When it comes to ad fraud in the programmatic RTB space most narratives concentrate on the demand side and advertisers losing money to fraudsters. Not much is ever said about the efforts going on at the other end of the spectrum: the supply side. Ad fraud can be detrimental to the sell-side of the community [i.e., ad networks, exchanges, and supply-side platforms (SSPs)] -- a handful of fraudulent publishers can wreak havoc on inventory quality. But when going about cleaning it up there’s a different set of challenges. Here are the top three and how Fraudlogix addresses them:
Challenge 1: Solutions with CPM-based pricing are not ideal
Unlike an advertiser or agency on the buy-side with a few million impressions to monitor, companies on the supply side have billions of impressions from potentially thousands of sources running through their platforms. Paying a third-party verification vendor for fraud detection on a CPM basis is economically impossible for much of the supply side. This type of pricing model -- common for advertisers -- normally results in “sampling” for quality on the supply side, meaning third-party verification solutions are applied to some impressions or campaigns, but not all traffic. And while the highest-paying campaigns may be completely covered in this scenario, all ad traffic is not monitored. Similarly, a new publisher’s traffic may be monitored during initial onboarding by third-party vendors but the monitoring stops after the start-up period, opening the door for fraudulent traffic to enter later.
Solution: Flat-fee, integrated ad fraud solutions
Fraudlogix uses a flat-fee structure that allows our clients to monitor 100% of their inventory. This is made possible by providing intelligence directly to our clients - the same sort of intelligence that other verification vendors use to make impression-by-impression decisions. By handing over the data, our clients can integrate it directly into their environments. This integration allows them to filter all of their traffic (billions of impressions at a time) without having to worry about pricey overages or picking and choosing which traffic to monitor.
Challenge 2: Buyers use multiple anti-fraud vendors, with differing results
Along the lines of “the customer is always right,” if a buyer decides that something is fraudulent, the supply side must take notice and optimize their traffic toward the buyers’ demands or risk losing that business. This often results in supply-side companies being forced to use multiple overpriced third-party verification vendors so that results align with what their demand partners are seeing on their end.
Solution: Align supply-side ad fraud solutions with that of the buyers'
Fraudlogix realizes how important aligning with demand partners is when providing ad fraud solutions for the supply side. By aligning with demand-side verification vendors, Fraudlogix enables supply-side companies to match the traffic demands of their buyers. This ultimately leads to a reduction in discrepancies between the supply and demand sides and results in less instances of supply-side companies being forced to use multiple demand-side verification solutions.
Challenge 3: Trusted publishing partners are flagged for ad fraud
Like the demand side, claw backs because of ad fraud happen on the supply side too. But supply-side companies can't label something as fraud, refuse to pay, and move on -- they have established publishing partnerships that they must be sensitive to. When it comes to ad fraud, they often walk a precarious line between buy-side fraud claims and relationships with trusted publishing partners.
Solution: Provide insight when the ad fraud flag is thrown
Evidence of ad fraud (e.g., traffic with bot-like characteristics was found) is necessary to facilitate constructive conversations with publishers and alert them to quality issues. On the flip-side, evidence can also help supply-side companies to confidently eject fraudulent publishers from their platforms. In these scenarios, having a more transparent fraud-fighting solution that provides insights into why traffic was flagged as fraudulent is vital to sell-side companies and their partnerships. Fraudlogix's insight tools provide clients with the the evidence and the much needed "why" when flagging traffic as fraudulent.
As the discussion of whose responsibility it is to clean up the programmatic RTB space continues, this serves to outline the unique challenges faced by supply-side players. For the sake of the programmatic industry’s future, it’s in everyone’s best interest to weed out fraud, but the approach and scope of the problem differs when looking at it from the supply-side of the ad tech chain.