TAG study shows industry progress in anti-fraud efforts

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The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), an advertising industry initiative to fight criminal activity in the digital advertising supply chain, has released the results of its 2019 benchmark fraud study. The study shows the industry’s continued success in reducing fraud within TAG Certified distribution channels at a time when many more participants in the digital advertising supply chain have adopted TAG’s rigorous anti-fraud standards and are choosing to buy through TAG Certified Channels.

Based on more than 200 billion ad impressions from six of the largest ad agency holding companies, the study found that invalid traffic (IVT) rates in TAG Certified Channels fell to 1.41 percent from 1.68 per cent in the same prior year period, a 16 per cent improvement. The 2019 fraud rate in TAG Certified Channels was 88 per cent lower than a blended benchmark of IVT rates from MRC accredited anti-fraud vendors.

“When you win enough battles, you begin to turn the tide of the war,” said Mike Zaneis, CEO of TAG. “We have now held fraud rates in TAG Certified Channels under two per cent for three years in a row, and we also have dramatically improved the year-over-year fraud rates within those TAG Certified Channels, as more companies joined TAG’s Certified Against Fraud Programme and adopted its tough anti-fraud standards. We may never eliminate all fraud from the digital advertising ecosystem, but this data should give advertisers peace of mind that fraud will not have a significant impact on them if they use TAG Certified Channels.”

Thus far, 137 companies around the world have achieved the TAG Certified Against Fraud Seal to date, an increase of 26 per cent over the 109 who had earned the seal a year ago.

TAG launched its Certified Against Fraud Programme to combat invalid traffic in the digital advertising supply chain. Companies that are shown to comply with the Certified Against Fraud Guidelines are awarded the Certified Against Fraud Seal, which they can use to publicly communicate their commitment to combatting fraud.

TAG first commissioned The 614 Group to conduct a benchmarking study of the US market to examine the effectiveness of the TAG Certified Against Fraud Programme in December 2017. While the 2017 study only measured GIVT (not SIVT) across desktop and mobile advertising, the 2018 study offered an apples-to-apples comparison to this year’s results by measuring both SIVT and GIVT at scale across desktop, mobile, and in-app advertising.

As an additional element to the report, The 614 Group also interviewed executives with the participating agencies: Dentsu Aegis Network, Horizon Media, Interpublic Group (Kinesso), Omnicom Media Group (Annalect), Publicis Groupe, and WPP (GroupM) to learn more about their companies’ perspectives on the complicated fight against fraud.


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