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Mark Andrews Jul 16, 2021 10:10:00 AM 4 min read

Ad Verification - DoubleVerify Latest Report

Why do I care?

Ensuring that your media dollars are focused in high quality online environments has never been more important, yet hard to achieve. Not only does it require a multi layered, always on approach but it’s also important to understand how you compare to your peers and the marketplace. Thankfully DoubleVerify has just produced their latest Global Insights Report which provided an update on the quality of media across brand safety, ad fraud and viewability.

Not only does this report allow you to understand the situation globally and within local markets but also understand where the greatest risks lie and importantly why.

What’s this column about?

If you don’t have time to read the full article, here’s the key points that I took from the report on the current landscape and I also provide some practical solutions:

  1. The Quality on Programmatic Buys Now Matches That of Publisher Direct Buys

Programmatic was originally perceived as a method of buying the unsold, low quality inventory that publishers couldn’t sell direct (remnant inventory). This perception has stayed with programmatic since. That’s not the case anymore, according to DoubleVerify, who observed the same Ad Fraud and Brand Suitability violation rates for Programmatic and Publisher Direct. One main reason is the increased quality of supply over the years, with private marketplaces and guaranteed deals helping to increase the quality of supply in programmatic.


It’s important to constantly assess the most effective method of procuring media and the maturity of programmatic has meant that many of the benefits (real time optimisation etc.) can be had whilst maintaining the quality standards previously given to direct sold inventory. Advertisers and agencies should have a continuous evaluation process for testing and refining the supply route.

  1. Verification surges in connected TV

Positively DoubleVerify has measured far more CTV inventory within the last 12 months, which is notorious for being a harder channel to track, and also a lucrative source of revenue for fraudsters. As the industry matures and ad verification providers find new ways to measure emerging channels, this should reduce the risk to advertisers and ensure that publishers (not fraudsters) receive the revenue they deserve. Ensure that you are taking the latest approach by enquiring about CTV inclusion and exclusion lists as well as other methods for safeguarding investment.

  1. The pandemic increased brand and agency understanding of the risks to blanket brand safety approaches

In times of media crisis brands and their agency partners often batten down the hatches and go for the safest option. This was observed at the start of the pandemic with many advertisers and/or agencies blocking covid related articles to ensure they didn’t appear against death tolls or similar content. However It quickly became evident that Covid-19 was here to stay. Those overzealous keyword blocks for “Covid” decimenated news publishers who were bringing important information to the public. Positively it seems as though brands woke up to the fact that they would need to take a more nuanced approach to brand protection and that not all Covid-19 news was bad, articles such as people helping in their local community and handing out free food to those in need during Covid were perfectly legitimate and safe articles. Not only does this increase inventory supply for the advertiser but it importantly funds credible news publishers who need this vital source of income. Ensure that your approach is appropriate but checking in with your activation teams to find out how they’re taking a nuanced approach to allow positive news articles.

  1. Data centre traffic is the leading type of ad fraud

Data centre traffic where there is no screen and absolutely 0% chance of an ad being served to humans is now the dominant type of ad fraud. According to DoubleVerify it is now the number one type of ad fraud across desktop, mobile web and mobile app and makes up over a third (36%) of CTV traffic. Don’t let yourself fall foul of this type of ad fraud, ensure that you are working with a leading company that can accurately detect data centre traffic.

  1. Beyond viewability to measuring attention

High viewability is now table stakes, with between two third of display and three quarters of video ads being classified as in-view (using IAB/MRC definition).

Whilst efforts can still be made to increase that further, there is a cost/benefit conversation to be had around the incremental cost for driving further uplift in viewability, often with the cost outweighing the benefit. So what happens when the majority of your ads are in-view? you focus on making sure that users are actually paying attention.

Advertisers should begin working with their agencies and internal teams to define metrics that measure users who pay more attention, whether that's using tools such as Lumen that measure user eye-tracking or simpler methods such as ad engagement metrics.

In a nutshell, the overarching sentiment to the report is that the quality of online media is rising however advertisers and agencies cannot take their foot off the gas and must continue to evolve and enhance the way in which they safeguard investment. If that was my media budget, I know I’d be doubling down on it right now.