Jag träffade Nick Morley från Integral Ad Science på Dmexco i höstas och vi diskuterade om alla viktiga trender som alla pratar om just nu som transparency ad fraud, viewability och brand safety samt varför dessa dessa frågor är så viktiga i digital marknadsföring.
Innan vi går in på intervjun låt oss börja med att förklara frågorna lite snabbt.
Transparency – Transparens: Alla talar om att de skalla vara mer transparenta i sin affär och visa mer siffror. Detta är en ganska stor fråga som inbegriper många olika siffror och debatten om man visar sina siffror eller inte har varit het i medierna och kommer att intensifieras under 2018.
Ad Fraud – Annonsbedrägerier: Det förekommer många sofistikerade metoder för att lura annonsörer på pengar med falska annonsvisningar. Man kan ha annonser med mikropixlar som ingen ser men ändå är en visning, vi har ad stacking där man lägger flera annonser på varandra (man kan bara se den översta) och många fler sätt. Det är en hel artikel i sig att skriva om detta. Att acceptansen finns berör troligtvis på en okunskap i hur stor del av den digitala mediebudgeten är annonsbedrägerier och man vet inte riktigt hur det fungerar eller hur man skall förhindra det
Brand Safety – Skydda ditt varumärke: Man vill inte att ens varumärke skall exponeras i en dålig miljö. Det finns annonsplatser som är omoraliska att synas på men ännu värre är det om ens varumärke exponeras på kriminella illegala sajter. Man måste skydda sitt varumärke och se till att det exponeras i en bra miljö. Detta är en mycket viktig fråga för alla stora företag.
Till intervjun, på engelska…
Interview with Nick Morley, EMEA MD, Integral Ad Science
Hi Nick, nice to have a chat with you. We met up at dmexco in Cologne a month ago and we discussed the most important questions in digital advertising today – transparency, ad fraud, viewability, and brand safety — which you are covering with your service across Europe.
1. Nick can you explain the problems with transparency, ad fraud, viewability, and brand safety in digital advertising?
In 2017, multiple industry issues were thrust into the spotlight. High-profile calls for greater accountability sharpened the focus on transparency, especially the need for accurate viewability reporting. Reported breaches such as Methbot heightened awareness of ad fraud. And infamous brand safety incidents served as a reminder of how much context matters.
None of these issues are new, but their increased share of attention has driven progress. Initiatives have been put into practice to enhance media confidence including the IAB Tech Lab’s mobile SDK designed to improve measurement of in-app viewability, social media platforms opening up to third-party verification, and projects such as ads.txt — which shares public lists of licensed programmatic sellers.
As we’re all aware the digital advertising space is evolving almost daily and as it develops there will continue to be challenges to overcome. Persistent vigilance is vital for the industry to flourish; we must all set and strive to uphold high standards.
2. How do these problems affect advertisers and publishers?
Transparency is one of the most important issue for advertisers as it fuels understanding of how other factors can impact performance: without comprehensive insight into viewability and fraud rates, advertisers can’t precisely gauge campaign reach or impact.
That’s why many are pushing for assurance that ads meet or exceed viewability benchmarks — such as the Media Rating Council standard — and taking proactive measures, including partnering with verification providers. There’s a growing determination to address the inconsistencies and ambiguities that are holding the industry back by enhancing clarity, and creating best practices that everyone can follow.
To a large extent, these priorities are mirrored on the publisher side. After all, many content creators are reliant on advertising revenue to support their businesses; so meeting demand for visibility into media transactions is essential to optimise ROI. Publishers are therefore focusing their efforts on protecting the quality of their inventory and conveying media value; filtering traffic sources to remove any fake or malicious users, matching content to the right audiences in the right context, and providing a clear view of both ad placement and performance metrics.
3. All these tasks are quite difficult to measure and not all publishers are willing to share this data, how have you solved these issues?
In early 2017, the value of reputation was brought home to publishers as many big brands withdrew ad spend from leading media companies after several significant ad misplacements came to light. While the industry has since put practices in place to prevent similar oversights in future, it’s safe to say that attitudes have changed. Publishers now appreciate the direct impact contextual oversights can have on their bottom line.
As a result, publishers are beginning to recognise that it’s in their best interests to provide in-depth performance analysis. At Integral Ad Science, we are dedicated to providing tools that make it easier for publishers to do so, as well as constantly developing technology to help them stay one step ahead of evolving issues; such as more advanced fraudulent practices.
4. Why is it important to be transparent with ad fraud, viewability, and brand safety?
Transparency into all issues affecting digital advertising is crucial to the sustainability of the ecosystem for one simple reason: trust. The basic premise of the industry is trade between advertisers and publishers, and for the system to work both sides must trust each other.
So, advertisers need to know the media they are buying is brand safe, viewable, and fraud-free, meaning publishers must offer deep inventory insight. And for publishers, it’s equally important to ascertain that ads placed on their site will align with the interests of their audience, without disrupting their activity or causing irritation.
Only by working together to maximise clarity and accountability can we make sure the foundations of the industry are strong enough to support lasting growth and tackle new advertising challenges as they arise.
5. Everyone here in Sweden is talking about transparency and viewability but nobody really likes to share the data, can you share any tips on how we can progress forward for those working in this space?
It is paramount that the industry focuses on transparency. Discussion and acknowledgement are great steps forward, however ensuring true transparency means sharing data and insights with the industry.
At IAS, we release our Media Quality Report twice a year (H1 and H2) to provide a holistic view of the media ecosystem and encourage others to also release media quality data sets as part of a wider commitment to transparency.
6. Can you give us five fast tips so we can get advertisers and publishers to start sharing their data here in Sweden?
– Tip number one. Before any other actions are taken, conduct a media hygiene check. Both advertisers and brands must understand ad placement procedures and how trading mechanisms work.
– This needs to be followed by an ad fraud assessment to remove invalid traffic and malicious ads.
– Tips three and four are brand safety and viewability analysis — which should include evaluation of the content ads will be served beside to ensure they appear in the right context, and consistent measurement to deliver the best viewability levels possible.
– Last but not least is third-party verification. No matter what internal data reveals about performance, the extra certainty that independent confirmation of media validity provides is key to foster confidence in transactions.
7. Is there anything else that you’d like to add to the discussion, any figures or statistics could be nice…
It’s imperative for advertisers and publishers to have a thorough picture of the unique issues and trends that impact each market they operate in. For instance, our own media quality research has shown that, in the Nordics, viewability is remarkably strong — in fact its average of 58.7%* of display ads being in view is the second highest globally that we see at IAS. But fraud is a particular area to watch; while rates for optimised fraud (where ad fraud detection and prevention technology is in use) are 0.1%, ad fraud levels for unprotected media (where no type of ad fraud prevention tech is in use) are significantly higher, with potentially up to 22.3% of impressions being flagged as suspicious. Clearly, ad fraud prevention technologies are effective, which means deploying them should be a key consideration.
We also found that the most prevalent risk areas for digital content vary depending on the different types of buying methods. When sourcing impressions directly from publishers, content related to alcohol posed the greatest risk – with 40% of brand safety infractions flagged as serving next to alcohol-related content. However, for programmatic trading, adult content posed more of a risk — with 55.4% of impressions flagged as serving next to inappropriate adult content.
With such an understanding of specific areas of media quality and identifying strengths, advertisers can generate efficient campaign strategies that meet core goals.
* The Media Rating Council (MRC) states a display ad impression is viewable if at least 50% of pixels are on screen for at least one second, after the ad has rendered. A video ad impression is viewable if the ad is playing while at least 50% of pixels are on screen for at least two seconds.