Advanced Television

Study: TAG certification cuts ad fraud by 83%

December 8, 2017

According to the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), an advertising industry initiative to fight criminal activity in the digital advertising supply chain, the use of TAG Certified distribution channels for digital advertising reduced the level of fraud by more than 83 per cent from the broader industry average.

Among the findings of the study conducted by The 614 Group:

  • Analyses by verification technology providers have found the levels of Invalid Traffic (IVT) in digital advertising average 8.83 per cent for display inventory in North America (and rise to 12.03 per cent when video inventory is included).
  • The 614 Group examined comparable rates of fraud for campaigns run through TAG Certified Channels in which multiple entities involved in the transaction – such as the media agency, buy-side platform, sell-side platform and/or publisher – had achieved the TAG Certified Against Fraud Seal.
  • In such TAG Certified Channels, the IVT rate fell to 1.48 per cent, a reduction of 83 per cent over industry averages.
  • The study was conducted by examining more than 6.5 billion display and video impressions in campaigns run through TAG Certified channels by three major media agencies for their clients.

This study validates TAG’s approach and sets a clear path for marketers that want to protect their brands and ad spend from fraud,” declared Mike Zaneis, President and CEO of TAG. “Fraud thrives in the dark crevices of the supply chain, so we knew that we had to get the legitimate participants in the supply chain to adopt the same high standards for this effort to be successful. When the industry links its arms and stands together, there is no place left for the criminals to hide.”

“The 614 Group have been leaders in promoting brand safety best practices and supporting the creation of standards and guidelines. Fraud has proven to be one of the most intractable issues in this area over the years,” added Rob Rasko, Managing Partner of The 614 Group.

“We are pleased to release this ground-breaking research on the impact of TAG’s efforts to address the IVT challenge, and we believe the quantitative data combined with the timely first-hand analysis from the agency leaders who deal with fraud on a daily basis offer compelling insights on the impact of the TAG programme.”

“The results of this study are extraordinary and demonstrate that the ‘war on fraud’ is winnable,” noted Bob Liodice, CEO of the Association of National Advertisers. “Marketers must recognise that fraud, piracy and malware rob brands of their business building power. By joining and working with TAG — and its demonstrated process for success — brands can energize their marketing investments and elevate their potential for growth. I encourage all marketers and the entire community to engage this effective fraud fighting institution”

“Fighting digital ad fraud is a centerpiece of the IAB’s and IAB Tech Lab’s work, and we are delighted that those efforts are paying dividends,” said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, Interactive Advertising Bureau. “By making TAG Registration mandatory for all IAB members and collaborating with TAG on our technical standards, we are assuring that the highest anti-fraud standards are extended across the industry, so advertisers will know that their money is well spent.”

“Agencies work hard to create solutions that connect and resonate with their clients’ core audience,” said Marla Kaplowitz, President and CEO of the 4A’s. “This TAG study offers valuable insight into mitigating ad fraud and ensuring that that hard work – and the ad spend behind it – reaches the people it’s intended to reach.”

TAG commissioned The 614 Group to conduct a benchmarking study of the US market to examine the effectiveness of the TAG Certified Against Fraud Program in reducing Invalid Traffic in the supply chain. As a second element to the analysis, The 614 Group also interviewed executives with the participating agencies, GroupM, Horizon Media, and IPG Mediabrands, to better understand how they respond to the issue of IVT with their clients.

To become TAG Certified Against Fraud, companies must meet a rigorous set of guidelines specific to the role they play in the digital advertising supply chain.

  • Buyers such as advertisers and authorized advertiser agents (AAAs) completed the TAG Registration process, designated a TAG compliance officer, and complied with the Media Rating Council’s Invalid Traffic (IVT) Detection and Filtration Guidelines.
  • Sellers such as publishers and authorized publisher agents (APAs) complied with all of the steps required of buyers, as well as domain list filtering, data center IP list filtering, and publisher sourcing disclosure requirements.
  • Intermediaries such as ad networks and other indirect buyers and sellers complied with all of the steps required of buyers, as well as domain list filtering, data center IP list filtering, and TAG’s Payment ID protocol.

More than 170 companies now participate in the TAG Certified Against Fraud Program, and 49 of those companies have already achieved the Certified Against Fraud Seal. The number of certified companies has more than doubled since April 2017.


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