Why the ad industry needs a standardized approach to fight TV streaming ad fraud – AdExchanger


On television and videois a column exploring the opportunities and challenges of advanced television and video.

Today’s column is Willard Simmons, Vice President, Product Management, Advertising Platform, Roku.

One of my mentors used to say, “Money flows towards certainty and away from uncertainty. The reach and effectiveness of TV streaming are certain: The sight, sound and movement available to communicate to people who watch streaming TV attract investment. However, the uncertainty introduced by scammers has made some buyers hesitant.

As brands reallocate their budgets to streaming TV, fraudsters have followed the money. This fraud problem, and its cumbersome manual solution, introduces two problems. This adds friction to the growth of the streaming TV advertising market and makes it more difficult for smaller companies to participate in the growth of the market.

We are at a tipping point as an industry and together we must work together to fill the void of standards and tools that automatically fight fraud.

Current wisdom is that you can completely avoid TV streaming ad fraud by following three rules: “Always buy live”, “Always use private markets (PMP)” and “Never buy TV streaming in the open market “.

The downside of this approach is that a large-scale business involving only direct insertion orders and many PMP trades requires a huge amount of manual effort per trade. Moreover, the manual effort is so great that it encourages the consolidation of the TV streaming ecosystem into a small number of companies to achieve good savings. Also, buying direct without the optimization benefits available in a demand-side platform may not result in the best performance or the best cost per unique reach.

In addition to keeping money out of the hands of bad actors, a safe and open marketplace with automated protections in place will improve ecosystem efficiency and ultimately level the playing field for small businesses innovative companies can compete with the larger and more established ones. It’s a win for consumers, merchants and publishers. It will also lead to even faster growth in TV streaming.

The case for fighting fraud automatically

Today, ad fraud in the TV streaming space is combated through direct insertion orders with known sellers or programmatic PMP deals through direct relationships. These negotiations are a safe way to buy and sell TV streaming stocks but also tedious and time-consuming, requiring dedicated teams. As a result, the number of companies that can succeed in this market is limited, hampering the explosive growth potential of TV streaming.

Standardizing and automating the fight against advertising fraud

Better automation is needed to expand the growth of TV streaming and make open market programming securely accessible to everyone, ensuring fraudsters can’t cut their way through the supply chain. A layered approach provides a solid foundation for fraud prevention – here are the common principles that should be adopted:

Verification of sales authorization: The IAB Tech Lab’s ads.txt standard has successfully eliminated the most basic and egregious types of ad fraud. Recently, the working group updated the app-ads.txt standard for describing complex inventory sharing agreements between TV streaming apps. Without this update, app-ads.txt was nearly impossible to use for TV streaming. Updating, associated with the precise use of standardized bundle identifiers, empowers buyers and sellers to weed out the most egregious and simple forms of TV streaming ad fraud. At Roku, we made the use of app-ads.txt mandatory for ad-supported channels in the Roku Channel Store starting April 1, 2021.

Verification of the origin of assembled TV streaming ad traffic: The main current source of ad fraud in TV streaming is fake ad traffic selling fake ad impressions. These fake impressions are generated from cloud servers masquerading as real streaming devices running genuine streaming operating systems. This type of fraud threat is mitigated by adopting the IAB Tech Lab ads.cert 2.0 a proposal to ensure that the server-to-server communications of streaming ad assemblers in the ad technology supply chain are identifiable. Additionally, the use of this new standard can be extended beyond ad assemblers to every server-to-server message. If fully implemented, fraudsters will have no way to inject their fake traffic.

Checking the authenticity of the TV streaming device: Operating system (OS) manufacturers must provide a device attestation method that ensures that ad impressions are running on a genuine device. This can be done privacy-consciously by adding cryptographically signed headers to ad tracking tags and ad requests that can only be generated by the device’s operating system. -same. By adding a signature component that can only be produced by a particular device, buyers can be sure they have purchased an authentic print.

By taking this layered approach, both sellers and buyers are protected.

The impact on TV streaming advertising growth

The industry must work together to implement anti-fraud tools and reduce friction. Manual methods requiring manually checked insert I/O and private market agreements are not a long-term solution. Using the layers of protection described in this article, we can provide effective and automated protection against TV streaming ad fraud. Universal adoption of these standards will unlock more liquidity in the market, driving more growth for all parties.

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