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Fraud Hits Connected TV--Don't Let it Cripple Your Campaigns

Some 168.1 million people able to watch Internet-connected TV in 2017 and the figure keeps rising.

For consumers, the draw comes in the cost savings of cord-cutting plus the convenience of on-demand viewing from providers like Netflix and Hulu. For advertisers, the draw is not only the growing audience but the opportunity of addressable targeting, a feature that has long been absent. Connected TV is appearing in more media plans and dovetails nicely with the evolution of programmatic TV.

But as streaming TV advertising grows, so does the potential for fraud. While streaming TV fraud isn’t likely to be nearly as big as digital ad fraud, it’s a consideration for anyone placing a buy. Here’s how it happens and what we can do to stop it:

How it happens

Top-tier providers like Hulu require authenticated logins to access their services, and most connected TV advertising occurs in private marketplaces, so there is little inventory available on open exchanges.

While that ensures a level of control, Adobe and WhiteOps claim that there are already instances of ad fraud in connected TV. While such instances are “nominal,” the real danger will come as demand for connected TV inventory grows.

The TV networks’ streaming apps are already selling inventory via exchanges, which provides a lower level of transparency. If that’s the case, there’s potential for fraud via domain spoofing, in which fraudsters imitate real sellers and trick exchanges and clients into buying inventory.

Future-proofing connected TV

If connected TV advertising follows the trajectory of other forms of digital advertising, then there will be fewer direct deals and more third parties in the mix, which will open up the possibility of more fraud.

One encouraging sign is that the Media Ratings Council recently released measurement guidelines for OTT and connected TV. (OTT refers to TV content streamed on any device, while connected TV refers only to streamed content viewed on a TV set.) The MRC’s guidelines say that JavaScript or other API integrations can be used to measure video ad impressions on OTT platforms. To be considered a true impression, an ad on OTT has to fully load and start playing.

Protective measures like ads.txt should also prevent fraudsters from entering the system by verifying legitimate sellers.

But with its high CPMs and high demand, connected TV will challenge the industry’s existing methods of fraud protection. We need to be proactive about keeping the connected TV marketplace safe while it’s still in its early stages. That’s why AlwaysOn Digital hand-curates PMP deals for our clients across omnichannel media to ensure the right price, priority and placement for their unique campaign needs. We provide that extra level of control and transparency so you get fraud-free, brand-safe media and content-specific placements.

Unfortunately, fraudsters will try to exploit every new media opportunity. But we aim to be one step ahead of them to ensure that every dollar you spend is put to use and hat your messages are delivered in a brand-safe environment. Get in touch with us today to learn more.

Photo from Creative Commons

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