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CTV Ad Fraud and How Industry can Tighten its Standards

PUBLISH DATE: 20 July 2022

Advertisers have been turning to streaming services as more and more people have abandoned their traditional pay-TV packages. Particularly, streaming platforms have been important to brands who are looking out to reach their younger audiences. Connected TV may be the media’s favorite branding tool but it’s not as clean as it may seem. And it is certainly not immune to ad fraud. 

CTV ad spend in the United States have increased by over 100 percent between 2019-2021. Globally too, CTV investments are on the rise. However, due to limited TV inventory and supply is harder to break into than mobile and desktop – it becomes easier for fraudsters to slip malicious mobile apps onto phones than they can get CTV apps into Roku accounts. 

Media buyers generally assume that CTV is a relatively fraud-free environment. It’s hardly surprising to witness that CTV ads are a popular target for fraudsters. CTVs have one of the highest CPM rates in the digital advertising space, ranging from $35 to $65 per thousand impressions. These rates are high as such ads not provide additional value to brands but also attract new customers, which in turn increase engagement. 

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Because of the absence of robust tracking and measuring functions, it is easy to commit ad fraud on connected television channels. According to projected estimates, connected TV fraud would cost publishers $144 million in 2022. Thus, the responsibility to prevent fraud falls on the shoulders of brands and media buyers. The industry’s best shot at fighting such fraud is to increase transparency as much as possible across the bid stream. 

Adopting a wider adoption of Sellers.json can make open programmatic a safer environment. Similar to Ads.txt, Sellers.json is intended to help detect fraud, however it works on behalf of the buy side. It works by delineating the programmatic and direct supply-side partners in a campaign.