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Report: CTV bot fraud surges by 69%

May 18, 2023

Digital media measurement, data and analytics platform DoubleVerify has released its 2023 Global Insights Report, analysing trends from nearly 5.5 trillion media transactions across over 1,000 customers in nearly 100 countries. The report highlights key digital media quality trends, and demonstrates the need for always-on verification across channels to create the foundation for impactful performance.

“Based on our research, in order to drive consistent performance, it is essential that advertisers engage verification across all campaigns and environments,” advises Collette Spagnolo, Vice President of Marketing Analytics at DoubleVerify (DV). “When verification is turned off or not applied, an advertiser becomes vulnerable to the swings in quality caused by unpredictable news cycles and increasingly sophisticated fraud schemes. Moreover, always-on protection helps the industry maintain a common and consistent gauge of media quality everywhere, as verification techniques evolve to encompass emerging channels for content consumption. Having coverage, protection and insight into all channels is critical.”

This year’s report looked at quality trends across regions and devices, and compared results for campaigns that leverage verification to a campaign that did not — with dramatic differences in quality.

Key takeaways:

CTV consumption surges, but it continues to be a target for fraud. Globally, eMarketer estimates that advertisers will spend almost $24 billion on CTV advertising in 2023. This year’s Global Insights Report found CTV consumption and quality verification grew by 252 per cent in the UK year-over-year. As ad investments in CTV grow, so too does the opportunity for fraud. CTV ad fraud involves the use of deceptive tactics to generate revenue from advertisers by falsely inflating video ad impressions. Fraudsters typically employ bots or fake CTV devices to simulate viewership, tricking advertisers into paying for non-existent or unviewed ad placements.

In particular, bot fraud on CTV surged by 69 per cent in 2022 compared with the year prior, and the number of CTV fraud schemes and variants DV detected annually has tripled since 2020. For unprotected advertisers, the risk is significant. To quantify the risk, DV compared protected advertisers’ fraud rates against a campaign where verification was not in place. The unprotected campaign experienced a fraud rate of 11.2 percent compared with 0.6 percent for protected campaigns – a difference of nearly 18x.

EMEA’s brand suitability violations are the highest among all regions. EMEA saw a 15 per cent reduction in fraud/SIVT [Sophisticated Invalid Traffic] violations in 2022. But brand suitability violations spiked to 10.6 per cent (a 13 per cent increase from the previous year) — the highest of any region. Brand suitability violations are historically high in EMEA due to its longtail domains and higher percentage of mobile web inventory.

Amid economic uncertainty and identity deprecation, advertisers are increasingly turning to attention-based measurement to help optimise campaign performance and enhance ROI. Among other regions, EMEA campaigns stand out in their ability to grab attention with high levels of exposure and engagement across display and video placements. Most advertisers run campaigns that deliver to sites or apps that have low attention rates; however, DV’s analysis shows there is significant available inventory that could deliver higher attention and performance.

“Today, the average person is exposed to between 6,000 to 10,000 ads a day,” explains Nick Reid, SVP and Managing Director of EMEA at DoubleVerify. “As such, attention has emerged as a vital, yet, an increasingly scarce resource. Attention-based metrics such as exposure and engagement have emerged to help marketers better understand the overall relevance and resonance of an ad experience — and how that experience translates to driving high-value business outcomes.”

In addition to its findings on CTV fraud and attention, DV’s Global Insights Report features new data on the ROI of verification as well as the need to ensure consistent quality assurance across all platforms, environments and formats.

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