mobile and desktop ads does not work adequately for CTV ads. Experts recommend having an independent measurement provider to counter the challenges arising out of biases in terms of results, given the number of audiences exposed to the ads.
3. Stay updated with the audience analytics
Like social media or any other forms of advertising, it is important to closely study your audience and know at what time of the day and during what specific occasion would they like to interact with your ads the most. For example, a baseball app would have the ads displayed on days and times when baseball matches happen frequently, like 7 pm in the evening. If there’s an inflation of traffic during the morning hours, then in that case, it would indicate that something is unusual and strange. There can be corrective actions taken subsequently.
4. Ad fraud detection tool
When no efforts are generating the required results, a very reliable technique for avoiding CTV ad fraud is to use an ad fraud detection tool.
Brands like ClearTrust provide a full-fledged solution to counter CTV attacks through real-time verification of the ad traffic, seamless integration and provision of more than 130 filters to combat the risk arising from such fraud. Moreover, when you use ClearTrust, the Power of Control lies with you and not within the tool and thus, without any complexities, such tools and solutions can help you counter CTV ad frauds in a hassle-free manner.